From the white sandy beaches to the colorful architecture and culture, Miami is a hoppin' city for family vacations. With plenty to see and do (whether you want to be a beach bum or check out the art scene), the whole family is sure to have a frogtastic time in The Magic City! If you're heading down south with the tadpoles (aka kids), then you'll want to see our top tips for visiting Miami with kids. We'll cover everything from transportation to kid-friendly hotels. Let's hop to it!
Airports & Transportation While Visiting Miami with Kids
When visiting Miami, most tourists tend to rent cars or use taxis to get around the city. Of course, just like any major city, avoid using the expressways during rush hour or you'll be sitting in traffic for what feels like a century. There is a Metrobus, and fares start at around $2.25. You can also download the app to see the schedule of the various city buses. Miami also has a Metro Rail (which reaches beyond the city's limits) and Metro Mover (travels around the shopping districts).
While some cities allow young tadpoles under a certain age to ride in the lap of an adult in a taxi, Miami does not. You must have a car seat or booster seat (whichever applies to your child's age, height and weight) when riding in both a private car or taxi cab. If you have children who use car seats, you'll need to know what rules apply to you!
The following rules apply to both private cars and taxi cabs:
- All children 5 years old or younger must ride in a federally approved child restraint system.
- Children 3 years old or younger must ride in a separate car seat or built in child seat.
- Children 4 to 5 years old must ride in a separate car seat, a built in child seat or a seat belt. (Depending on the weight and height of the child.)
- Everyone under 18 years old in the car must ride with a seatbelt.
- If a taxi cab driver does allow your child to ride without a car seat, then they're doing so at their discretion and not abiding by state laws.
On Metrobus, Metro Mover and Metro Rail:
- Children are not required to sit in a car seat on a shuttle.
- Metromovers arrive every 90 seconds during rush hour and every three minutes during off-peak times, so be ready to hop on board!
- Consider downloading the EASY Pay Mobile App to purchase fare tickets on your phone. It makes things easier to keep up with!
- Hold onto your tickets to show the driver or have your phone ready to scan at the fare gate.
Miami Area Airports:
There are two airports that most people fly into when traveling to the Miami area. Both airports have multiple terminals that service most of the major airlines. Which airport you want to fly into depends on if you're renting a car, where you're staying and your agenda!
Miami International Airport (MIA) is around 9 miles northwest of downtown Miami. If you're not wanting to rent a car and want to use public transportation, then you'll want to fly to this airport. You can easily grab an EASY Card pass and hop onto the Metrobus and Metrorail in the Miami Central Station. You'll just have to take a MIA Mover at the airport to Miami Central Station.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is about 28 miles north of Miami. We recommend only flying into this airport if you are renting a car. You can use the Tri-Rail (commuter train) to travel to Miami-Dade County. Otherwise, cab fairs can get a bit pricier and public transportation will take longer to get to Miami from FLL.
Know the Weather Before Visiting Miami with Kids
Miami is associated with endless sun and perfect warm beach days. And for the most part, that is true. However, Miami does see frequent downpours of rain (hello, Florida rain showers!), so you'll want to always bring an umbrella and extra ponchos with you when visiting Miami with kids. The best months to visit Miami are said to be March through May because of the spring sunshine and pleasant temps in the high 70s and low 80s.
Visiting later in the summer toward fall increases your chance of experiencing a hurricane or having to cancel your trip because of one. Hurricane season starts in June and goes through the end of November. If you're planning a trip to Miami in the fall, definitely keep your eye on hurricane radars. Miami in winter can also be an amazing time to visit, since the temps are so mild and warm most days. Yep, the tadpoles can swim year round in Miami! But the winter months do see more "snowbirds" — retirees with second homes who head south during the cold winter months.
Always pack plenty of sunscreen (especially when visiting Miami with kids) and spring/summer clothing. We're talking sandals, flip-flops, swimwear, shorts, cool shirts, etc. Like most of Florida, beware of that humidity! It can turn a pleasant day into a miserable one.
Fun Activities for Visiting Miami with Kids
Visit the Museums
A museum might not exactly sound like the top activity when visiting Miami with kids. However, there are a ton of museums in Miami with fun and educational activities for tadpoles to enjoy! Visiting the museum is perfect for when a pesky Florida rain shower takes over or you just need a break from the sun. Hop over to Miami Children's Museum for an abundance of interactive exhibits and activities for the whole family to engage in. The museum features exhibits such as Mt. MichiMu (the youngin's can climb the rock wall) and Pet Central (teaches the responsibilities of owning a pet). Tad and Lily loved learning about the ocean at The Sea and Me exhibit!
There's also the Institute of Contemporary Art which hosts a "Family Day" each month. The best part? It's free. Parents will enjoy this too, especially art aficionados! The program engages families with interactive activities and performances.
Another fun Miami museum is HistoryMiami. This museum also hosts a free Family Fun Day on the second Saturday of each month. Make crafts with the tadpoles and explore the history and culture of the city. It's a great way to get to know Miami!
Explore the Everglades and Wildlife
We love hopping on an airboat and going for a tour through the Everglades. After all, what's a trip to Florida if you don't check out the Everglades at least once? A tour through the wetlands is a fun and adventurous way to see nature when visiting Miami with kids. Tadpoles will love spotting the various animals on the tour, including manatees and crocodiles!
Speaking of animals, you'll want to experience more of Miami wildlife by visiting spots like Zoo Miami, and Miami Seaquarium. At the seaquarium, the family can come face-to-face with dolphins and penguins! Zoo Miami is home to a ton of animals from Asia, Australia and Africa.
If you really want to get to know Miami's nature, then head over to Biscayne National Park. The park preserves the offshore barrier reefs of Biscayne Bay and includes plenty to see. While adventuring through the Biscayne Bay Lagoon, you might see dolphins and turtles. There are plenty of outdoor recreational activities to keep the kids busy and burning energy; after all, a tired tadpole is a happy tadpole!
Be a Beach Bum
Of course, one of the main attractions of Miami is the beach. With white powdery sand and crystal blue water, the beaches of Miami are not to be missed. One of our favorite spots is Crandon Park, especially when visiting Miami with kids. The park consists of a 2-mile beach covered with towering palm trees. There's much more to do than just catch some sun rays here, though! You'll find a Family Amusement Center, tennis courts, a carousel, roller rink and cabanas to rent. You can even hop on a guided tour through Crandon Park to learn about the various wildlife.
For a beach practically made for tadpoles, visit Matheson Hammock Park. The beach is kid-friendly with no waves (it sits along a man-made reef). You can learn how to sail at the park's marina and grab a bite to eat at the snack bar or restaurant. Key Biscayne is just a tad bit south of Miami, but is also known for its beautiful beaches! The little town is right between Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. It's a great area to rent a bicycle to explore or grab a spot on the beach to soak up the sun and build sandcastles. Just don't forget the sunscreen!
Check out the Culture and Art
Miami is known for the bright, colorful buildings and the distant Latin music always playing from some distant restaurant or club. You don't want to miss out on getting to know Miami! Even the tadpoles can enjoy exploring beautiful buildings of Miami's Art Deco District. Ocean Drive is a perfect spot for a memorable family picture!
The Wyndwood Walls in Miami's former industrial district is a lot of fun for aspiring artists. We love setting Tad and Lily up with an Instax camera to snap photos of their favorite murals and buildings.
Little Havana is a must-see, especially for art-loving older kids. If you're visiting Miami with kids during February or March, check out the Carnaval Miami for an experience filled with rich culture. Grab an ice cream from Azucar Ice Cream Company on a hot day and explore the streets of Little Havana.
Be Street Smart When Visiting Miami with Kids
Miami is a vibrant city great for family vacations. That being said, it is the largest city of Florida, so just like any other major city, you'll want to be street smart. You should stay out of the city's areas known for danger and inform your kids on how to be safe and smart.
Here are some safety tips for visiting Miami with kids:
- Hold hands.
- Look both ways when crossing the streets — traffic may be coming from the left or right on a one-way street.
- Use a crosswalk — no jaywalking!
- Do not assume cars will stop for you, even if you have the walk signal.
- Discuss a plan in case you become separated or your entire family does not make it onto a Metro car.
- Know which bus or Metro line to take beforehand. Use the app if you can.
- Be aware of your hotel address — grab a business card when you check in.
- Keep valuables in a safe. Do not carry money or ID in a backpack.
- Avoid dark alleyways.
- Ask for directions if you are not sure where to go.
More Tips for Visiting Miami with Kids
Take in the Sights
Like we mentioned above, Miami is known for its Art Deco buildings and architecture. Point out historical buildings to tadpoles and let them take it all in! Pause for photographs and if you pass by an ice cream cart, stop for an ice cream. Chances are they'll see a mural or sculpture they think is pretty interesting; be flexible enough you can stop and explore it!
Speaking of flexibility, have a backup plan in case you do encounter a Florida rain shower. If it does start to rain, know what else is nearby to explore indoors, such as a museum. The afternoon doesn't have to go sour because of a rain shower.
Be Prepared for Plenty of Outdoor Time
Most of the activities you'll want to experience when visiting Miami with kids will include the outdoors. Know the weather, be prepared and pack appropriately. We cannot stress this enough — don't forget the sunscreen! Pack hats, sunglasses and leave your hotel room with a bottle of water in case someone gets thirsty. If you're spending the day at the beach, bring a small cooler full of snacks and water or know where the nearest snack bar/restaurant is.
Kid-Friendly Miami Hotels
When visiting Miami with kids, book a kid-friendly hotel near the destinations you want to explore and experience. Also be sure it's in a safe and family-friendly area. Book a hotel near or on the beach if you want beach access. This adds convenience and more fun to your vacation if you're where you want to be! If you want to be in the downtown area of Miami, then a possible hotel is Kimpton EPIC Hotel. The hotel is in downtown Miami's Brickell neighborhood and has two rooftop pools, as well as the Kimpton Kids program. If you're looking to stay by the beach, check out Loews Miami Beach. This hotel has a kids' club, zero-entry pool and grants guests private access to the beach! Did we mention it features beach lounge chairs, banana boat rides, kayaks, paddle boards and boogie boards?!
Have tips for visiting Miami with kids? Please share them in the comments section below. Did you know, Undercover Tourist is now hopping into top-friendly cities, including Miami? Check out our discount Miami tickets and hotels — and check back soon, because we're adding more products weekly!