Teeming with activities for visitors of all ages and interests, the islands of the Florida Keys should definitely be part of any Florida road trip itinerary. If you’re worried that The Florida Keys are more of an adult destination, think again. From aquariums to boat tours and everything in between, The Florida keys can be an amazing experience with kids. Check out our list of unique experiences in The Florida Keys with a toddler.
The Florida Keys with a Toddler
The Turtle Hospital
The Turtle Hospital is the world’s only licensed veterinary hospital that specializes in sea turtles, and the hospital even has its own turtle ambulances. Kids in the Keys can take guided tours of the facility to learn about sea turtles, get a behind-the-scenes look at the hospital and rehabilitation facility, and even feed some of the permanent residents.
You can “adopt” one of the permanent resident sea turtles! Your contribution of $35.00 a year helps provide food and medicine for your sea turtle. You will receive a photo and biography of your turtle, a certificate of adoption, and updates on your turtle throughout the year.
Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters offers guests the opportunity to interact with sea life including sharks and stingrays. They have a variety of marine life on display ranging from coral to fish native to the local waters.
For families with young children, there are no age restrictions on the Nursery Encounter or the Big Shark Bay Encounter.
Each Nursery Encounter with juvenile rays lasts roughly 25-45 minutes and includes approximately 15 minutes of one-on-one ray interaction time!
A typical Big Shark Bay Encounter includes exclusive access to the Big Shark Bay tank to feed, touch, and interact with an adult nurse shark.
Our favorite, family-friendly experience in The Florida Keys is snorkeling with Spirit Snorkeling. There are lots of snorkeling options in The Keys but the staff at Spirit Snorkeling make it extra special.
Four miles offshore, Sombrero Reef Light tower – a marine sanctuary — straddles dramatic coral formations that are home to parrot fish, angelfish, sergeant majors, yellow tail, lobster, crabs, and hundreds of other species.
The Spirit Snorkeling catamaran docks at Captain Pip’s Marina and offers daily trips to the reef.
The catamaran creates the perfect setup for young children that aren’t ready to actually snorkel. The staff helped us climb down the ladder to a platform that is in the water. We sat safely on the platform, with our life vests that were provided, and watched as dozens of fish swam around the catamaran. Children of all ages, and swimming abilities, can experience the beauty of Sombrero Reef with Spirit Snorkeling.
The 24-acre, 115-room Islander Resort at mile marker 82.1 oceanside is perfect for families.
Cottage-style units feature sleek, contemporary décor with screened lanais and upscale in-room amenities. Watersports, massages and wellness services, two pools, a hot tub, and a family splash pad are among resort offerings.
Some of the amenities that make it extra special for families with toddlers include the splash pad, lush, white-sand beach, a pool-side restaurant, and walk-in swimming pool.
Il Postino at Isla Bella Beach Resort
For one of the best dinner views in The Florida Keys, Il Postino is the place to be.
Hand-made, Neapolitan pizza from a traditional wood-fired oven, fresh pastas, and classic Florida Keys cuisine, where ocean views are always on the side.
With such beautiful sunset views, it’s a wonderful place for a family photo.
For one of the most unique, exciting and cost-friendly attractions for families of any age, Robbie’s Marina is the place to be.
Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada is an eclectic mix of outdoor shops, food vendors, and tarpon feeding. For a few bucks, you can grab a bucket of fish to feed the tarpon or enjoy watching everyone else getting up-close and personal with the huge fish.
While I didn’t feel comfortable letting Max feed the tarpon, he laughed every time I gave one a fish. I couldn’t help but jump from the anticipation of those giant fish leaping out of the water and gulping up the fish from my hand. It was an unexpected, yet welcomed, thrill. I couldn’t get enough. I even bought a second bucket of fish.
The Hungry Tarpon Restaurant offers a large menu with a variety of options for the entire family.
In the Florida Keys, children, parents, grandparents, and extended families of all ages can explore marine-themed attractions and activities that provide shared enjoyment, ranging from feeding giant fish to immersing yourself in their natural environment at the reef. All you have to do is get out there and enjoy it. I can’t wait until you experience The Florida Keys with a toddler and children of all ages.
Beach Stops Along the Road
Pack your beach towels and sunscreen because you can pretty much stop anywhere in the Florida Keys for a wonderful beach experience.
Megan, from Blogger at Large, said it best, “The entire Florida Keys is dotted with beaches on the eastern Atlantic Ocean side as well as the sunset Gulf Coast side and any one of them would make great spring break destinations with safe swimming beaches for the family….”
Give a kid a sand bucket and a shovel and you have hours of fun.