Family Vacation Ideas for Spring Break and Summer Trips

Here's your guide to having an amazing family vacation in the Florida sunshine this spring or summer!

A family building a sand castle on the beach in Treasure Island.

Families have a blast playing in the sand at Treasure Island; building sand castles is a favorite pastime here.

Searching for Florida spring break or summer travel ideas for your family vacation? (In fact, this getaway itinerary is fun any time of year!) St. Pete/Clearwater has so much to offer families looking for a getaway. The weather is perfect, and this destination offers countless ways to enjoy it. Check out our ideas, then start planning your next family adventure.

1

Tarpon Springs

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The Main Attraction: 

Don't have the budget for an international trip this spring break or summer vacation? A lot closer to home, you can explore this small city brimming with Greek heritage. This waterfront town boasts a lively, walkable downtown along its still-operating Sponge Docks. Book a boat tour to see sponge divers in action, stroll the boutiques and savor some authentic Greek cuisine.

Other Fun Stuff to Do: 

Check out Spongeorama for (you guessed it, "spongey" souvenirs), meet the sea creatures at Tarpon Springs Aquarium and conquer Donkey Kong at Replay Amusement Museum. Looking for a little beach time? Head to Sunset Beach or Fred Howard Park.

Where to Eat:

Hellas will have little tummies happy with its selection of decadent desserts to complement its savory Greek specialties. Mykonos and Mama's Greek Cuisine are also well-loved Greek restaurants. For seafood with waterfront views, find your perch at Rusty Bellies.

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2

Dunedin

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The Main Attraction: 

West of Dunedin's artsy, walkable downtown sits beautiful Honeymoon Island State Park, a vast beach park with nature trails, plenty of beach, a restaurant and a dog beach. Want to get away from it all on your Florida spring break vacation? Just before the park entrance, on the Dunedin Causeway, you can rent a kayak or catch a ferry to Caladesi Island, an undeveloped state park where you can play castaway for the day at a serene and beautiful beach. Once you're back on the mainland, downtown Dunedin has tons of shops and restaurants. 

Other Fun Stuff to Do:

While the Pinellas Trail spans much of St. Pete/Clearwater, the stretch that runs through downtown Dunedin is a big draw for families looking for an easy stroll or bike ride that's close to restaurants. There's also Penny Lane, a Beatles museum where Fab Four fanatics will marvel at the extensive collection of band relics and memorabilia. And, fingers crossed, there will be Spring Training games with the Toronto Blue Jays so you can take the kids out to the ballgame.

Where to Eat:

Casual, kid-friendly spots here include Casa Tina, which is legendary for its Mexican fare with an artistic flair. Pearly's Beach Eats is also a fun spot for burritos and bowls. Happy's Bayou Bites is the spot for Cajun specialties. Iconic Dunedin Brewery offers bar bites with some options for picky eaters alongside a craft beer tap list for the grown-ups. Then there's Strachan's Home Made Ice Cream for an icy treat to celebrate a day well spent.

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3

Clearwater Beach

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The Main Attraction: 

The ultimate family-fun destination, Clearwater Beach is the perfect spot to visit on spring break or during summer vacation. It's home to Pier 60, where street performers and local artisans gather every day at sunset, and a playground sits nearby. Take the tykes for a swashbuckling sail with Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise. To learn about local marine life, head to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where you'll meet rescued dolphins, sea turtles, otters, sharks, stingrays and other sea creatures.

Other Fun Stuff to Do:

For a more low-key beach day, head to Sand Key Park, just south of Clearwater Beach. It's a quieter stretch of sand that even has nature trails, but it's not without amenities such as bathrooms, showers and lifeguards. If your little ones need to run off some steam, it's fun to rent bikes from one of several local bike shops, and ride over the bridge connecting Clearwater and Clearwater Beach. Have a theater fan in the house? You'll want to see who's performing at the Capitol Theater and Ruth Eckerd Hall, as both offer some family-friendly performances.

Where to Eat: 

The vibrant colors and kid-friendly menu at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill make it ideal for families; not to mention the fact that it's on the beach. Next door, Palm Pavilion serves up frozen concoctions (including options for the under-21 set) in souvenir cups. Then there's Jimmy's Crow's Nest for dazzling rooftop views.

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4

John's Pass, Madeira Beach & Treasure Island

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The Main Attraction: 

An hub for family-friendly watersports, shopping and dining at the southern tip of Madeira Beach, John's Pass is where you'll catch sunset sails, board exciting pirate cruises, and find kayak, paddleboard and jet-ski rentals. Want a memento of your family vacation? There are plenty of shops selling souvenirs and beach gear. 

Other Fun Stuff to Do: 

Go fly a kite on Treasure Island, where a wide, breezy beach makes it easy to get soaring. There are also massive, inflatable waterslides for hours of thrills and spills here. Every Sunday at sunset there's a drum circle right on the sand at Treasure Island, where beachgoers of all ages can dance their hearts out. 

Where to Eat: 

Caddy's on the Beach is where the little ones can build sand castles as you wait for the food you ordered from a very kid-friendly menu. Find souvenirs and daiquiris (spiked or booze-free) at Sloppy Joe's. For a sugar fix, check out The Candy Kitchen, which is full of vintage sweets and other treats to satisfy any sweet tooth.

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5

St. Pete

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The Main Attraction: 

First things first: The St. Pete Pier. The little ones will have a blast frolicking at the splash pad under a warm sun here, then head to the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center which offers hands-on learning activities and nature cruises. Cast a line from the floating dock at the end of the Pier (there's a bait shop right there) or let kids play in the calm waters at Spa Beach. Leave the Pier and head north of downtown St. Pete to meet the flamingos and parrots nestled under the tropical foliage at Sunken Gardens before cooling off at Great Explorations Children's Museum next door. Have artsy kids? Get surreal at the Dalí Museum, which offers age-appropriate programming (check out their app). There's even a hedge maze! 

Other Fun Stuff to Do: 

Just west of downtown, from April through September (and beyond, if they make the playoffs!), the Tampa Bay Rays play at Tropicana Field. The kiddos will also love watching the Tampa Bay Rowdies play soccer at Al Lang Stadium.

Where to Eat: 

When you're at the Pier, you're steps from restaurants such as Spa Beach Bistro, which offer no-fuss menus with kid-friendly options. West of downtown in the Grand Central District, Cappy's Pizzeria is a must. Chicago-style deep-dish is the star on the menu here, but you'll also find thinner-crust options. 

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6

St. Pete Beach & Fort De Soto Park

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The Main Attraction: 

St. Pete Beach was hailed by Tripadvisor as the No. 1 beach in America in 2021, and there are miles of soft, white sand to delight everyone in your family on vacation. On the south end, Pass-a-Grille is a hidden gem beach that skirts a charming neighborhood of the same name. Head to Merry Pier to drop a line, or catch the ferry to Egmont Key or Shell Key. You can also catch a ferry to Egmont Key from Fort De Soto Park, where award-winning North Beach will captivate you and the kids for hours with its shallow, calm tidal lagoon and the pirate ship-themed playground. 

Other Fun Stuff to Do:

Get face-to-face with local marine life at Rumfish Grill, a restaurant where a massive aquarium occupies the entire back wall. Or, on the beach at TradeWinds Island Grand, experience the thrill of bouncing down a giant inflatable waterslide. For a fun time leisurely shopping and strolling, spend a Sunday morning wandering around the Corey Avenue Sunday Market.

Where to Eat: 

Frog Pond is a beloved local breakfast spot, and Vito & Michael's is the classic pizza place. There's excellent Mexican food at Agave. For quick beach bites, head to Paradise Grille, which has locations steps from the sand at Upham Beach in the north and Pass-a-Grille to the south.

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