It’s almost time for fun in the sun! A Florida vacation crosses your mind, but you’re unsure which beach you should choose. When it comes to beaches in Florida, there are two that always seem to be at the top of everyone’s list: Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach.
But if you are bringing your kids along for the experience, you might be wondering which one is the best option for your family. You want to have an incredible experience with your kids, stay within budget, and keep them safe at the same time.
Below is a breakdown of each beach vacation destination and what you can expect if you are planning a trip with kids.
Daytona Beach is located in Volusia County and is known for its world-famous Daytona 500 race. The beach is about 23 miles long and is an excellent place for surfing, swimming, kayaking, and fishing.
Daytona beach tends to be more lively. The boardwalk offers plenty of restaurants and shops to explore.
Clearwater Beach is located in Pinellas County and is known for its wide variety of shops and restaurants. The beach stretches for nearly 3 miles and is great for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.
Clearwater Beach is known for its soft white sand and gentle waves.
There is plenty of open space for families, giving more privacy to you and your family. Additionally, Pier 60 offers nightly entertainment and family-friendly activities.
What Are Some Reasons One Would Choose One Beach Over the Other?
Clearwater Beach is located on the gulf, which means the beaches are much nicer. Not to mention, there are boat rides that you and your kids can enjoy together. You may even see the dolphins swim alongside the boat. These are fun and safe options that everyone can enjoy.
Daytona Beach is the more likely choice for spring breakers who are looking to have some fun on the beach, surf on the waves, and enjoy the NASCAR races. Daytona Beach also has an intense nightlife scene.
So, which beach should you choose for your family?
Daytona Beach would be the better choice if your family loves to surf, fish, swim, and if you are looking for a more energetic beach scene with plenty of restaurants and shops. However, Clearwater Beach is the better option for your family if you are looking for a quieter beach with plenty of shopping and dining options and activities for your kids.
Money is always something to look into when determining a beach getaway. Many Daytona Beach hotels offer all-inclusive rates that include your hotel room, meals, and access to the beach.
Clearwater Beach is a bit more expensive compared to Daytona Beach, but many affordable hotels and vacation rentals are available in the area.
The average daily cost for an individual in Clearwater Beach is $241, whereas, in Daytona Beach, it’s only $169 per person.
Both beaches have plenty of restaurants to choose from when it comes to food. However, Daytona Beach is known for its seafood restaurants, while Clearwater Beach has more family-friendly dining options.
Things To Do
Both beaches offer a variety of activities for families, but Daytona Beach has more to offer in terms of things to do. Daytona Beach would be better if your family loves interacting with other visitors and being active on vacation.
However, Clearwater Beach would be the better choice if you and your family prefer a more relaxing beach vacation with plenty of shopping and dining options nearby.
While alcohol is not the primary concern while on vacation for some, it is something to be considered when traveling with children.
Daytona Beach has always been known for its party atmosphere, and there are many bars located along the boardwalk. Clearwater Beach has a more relaxed vibe, and fewer bars are located in the area.
Daytona Beach would be the better choice if you are looking for a lively atmosphere with music and alcohol pouring. Clearwater Beach is an excellent choice if you only want to enjoy a beer or two while relaxing on the beach.
Both beaches have lifeguards on duty during the daytime hours when it comes to safety. However, Daytona Beach has more lifeguard towers and frequently patrols the beach. One issue at Daytona Beach is that there are areas where cars can drive on the beach.
This can pose a safety threat to families introducing their toddlers to the beach. Clearwater Beach does have a designated swim area that lifeguards patrol.
While Daytona Beach does have more safety features, Clearwater Beach doesn’t have the most significant need for it. Daytona Beach needs added security to ensure that visitors party safely.
Entertainment for the Whole Family
Both Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach offer a variety of activities for families. However, Daytona Beach has more to offer in terms of things to do.
Clearwater Beach is also located near many attractions, but they are not as close as they are to Daytona Beach. However, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a popular attraction for families, along with the Calypso Queen Tropical Party Buffet Cruise and the Little Toot Dolphin Adventure.
The best way to enjoy attractions at Clearwater Beach is to plan ahead and purchase tickets online to save money and time.
Daytona Beach can get quite crowded during the peak season. Therefore, if you prefer a more relaxing beach vacation, Clearwater Beach would be the best option for your family as it is not as crowded.
The weather is typically the same in both Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach. The average temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is primarily sunny year-round. However, Clearwater Beach does have warmer waters.
Try Both on for Size
Both beaches have lots to offer. Many will have different opinions regarding both beaches based on their experiences. There will likely be reasons to visit or not visit both, so it might be best to try each out before deciding which is the best.
Ultimately, the best decision will come down to what you and your family are looking for in a beach vacation. It will depend on the atmosphere you feel is best and what type of experience you want to have with your family.
Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach are both great beaches, and you can’t go wrong with either one.
There are three things to consider when planning a beach vacation with kids.
Time of Year
The first thing is the time of year. The weather is usually the same in both Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach. The average temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is primarily sunny year-round. Clearwater Beach is known to have warmer waters than Daytona Beach.
However, the water temperatures can vary. In general, Clearwater Beach has warmer waters. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, you might want to visit during the shoulder season or off-season.
What to Pack
Be sure to pack some sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, swimsuits, and towels. You will also want to pack snacks and drinks, especially if you have young children with you.
Many beaches have food vendors, but they can be expensive. It is always cheaper to bring your own food and drinks. Packing your own food is a great way to have more money for other things.
Beach vacations can be expensive, so it is essential to budget for your trip. If you are looking to save money, consider visiting during the shoulder season or off-season. You may be able to get better accommodations for less.
You can also save money by staying in a hotel or vacation rental that is not right on the beach. If it is not too much of an inconvenience, it may be better to drive or use Uber to get to the beach instead of spending hundreds more on room and board.
Many beaches have public access points where you can park for free or for a nominal fee.
Both beaches are great for families, but it depends on what you are looking for in a beach vacation.
Daytona Beach would be the better option if you prefer a more active beach vacation with a variety of activities to keep the kids busy. It may also be the best choice if you or your family members prefer the nightlife.
On the other hand, Clearwater Beach would be much more preferable if you are looking for a more safe and more relaxing beach vacation with the options to experience nearby entertainment. With its gentle waves and soft sand, this would also be the best beach to introduce toddlers to the beach scene.
So, which beach is best for kids? Whichever beach you choose for your family vacation, we are sure you will have a memorable and fun-filled vacation!
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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