Mexico Beach sits along Florida’s northwestern Gulf Coast, sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten Coast,” due to its cozy, secluded location. While this peaceful beach town is small, it more than makes up for its size with the abundance of friendly locals, delicious seafood, and gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico. If you’ve reserved a Mexico Beach vacation rental hideaway in this quaint coastal city, and you’re looking for fun, kid-friendly things to do with the family, the options are endless when it comes to outdoor activities, sightseeing, shopping, and more. Here’s a list of the top 11 things to do in Mexico Beach with kids to help kick-start your vacation.

1. Fishing at City Pier – Mexico Beach, Florida

For a fun day of fishing and mingling with locals and fellow travelers, pack up some fishing gear and a picnic lunch and head over to the City Pier with your family. Spend the day reeling in mackerel and red snapper, or sit on the benches and enjoy an outdoor meal while taking in the sea air.

2. Enjoy a Family Beach Day – Mexico Beach, Florida

Mexico Beach is known for its beautiful, semi-secluded shoreline, and there’s nothing better than spending a day at the beach. Pack a cooler and a few beach chairs, and take advantage of the gorgeous weather and scenery. If your kids are in the mood for a little recreation, rent some jetskis from Smiley’s Beach Rentals and head out onto the water.

3. Mingle With Animals at St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge – Port St. Joe, Florida

St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge is a great place to enjoy fresh air, become one with nature, go birdwatching, and get up close and personal with wildlife in their natural habitats. The refuge houses hundreds of species of birds, and you can also check St. Vincent’s “ebird tracker” on their website to see just what types of birds are flying around. While birdwatching, you may also spot wild boar and a red fox or two. Located 25 miles down the shoreline in Port St. Joe, the refuge can only be reached by boat, and St. Vincent Island offers boat shuttle service throughout the day.

4. Take a Family Kiteboarding Lesson – Panama City, Florida

For a fun and exciting day on the water, take a 20-minute drive into neighboring Panama City and sign up for a kiteboarding lesson with Emerald Coast Kiteboarding. The company offers both water and beach lessons, and your instructor will happily stay with you all day if your young ones need a little security out on the water.

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5. Parasail Above the Gulf of Mexico – Mexico Beach, Florida

Parasailing is an exhilarating way to get a bird’s-eye view of Mexico Beach. Crazy Waverunners & Parasail of Mexico Beach are the guys who will take you up, up, and away, and your kids are sure to remember the experience for the rest of their lives. Before you go up, the instructors provide you with an on-ground training and safety session to ensure you know the ropes before the flight.

6. Take a Fishing Charter in the Gulf of Mexico – Mexico Beach, Florida

For a fun day of fishing with the whole family, sign up for a fishing charter trip with Mexico Beach Charters. Navigate the Gulf of Mexico with Captain Adams and his helpful mate Sean, and bring your catch back to your vacation rental for a family fish fry. Make sure to bring your camera to capture every moment of the day, as you just may happen upon some bull sharks or dolphins swimming around the boat.

7. Take a Reef Diving Trip – Mexico Beach, Florida

The coral reef in the Gulf of Mexico is an amazing sight, and there’s no better way to enjoy the beauty of the gulf than a reef dive. Daly’s Dock and Dive Center in Mexico Beach offers charter diving trips for all skill levels, with water levels ranging from a few feet off the shoreline to over 100 feet down. In addition to reef diving, you can also sign up for dives that take you to wreckage sites, one of which houses a ship that sank back in 1932.

8. Explore the Roadside Shops Along Highway 98 – Mexico Beach, Florida

For a little retail therapy, hit up the shops along Highway 98. From fun boutiques to souvenir shops, there’s something for everyone along this route. One of the most popular shops is the Grove, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of boutiques, artwork, housewares, and funky crafts.

9. Spend the Night Under the Stars at Rustic Sands Campgrounds – Mexico Beach, Florida

If you’re hoping to do a little beach camping during your stay, head over to the Rustic Sands Campgrounds. Bring your own tent and camp under the stars. Enjoy a meal and chat with fellow campers in the dining hall, or sit around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and telling stories. The campground also has a swimming pool and free WiFi if you have the urge to connect to the outside world.

10. Go Dolphin Watching – Mexico Beach, Florida

If your little ones are itching to see some real-life dolphins, Captain Alan’s Sea Escapes can make that wish come true. Sign up for a dolphin charter, and watch these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. If you’re lucky, one may even swim up to the boat to say hello.

11. Kayak in the Gulf of Mexico – Mexico Beach, Florida

For a beautiful day of sightseeing on the water, schedule a kayaking tour on the Gulf of Mexico. Barefoot Kayak & Paddle offers day trips on the gulf, and they provide everything you need from on-shore instructions to kayaks and paddles.

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