The Florida Keys has always been an excellent pick for a kid-friendly family vacation. Whether you want to splash in the warm water, snorkel around the reefs, and zip around on boats and Jet Skis, there are countless ways to unwind with your kids here. However, some Florida Keys hotels are more suited for children than others. With that in mind, we evaluated the region’s best properties, noting how each feature stacks up against the competition — from the rooms to the pools to the restaurants, all with kids in mind. So if you’re planning a family trip and need a place to start, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our top Florida Keys family hotel picks and start planning your next getaway.
Hawks Cay Resort is the most kid-friendly in the Keys, and has the feel of a small village, due to its massive size and many amenities -- the property even has its own 85-slip marina. Many guests arrive by boat, as the resort is located on Duck Key, a secluded spot far from Key West's main airport. The property largely attracts families due to its many family-friendly features such as a dolphin experience, kids' club, playground, pirate ship pool, teen lounge, basketball court and multi-bedroom villas. Plus, the beach has calm waters which families with tots in tow will likely appreciate.
Though the 214-room Cheeca Lodge is a decidedly romantic spot, it's also one of the most kid-friendly properties in the keys. The hotel was rebuilt after a fire gutted its main building in 2009, and now has bright, spacious rooms with tropical-luxe decor and massive bathrooms. The lush grounds are especially pretty at night, with Tiki-torch-lit paths. Family-friendly amenities include the manmade beach, the kids' club, free kayaking and bike rentals, and the private fishing pier with free fishing rod rental. Plus, many rooms have pullout sofas and some have full kitchens.
This 40-room resort caters to the upscale traveler with luxurious, beach-chic cottages and high-end amenities. It is located on Sunset Key, a residential island off Key West, and is affiliated to the Westin Key West, with which it shares some features, such as the fitness center and the restaurants. The hotel itself has wonderful amenities, including a lovely pool, a gorgeous beach with palm trees and clear waters, and a pleasant spa. Its location is idyllic and exclusive, making it a nice, quiet spot for families. Families will likely enjoy the tennis courts, the spacious cottages (all with kitchens or kitchenettes), and freebies such as breakfast basket delivery, morning newspaper delivery, Wi-Fi, and library loans (books, movies, and music).
The cheery Casa Marina Key West resort features beautiful grounds with lush foliage and a swimmable beach (in fact, it's the largest private beach in Key West). That fact alone makes this a popular spot for families, but there's plenty else that makes it a great choice. On-site features include two pools (one is adults-only, the other is kid-friendly) a couple of dining outlets, and a convenience store for snacks between meals. Many of the family-friendly amenities here cater to multiple generations, with water sports, charter fishing trips and even sand sculpture workshops. Cribs and babysitting services are also available.
Popular with couples and families alike, the Southernmost Beach Resort is situated at the far end of Duval Street. It's close to the local dining and drinking scene, but removed enough to be quiet at night. Features include a man-made beach with lounge chairs and activities such as bocce ball and beach volleyball. There's also a lounger-lined pier that jets out into the ocean, as well as a restaurant and a couple of bars. Rooms are sleek but low-key, and many offer balconies with ocean views. Some come with two queen beds, which make it easy for kids and parents to stay together in the same room. Cribs can be provided upon request, but there are no babysitting services.
In the northern part of Key Largo, this mid-size beach property offers a mix of large rooms as well as suites equipped with full kitchens. The grounds are sprawling, with 17 acres of tropical grounds full of palm trees, and there's a game room with shuffleboard for rainy days. Other highlights include a small manmade beach with lounge chairs, hammocks, and volleyball plus an adjacent heated pool with a shallow area for kids. Pets are allowed (for a fee).
The Coral Lagoon Resort & Marina has 25 airy, cheerful cottage units that dwarf typical hotel rooms. They're tasteful and homey, with a tropical color palate of yellows, greens, and blues; full kitchens; porches; and high-tech amenities including flat-screen TVs with cable, DVD players, and iPod docks. Its location on Marathon makes it popular with sport fishermen, and the property's marina make it especially convenient for guests with boats. The lack of services makes it a better fit for do-it-yourself travelers, but families will appreciate the space and the decently sized pool.
This charming mid-range bed-and-breakfast is close enough to Key West action to be considered convenient, but secluded enough to still be a relaxing retreat. With the Ambrosia within fast walking distance of Duval Street, Mallory Square, and the historic seaport, guests often venture out after enjoying the free daily breakfast served in a gazebo, but they can also be seen relaxing in the hotel's two pools, hot tub, or courtyard. There are 20 rooms here, each with its own distinctive theme, size, and pricing. Situated in a former tropical nursery, the grounds are lush and a popular site for destination weddings. Children under 10 stay for free.
The mid-range Coconut Mallory Resort and Marina is an affordable condominium-style property that’s geared toward families with a location that -- albeit removed from the excitement of Key West -- offers direct marina access and 18 boat slips. The 34-room resort has two outdoor pools, a hot tub, barbecue grills, poolside hammocks, and a waterfront bar. Homey and spacious one- and two-bedroom units have flat-screen TVs, kitchenettes or kitchens, and balconies or patios. Interior decor, however, is occasionally dated and weathered. Wi-Fi, coffee, and outdoor parking are all free.
Spread across 24 acres and surrounded by white-sand beach, this luxury resort offers plenty for guests of all ages, from beach volleyball, water sports, and even fishing opportunities to freshwater and saltwater pools. Rooms are designed like cottages, with homey kitchenettes and patios so that guests don't have to rely on the on-site dining options, and there are barbecue grills and hammocks throughout the resort's spacious grounds.
This waterfront resort offers a range of two- and three-bedroom suites, complete with self-catering facilities, spread across Victorian-style townhouses plus a few ocean-facing rooms. Family-friendly highlights include a private beach that’s kept free of seagrass thanks to a special offshore fence, a lagoon pool with beach views and a variety of opportunities for water sports, with stand-up paddleboards and waverunners for rent.