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An Information Guide  to Activities, Attractions, and Family Friendly Accommodations in the Florida Keys

Beach Florida Keys Beaches For Kids

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Beach pail image for Kids in the Florida Keys  BEACHES AND PARKS FOR KIDS IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

The Florida Keys are not usually known for its beaches, but Bahia Honda Beach (meaning deep bay in Spanish) at Bahia Hinda State Park was recently rated the second most beautiful beach in North America. It not only provides white sandy beaches, but also tropical vegetation and a great variety of bird life.

Beach goers and sun loving vacationers benefit from a tropical climate and an average annual air temperature of 75 degrees in the Florida Keys. Because of the Florida Keys' proximity to the Gulf Stream children can enjoy frolicking in winter ocean water averaging 76 degrees. In spring and fall the water temperature increases to 80 degrees and by summer time the average ocean water temperature is a tepid 85 degrees. Offshore breezes and trade winds provide relief to summer visitors coming to the Keys to escape the oppressive heat experienced on the Florida mainland.

The beach sand of the Florida Keys is composed of coral and shell sediments which is quite different from the powered sugar fine sand one sees on the rest of Florida's beaches or the Bahamas. Because of this and for the convenience and enjoyment of visitors, many resorts have chosen to build their own protected beaches for their guests.

NOTE: Beach Advisory Information at foot of page.

 Go to vacation and beach toys for kids

 . Bahia Honda State Recreation Area - Mile Marker 37

Rated one of the top ten in the country on the basis of weather and water temperature Bahia Honda offers a beautiful sandy beach, good swimming and snorkeling opportunities, picnic areas, restrooms, cabins and campsites, nature trails, boats, and windsurfing. This southernmost recreational area in the State of Florida has actually two beaches. The larger beach called Sandspur is located at the northern end of Bahia Honda. Close by is the start of the Silver Palm Nature Trail which follows the the shore of a tidal lagoon and traverses a wooded hammock area on its circuit back to the beach. Some rare species of tropical plants and birds may be seen here. A bird list is available. At the southern end of Bahia Honda State Park visitors may walk on part of the old Bahia Honda Bridge. Once the trestle for the old East Coast Railroad and converted later for automobile traffic the old bridge provides marvelous views of the recreation area and neighboring islands. Nature Trail Brochure available.

. Hawk's Cay Resort for patrons - Mile Marker 61

This resort built it own own protected salt water lagoon and beach in the 1950's to meet the expectations of its European guests. Now a favorite of all it is available to patrons of Hawk's Cay Resort and Hawk's Cay Village. Youngsters enjoy swimming, rafting and tubing in the Hawk's Cay Resort's saltwater lagoon. Small kayaks are available for rental as well. When the children tire of splashing in the salt water of the Caribbean they have several fresh water pools available to choose from for variety. Hawk's Cay has FIVE pools located throughout its 60 acres of Resort and Villa grounds. One of these is for adults only. A favorite of children is the small children's pirates play pool located at the resort's Indies Club. 305-743-7000

 

The Beach Under Water - an extensive sand bar several hundred yards off of Valhala and Grassy Key -

This "locals" beach is perhaps one of the nicest "beaches" in the Keys, but it is only accessible by boat or kayak. The sand is white and the water warm. At low tide it is possible to set up beach chairs. Great for gatherings and raft up parties and families. Kids love to play in the water and can snorkel in comfort. Pontoon and small boat rentals are available on Grassy Key which can be anchored up at the sand bar beach. If the weather allows snorkel at Coffins Patch and then head back in to the "beach under the water" for family fun.

 

 . Long Key State Recreational Area - MM 67.5

Camping and picnic areas, restrooms, beach, also some of the best sport fishing in the Florida Keys. For children the park offers several nature trails for those who enjoy both walking and canoeing. Children will enjoy paddling and marvel at the tidal lagoon on the Long Key Lakes Canoe Trail which takes about an hour to journey. A self-guided tour brochure is available which describes the mangroves, ecology and wading and marine life to be seen along the way. For walkers "The Golden Orb Trail", named after a native spider, takes about 40 minutes to walk and offers a wealth of ecological information. Nature Trail Brochure available.

. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park - MM 102.5
General Park information - 305-451-1202

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first undersea park in the United States. The park contains a wide variety of tropical marine life, vegetation, and shore birds. Visitors especially appreciate viewing the coral formations and related marine life. Children will enjoy the Visitor's Center with its natural history exhibits and 30,000 gallon aquarium. They can swim at Cannon Beach, canoe or kayak. SEE Kayak Section Also available are paddle boats $15/hr. and spyaks $15/hr. which offer viewing wells. Guided nature walks along the park's Mangrove and Tamarind trails are offered seasonally. Glass bottom boat tours, snorkel tours, and sailing and snorkeling tours are described under the Boat Tour and Snorkel sections.

 Holiday Isle Resort and Marina - MM 84 Oceanside, Islamorada - two resort beaches available to the general public, more appropriate for the older teen, restrooms available

Anne's Public Beach - MM 73.5 oceanside swimming in shallow water, long stretch of beach, some consider it the second best beach in the Keys, wooden walkway and sheltered picnic area, restrooms, info 305-296-1552

 

Beach behind the Islamorada Library - MM 81.5, Islamorada, restrooms, playground, and shower

Marathon's Sombero Beach - Sombrero Beach is located end of Sombrero Road, part sand and partly hardened coral surface. Restrooms, pavillion style shaded picnic tables, playgrounds, and showers. A truly beautiful beach facility.

Little Duck Key Beach -MM 39 - , once known as Duck Key County Park, now Veterans Memorial Park has restrooms shallow bathing, picnic shelters, grills 305-295-4385

 

. Harry Harris Park - Tavenier - MM 92.5

Admission to this park is $5 to nonresidents on weekends and national holidays. Kids get use not only a small beach but a playground, ball field, volleyball area, picnic grounds, and an inline skating park. US 1 to Burton Drive, then several miles to park entrance. 305-852-7161

. Cheeca Lodge for patrons - MM 82 - Islamorada

Cheeca Lodge offers 1100 feet of beach facing on the ocean for patrons interested in sun bathing. To swim you must wade out some distance. Splitting the beach front is long fishing pier where boats with less than a 3 foot draft can dock. For swimming Cheeca offers a man-made salt water lagoon and a serpentine pool close to the main lodge. A second rectangular fresh water pool for guests located closer to the tennis courts is set back from the ocean and closer to some of the villas. 1-800- 327-2888

. Florida Keys Beach Advisories

Beaches in the Keys are tested twice monthly for coliform and entrococcus bacteria. Water quality test results are published in the Florida Keys Keynoter. The Monroe County Health Department has a beach information hotline at 305-293-1653 or 1-877-892-9585. Results of testing can also be seen online at http://www.doh.st.fl.us

You can monitor all Florida beaches through the state website. The web address is

www.doh.state.fl.us.

Go to the pull-down menu and click on beach water quality, then click on the appropriate county.

A link for Monroe County is

http://esetappsdoh.doh.state.fl.us/irm00beachwater/beachresults.aspx?county=Monroe

A link to all Florida County beach testing is

http://esetappsdoh.doh.state.fl.us/irm00beachwater/default.aspx

 

KEY WEST BEACHES

A recent survey conducted jointly by National Geographic Traveler magazine and the Web site Yahoo! Travel scores the beaches that line Key West's shores among the top 10 popular favorites in the United States. The city's beaches were ranked seventh in the online "top sands" survey. Results from the survey were printed in National Geographic Traveler's July/August 2003 issue and at travel.yahoo.com/beach website. Cleanliness, scenery panorama, climate and water temperature were factors influencing respondents' choices. Key West's beaches ranked seventh. Other locals ranked in the top ten were Miami; Waikiki and Kaanapali, Hawaii; St. Thomas and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Key West's beaches include Smathers, stretching beside South Roosevelt Boulevard, Higgs Beach and Rest Beach, adjacent to the White Street Pier, and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.

 

Fort Zachry Taylor State Historical Site - A good choice for kids, Fort Zachry Park has educational information board describing local marine life placed along winding park path. Enter through Truman Annex on Southard Street - Key West. Open daily 8 a.m. -sunset, nice beach and picnic area - 305-292-6713, Can swim, picnic or fish. Beach is somewhat rocky, but the area has trees for shade, cooking grills, picnic tables, a concession stand and bathrooms. Admission $1.50 per person, "conchs" refer to this beach as the best in Key West. 305-292-6713

Smather's Beach - A1A , west of Key West Airport and South Roosevelt Blvd., Key West - Restrooms, shady, white, sandy beach, southernmost beach in the United States,concession equipment rentals - chairs, towels, snorkling equipment and even catamarans, food and beverages vendors, picnic tables, covered pavilions, showers and bathrooms and near many large tourist accommodations.

Simonton Beach - Key West-- small beach tucked between the Pier House and the Hyatt - this public beach is closed and off limits due loitering of homeless, aggressive panhandlers, no security

Higgs Memorial Beach - Reynolds Street and White Street, Key West - Open daily, sunrise - 11 p.m. swimming, fishing areas, tennis and racquetball courts, picnic area, fast-food restaurant on the beach.

LOWER KEYS

Marvin Key - "Skinny Water Sandbar Beach" - This "locals" sandbar beach is only accessible by boat and only visible when the tides are low. At low tide it is possible to set up beach chairs. Marvin Key is part of four small keys about 6 miles north of the Overseas Highway/ U.S. Highway 1.

The website, bootkeyharborharbor.com provides pictures and information about Marvin Key.

 

 


 

ACTIVITIES and PLACES TO VISIT for CHILDREN and FAMILIES
in the
FABULOUS FLORIDA KEYS 
To find out more about Kids' activities and places to see to make your children's visit to the Keys a rewarding and worthwhile experience, CLICK on the links in the navigtion bar to the left or provided below.
GUIDE INTRODUCTION . KIDS AND RESORTS . BEACHES . NATURE WALKS .
MUSEUMS . WATER SPORTS . MOVIES . DOLPHINS . KAYAKS . GOLF
BOATS TOURS . SNORKEL . DAY PROGRAMS . ATTRACTIONS
BIKING AND SKATING . FISHING . CHILD HEALTH TRAVEL
.
ICE CREAM . READING

 

 GIVE TO A FLORIDA KEYS' CHARITY

The links below are for charity organizations providing services for children in the Florida Keys.

[ CHILDREN'S SHELTER ]
[ FLORIDA KEYS KIDCARE ] [ KIDS IN SPECIAL SIUTUATIONS ]
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[ OPERATION BRAVE KIDS ]

 
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