There’s no question that locals and tourists alike are drawn to Miami’s sun-dappled beaches, scintillating nightlife, popular restaurants, and eclectic shops. Sometimes, though, you just crave something a little different, a temporary break from the usual South Florida sights. Maybe it’s a slower pace, a place with more family-friendly attractions, or both. And with children in tow, it really helps if those places are mere hours away. After all, busy parents are always in search of ways to carve out more time for themselves.
Whether you've been researching kid-friendly Getaways from Miami or interested in the best weekend Getaways from Miami for families, there’s a multitude of options to fit your schedule, interests, and budget. Below are some not-to-be-missed destinations that ought to be added to your travel itinerary. They all offer plenty of things — whether educational, entertaining, or both — to keep the kiddies engaged, making for a memorable family vacation. For your convenience, we’ve grouped these family friendly getaways from Miami by travel distance.
Quick Answer Guide: 10 Family & Kid-Friendly Getaways From Miami
Kid-Friendly Day Trips From Miami
- Best for fun in the sun - Miami Beach
- Best for top-notch indoor and outdoor diversions - Fort Lauderdale
- Best for variety seekers - West Palm Beach
Family Weekend Getaways From Miami
- Best for adventurous families - Orlando
- Best for blending fun and learning - Tampa & St. Petersburg
- Best for satisfying your curiosity and appetite - Sarasota
- Best for history-themed activities - St. Augustine
Best Getaways From Miami for Families
- Best for budget-conscious families - Washington, D.C.
- Best for great food and family fun - Boston
- Best for fun and engaging attractions - Philadelphia
Kid-Friendly Day Trips From Miami
Parents don’t always have the luxury of being able to set off an extended vacation. But who says you can’t keep it local and return home the very same day? If you’re interested in destinations you can reach by car in under two hours, we’ve got you covered. Whether you wish to connect with nature, go museum hopping, or partake in a slew of exciting water activities, you can pack your day with family-friendly activities that don’t necessitate venturing very far. What’s more, there are no pesky airport delays to deal with!
1. Miami Beach
- Perfect For: Fun in the sun
- Highlights of Miami Beach
- Museums appealing to all ages
- Kayaking and snorkeling
- Rich variety of parks
How to Get to Miami Beach
The mainland of Miami is conveniently connected to Miami Beach by way of several bridges. Take the MacArthur Causeway to arrive in Miami Beach in approximately 30 minutes. From Miami International Airport, you can reach Miami Beach by shuttle, bus, or taxi.
Things to Do in Miami Beach
Contrary to popular belief, Miami Beach isn’t just a palm tree-lined playground for college students and clubgoers; rather, there’s plenty for the whole family to do and see. Kids can frolic in the white sand or turquoise water while mom and dad can work on their tan at any of a number of beaches, from South Beach, Sunny Isles Beach, and North Beach Oceanside Park to Surfside and Haulover Beach. For the more adventurous, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fun water activities, including kayaking, paddle-boarding, and snorkeling. Check out two playgrounds and year-round events at Lummus Park, three acres of lush gardens at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, a popular water playground at Flamingo Park, and more than 40 interactive (and Instagrammable) 3D illusions at the Museum of Illusions.
Only 15 minutes away from Miami Beach are the Miami Children’s Museum and Jungle Island, both chockfull of engaging activities to spark the little ones’ curiosity. Plus, its convenient proximity to Downtown Miami means that the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which offers sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and features everything from a 250-seat Planetarium and three-level Aquarium to a host of immersive, hands-on exhibits, is just a quick drive away.
Where to Stay in Miami Beach
The recently renovated Mondrian South Beach offers a wealth of amenities to suit every member of the family, from a state-of-the-art fitness center and full-service wellness spa to a separate kids’ pool and play areas featuring a toy room and tented sandbox. In addition, Fontainebleau Miami Beach offers premium childcare services seven days a week, plus other kids’ programs.
2. Fort Lauderdale
- Perfect For: Top-notch indoor and outdoor diversions
- Highlights of Fort Lauderdale:
- Country’s largest indoor entertainment complex
- Outstanding shopping and dining
- Fun-filled parks and playgrounds
How to Get to Fort Lauderdale
By car, the fastest route to Fort Lauderdale from Miami is via I-95 North. You can usually arrive in roughly 45 minutes, but plan for an hour's drive in the event of a traffic jam or poor weather. To get to downtown Fort Lauderdale, simply take the Broward Boulevard East exit.
Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale was dubbed the “Venice of America” thanks in large part to its more than 300 miles of navigable canals. When it comes to kid-friendly day trips from Miami, Fort Lauderdale is a must given its close proximity to the Magic City. The city can lay claim to having the world’s largest butterfly park, Butterfly World, home to more than 20,000 butterflies from around the world. And the kids will be happy to know that the country’s biggest all-ages indoor entertainment complex, Xtreme Action Park, is also based here. Las Olas Boulevard is lined with a broad array of boutiques, shops, and restaurants for families to choose from. I always enjoy grabbing a delicious sundae at Jaxson’s, but the little ones might opt for ice cream-topped waffles instead. Afterwards, they can build sand castles at Lauderdale-By-the-Sea Beach. Alternatively, the family can explore Florida’s largest collection of native wildlife at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, splash the afternoon away at Paradise Cove Water Park, or enjoy painting and ceramics at the Young at Art Museum in Broward Mall.
Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale
Pelican Grand Beach Resort melds Old Florida charm and superb ocean views, with Fort Lauderdale’s only Lazy River and a beachside zero-entry pool popular among families.
3. West Palm Beach
- Perfect For: Variety seekers
- Highlights of West Palm Beach:
- Animals galore
- Mammoth water park
- Interactive science museum
How to Get to West Palm Beach
The drive from West Palm Beach to Miami takes roughly an hour and a half via the Turnpike. For a more scenic (albeit slightly longer) route, take A1A along the beach.
Things to Do in West Palm Beach
A welcome change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Miami, West Palm Beach offers something for the whole family. At the Cox Science Center, the little ones will certainly be drawn the 10,000-gallon Aquariums of the Atlantic, the first and only Planetarium in Palm Beach County, and enriching exhibits covering such topics as the human brain and the Everglades. Want to bond with nature? Head over to Mounts Botanical Garden, the largest and oldest of its kind in Palm Beach County. Outstanding dining options abound at The Square, an indoor-outdoor mall boasting refined Mission Revival architecture. Kids can scratch their animal itch at Lion Country Safari, home to everything from alligators and alpacas to donkeys and giraffes, or at the Palm Beach Zoo, where more than 500 animals — many endangered — roam 23 tropical acres. And on especially hot summer days, the kids will find relief from the sun in the 35-acre Rapids Waterpark, which features more than 40 waterslides and attractions.
Where to Stay in West Palm Beach
There’s no shortage of family-friendly hotels and resorts to choose from in West Palm Beach. Among them is The Breakers Palm Beach, a resplendent structure that was modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome and dates back to 1896. Here, the family can avail of an arcade, outdoor playground, and a 9-hole mini golf course. Feel free to request strollers, bottles, and warmers from the front desk if necessary — they’ll even childproof your guestroom for you!
Family Weekend Getaways From Miami
If your schedule allows extra time to venture beyond Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, you’ll be rewarded with a slew of family-friendly destinations teeming with everything from exhilarating theme parks to fascinating museums. What’s more, it won’t take longer than a five hours’ drive to reach any of them. Below we’ve rounded up family weekend getaways from Miami that are sure to delight the young and the young at heart.
- Perfect For: Adventurous families
- Highlights of Orlando
- Walt Disney World
- Universal Orlando
- Thrilling locales beyond theme parks
How to Get to Orlando
The drive from Miami to Orlando via Florida’s Turnpike takes four hours or less, meaning that you’ll be in the House of the Mouse before you know it.
Things to Do in Orlando
Families the world over gravitate to Orlando for one simple reason: It is indisputably the “Theme Park Capital of the World.” There is plenty for the kids to do and see across Disney’s four theme parks and water parks, whether it’s catching a parade at the Magic Kingdom or soaking up fun in North America’s largest wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon. Alternatively, Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure, which are themed around movies and super heroes, offer their fair share of heart-pounding thrills and adventure. But rest assured that Orlando has far more to offer than rollercoasters. Explore a bevy of kid-friendly attractions in the area including Discovery Cove and ICON Park. Less than an hour away in Winter Haven is Legoland, which offers over 50 fun-filled shows, rides, and attractions.
Where to Stay in Orlando
Escape the Florida sun and recharge in one Orlando’s many kid-friendly hotels and resorts. Conveniently situated near the theme parks and offering 391 comfortable guest rooms, three on-site restaurants, a 54,000 sq. ft. outdoor water park, and a state-of-the-art arcade, CoCo Key Resort is one of the best family properties anywhere and a remarkable Orlando destination in itself.
5. Tampa & St. Petersburg
- Perfect For: Blending fun and learning
- Highlights of Tampa & St. Petersburg
- Acclaimed zoo
- Restaurants aplenty
- Great spots for relaxing
How to Get to Tampa & St. Petersburg
The fastest route for getting to Tampa and St. Petersburg from Miami is via I-75. Only a half-hour drive separates these popular Gulf Coast cities. Be on the lookout for alligators along the way!
Things to Do in Tampa & St. Petersburg
For those aiming to couple educational content with fun-filled activities, look no further than Tampa and its neighbor to the southwest, St. Petersburg. Voted the #1 family-friendly zoo in the country by Parents Magazine in 2009 and one of USA Today’s 10 best U.S. zoos, ZooTampa at Lowry Park enthralls with everything from a free-flight aviary to popular manatee fountains. Heart-pounding rollercoasters beckon at Busch Gardens while Ybor City, the only neighborhood on Florida's west coast to be designated a National Historic Landmark, offers a wealth of Latin American eateries to tickle your taste buds. Unwind in a hammock while the children cavort in the water at one of St. Petersburg’s famed beaches. Or, catch a breather in the 100-year-old Sunken Gardens, complete with cascading waterfalls, wandering flamingos, and some of the oldest tropical plants in the area.
Where to Stay in Tampa & St. Petersburg
Make the Emerald Greens Golf and Country Club your home away from home during your next getaway to Tampa. While you decompress poolside with a drink in hand, the little ones can make the most of a splash pad. In St. Petersburg, the 211-room RumFish Beach Resort stands out for its comfortable accommodations adorned with marine artwork, 33,500-gallon aquarium, and a host of fun activities ranging from pickleball to shuffleboard.
- Perfect For: Satisfying your curiosity and appetite
- Highlights of Sarasota
- Outdoor activities
- Noted circus museum
- Delicious eats
How to Get to Sarasota
Take I-75 for the shortest drive from Miami to Sarasota, leaving you with more time for fun and sightseeing.
Things to Do in Sarasota
Sarasota is home to The Ringling, which, established in 1927, boasts the largest collection of circus memorabilia and art anywhere. Share a scrumptious New England-style pie at Eleni’s Pizza Works before taking the kids for ice cream at Abel’s, rated the #1 ice cream shop in Sarasota on TripAdvisor, Google, and Yelp eight years running. Next, explore more than 200 exotic and native animals at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Among the highlights of the popular Children’s Rainforest Garden are a 100-year-old Banyan tree, nine-foot-high waterfall, 27,000-gallon forest pool, and stadium-style amphitheater. And Sky Zone Sarasota offers plenty of trampolines and rock-climbing walls to help children of all ages burn off some energy.
Where to Stay in Sarasota
Carlisle Inn Sarasota has a swimming pool with a shallow end, a game room featuring puzzles and board games, and a picnic area to keep the kids occupied. The hotel also serves a complimentary hot breakfast daily so that families can get their day started off right before availing of fishing, hiking, and canoeing opportunities nearby.
7. St. Augustine
- Perfect For: History-themed activities
- Highlights of St. Augustine
- Striking Spanish architecture
- Parks great for bike riding and picnics
- Getting up close and personal with dolphins
How to Get to St. Augustine
Your best bet to arrive in St. Augustine in roughly five hours is via Florida’s Turnpike.
Things to Do in St. Augustine
Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. Families can explore the Castillo de San Marcos Monument, the oldest mason fortification in the USA; ride bikes at Anastasia State Park; capture photos of the 165-foot-tall St. Augustine Lighthouse; or enjoy scrumptious cuisine and live music at St. George Street. Kids can meet bottlenose dolphins up close at Marineland and take in a multisensory experience at the Pirate & Treasure Museum with myriad hands-on exhibits and artifacts.
Where to Stay in St. Augustine
I can’t say enough about the charming St. George Inn, conveniently tucked in the heart of downtown St. Augustine. The family-friendly lodge makes an ideal base from which to explore the Castillo and the surrounding shops and museums. Also recommended is World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine Resort, a beautiful Marriott property with kid-friendly amenities like an outdoor swimming pool and playground.
Best Getaways From Miami for Families
Perhaps you drive extensively as it is and getting behind the wheel is the last thing you want to do on your next family vacation. Whether the clan wants to prioritize museums, dining, parks, or other fun activities, you’ll reach the spectacular locales below in a matter of two or three hours by plane.
8. Washington, D.C.
- Perfect For: Budget-conscious families
- Highlights of Washington, D.C.
- Hands-on museums
- Monuments and memorials
- National Zoo
How to Get to Washington, D.C.
Take a direct flight from Miami to Washington, D.C. to arrive in the nation’s capital in under three hours.
Things to Do in Washington, D.C.
With vast museums showcasing everything from space artifacts to decorative art, you’ll be hard-pressed to squeeze more than a few into a single trip. Thankfully, admission to all Smithsonian museums is free, so the piggy bank will be spared this time around! Among the 140 million-plus natural science specimens and cultural artifacts that The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History holds are dinosaur fossils that will transport your little sightseers to the Mesozoic era. The whole family will marvel at the 555-foot Washington Monument, Pantheon-like Jefferson Memorial, and revered Lincoln Memorial along the National Mall. The National Children's Museum awakens kids’ curiosity through interactive exhibits and boasts a three-level jungle gym with large slides and climbing areas. At the U.S. Botanic Garden, kids can identify and tend to plants for a memorable hands-on experience. Beyond its popular animal exhibits, the National Zoo offers a mural, playground, and other activities sure to keep the little ones engaged.
Where to Stay in Washington, D.C.
Set between Georgetown and Dupont Circle, the Bohemian-inspired Yours Truly DC, featuring a restaurant, gym, and other superb amenities the whole family can avail of, enjoys an enviable location for exploring the nation’s capital. And with the Yours Truly Kids program, guests under the age of 10 receive access to a book and games library, coloring book, coloring pencils, and a George Washington pin — all of which they can get at check-in!
- Perfect For: Great food and family fun
- Highlights of Boston
- Freedom Trail
- Broad range of museums
- Parks and boat rides
How to Get to Boston
A nonstop flight from Miami to Boston gets you to Beantown in approximately three hours and 30 minutes.
Things to Do in Boston
The fact that Boston is one of the most walkable cities in the United States certainly earns it points among parents with children who evince an insatiable appetite for exploration. Rest assured the entire family will be on their feet quite a bit thanks to the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long path through Boston that connects to 16 historically significant sites ranging from Boston Common (founded back in 1634 and recognized as the oldest city park in the U.S.) and the Old North Church to the Paul Revere House and Bunker Hill Monument. Fuel up in one of over 50 eateries at Quincy Market or at the Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant. If kid-friendly museum hopping is on the agenda, your myriad options include the Boston Museum of Science, Boston Children’s Museum, and Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. For a leisurely afternoon, enjoy a picnic lunch at the Boston Public Garden, where you can later take a scenic ride aboard the iconic Swan Boats.
Where to Stay in Boston
I stayed at and absolutely loved the Boston Park Plaza. Opened in 1927 and just a two-minute stroll from Boston Common, the property boasts such family-friendly amenities as an on-site restaurant where you can delight the palate after a busy day soaking up history. What’s more, this hotel is pet-friendly, so Fido is welcome to come along.
- Perfect For: Fun and engaging attractions
- Highlights of Philadelphia
- The Franklin Institute and Franklin Square
- Philadelphia Zoo
- Sesame Place
How to Get to Philadelphia
A direct flight from Miami to Philadelphia takes approximately three hours.
Things to Do in Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love is synonymous with Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), the inventor, scientist, and statesman whose illustrious name is stamped on everything from the city’s primary bridge to its mile-long parkway, home to many of Philadelphia’s cultural institutions. Among these is The Franklin Institute, where three floors of hands-on science exhibits and interactive experiences are sure to capture your kids’ imaginations. The eponymous Franklin Square is the only one of William Penn’s five original squares to feature attractions for the whole family. Kids will especially relish the Philly Mini Golf course and Parx Liberty Carousel, both centered around a tastefully restored fountain dating back to 1838. After getting your history fix at the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall, the little ones can explore the Philadelphia Zoo which, as the nation’s oldest zoo, showcases a wide range of award-winning animal exhibits. If time allows, hit up the popular Sesame Place for character meet and greets.
Where to Stay in Philadelphia
I stayed at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District, which placed me within walking distance of such historical sites as Christ Church and the Betsy Ross House. Amenities like board games for children (who stay free), an on-site restaurant, and friendly service make this property a great choice for families yearning to savor all the great city has to offer.
A fun, family-centric day in Miami might entail taking a dip in Venetian Pool, feeding giraffes at ZooMiami, or ogling artwork in Wynwood. But when it comes to family friendly getaways from Miami, you have so many fantastic destinations from which to choose — whether nearby Miami Beach, exhilarating Orlando, or historic Boston. Now's as good time as ever to book a family weekend getaway from Miami. And with the above tips in mind, you’re sure to find the place that fits your family’s budget and interests best!