Buddy Mays / Alamy
October 01, 2014

My fondest memories of Miami are the ones from before I moved here. My family and I would visit every year and we’d stay at The Fontainebleau where I learned to swim. Little did I know that 20 years later I’d be having dinner, cocktails, and dancing the night away in that same resort where I would roam around topless and build sand castles without a care in the world. In a way, I guess I’ve come full circle. The Fontainebleau’s changed for the better, thanks to a billion dollar renovation, but one thing still remains the same: it’s as much of a playground for kids as for adults. One might think Miami isn’t a place to bring children, but they’d be hugely mistaken. There’s nothing like experiencing this city while you’re young and innocent, and places like Bayside, Vizcaya, and the Miami Seaquarium—as played out or cheesy as they may appear to locals—still take me back to a moment long gone every time I drive by. So go ahead and visit all the tourist traps—the kids will love it. The hard part is finding a place to stay that will have the same effect The Fontainebleau had on me.  Luckily, Miami’s got some great contenders for creating childhood memories. 

Loews

Loews loves kids. In fact, that’s the name of their program for youngsters of all ages.  Parents can get a dose of privacy on the velvety sands of South Beach while children indulge in a boatload of fun at Loew’s SoBe camp—fees starting at $45 per day.  Rolling sushi, shell finding, and competitive sand-castle building—it’s the stuff dream vacation are made of. And don’t worry if they have a hand in the mini bar. There’s stuff in there for them, too. Like milk and cookies. 

Acqualina

Acqualina recently won a Gold Choice Award for being one of the best hotels for kids and families in America, so naturally they decided to up their game even more and implement a complimentary marine biology program dubbed AcquaMarine. Kids ages five through 12 can learn about marine biology and go on eco-adventures while parents relax beachside. And about that date night…the hotel offers kid’s night out Saturdays, so you can have your fun and so can your little ones. 

Fontainebleau

The most glamorous resort on Miami Beach isn’t just for adults. Twelve pools, some with waterfalls and others with slides, give the kids ample room to splash. Or for a daily fee, the Family Concierge will personalize adventures for tots. Don’t forget to claim your passport to fun that includes the location of the treasure chest. Inside you’ll find all sorts of borrowable gems for your stay. We’d tell you what, but that would be cheating. 

Trump International

Rest assured your kids will have the time of their lives at Trump International’s enviro-adventures where they’ll learn everything from how sand is formed to how to make a difference in the world with a game of oil spill cleanup. Kids ages four through 12 can participate in the daily Planet Kids activities (including baking cookies and playing tennis) free of charge. On Saturday’s nights, pajama parties cost $15 and will make them feel all grown up. 

Newport Beachside Hotel and Resort

Two-bedroom suites are big enough to fit the whole family, but you’ll want to leave your room at this Sunny Isles beachfront resort and discover all its great family amenities. From in-house activities like jet skiing and beach volleyball for parents to temporary tattoos, beach treasure hunts, and an arcade game, there’s plenty to do. For outings, the “Big In Excursions” program takes families to Jungle Island and the Miami Seaquarium. 

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