We recently returned from another fantastic trip to Miami, and I thought I’d share a few of our favorite things to do in Miami for kids for others booking a trip, as well as the best places to stay, how best to get around, and some of our favorite places to eat. Take a look!
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase an item after clicking on the link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This is at no extra cost to you, and as always, all opinions and recommendations are my own.
How to get around Miami
As with most major cities, driving your own car around Miami should probably be a last resort; it’s the most expensive and the slowest way to get around. Miami doesn’t have the huge public transportation systems that cities like New York and Washington DC do, but it does have some options that are easier than driving.
My number one suggestion is to use the Miami Metro Mover. This is a completely free monorail system that runs on three different routes around downtown Miami, with trains running every few minutes.
You can find the Metro Mover map here but if you stay anywhere in downtown Miami then you’ll have a station close by, and there are stops at a lot of the major tourist spots. This is such an easy way to get around, and the kids loved the novelty of it.
Another option is to use the Metro Rail service if you’re going further afield (this is also an option if you’re traveling from Miami International Airport into the city). I wouldn’t use this just to get around downtown Miami since the Metro Mover is so much easier, but if you’re going longer distances or outside of Miami then it’s a good option.
If you’re staying in downtown Miami and looking to go to South Beach, then one of the best options we found was to use a ferry service. The Poseidon Ferry service departs several times a day from downtown Miami to South Beach and back again, and this is a really affordable way to get from one place to the other with a scenic view on the way.
Children under 12 are free and there are discounts for Florida Residents, Military and First Responders, and daily hopper passes which mean you can use the service multiple times a day. This was another novelty for my kids, and I really enjoyed the journey.
If you do have to be on the road, then Uber or Lyft is usually a more affordable way to get around than using your own car. If you do choose to drive, look for street parking where you can find it as it’s almost always cheaper than using a parking garage.
Where to stay in Miami with kids
Where to stay in Miami very much depends on what you want to do while you’re there, and the kids of vacation you want to have.
We knew we wanted to explore various neighborhoods around the city, as well as see some of downtown Miami, so we chose to stay there. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Miami, which was in the perfect location; it was a short walk to the Metro Mover as well as the ferry stop, and there were plenty of restaurants within walking distance. As with any city center hotel, there was a hefty parking fee ($47 a night for valet was the only option) but we knew that going in, and having the valet was actually very convenient. You can find other Miami hotels here.
If you’re looking for more of a relaxing beach vacation, then you probably want to be in Miami Beach instead. South Beach has a ton of gorgeous beachfront hotels for lots of different budgets, so it’s worth spending some time researching them. You can find Miami Beach hotels here.
We’ve previously stayed at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, which is one of my recommended Florida family beach resorts. This is a beautiful oceanfront hotel with some great amenities for families, including fantastic kids clubs.
Things to do in Miami for kids
Frost Science Museum
If you only do one thing in Miami for kids, then this should be it! It was the highlight of our trip and my kids are already asking to return to Miami just to go back.
The Frost Museum of Science is a huge museum complete with an aquarium, a planetarium, and a huge variety of interactive exhibits that kids will love. You can buy your tickets online in advance or at the gate, tickets come with one free show in the planetarium, and there are different shows and times to choose from. We saw the award-winning show Dynamic Earth, and it was amazing.
The aquarium is huge, and can be seen from all angles, including from underneath (where the above photo was taken) and from above on the 4th floor. As well as this huge exhibit that houses turtles, sharks, and manta rays, there are smaller aquariums with other marine animals.
The interactive exhibits are lots of fun for kids of all ages. My eldest son loved the Me Lab, where you collect stamps on a card at each activity you participate in to learn more about how your body works. This included things like measuring your heart rate when completing a stressful activity, and testing your memory by looking at different pictures.
My youngest loved the Feathers to Flight exhibit, where one of the activities was building a paper airplane and then seeing how far it could fly. He also loved the water play area, and the aviary and animal exhibits.
The Frost Museum of Science is on one of the Metro Mover stops, which is really convenient. The museum is located in downtown Miami right next to an oceanside park which is a lovely place to walk around either before or after visiting the museum.
We spent about four hours at the museum exploring all of the exhibits, and could probably have spent longer if we hadn’t had other plans. We ate lunch in their cafeteria, which had a great selection of food that myself and the kids all enjoyed. They also had a coffee shop with Starbucks coffee drinks, which was very welcome!
Overall this is a must do activity when looking for things to do in Miami for kids. Not only is it a great educational activity, but it’s so much fun for all of the family.
Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs State Park
Key Biscayne is a true hidden gem in Miami. It’s a small island to the south of Miami Beach, and it houses a small population in Key Biscayne village, as well as being the location of Bill Baggs State Park. This is a fantastic Florida park with walking trails, a secluded beach, and even a lighthouse!
There is a small entry fee into the park, which is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Miami. I would recommend arriving early, especially if you visit during the weekend or on a major holiday; we arrived at 8.30am on a holiday weekend and drove straight through, but by the time we left two hours later the line to enter was really long.
The beach is fairly small and we didn’t find it to be too busy. There’s plenty of parking, restroom facilities, beach chairs and umbrellas to rent, and even a restaurant. There’s not much else in terms of other facilities, so I would plan to bring your own beach gear, but it’s a lovely quiet spot away from the crowds of South Beach.
One activity I’d really recommend here is to visit the lighthouse. There are guided tours of the lighthouse on certain days of the week but otherwise, you’re free to climb it whenever it’s open. Kids need to be 42 inches to climb the 192 steps to the top of the lighthouse because of how steep the steps are, and capacity is limited so during busy times, there might be a bit of a wait.
We were able to climb to the top with no wait, and although there was a little complaining from the kids, the view from the top was absolutely worth it. You can see all the way back to downtown Miami and Miami Beach, as well as amazing views over the Atlantic.
If you’re looking for a beach to visit in Miami but don’t want to deal with the crowds or traffic around Miami Beach, then this is a great alternative, especially with little kids.
The Wynwood neighborhood of Miami is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Miami, and a really cool, creative spot to explore. It’s home to the famous Wynwood Walls, which is a huge art project where artists from all over the world have created street art and murals on the walls of the community. You can walk around the look at these amazing pieces of art, as well as explore the rest of the artwork in the neighborhood.
Wynwood Walls now charge for entry to manage the amount of people in the area at a time, and tickets can be bought in advance or at the gate. Kids under 12 are free, and you can choose a time that works for you (we were there on a busy Saturday night and tickets were still available to see the walls immediately, so I wouldn’t worry too much about buying in advance).
You can spend as much or as little time as you like walking around and looking at the walls. I was fascinated by the art work and could have spent ages here, but my kids only managed about 30 minutes before they were restless. Each art piece is tagged by the artist so you can look them up and research them further if you like. There’s also a shop where you can purchase other pieces of art.
Outside of the Wynwood Walls, there are other murals and graffiti in the neighborhood that’s definitely worth taking a look at. There are also some amazing places to eat nearby. We had dinner at The Taco Stand, which was an amazing little local taco place with really good food for a very reasonable place; this is a five minute walk from Wynwood Walls and I’d really recommend it. There are lots of other great locally owned places to eat in the area as well.
Parking in this area can be tricky, especially on a busy day. We found street parking to be impossible on a busy Saturday night, and ended up parking in the Wynwood parking garage. While this is a really convenient option with plenty of parking spots, you pay for the convenience and we ended up paying $20 for less than two hours! If you don’t want to search for street parking, I’d recommend using Uber or Lyft instead.
Biscayne National Park
One of the quieter National Parks in Florida is Biscayne National Park, and it’s a great place to visit while you’re in Miami. At less than an hours drive from Miami, this would make a great day trip to get out of the city and see more of natural Florida. The park is completely free, and is 90% underwater so the best way to see it is from the water.
Snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking are some of the most popular ways to see the park, and it’s easiest to book a tour with a company who can provide all the equipment for you. I booked through Biscayne National Park Institute, and they were fantastic.
I took a paddle boarding trip through the mangrove forests of Biscayne National Park, and it was amazing. We saw sharks, turtles, jellyfish, and so many species of fish. The water around the islands we explored was shallow and calm, so it would be perfect for children. There are also snorkeling trips that would be great for kids who are stronger swimmers.
Lincoln Boulevard and Ocean Drive
It wouldn’t be a trip to Miami without visiting the famous Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road areas of South Beach. We visited one evening for dinner, and loved getting to people watch and take in the atmosphere.
Ocean Drive is one of the most well known areas of Miami, famous for its Art Deco buildings that run alongside the ocean. It stretches from 1st Street to 15th Street at the southern end of South Beach, and is a great place to walk along and look at the architecture.
There are plenty of dining options in this area, most of which have outdoor dining. This area of South Beach is also well known for its nightlife however, and it can get very busy and quite rowdy once the sun goes down. I would recommend coming by in the early evening to walk around and perhaps have an early dinner, before moving on.
Lincoln Road is another shopping and dining district that is a little further north in South Beach. This area can get just as busy in the evenings, but we found it to be a little more family friendly. There are some large parking garages in the area that I found surprisingly reasonable for city parking; we only paid $4 for a couple of hours on a Sunday night.
There were plenty of shops and lots of lovely places to eat, again with lots of outdoor dining options. You can find almost every cuisine down here, as well as lots of spots to grab an ice cream. We ate at Time Out Market Miami, which is an indoor food hall that offers lots of locally owned food options. We tried Mexican, Japanese, and Greek food, and it was all amazing.
South Pointe Park
Another must do thing in Miami for kids is to go to the beach. Florida has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with soft white sand and warm water, perfect for little ones to take a dip.
Miami is a very popular beach destination, which has its pros and cons: on one hand, there are lots of facilities which make it perfect for visiting with kids (chair rentals, places to eat, public bathrooms and showers, etc.) but those popular beaches can also get very crowded. South Beach especially can be very busy during peak season, but we discovered that some areas are a little quieter than others.
South Pointe Beach is at the very southern tip of Miami Beach, and we found it to be a much better place to visit the beach with kids than the rest of South Beach. Not only is the beach itself a lot quieter, but we found parking easier, plus there’s a playground and other facilities that make it perfect for families.
South Pointe Park is close enough to Ocean Drive and other areas of Miami that you could walk around once you’re done at the beach, but also far enough from the busy areas that it doesn’t seem to get as crowded. We really enjoyed our time on the beach here, and it was great for the kids to have more space to play.
Read more about taking a baby to the beach here.
Everglades National Park
If you need to escape the crowds of Miami for the day, then what better way than to explore one of the most famous National Parks in the US. Everglades National Park is the third largest National Park in the US and spans over 1.5 million acres. 100 different species of animal call the Everglades their home, and of course it’s most famous for its alligators!
We spent a couple of days exploring Everglades National Park with kids and absolutely loved it! We saw our first Florida gator within 30 seconds of entering the park, and saw so many others as we explored, including a mommy gator and her babies! We also saw manatees and so many different birds.
Although there are different visitors centers at Everglades National Park, our favorite was Shark Valley, which is about a 45 minute drive from downtown Miami. This is a great place to get started, with some very kid friendly trails to hike along, biking paths, and even a tram tour that provides a great overview of the park. We also saw more alligators here than anywhere else in the park.
If you’re going to be visiting the park in the warmer months (which span from about April to October in South Florida) then be sure to bring plenty of water into the park with you, and good quality bug spray; mosquitos are no joke in Florida, and you’ll be miserable if you spend your visit being bitten.
Also keep an eye on very little ones, especially when near the water; the alligators have a great food supply in the Everglades and they tend not to bother people at all, but you still want to keep a safe distance.
Florida Keys road trip
If you’re looking for a day trip or even a longer vacation after visiting Miami, then a Miami to Key West road trip is a fantastic thing to do for kids. Miami to Key West has some of the most beautiful sights in Florida, and it’s a dream to drive.
Driving straight through to Key west from Miami takes about two hours, but there are some amazing stops on the way. You could make a great day trip out of it, or spend a few days making the drive and staying over in some of the places on the way.
If you wanted to visit the Florida Keys without too much of a drive, then Key Largo is going to be your best bet. It’s about an hours drive from Miami to Key Largo, and this will give you a feel for the Florida Keys without having to venture too far from Miami.
If you do want to make more of a road trip out of it, then you can read more on our Miami to Key West road trip. Some of our favorite stops included the turtle sanctuary in Marathon, Bahia Honda State Park, and of course driving over the famous 7-mile bridge. You can also read my 3-day Key West itinerary if you’re thinking of spending more time there.
One of the best things we did in Miami was find some cool neighborhoods to explore, and one of the best was Little Havana. This is Miami’s Cuban neighborhood, and is such a fun place to explore.
This neighborhood is centered around Calle Ocho, which is a street lined with Latin bars, restaurants, bakeries, fruit stands, and cigar shops. There are murals and street art on the walls, music can be heard playing from the bars, and the whole area is so vibrant and fun.
This is a great thing to do in Miami for kids since there’s so much to look at, and it’s a fun introduction to a culture they might not be familiar with. It’s also one of the best places to get authentic Cuban food, with a ton of different options.
We tried a couple of different places to eat on Calle Ocho, including a fruit stand where they were selling fresh coconuts with coconut water to drink, but the kids favorite was Azucar. This local ice cream company is well known for its huge array of flavors, so we had to stop by.
There were 72 flavors listed on the wall when we entered, but since everything is made fresh, you can expect a smaller selection of those to be available each day. After sampling as many as we could without being obnoxious, I settled on the Café Con Leche and it was up there as some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life! There are some really unique flavors to choose from, so this is somewhere to try something a bit different (although they did just have vanilla too!)
Overall, Miami is an amazing place to visit with kids and I’d highly recommend taking a trip there. There is so much to do in Miami for kids, and we can’t wait to return.