Although I personally can spend the entire day at the beach, my kids (and husband) tend to need more than just the sand and water to keep them busy.
Thankfully, several beaches in Lee and Collier counties have kid-friendly features like playgrounds and we’ve listed them here and tested them out.
Bonita Beach Park, Bonita Springs
On the border of Collier and Lee counties, Bonita Beach Park, adjacent to Barefoot Beach has showers, restrooms and an almost hidden playground between the parking lot and white sandy beach. During the day, part of the playground is shaded, but later beware, because the sun can be pretty strong there. Be sure to pack shoes or Crocs because this playground has wood chips instead of sand and lots of climbing features.
Right next to the playground are several covered picnic tables for you and your family to enjoy lunch at the beach. There’s also Doc’s Beach House restaurant and takeout stand if you don’t feel like packing your own food.
Admission: The cost of parking $2/hr, but it’s not always easy to find a parking spot.
Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers
Just north of Bonita Beach, Lovers Key State Park is consistently ranked in the top five most visited state parks in Florida because there are so many family friendly activities. The park is located on Lover’s Key and three other barrier islands—Black Island, Inner and Long Key. Amenities include a two-mile beach, bicycle, canoe, and kayak rentals, gazebo, picnic areas, boat ramp and … two playgrounds!
The playgrounds are located on the Bayside entrance and are divided into a play space for 5 to 12-year-olds and another playground space for children ages 2 to 5. Thankfully bathrooms are in between the two and lots of covered picnic tables.
Food, beverages and delicious ice cream are also available at the concession stand, but if you’re really hungry Hurricane Charley’s restaurant on the south beach entrance offers hamburgers, hotdogs and other beach-style foods.
For a special treat for kids, once you park take the free tram to the beach, it’s my boys favorite part. Unfortunately, the trolley doesn’t take passengers over to the playground area though.
Admission: $4 per single occupant vehicle, $8 per vehicle to a max of 8 occupants, $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists and extra passengers. If you just want to go to the park and not the beach, parking at the Bayside entrance is on an honor system that asks for a $2 donation.
Sugden Regional Park, East Naples
Sugden Regional public park features a 60-acre lake and freshwater beach, plus paddle boats, walking paths & picnic areas. Best of all, not one, but two playgrounds. The larger playground is separated into sections for younger and older kids, and a second play space directly on the sand that’s ideal for toddlers and preschoolers. Currently, the main playground is being remodeled, but it should be completed soon.
Yacht Club Community Park, Cape Coral
The Yacht Club beach in Cape Coral is located on the southeast corner of the Cape, within the Yacht Club Community Park on the shores of the Caloosahatchee River. The public beach overlooking the river has a covered playground with equipment for children ages 2-12 that can accommodate persons with disabilities. There are also picnic tables and BBQ grills. The Yacht Club’s community pool is open year around and features a heated Jr Olympic pool as well as a kiddie pool. The Boathouse Tiki Bar & Grill, located next to the fishing pier is a great place to grab a quick bite for lunch or dinner while you enjoy the sunset.
Admission: Free vehicle parking, excluding special event days. Pool admission can be purchased for the day or as part of annual or semi-annual memberships.
Four Freedoms Park, Cape Coral
Cape Coral’s newest beach, Four Freedoms Park, is located on the banks of Bimini Basin just south of Cape Coral Pkwy. Although this beach isn’t for swimming it’s great for sunbathing and playing in the sand. Families can also enjoy a fenced in playground equipment for children ages 2-12 with a soft foam surface, plus picnic tables and BBQ grills. There is also a large grassy area outside the play area for more fun.
Admission: Free vehicle parking, excluding special event days.
Have fun at the beach!