Between the endless beaches, great climate, and numerous adventure parks for the kids, Florida vacation rentals are some of the most kid-friendly places. It’s inevitable, however, that wherever you are in the state, you’ll need to know a good spot where you can take the whole family out for a bite to eat. Whether you want a sit-down meal or just a quick bite in a takeout container, here are 12 of Florida’s best restaurants for kids.

1. Uncle Julio’s Fine Mexican Cuisine, Mizner Park

Kids need a lot of room to run around, even at mealtimes in a busy tourist spot. That’s why Uncle Julio’s sacrifices potential seating space for open floor areas indoors and outside, allowing kids to move and generally be kids until their cheese quesadillas arrive.

2. Blue Willy’s Bar-B-Cue, Ft. Lauderdale

If your vacation rental is near Ft. Lauderdale, and you’re up for a bit of a chase to get some of South Florida’s best barbecue, take the kids down to SE First Avenue and SE Sixth Street. If you’re lucky, you may find Blue Willy’s mobile barbecue truck. The corner where Willy usually sets up for the day has a lot of green space and open air, so the kids can get messy and loud without causing too much fuss among the locals who live and work downtown.

3. Deck 84, Palm Beach

Deck 84, in Palm Beach, is one of Broward County’s most entertaining lunch and dinner spots. Ask for a table in the oversized outdoor patio, and watch the nearby drawbridge rise and fall as locals’ yachts pass by on the Intracoastal Waterway. Take the kids down to the water yourself when you finish your meal, and get the kids nice and tired for the drive back to your vacation rental.

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4. Dune Dog Cafe, Key West

Dune Dog Cafe is deliberately designed to promote Key West’s famously laid-back atmosphere. Built as a breezy shack that’s open on all sides to the gentle sea breeze, this establishment serves kid-sized burgers and dogs in one of the most casual environments in town. Prices are manageable for families with kids, and the staff takes “beach bum” as seriously as anything in Key West can be taken.

5. Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor Restaurant, Dania Beach

When the kids get antsy in your Dania Beach vacation rental, it’s time to say the magic words “ice cream sundae” and try to catch them before they get to the car. Jaxon’s has several kid-themed entrees on the menu, such as chicken fingers and various fried things, but nobody leaves the place without indulging in a few scoops of ice cream with your choice of toppings.

6. Aloha Isle at Magic Kingdom, Orlando

When you’re in a vacation rental around Orlando, taking the kids to Disney World is a must, and while you’re there, check out the ice cream on the menu at Aloha Isle. Located inside the park boundaries, this restaurant delivers an authentic taste of Florida with its signature pineapple ice cream. This should recharge the kids’ batteries long enough to make it to the parking lot and head home for the evening.

7. Blaze Pizza, Orlando

Ice cream is great, but sometimes the discerning child wants something a little healthier, like pizza. Blaze is also located on the grounds of Disney World in Orlando, where it’s convenient to snatch a bite while passing by on your way to one of the park’s countless attractions.

8. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, Orlando

Ghirardelli has made a legendary name for itself as the go-to purveyor of fine chocolate and assorted treats for over a century. The company maintains stores and eateries of varying degrees of kid-friendliness in locations from San Francisco to New York. Perhaps bowing to the family-vacation industry in Central Florida, the Orlando location might be the most kid-friendly one of them all. Try the old-fashioned soda machine for a float, and don’t leave without picking up some souvenirs at the register display.

9. Bob’s Train Restaurant and Circus Museum, Sarasota

Bob’s Train in Sarasota, Florida, boasts of being the only authentic circus train in the world that’s owned by a single person. Inside the train is a full-size restaurant, where you can order classic American fare for the kids, including Sarasota’s best hamburger (according to the management).

10. Cha Cha Coconuts, Sarasota

Cha Cha Coconuts does everything a restaurant possibly can to win the hearts and minds of kids vacationing in Sarasota. In addition to its comprehensive, kid-friendly menu and laid-back air, Cha Cha boasts a large in-house arcade to keep the children good and distracted until it’s time to eat.

11. Linger Lodge Restaurant and Campground, Bradenton

When you’re in the mood for weird, you can’t do better than Linger Lodge in Bradenton. Founded by an eccentric taxidermist, the Linger Lodge serves takeout under the watchful eyes of scores of stuffed animals. Most of these are expertly done, with lifelike owls, snakes, and gators, but here and there you find the founder’s own experiments, such as the Billed Orthlock and the Turkey Rattler.

12. Quarterdeck, Palm Beach

Of all the things that can make a restaurant attractive to families with kids staying in Florida vacation rentals, free food tops the list. In Palm Beach, Quarterdeck rings that bell by offering free kids’ meals every Wednesday night. A few restrictions apply, but it’s a great deal to stretch the family budget.

 
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