If you are looking for fun things to do on a family vacation, then check out our family’s list of 15 things to do on the West coast of Florida with kids.
Our full-time traveling family spent 4 months visiting Florida one Winter, and then 5 months the following winter. Since we live in a motorhome full-time, we try our best to find warm climates to spend the winter, and Florida was right there at the top of our list.
We basically took several Florida road trips across two winters and are excited to share our favorite spots on the West coast of Florida with you.
As an RV living and traveling family, we are often asked where our favorite place to visit has been.
Our kids almost always say ‘Florida!’.
Tony and I will more specifically say Nakomis Beach, Sarasota Beach, Naples Florida, Siesta Key, or the beaches in the Florida Keys. You see, we just can’t decide. The Gulf coast of Florida has soft-sand beaches, many family fun things to do, a calmer ocean experience, and often great weather.
One region of Florida that we truly do love is the West Coast of Florida.
15 Things To Do On The West Coast Of Florida
If you are looking to get away from the cold fall or winter, then read our top 15 things to do on the Gulf Coast with kids.
1. Visit Sarasota's powdered sand beach.
The beaches in and around Sarasota have the whitest and softest sand in Florida. Take a day and enjoy the powdered sandy beach!
2. Check out the Naples Farmer's Market.
Finding fresh produce in the middle of winter was a novelty for us last year when we visited Naples. The 3rd street farmer's market was such a fun place to spend a Saturday morning.
3. Go on a dolphin cruise in Fort Myer's Beach.
Take the family out on a dolphin cruise! Witnessing dolphins jumping behind the boat can excite anyone!
4. Visit The Naples Children's Museum
If there's a rainy day, be sure to check out the Naple's Children's Museum.
5. Attend A Drum Circle On Nakomis Beach
One of the things to do along the Gulf coast of Florida is to find a drum circle!
Almost every Wednesday and Saturday evening about 1 hour before sunset, there is a very well attended drum circle right on Nakomis Beach.
Bring your beach chairs or blankets, and watch the sunset with the friendly crowd while listening to the locals pound on their drums.
If you arrive early enough to let the kids play in the water, you could also bring water shoes for your kids and some sand toys as well.
6. Attend a ranger-led hike in Oscar Scherer State Park
Saturday mornings throughout most of the winter, the rangers coordinate a ranger-led hike and program in Oscar Scherer State Park.
7. Visit Fort De Soto
Take some time to hike around Fort De Soto, just south of Tampa on the Gulf Coast.
If you aren't much into hiking but more into camping, then you have to check out how many of their campsites back up to the Gulf Coast!
8. Catch some waves at Fort Myers Beach
If you're looking for things to do in Southwest Florida, then you have to plan to visit Fort Myers Beach. It is the place to be over the winter months.
If you want to avoid crowds, then arrive early in the day and try to visit during the week.
Our family enjoyed taking the bus in order to avoid parking and hitting up the beach before noon.
9. Visit the Tampa Children's Museum
One of the best things to do in Tampa with kids is taking them to the Tampa Children's Museum to burn off some energy. You could spend all day there, I know that we did.
Tony ended up coming along with us and worked online using his laptop in the cafe area while the kids had a blast climbing around.
10. Go on a shell hike with Sanibel Sea School
Take a hike with Sanibel Sea School on Sanibel Island and see the abundance of shells on this beautiful Gulf Coast island!
We enjoyed a 1 hour hike with a great Naturalist along with friends of ours when we visited Sanibel Island. It was so nice to have someone that knew the answers to all our questions about all the things we saw on the beach!
Sanibel Island is one of the West Coast Florida attractions that should make everyone's list of places to visit.
11. Visit Marco Island - just outside of Naples, FL
One of the fun things to do in Naples is to take a day trip to Tigertail Beach on Marco Island for some calm water experiences and play.
We found a great playground, paddle board rentals, and calm water to play on here during our visit.
12. Take a day to visit the Naples Zoo
Although on the smaller side, the Naples Zoo has many fun exhibits to check out including giraffes, alligators, and penguins.
We loved seeing the zookeepers feed the giraffes and hearing how they handle hurricanes at the zoo.
13. See the Manatees during the winter months
The manatees come into the inter-coastal water areas during the cold winter months, allowing for some great sightings of these large and gentle creatures!
14. Camp or hike at Collier Seminole State Park
Collier Seminole State Park is just outside of the Everglades and worth a visit.
If you aren't a camping kind of family, you can still enjoy a day trip here to hike around the canals that are bordering the Everglades.
15. Visit Legoland Florida
Take a day and go inland a bit to take the kids on some rides at Legoland. This is one of the many theme parks in Florida, but tends to be less busy than the Orlando parks.
Be sure to catch the water-ski show, they are so talented and the kids will love having a break in the shade to eat a snack.
Or, if your willing to drive into Orlando during your visit to the West Coast of Florida then think about visiting Disney's Magic Kingdom!
There are many other things to do in Orlando during a day trip if your family isn't into theme parks.
Have you ever visited the West Coast of Florida with kids? If so, where was your favorite place to take the kids?
I hope that whether you are taking a family road trip down the Gulf Coast, or a family vacation to Florida, we gave you a few new ideas.
Planning to see more of Florida? Then check out some of these related posts:
Or, check out our Florida Destinations page to get more ideas.