Families love Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches for the beautiful shoreline and friendly locals. But in addition to the sun and sand, there are plenty of family-friendly museums, tours and marine parks that make the region a top destination for families looking for fun in the sun while also learning something new.
Here are some of the top recommendations for family-friendly things to do in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure
Get face-to-face, or more appropriately, face-to-bottlenose, with the dolphins at Marineland Dolphin Adventure. This aquarium and marine park caters to kids (and adults) with a variety of immersive dolphin experiences. Your kids will love feeding and swimming with the park’s dolphins. There’s also the option for your kids to serve as one of the park’s dolphin trainers for a day. If you and the kids don't want to get too wet, check out Marineland Dolphin Adventure’s Touch and Feed program. Kids get to rub the belly of one of the park’s resident dolphins before giving the marine mammals their afternoon snack.
Florida Agricultural Museum
Before Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches became the family-friendly destination it is today, the region served as a homestead for the pioneers who settled Florida in the late 1800s. Kids will get a kick out of experiencing life before smartphones and tablets at Florida Agricultural Museum. Here you can tour a fully functional farmhouse from the 1880s, explore the Florida wilderness on a tractor tour of the woods, and meet friendly farm animals, including sheep, ducks and Tucker the farm dog. You can also saddle up for a horseback tour of the trails that crisscross at the nearby woods and lakes. Afterward, enjoy a picnic on the lawn of the museum's historic dairy barn.
Ripple Effect Ecotours
Get back to nature with a family kayak tour of the backwaters of the Guano Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. You’ll paddle past striking sand dunes and fields of salt marsh grasses while seeing the manatees, dolphins and birds that call this 77,000-acre reserve home. If you don’t feel like rowing, Ripple Effect Ecotours also offers tours on its Ripple Effect 1, a boat powered by recycled vegetable oil collected from the frying pans of local restaurants. In case you’re curious, yes, the boat’s exhaust smells exactly like fries!
Of course, there’s the area’s favorite family attraction: The sparkling waters and sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is home to more than 19 miles of shoreline that are perfect for family adventures. Splash in the shallow waters, test your boogie board skills on the waves or host a sandcastle competition with the family. The area is committed to keeping the shoreline pristine. There are no high rises or roller coasters to muddy the view, and you don’t have to worry about competing with people on spring break for space. The beaches are also dotted with budget-friendly oceanfront restaurants and food shacks. At Flagler Beach Municipal Pier, you can rent a bucket of bait and a few poles for a family fishing excursion.
Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches are home to dozens of family-friendly restaurants, cafes, beach stands and seafood shacks. For a breakfast the kids will never forget, head to Swillerbees Craft Donuts and Coffee Bar. You’ll love the strong, robust coffee flavors and savory bagels, and the kids will get a kick out of all the varieties of doughnuts, including Unicorn Poop (a vibrant mix of sprinkles and cream), s’mores and maple bacon. For an equally decadent lunch, head to Whaam Burger. This retro-style eatery serves heaping patties topped with everything, from jalapeños to bacon to buffalo mozzarella. If you’re not in the mood for burgers, you can also choose from salads, chicken sandwiches and, of course, all your favorite sides, including fries, tater tots and onion rings.
After a day in the sun, treat yourself to a laid-back dinner at Golden Lion Café. This Flagler Beach staple has been serving delicious margaritas, fish n’ chips and fresh oysters for more than 20 years. Wrap up your fun-filled day with a scoop or two at Sally's Ice Cream. This beachside ice cream shack has all your favorite flavors, including vanilla, chocolate chip and Key lime pie, as well as house specialties like almond amaretto and cookie monster.
Where to Stay
From beachside resorts and spacious condos to some of the best campgrounds in the country, Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches offers you a variety of lodging options. Kids will love the waterslide and lazy river ride at Hammock Beach Resort’s fantasy pool complex. The resort has luxury villas and condo-style apartments, offering plenty of room for you and your family to relax. Hammock Beach also has two on-site golf courses and a fully equipped spa. Another family favorite is Si Como No Inn. This intimate resort offers eight charming cottages spread out among 2 acres of beachfront views. The kids will be quick to claim the top bunk when you book the “Family Tides” room.
For a truly authentic Florida experience, consider parking your RV at Beverly Beach Camptown, one of the few RV resorts in America located on the beach. Kids will love having the Atlantic Ocean in their backyard. The camptown features a quarter mile–plus of beachfront where you can enjoy a front row seat to vibrant sunrises and dolphins and eat s’mores under the stars. The Beverly Beach Camptown’s on-site store is also super convenient. It’s stocked with everything you and the kids might need for a beach vacation, including fishing supplies, snacks and fresh coffee served each morning.