How to Plan a Beach Road Trip With Kids Like a Pro

May 4 2023

With vacation rental homes and condos sprinkled across Northwest Florida’s most sought-after beach towns, the stretch of paradise from Pensacola to Panama City Beach makes for the perfect beach road trip route. Not only do Northwest Florida beaches offer some of the most relaxing sites for families to enjoy, but the area is also packed with entertaining attractions bound to keep everyone entertained. 

Going on a beach road trip with kids can be fun for the whole family, but it does require some planning. A few helpful tips can make all the difference between an average trip and an incredible experience the kids will talk about for years to come!

How to Plan a Road Trip With Kids

As more families drive for summer vacations, road trips have increased in popularity. Northwest Florida beaches see new travelers daily, with visitors from nearby states popping over every weekend. Whether your beach road trip takes four hours or fourteen, you’ll want all the essentials when traveling with kids. 

What to Pack

With limited space in the car, minimizing what you bring will free up much-needed space for antsy kids. Make a list of essential items you’ll want to bring along, including the following: 

  • Comfortable clothes and shoes
  • Hats and sunscreen
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Toiletries
  • Healthy snacks
  • Audiobooks, crossword puzzles, word searches, and playing cards
  • Bag with comfort items for each child, including toys and blankets

You’ll be close to drugstores and beach shops if you leave something behind. You might even want to pack a little lighter and shop for sunglasses, flip-flops, and beach attire once you’ve settled in. 

Choosing a Beach Road Trip Destination

Northwest Florida beaches are renowned for their white sugar sand, gorgeous emerald waters, and multiple beach towns with different vibes and attractions. Whether you prefer the family-friendly attractions in Destin and Panama City Beach, the peaceful communities along 30A, the solitude in Navarre, or the small-town charm of Fort Walton Beach, you’ll quickly find a location that speaks to you and your family.

Where to Stay in Northwest Florida

If you like nature, the beach, history, or culture, you’ll find it in Northwest Florida, and where you stay matters. You’ll want to be close to everything you enjoy and need plenty of room for the whole family. Selecting the perfect vacation home or condo to suit your needs should be your top priority, and we’ve got a wide selection extending from Navarre Beach to Panama City Beach!

Navarre Beach

Known as  “Florida’s most relaxing place,” Navarre Beach is ideal for families that want to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. Locals and visitors spend hours sunbathing, fishing, and collecting seashells on the sandy shores, but you’ll find plenty more to keep you busy.

Book your stay in Navarre Beach.

Okaloosa Island

A barrier island offering three miles of gorgeous landscape, Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach is a popular destination. Run, bike, and walk to local eateries, try your hand at boating or parasailing, and take advantage of local attractions nearby. 

Book your stay on Okaloosa Island.


Families return to Destin yearly to enjoy the beautiful beaches, waterfront restaurants, fun activities, and signature events. One visit to the “Luckiest Fishing Village” and we’re confident you’ll be back again. 

Book your stay in Destin.

These condos are also excellent choices for your Destin vacation:

SunDestin Beach Resort

Featuring panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, SunDestin Beach Resort provides a variety of family-friendly activities, including indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, a fitness center, and a children’s summer program. You’ll also be within walking distance of several fun attractions, including The Track and Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park. 

Book your stay at SunDestin Beach Resort.

The Crescent

A stunning beach-front condo in Miramar Beach surrounded by lush greenery and towering palms, The Crescent offers spacious accommodations and many amenities. With two pools, a hot tub, and a fully furnished library, the whole family will find something to enjoy. Browse the shops at Grand Boulevard, take the kids to The Track Family Fun Park, and enjoy a variety of waterfront eateries nearby.

Book your stay at The Crescent.

Emerald Towers

Featuring a seasonally heated pool with Gulf views, a hot tub, tennis courts, and a fitness center, centrally located Emerald Towers has it all. Head to the Destin Harborwalk for fishing, parasailing, and paddle boarding. Be sure to catch the sunset with a cool drink at one of the many restaurants overlooking the Destin harbor.

Book your stay at Emerald Towers.


The 16 coastal communities along 30A are something to behold, and you’ll find lovely accommodations throughout the 19-mile stretch. Outdoor activity is plentiful in this sublime landscape, and you can take your pick from biking, hiking, and paddling during your stay. Year-round events, farmer’s markets, and seasonal festivals make this area a must-see.

Book your stay on 30A.

Panama City Beach

Situated between 30A and Mexico Beach, Panama City Beach is ideal for families. With fabulous restaurants, exclusive shopping, and activities designed with kids in mind, spend your days kayaking, fishing, diving, and snorkeling, or just explore the 27 miles of stunning coastline.

Book your stay in Panama City Beach.

What to Look for in a Family-Friendly Vacation Rental

Consider how you’ll spend your time while here and what could make your stay more enjoyable. Pay close attention to bedroom and bathroom arrangements and the amenities included. If you’ve mapped out an itinerary with fun activities, you’ll want to be near them, and you’ll definitely want to be close to the beach!

Whether you opt for a quaint townhome off the beaten path, a condo in the heart of the action, or a luxury home right on the beach, rest assured you’ll find the perfect place to serve as home while visiting Northwest Florida beaches.

Ready to plan the perfect Northwest Florida beach road trip? Book today with Scenic Stays!

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