Florida

Mom Knows Best: 8 Florida Family Vacations to Inspire Your Next Trip

To help inspire your itchy feet, we've pulled together eight favorite Florida family vacations recommended by Mom herself, from Sanibel Island to Orlando.

You’re yearning to plan a family vacation, but you’re worried about spending money and finding the vacation time to head across the country or even go overseas. Fortunately, you live in Florida, one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the country. Your backyard is already full of family vacation possibilities that most people could only dream of.

To help inspire your itchy feet, we’ve pulled together eight favorite Florida family vacations from Mom herself.

Fort Lauderdale

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Florida is home to many wonderful family resorts, which makes it hard to pick out which one is perfect for your family. For my family, it doesn’t get better than the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. The above-and-beyond service they provide from the moment you walk in makes us never want to leave and it always brings us back time after time again.

The kids’ club treasure hunt is a personal favorite for my boys. Just take a map, find all of the items on the scavenger hunt, and return it to the front desk for a wonderful surprise.

The beach is a beautiful place to relax while your kids are playing in the sand. They even set you up with towels, an umbrella, and chairs. The pool also has an incredible view overlooking the ocean and is great for all ages.

When you’re hungry, stroll into the in-house restaurant, Burlock Coast. It’s a culinary treat with everything from seafood to burgers and charcuterie. They are also extremely accommodating for special requests – our family is full of allergies but we have no trouble finding something tasty to eat. All in all, for a relaxing family getaway away with everything you need, this is our favorite spot. — Victoria Snooks, Victoria Kristine

Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

Top rated
Fort Lauderdale, 4.3 miles to Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport
9.0 Excellent (1207 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Kissimmee

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Orlando is a top destination for family travel, but with that comes a lot of choices. Holiday Inn Club Vacations At Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee has been my family’s top choice for accommodations in the area.

When traveling as a family, regular hotel rooms can seem cramped, which is why we love that Orange Lake Resort offers apartment-style rooms with separate bedrooms for privacy. The full kitchen allows families to save money on meals and the washer/dryer allows you to pack light. With a full living room and outdoor space, your family will have tons of room to play and not feel cramped.

If you don’t feel like making use of the private kitchen, the hotel offers multiple on-site restaurants where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from casual poolside dining to fancier meals.

The resort has a large variety of activities for kids to take advantage of. There are two arcades, a mini-golf course and various pools with waterslides, a lazy river, and even a splash pad for the littlest kids. Don’t worry, parents, there is also a traditional 18-hole golf course and big kid pools for you to enjoy as well.

If your main purpose of visiting Orlando is to visit Disney World but you can’t afford the Disney Resort prices, Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort is the best option for you. It’s just a 15-minute drive from the resort to Disney World, so you’ll be there in no time to enjoy all the Disney magic. — Monet Hambrick, The Traveling Child

Holiday Inn Club Vacations At Orange Lake Resort

Kissimmee, 17.6 miles to Lake Tohopekaliga
8.2 Very good (6233 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA

Naples

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When you live somewhere like Naples, you don’t have to go far to feel like you’re on vacation. That’s why our family likes to take a lot of stay-cations! One of our favorite places to visit is the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. Not only are the rooms beautiful with great views, but this place is spectacular for families.

The Adventure Pool is our family’s favorite, but it’s one of four different pools to choose from. With the largest resort poolscape in South Florida, this resort even has speed waterslides where you can race your family or friends in inner tubes. With five waterslides total, including the Shiwala water slide for little ones, you’ll feel like you’re at a real water park.

Our kids are obsessed with the lawn games – corn hole, giant Jenga, and Connect Four. A huge highlight for our family has been the fire pits where we were able to make s’mores, which is perfect if you’re traveling to Florida during the holiday season and need a touch of “up north.”

If parents need a break, there’s a kids’ camp that can occupy them for a bit. We were able to celebrate our anniversary at one of the resort’s five restaurants, Tarpon Bay, where they went above and beyond to make us feel celebrated. As if that isn’t enough, you can also take a free boat shuttle over to the beach, where they provide chairs and umbrellas, and you can relax in one of the resort’s hammocks, enjoy 18-holes of golf, a fitness center, and tennis courts. — Jessica LeBrun, On Moxie and Motherhood

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

Top rated
Bonita Springs, 6.5 miles to Barefoot Beach Preserve
9.1 Excellent (1919 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Orlando

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The Hilton Bonnet Creek is a can’t-beat destination for your next trip to Disney, especially when traveling with your family. This luxury hotel is located just minutes away from all four of the Disney parks. The moment you walk into the lobby, you’re greeted by an elegant lobby and bar nestled in the 482-acre Bonnet Creek Nature Preserve.

A day at the parks can leave you feeling drained, so make sure you plan time at the hotel to enjoy time relaxing in the lazy river. In addition to three miles of lazy river, they also have a waterslide and cabanas you can rent.

If a day at the pool area doesn’t leave you relaxed, you can make an appointment at the award-winning spa at the Waldorf Astoria® Orlando that is connected to the Hilton. Hilton Bonnet Creek also offers complimentary transportation to all the Disney Theme Parks and Disney Springs, if you don’t want to bring your car. They also have 12 restaurants onsite with amazing food from American to Asian.

Do you or any of your family members suffer from allergies?  If so, Hilton Bonnet Creek offers Pure® Wellness Rooms that will allow you to breathe easy with allergy-friendly rooms. — Cristy Stewart-Harfmann, Happy Family Blog

Hotel Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Top rated
Orlando, 15.7 miles to Amway Center
8.9 Excellent (5048 reviews)
Excellent Comfort 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

Orlando

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Traveling to the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel feels like you’ve transported yourself to the Italian Riviera without the overseas flight. The views of the stunning lagoons are worth the trip in and of itself.

All the rooms are well-equipped, but for an out-of-this-world experience, blast off to the family suites. These two-room suites give you and your kids tons of space after crossing through the “Authorized Minions Only” sign. The Despicable Me-themed rocket ship beds and banana-colored accessories adorn their private, fun-filled room while still being connected to yours.

Hit the heated pool, waterslide and beach area with an Italian backdrop. Dine in fine Italian style at the award-winning BICE restaurant. Sip your favorite Starbucks cappuccino alfresco on the lagoon’s edge while treating the kids to authentic gelato.

Best of all, staying at Portofino Bay gives you free transportation, early admission, and Express Passes (with regular park admission tickets) to skip the lines and ride the thrills multiple times. Without waiting for hours, you’ll make memories at Universal Orlando theme parks, featuring fantastic adventures, rides, entertainment and all the kids’ favorites, like Marvel, Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, and more. — Jen Reyneri, World Traveling

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel At Universal Orlando

Top rated
Orlando, 6.2 miles to Amway Center
8.7 Excellent (4484 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Miami

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An oasis in the center of The Magic City, Four Seasons Miami is an immaculate kid-friendly hotel and an ideal choice for your next family travel destination. The hotel features towering palm trees, ocean views, and a seventh-floor with a two-acre, resort-style pool. Children can enjoy hours of fun in the hotel’s enclosed children’s pool and your entire family will love the swaying hammocks that hang over the shallow pool area.

Four Seasons Miami is centrally located, so families can easily access some of Miami’s best food and attractions. Just minutes away from the hotel is the famous South Beach. Families can enjoy time at the beach itself and/or a visit to one of the beloved candy or ice-cream shops along the beach.

Additionally, guests of the hotel can take time to explore the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science; a planetarium, aquarium, and science museum in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park. Capture the most exciting photos of your family in front of larger-than-life murals with a visit to Miami’s famous Wynwood Walls.

If a combination of fun and relaxation is what you hope to experience during your next Florida family vacation, then Four Seasons Miami is the hotel to book. — Ashley Sparks, The Purposeful Nest

Four Seasons Hotel Miami

Top rated
Miami, 1.6 miles to AmericanAirlines Arena
9.1 Excellent (733 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

Palm Beach Gardens

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When planning our family vacations, I always keep in mind that I have two very active little guys that require entertainment 24/7. There are many amazing resorts in the sunshine state, but one that we all enjoy going to is the PGA National Resort & Spa.

PGA National Resort & Spa is one of my favorite destinations for a family vacation in Florida. The resort is not too far from home, but once you enter the grounds, you feel like you’ve arrived to someplace special. Our kids can’t wait to unpack and head over to the pool for the poolside activities, such as arts and crafts, contests, snow cones, cotton candy, and a bubble machine.

We hardly ever leave the resort grounds, but if you need a new outfit or want to explore a bit, you have some of the best dining and shopping at your fingertips. Especially around Christmas time, this resort is great fun with their holiday-themed 12 Days of PGA. Special family-friendly events are planned throughout the day like breakfast with Santa, tennis round robins, and golf clinics for all ages, and spa specials.

My husband and I take turns enjoying some alone time – he gets in 18 holes of golf while I play Marco Polo with the kids at the pool. After his game, I head over to the spa for a little well-needed rest and relaxation. After 2 p.m., he’ll take the boys for a quick round of golf before we get ready for dinner. It’s a win-win for the entire family! — Dana Peller, Pellerini

PGA National Resort & Spa

8.1 Very good (1377 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Sanibel Island

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We had an amazing family vacation at the Island Inn on Sanibel Island. Thanks to its historic location right on the beach, we were just a two-minute walk from our room. Despite its age, the Inn certainly doesn’t feel outdated thanks to recent renovations with top-notch modern conveniences.

Each room offers a spectacular view of the Gulf and is spacious enough for a family with older kids to spread out. Plus, most of the rooms have a full-size kitchen, perfect for keeping snacks on hand. The seaside cottages are our personal favorite, where each night we sat on the screened porch playing games and listening to the sound of the waves.

The 10-acre property is centrally located on Sanibel Island with easy access to the JN Ding Darling Nature Preserve, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, and a number of bike trails on the Island. Want to learn more about why Sanibel Island is home to the largest amount of shells in the country? Head out for a guided beach walk hosted by the Shell Museum each morning, which is free for guests. The Island Inn also offers a heated pool, tennis courts, bicycle rentals, kayak, and paddleboard rentals. If you’re not feeling too active, lounge in a hammock or a covered pavilion while the kids bring up oodles of shells. — Tonya Denmark, Detail Oriented Traveler

Island Inn

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (2681 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

Feature photo courtesy of Peter W. Cross, Visit Florida