With world-class theme parks, beautiful beaches, sunshine, and spectacular views, Florida is a great family destination. We also love the Florida Gulf Coast family resorts that keep us coming back. While both coasts are great, we find that the Gulf Coast of Florida is more laid back and family-friendly. In our opinion, that’s what makes it one of best places in Florida to visit.
If you’re looking for more of a laid back vibe instead of a party scene like Miami or Daytona Beach, then you’ll love Gulf Coast Florida. Below is our list of some of the best resorts in Florida for families. We hope it will help you plan an amazing Florida vacation!
The Best Gulf Coast Family Resorts in Florida
1.) South Seas Island Resort
2.) Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina
3.) Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa
4.) Hyatt Coconut Plantation, A Hyatt Residence Club
5.) Hilton Naples
6.) LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort
7.) The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
8.) Naples Grande Beach Resort
9.) Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa
10.) The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village
11.) DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Naples
Exploring SW Florida - What to see and do
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The Best Gulf Coast Family Resorts in Florida
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South Seas Island Resort – Captiva Island Florida
South Seas Island Resort is located on beautiful Captiva Island just west of Cape Coral and Ft. Meyers Beach, and right next to Sanibel Island. This is one of the best Florida resorts for families, and will appeal to those looking for any and every amenity that caters to parents AND kids. It really is one of the best Gulf Coast resorts for families.
The resort offers suites, villas, and even home and condo rental if you want to spread out and stay awhile. Sanibel Sea School offers kids’ programs that explore the unique ecosystems of Captiva Island while Swimtastics teaches swimming, offers a mermaid camp, and water Pilates. For the more adventurous, there is Sunny Island Water Sports with activities like jet skis, parasailing and stand-up paddle boarding. They even have sailing school!
Before you arrive, place an order for food and groceries right on the website from the Captiva Provision Company and they’ll be ready when you arrive. You can read more about South Seas Island Resort over on TripAdvisor here.
Did you know? Captiva and Sanibel Island is known as the shelling capital of the world, and it’s part of what makes South Seas a great family beach resort in Florida. We gave it shot while we were there and had a great time!Things You’ll Love: Definitely the pool complex and water slides. Also Skully’s Family Interactive Center, and shelling on the beach.
Who should book?: Families with kids of all ages looking for a luxury beach vacation with all the details covered.
Don’t forget plenty of sunscreen!
Sun Bum is our favorite. It works great, has a nice scent, and is hypoallergenic and paraben free. Most importantly, it’s made with reef-safe ingredients which is now more important that ever – especially if you’re going to be snorkeling around coral.
Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina
For Florida family resorts on the beach, Pink Shell Resort is hard to beat. Great swimming pools and amenities make the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina one of the best family resorts in Florida. Ideal for families looking for an amazing vacation, The Pink Shell Resort and Spa offers villas and suites that can accommodate any size family – many of which are equipped with a full kitchen and in-room laundry machines.
Their signature Octopool with waterfalls, giant shells, sponges and underwater speakers will keep kids and parents happy. They also have a diverse list of activities that includes sailboats, paddle bikes, arts and crafts, guided kayak tours, dolphin tours, and more. Other great amenities for families include two breakfasts, two drinks, two in-suite bottles of Voss water, and a Pink Shell Resort beach bag. The Pink Shell Resort and Spa is definitely a great family resort to have on your list and has earned 4.5 stars and a certificate of excellence on TripAdvisor. Read more reviews about Pink Shell Resort on TripAdvisor here.
Things You’ll Love: Octopool, resort activities, complimentary beach umbrellas and chairs, two breakfast vouchers per day.
Who should book?: Families looking to spread out and save on meals by cooking in their own kitchen.
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa
We just returned from a great stay at this resort, and we absolutely loved it. This is our
second third visit to the Hyatt Coconut Point Resort and her sister resort, the Coconut Plantation (see below), and I’m sure it will not be our last. As far as Florida family resorts go, it’s our favorite!
One of the unique features of this hotel is the private beach access. Guests take a short shuttle to the private boat dock and then take a short boat ride to the hotel’s private beach on Big Hickory Island. Guests also have complimentary access to the pools and lazy river next door at the Hyatt Coconut Plantation. This combination makes it one of the best Florida gulf coast resorts.
UPDATE: Families will love the new water slide complex which just opened in 2016. Race down the flumes or ride on a double tube down the larger slide. Guests no longer have to go next door to the Coconut Plantation for the lazy river – they have their own! Plenty of deck chairs, towels, and food service round out this awesome new addition. We love it!
Other amenities include babysitting services, the Stillwater Spa, the Raptor Bay golf course, tennis, and rock climbing wall. Bicycle and kayak rentals are also available. For families with older kids, Hyatt offers Camp Coconut, a program designed especially for guests ages 3 through 12. This hotel has earned 4.5 stars and Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor. Read more TripAdvisor Reviews here. This Hyatt is a Cat. 4 Gold Passport property.
Things You’ll Love: 140-foot corkscrew water slide and new slide complex with new lazy river, boat ride to the private beach, and poolside fish tacos. Their recently renovated beach makes it one of the best gulf coast beach resorts for families.
Who should book?: Families wanting a full service resort who may also want to get out and explore the local area.
Hyatt Coconut Plantation, A Hyatt Residence Club
The Hyatt Coconut Plantation is part of Hyatt’s Vacation Club portfolio meaning that rooms are condos ranging from studios up to two bedrooms. 1 and 2 bedroom condos have full kitchens and washers and dryers. This also means that this is not a full service hotel. Our family stayed here when the kids were little, and it was great! Being able to relax and enjoy a home cooked meal after a day of playing in the sun is fantastic. It was one of the easiest Gulf Coast family vacations we’ve taken.
Activities include shuffleboard, table tennis, volleyball, and basketball. Several swimming pools and a lazy river will cool everyone off. A splash pad, kiddie pool, and small playground will appeal to families with small children. Beach access is by ferry to their private island. Guests also have access to the pool and new water slide complex at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point next door. Other families agree – this is one of the best family-friendly resorts in Florida! Read more reviews over on TripAdvisor here.
Things You’ll Love: Large condos with kitchens and dining rooms. Relaxing lazy river. Nearby shopping for groceries (Target).
Who should book?: Families who don’t need a full-service hotel and want to cook their own meals, but still want a great selection of resort amenities.
Only half a mile from the beach, the Hilton Naples is ideally situated for families. They offer complimentary transportation and a free beach package with chairs, towels, and water. Other family-friendly amenities include babysitting service, complimentary bike rental, heated pool, and hot tub. Cribs and high chairs are also available.
If you want a nice steak dinner, Shula’s Steak House is located at the hotel, or venture out into Naples where there are lot of other great choices. Naples has many family activities like the Naples Museum of Art, Naples Philharmonic, and the Naples Zoo. Enjoy complimentary WiFi in every room and throughout the hotel. The Hilton Naples has earned 4.5 stars and Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor. You can read more reviews here.This hotel is a Cat. 6 HHonors property.
Things You’ll Love: Lots of local activities. Great Naples, FL beaches. Proximity to Everglades National Park (read our post on visiting the Everglades with kids here).
Who should book?: Families looking for full-service hotels in Gulf Coast Florida that are a good value, comfortable, and serve as a jumping off point to explore the area.
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort
Looking for one of the best beach resorts in Naples, Florida? The La Playa Beach and Golf Resort is set on a stunning stretch of Naples beach making it one of the top resorts in Florida. Besides the unbelievable views, this resort has great activities your family will love. Kids Aquatic Camp (ages 5-12) is available to keep the kiddos busy while mom and dad relax at the spa or the beach. Babysitting services are available for the younger ones. Water sport activities include jet skis, kayaks, parasail rides, and pedal boats.
Nice touches include a welcome amenity for the kids and children’s menus at the Tiki Bar. They also offer a beach butler, wifi, and have four lagoon-style swimming pools. La Playa has 4.5 stars and certificate of excellence on TripAdvisor. You can read more reviews of this amazing property here.
Things You’ll Love: Gorgeous rooms and suites with amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico from one the best beach resorts in Florida.
Who should book?: Families looking for upscale, low key family resorts in south Florida with amazing views.
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
Situated on three miles of pristine beach, the Ritz-Carlton Naples is one of the best south Florida family resorts. Heated salt water pools, splash pools, and poolside cabanas with personal concierge service will keep everyone having fun in the sun. They have a wide array of water sports available. The Ritz also offers a kids program that runs either a full or half day. Kids can also spend time at Vue, the Ritz’s modern video game lounge. For Naples family resorts, the Ritz is a home run!
Another cool program they offer is Nature’s Wonders, an environmentally focused program that allows guests ages 5 – 12 to learn about and discover nature in a colorful, living eco-sanctuary, featuring 11 aquariums that house sea creatures like sharks, crabs, turtles and eels. This attention to detail certainly makes the Ritz-Carlton one of the top Florida resorts.
Of course, the Ritz has complimentary wi-fi and excellent service. Read why this hotel has scored 4.5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor and has earned their certificate of excellence. The Ritz is a Tier 5 property.
Things You’ll Love: Amazing views and amazing service. Bookable with Ritz/Marriott Points.
Who should book?: Those looking for a luxury retreat and want some great activities to keep older kids busy. The Ritz-Carlton is definitely one of the best Florida beach resorts for families.
Naples Grande Beach Resort
If you’re looking for Florida Gulf Coast beach hotels, then the Naples Grande may be a perfect destination. It’s a gorgeous resort with many features families will love – especially their water slide that twists 100 feet around a rock tower through landscaped waterfalls. Their Mangrove Pool is zero-entry making it easy for families with small children to play, but also keep an eye on older children using the slide. Rooms are able to accommodate families of four with larger suites available. Cribs are available and wi-fi is complimentary. Guests also receive 2 drink coupons per day and kids receive a welcome gift at check-in.
Guests can ride their open air tram ride through a 200-acre Mangrove Estuary to their secluded beach where you will find three miles of perfect white sand beach along the Gulf of Mexico. Two luxury chaise lounges are included per room per day at the beach, and umbrella, cabana and daybed services are also available. They can also arrange a full array of other watersports including jet skiing, sailing, parasailing and deep sea fishing (discounted for hotel guests). The Naples Grande has earned 4.5 stars and a 2016 certificate of excellence on TripAdvisor. You can read more TripAdvisor reviews here.
Things You’ll Love: Their beautiful private beach make it one of the top Florida family beach resorts. Water slides are a plus for the kids.
Who should book?: Families looking for a luxury experience, manicured private beaches, and lots of activities for everyone in one of Florida’s best family resorts.
Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa
The Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa is moderately priced resort in Fort Myers, FL with breathtaking views of Sanibel Island. Double-bed rooms allow families up to four to stay and suites are available for families wanting a bit more room to spread out. A swimming pool and whirlpool will keep the kids busy, and a full service spa is also available. They have several on-site restaurants including The Cove for poolside dining serving up small bites and cocktails.
If you’re looking for Florida gulf coast beachfront hotels, you’ll need to look elsewhere, but some of the best gulf coast beaches are nearby including Ft. Myers Beach (7 miles) and Lighthouse Beach (3 miles ). The Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa has earned 4 stars and certificate of excellence on TripAdvisor. This is a Cat. 8 Marriott property. Read more reviews about this property on TripAdvisor here.
Things You’ll Love: Views of Sanibel Island, moderate cost. Bookable with Marriott points.
Who should book?: Families wanting a nice, moderately priced hotel that serves as a good hopping off point for exploring Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.
The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village
The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village is located in Cape Coral, FL near Sanibel Island. With three outdoor pools and a water Taxi to Fort Myers Beach, fun in the water is always nearby. Westin Kids Club® offers programs and activities for kids ages 4-12 for full and half day sessions. Rooms come in all sizes all the way up to 3 bedrooms for those with big families wanting to spread out. Basic rooms will sleep 4.
If you travel with a pet, Westin welcomes them too with their Heavenly Dog Bed! Proximity to Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, and Captiva Island will leave your family with no shortage of places to eat, things to do, and areas to explore. The Westin has earned 4.5 stars and a certificate of excellence on TripAdvisor. Read more reviews on TripAdvisor here. This hotel is a SPG Cat. 4 property.
Things You’ll Love: Proximity to lots of dining and activities, as well as great beaches. Bookable with SPG points or SPG Cash & Points.
Who should book?: Families (even large ones) looking for a moderate resort right in the middle of the action.
There are really only two things you need to know about the Doubletree Naples – every room is a suite, and complimentary warm, Doubletree chocolate chip cookies. Yum! This hotel features free wi-fi, room to spread out, sleeper sofas upon request, small refrigerators, room safes, and connecting rooms for larger families. Close proximity to the Naples Zoo, Naples beaches, and Everglades National Park makes this a great hotel for families.
The Doubletree also provides cribs, highchairs, and a children’s menu at the restaurant. They have earned 4.5 stars and a certificate of excellence on TripAdvisor. Read more on TripAdvisor here. This is a Hilton HHonors category 6 property.
Things You’ll Love: Just 2 miles from the beach and warm chocolate chip cookies.
Who should book?: Families who want a good value with lots of space, but don’t need to be right on the beach and want to explore other nearby attractions.
Getting Around Southwest Florida
- Southwest Florida International Airport: RSW is the closest airport to these resorts. Naples and Sanibel Island are only about a 30 minute drive. Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, and Ft. Myers are about 20-30 minutes.
- Orlando International Airport: Figure 3-3.5 hours to get to these SW Florida resorts from MCO.
- Tampa Internationa Airport: Driving from TPA will take 2-2.5 hours to SW Florida.
Great Florida Gulf Coast Beaches in Southwest Florida
- Barefoot Beach on Little Hickory Island
- Bonita Beach Park
- Gulfside Beach on Sanibel Island
- Fort Myers Beach
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