How to Have a Great Multi-Generational Family Vacation in Miami

by  Megan DuBois | May 19, 2023

A family vacation to Florida is often filled with plenty of beach time, fun attractions, and great food. One of the best spots in the Sunshine State for a multi-generational family vacation is Miami, where stretches of white sand are just steps from your hotel; parks and museums offer endless activities; and kid-friendly restaurants are abundant. 

The best part about a trip to this bustling beachfront city? Instead of spending most of the day waiting in lines at Florida’s famous theme parks, you’ll be able to experience natural wonders and over-the-top museums with little to no wait. With this in mind, families who want to experience all that Florida has to offer should head straight to Greater Miami and Miami Beach. 

If you’re considering a multi-generational family trip to Miami, you’ll want to keep reading: Below, we’re rounding up the things to do, places to stay, and where to eat. 

Best hotels in Miami for families

No matter what type of accommodations your family is looking for, Miami offers plenty of lodging options.

Miami hotels with kids clubs

Parents and grandparents looking for a place to relax while kids soak up the sun and make new friends should stay at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Children ages five to 12 can head to the Ritz Kids club, while parents can treat themselves to a leisurely lunch followed by a dip in the pool. 

Loews Miami Beach is another excellent place to stay when in town. At the SOBE Kids Club, youngsters between the ages of four and 12 can enjoy activities like scavenger hunts to pizza-making classes. During this time, parents and grandparents can relax on the beach or check out the tranquil spa. After, consider renting one of the swanky poolside cabanas for the whole family.

One of Miami's more unique kids clubs can be found at the oceanfront Acqualina Resort. The property's AcquaMarine program offers kids the chance to participate in hands-on activities centered around love and appreciation for the ocean. While the kids club is complimentary, reservations are required. 

Hotels in Miami with kid-friendly perks

The Four Seasons Hotel Miami offers daily activities like arts and crafts and board game tournaments. At the kid-friendly pool, younger children can wade in shallow waters. Adults can also partake in some fun: Amenities include complimentary spirits tastings, a heated rooftop pool, and unlimited group fitness classes. 

Families who want to hit the links together should check into The Biltmore, which is known for its golf course. Kids interested in lessons can participate in clinics and camps to learn tips and tricks to get better at the game. Additionally, the property's pool is one of the largest in the country at 23,000 square feet, so your group will have plenty of room to splash around. 

Best attractions and parks for families in Miami

Whether you’re looking to spend the day at the beach, visit a museum, or immerse yourself in nature, Miami offers plenty to see and do for families of all ages.

Beaches and parks

Crandon Park is home to one of Miami’s most beautiful beaches. The park, which is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., is also known for its golf and tennis facilities. If your family is looking to dive deeper into the area's natural wonders, consider signing up for a wildlife tour.  

Read more: Best Family-Friendly Beaches

Situated in the middle of Miami Beach is a lush green space known as Canopy Park. The park features eight distinct spaces, including a garden filled with native plants, an art installation by Mark Handforth, an outdoor gym, a dog park, and a playground. While children are climbing around, grown-ups can sit back and relax under the shade of the nearby trees. 

Oleta River State Park in North Miami is Florida’s largest urban park. Here, families can spend time outside at the fishing pier, ride bikes on serene trails, or paddle along the mangroves. The park also has picnic pavilions overlooking Biscayne Bay. 

Multi-generational families can visit the Venetian Pool, which has welcomed guests since 1923. The pool, which is fed by spring water from an aquifer and refilled daily, has two waterfalls and grottos, setting the scene for a memorable dip. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended, and kids must be at least three years old to enter. 

At the very end of Miami Beach is South Pointe Park, which offers direct beach access. Visitors can also admire the magnificent cruise ships pulling in and out of PortMiami. Kids can head to the small water playground and a jungle gym to burn off energy. Smith & Wollensky, a much-loved steakhouse that's perfect for an upscale night out, is also located here.

If your family is looking for an activity away from the hustle and bustle of the city, consider heading to Pinto’s Farm. The price of admission includes plenty of entertainment for the young and young-at-heart, including paddle boats, a playground, a petting zoo, and pony rides. For an even more up-close animal experience, try goat yoga, a 40-minute class followed by free time to play and take pictures with these adorable animals. The farm is only open on Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Read more: How to Spend 72 Hours in Miami Beach

Museums, Zoos, and Games in Miami

Families with kids who love animals will want to make their way to Jungle Island, a small zoo in the middle of the city where you'll find birds, orangutans, kangaroos, and more. Jungle Island is known for its animal encounters, allowing visitors to get up close to creatures like flamingos and sloths. Reservations are required for all animal experiences; however, access to the garden and main areas of the park is free from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily. 

Zoo Miami, which is home to over 2,500 animals, is another fantastic place to spend the day with your family. Both kids and adults will love learning about the resident animals, which include tigers, jaguars, koalas, and crocodiles. There’s also an entire pavilion dedicated to conservation efforts and teaching people how small changes can significantly impact the planet. 

Explore six floors of science fun at the Frost Science Museum, Aquarium, and Planetarium. You'll also find dedicated spaces focusing on food and science, as well as mammoths and the Ice Age. The sixth-floor observation deck, which offers incredible city views, is especially noteworthy. The museum also hosts events throughout the year, including sensory-friendly classes and laser shows.

At the Miami Children’s Museum, young kids can play and learn as they explore different exhibits with themes around art, money, construction, and health and wellness. The free Sensory Friendly Saturday, which takes place on the second Saturday of every month, is ideal for those traveling with kids with disabilities. During this time, the museum is sensory-modified with limited admission and lowered sound and lighting. 

The Paradox Museum, which boasts over 70 different interactive exhibits to be explored, is another must-visit. Don’t miss the Reversed Room, where everything is upside down and defying gravity. There's also a tunnel where the gravitational direction is skewed.

Last but not least, carve out an afternoon to visit Puttshack. The experience combines mini golf with technology: The golf ball tracks your game for you, and you earn or lose points throughout the game. At Puttshack — unlike in regular golf — the person with the highest score wins. Each game is about 30 minutes long, and everyone in your group is suggested to be over seven years old because some holes are challenging. 

Read more: Everything to See, Do & Eat in Miami

The Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in Miami

When it’s time to grab a bite, head to these five Miami restaurants for family-friendly meals. 

Big Pink

Big Pink dates back to 1996. The restaurant has over 200 menu items, all of which harken back to the good old days of diner comfort food. Highlights include a donut bacon cheeseburger, where the traditional bun is replaced with soft donuts; loaded chicken parmesan fries topped with bubbling mozzarella cheese; and chicken and waffles with a perfectly golden piece of fried chicken on top of a sweet Belgian-style waffle.

11th Street Diner

This nostalgia-inducing eatery is housed in a chrome diner car transported from Pennsylvania to Miami Beach in the early ‘90s. Here, breakfast is served all day, and you can't go wrong with classics like steak and eggs, shrimp and grits, and waffles loaded with all kinds of toppings. For lunch and dinner, take your pick of 20-plus burgers along with staples such as fried chicken and Cuban sandwiches. 

Kings Dining and Entertainment 

At Kings Dining and Entertainment, the entire family can enjoy bowling, billiards, or arcade games while munching on shareable platters of food like loaded nachos, buffalo chicken wontons, and fried avocado tacos. Be sure to bring your appetite — and your competitive spirit! — if you choose to dine here. 

Ms. Cheezious

With more than 15 different options — not including the build-your-own grilled cheese selection — Ms. Cheezious offers a combination of sweet and savory grilled cheese selections. Favorites include the Mackin Melt (loaded with gouda macaroni and cheese and bacon); the Croqueta Monsieur (featuring ham croquettes, tavern ham, swiss cheese, and béchamel on sourdough); and the Pesto Melt (house-made pesto with tomatoes, and provolone cheese on parmesan-crusted sourdough). 

Read more: The Best Restaurants in Each State

Glass and Vine

Families looking to dine al fresco in Miami have many options, but Glass and Vine is easily amongst the best since it utilizes locally sourced ingredients. The shrimp cocktail is a favorite starter, while the steak frites is an excellent entree choice. Happy hour takes place Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. During this time, snag half-off wine and cocktails — best paired with snacks like sweet potato tots and watermelon salad, which range between $4 to $7.

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