Tampa Bay beaches top magazine's kid-friendly list
Fort DeSoto tops the list of Parents magazine's top 10 family-friendly beaches. The magazine is aimed primarily at parents of young children, so keep in mind that this is the preschool crowd. They judged them based on whether the water is tested for safety and the other "deal breakers" for parents: restrooms, calm surf and lifeguards. Nature trails and other extras helped make the final cut.
Fort DeSoto's North Beach drew raves for its large lagoon that doesn't get above 3 feet deep, creating a kiddie pool and its pristine beach and clean water (Out of more than 100 samples from 2009 and 2010, there wasn't one problem.) It also earned top honors for its playgrounds, the park's Gulf Pier for dolphin-watching and special mention went to my family's favorite, the fort and cannon built for the Spanish-American War, and the many bike and nature trails.
Among other bay area beaches, Coquina Beach Park on the southern tip of Anna Marie Island, came in at No. 7 for its famous cache of coquinas, those colorful mini seashells that dig into the sand, and the numerous kayaking options. Siesta Key was a runner-up "With a playground, volleyball court, fitness trail, and seashells galore, nobody in your family will be sitting on the white-sand beach near Sarasota for long."
Maybe it's time for a stay-cation!
We at Whoa, Momma! have our own favorite kid-friendly beaches in the Tampa Bay area, as well as a guide on what to pack. Are there any we missed?
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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