Florida

Best Gulf Coast Beach Resorts for Families: 7 Great Getaways on the Gulf Coast

Looking for the best Gulf Coast beach resorts for families? From southwest Florida all the way around to the Texas coast, read on for memory-making spots.

From beachfront settings on Florida‘s sugar fine sands, that stretch from Sanibel Island all the way up through Santa Rosa Beach, to Gulf Coast havens in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, the best Gulf Coast beach resorts for families share a few things in common.

For starters, they all offer access to incredible experiences in nature right outside your door—whether that means paddling a kayak in a coastal dune lake, biking through coastal pines or marveling at dolphins leaping in crystal clear shallows.

These resorts are, for the most part, within steps of beaches where you can build sand castles with your family or sneak off on a long solo stroll to recharge on your own.

Some have spas, others have golf courses, and others still sport wonders like aquariums and rooftop water parks.

Read on for vacation inspiration and get ready to hit the road for the best Gulf Coast beach resorts for families.

Mississippi Gulf Coast: Margaritaville Resort Biloxi

Mississippi’s gulf coast might be best known for casinos and, recently, the addition of the gorgeous new Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport. Everyone knows that the best place for families to base here is in Biloxi, at this all-encompassing family-friendly resort with 371 rooms fronting the Mississippi Sound.

Margaritaville Resort Biloxi feels like an amusement park and a hotel all in one. Onsite attractions include a rooftop waterpark with a 450-foot-long lazy river and a 55,000 square foot family entertainment center called Escape, complete with a ropes course, arcade, bowling alley and rollercoaster simulator. Spend your days splashing with the kids in the pool and braving a waterslide together. Then settle in for a meal at the Margaritaville Café (cheeseburger in paradise, anyone?) or James Beard Award-winning steakhouse, Doe’s Eat Place.

When you’re ready for boat drinks in true Jimmy Buffet fashion, parents can enjoy Parrothead-approved cocktails at the 5 o’clock Somewhere Bar or the Lost Key Bar in the hotel lobby, where margaritas go down with views of the Mississippi Sound.

Margaritaville Resort Biloxi

Biloxi
8.4 Very good (4057 reviews)

Florida Gulf Coast: Watercolor Inn & Resort

Florida‘s gulf coast beaches are as spectacular as sandy stretches get and the perfect place for a family vacation that puts the state’s impressive nature right at your doorstep.

When you bunk with family in Santa Rosa Beach at the Watercolor Inn & Resort – right near Grayton Beach State Park and along the picturesque coastal road called Scenic 30A—some of Florida’s best nature areas are your family’s to explore.

Tucked between the clear blue Gulf of Mexico and a coastal dune lake backed by a lush pine forest, the resort blends with its surroundings and feels like a luxe escape in nature. Guests have access to kayaks and canoes, as well as complimentary bicycles for exploring the property at no extra charge, so adventures come easy.

Spend the day relaxing on the sugar sand beach with the family or sneak off to the adults pool or golf course to recharge on your own. Boating and fishing excursions can all be arranged by the concierge too, but leaving a property this pampering is where you might struggle.

Don’t miss trying locally sourced seafood or a sunset margarita at the waterfront restaurant FOOW while you’re here.

Watercolor Inn And Resort

Top rated
Santa Rosa Beach
9.2 Excellent (297 reviews)

Texas Gulf Coast: Moody Gardens Hotel

There’s not a chance for kids to mutter an “I’m bored” at this sprawling attraction and hotel complex open year round in Galveston Island, right along Texas’ Gulf Coast.

Moody Gardens Hotel is so much more than a hotel, with individually ticketed attractions to explore on the vast pyramid-covered grounds that include a paddlewheel boat ride, 3D and 4D theaters and a rainforest attraction (in one of those pyramids), home to macaws and monkeys. There’s even a golf course onsite, if that’s your thing for family or parents-only fun.

The 1.5 million gallon Pyramid Aquarium onsite is one of the largest aquariums in the southwest and houses penguins, seals and sharks. During the summer, Palm Beach—a beachfront water park on Galveston Beach owned by Moody Gardens—opens to guests for the season.

The hotel itself is a great home base when accessing all the other attractions at Moody Gardens, but families will appreciate the hotel’s outdoor pool for some relaxation and play time together – if you still have energy after a long day of fun.

Moody Gardens Hotel

Top rated
Galveston
8.6 Excellent (2904 reviews)

Alabama Gulf Coast: Perdido Beach Resort

Alabama’s stretch of the Gulf Coast is exceedingly scenic, especially in the seaside towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, just east. The latter is where you’ll find one of Alabama’s most celebrated coastal resorts for families, Perdido Beach Resort.

Stroll with the kids along the hotel’s quiet beachfront in Orange Beach and you might spot blue herons and dolphins stalking the shallows while pelicans soar overhead. If you’re keen to paddle out into the Gulf of Mexico waters to explore, you can even rent kayaks and paddleboards onsite at the hotel.

While the powder fine sands and calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are the main attraction here, the property’s outdoor pools make for good, clean, freshwater family fun too.

For dinner—whether as a date night for parents or with your whole crew—go as upscale or casual as you like. Voyagers restaurant dishes up waterfront views with white linen service and local seafood, while other hotel restaurants like the Perdido Beach Pizza Co. turn out personal pizzas and hand-dipped ice cream cones for the kiddos.

Perdido Beach Resort

Top rated
Orange Beach
9.0 Excellent (1626 reviews)

Florida Gulf Coast: Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico beaches and those syrupy Florida panhandle sunsets steal the show when it comes to this family-friendly hotel in the resort community of Sandestin – though there is much more to love.

If unfettered beachfront relaxation along one of the Gulf Coast’s most show-stopping beaches is what you’re looking for in your next family vacation, you’ll find it at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

Right in front of the hotel, Miramar Beach is powdery perfection and lapped by calm waves—just the place, in other words, to get lost in building sandcastles and boogie boarding with your kids in the mellow surf. There are also two outdoor pools onsite when it’s time to relax in freshwater for a spell.

Make time for you-time at the hotel’s Serenity by the Sea Spa, with its sea-inspired décor, plus sauna and steam rooms that beckon you to linger just a little while longer after your treatment before getting back to more family fun.

You’re spoiled for choice here with the hotel’s restaurants, with dishes like nachos and smoked tuna dip at Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill and sake and sashimi at Hadashi Sushi Bar.

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Top rated
Destin
8.5 Excellent (1633 reviews)

Texas Gulf Coast: Hotel Galvez & Spa

For a relaxing family vacation along Galveston Beach that comes served with refined old-world elegance, nothing can top at stay right along the Gulf of Mexico at Hotel Galvez & Spa.

More than a century old and lovingly kept, this 224-room property is the only historic beachfront hotel on Texas’ entire Gulf Coast and is imbued with a genteelness and attention to service you won’t find elsewhere.

Surf and turf meals featuring Gulf of Mexico seafood and Texas steaks are served at the hotel’s Galvez Bar & Grill restaurant.

On a Galveston day, the outdoor pool and its happening swim-up bar are the spots to be. If you can find time to visit the spa for a treatment, a Vichy shower, meditation garden and eucalyptus steam room await.

Come sunset, families gravitate to the long stretch of beach in front of the hotel to watch the sky erupt in pastel hues while flying kites and skimboarding in the shallows. Bikes can be arranged for your gang by the hotel concierge, who can point out nearby trails to explore.

Hotel Galvez & Spa

Galveston
8.3 Very good (1678 reviews)

Florida Gulf Coast: South Seas Island Resort

Fronting the Gulf of Mexico on Captiva Island in southwest Florida, this pristine family-friendly property sways with palms and beats to an old Florida drum along a coastline known for some of the state’s finest beaches.

Nature lovers rejoice at South Seas Island Resort, as more than half of the 330-acre resort is a dedicated wildlife preserve. It’s also home to more than 2.5 miles of beachfront to explore (get up before the kids and that morning walk is all for you).

The shelling here is considered among the best in the world—so assume what they call the “Sanibel Stoop” in these parts (bend over and get close to the sand) to see what you might spot.

During bike rides, paddles or walks with the family, you might spot dolphins and manatees frolicking near the mangroves and waterways, so keep your eyes peeled.

Rent a paddleboard for slow explorations or sign the family up for a Waverunner tour at the resort’s water sports center. Experienced boaters can even rent a center console or pontoon boat to explore surrounding waterways. There are also three outdoor pools here, including one with several waterslides sure to get everyone yelping for joy.

Among the hotel’s handful of onsite restaurants, don’t miss the new Harbourside Bar & Grill, where Gulf of Mexico grouper and shrimp are on the menu alongside craft cocktails—just the elixir to toast another great Gulf Coast day of family fun in the sun.

South Seas Island Resort

Captiva Island
8.3 Very good (1538 reviews)