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FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Fayetteville...
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FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Which is the best place to stay a week with a toddler? We need a soft, sandy beach with clean ocean floor (no grass and rock). Huge crowds are not desired, nor is a party scene. Activities would be good, so not needing complete isolation.

Marathon, Florida
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for Marathon, Islamorada
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1. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Soft sandy beaches in the Keys? Not a lot.

If that is your big priority - look to mainland FL.

Florida
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2. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Sanibel Island area is perfect for a baby or a toddler. Also Naples. They'll love all the shells and there are minimal waves. Clear water in that area too so you don't have to worry what's under your feet. If you'd like to stay in the Keys stay near John Pennekamp Park. The water is very calm and the beach is nice.

Knoxville
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3. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

I would also recommend the Southwest coast of Florida. We love Marco Island, which is south of Sanibel and Naples. It is a VERY family friendly island, with a beautiful beach, and plenty of activities to occupy everyone in your family. Although we love the keys and always look forward to our time there, it doesn't sound like it will "fit the bill" and give you what you are looking for. In my opinion, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are a little too busy AND the waves are too rough for a toddler.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

The west coast has great beaches, soft white sand, gentle waves, a gentle slope to the water, blue water and there are also many nice family friendly beaches. Which beach is best for you would depend on you and what you want out of a beach vacation. Each beach has a different personality - so it's a matter of finding the best fit for you. My favorites would be:

For a beach town with many restaurants, lots of things to do, where you can park your car and be able to walk to everything, Clearwater Beach would be a great choice. This is a busy beach, but it is not a part scene. The sand is soft, no grass, very few Mosquitos, great hotels, and good food.

If you want a very laid back, quiet beach - like stepping back in time - with no high rises and no franchises - Anna Maria Island is very charming and family friendly. The beaches are soft sand, and time seems to slows down here.

If you like shelling, Sannibel and Marco Island have world class shelling beaches. The sand isn't as soft, but the shelling is awesome.

Fayetteville...
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5. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

These are great replies, thank you! So is Miami and Fort Lauderdale both on the Atlantic side? We definately want west coast beach to make it better fornour toddler.

Fort Lauderdale...
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6. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Miami and Fort Lauderdale are both on the Ocean ( east ) side of Florida. But I think if you look at the beach webcam for Ft. Lauderdale at www.sunny.org, you'll see that the waves are small and very gentle- if that is your concern about your toddler. Ft. Lauderdale is very child friendly beach.

Edited: 08 July 2013, 14:06
Knoxville
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7. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

My husband grew up in Fort Lauderdale and we visit frequently. We also spend our summers in Marco Island (on the Gulf side). If it were me, I would definitely choose the Gulf with a toddler. Don't get me wrong, there are many happy families in Fort Lauderdale, haha!! For a visitor, though, I think the Gulf is much safer in many respects. Fort Lauderdale is crowded, the streets are more difficult to navigate, there is more of a party atmosphere, the waves are bigger and stronger than on the gulf, etc, etc.. I would just feel much more at ease visiting the gulf towns with a toddler.

Calgary, Canada
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8. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Gulf coast is my favorite - even without a family. The beaches are very addicting - I must warn you - we loved it so much, we bought our own ocean front retreat!

Fayetteville...
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9. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Is the sand equal in quality on Marco Island and on Anna Maria Island? Is one more soft and powdery, while the other more shelly?

Fayetteville...
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10. Re: FLL, Miami, or one of the Keys with a toddler for a week?

Also, can someone sort of describe Sanibel and Naples and how they compare to Marco and Anna Maria?