We just got back from Florida! My Mom went with us, and we had a great trip visiting our family there and doing some sight seeing along the way. We drove almost 3000 miles over the span of 10 days. This was our route...
Look how close we were to the Bahamas! (Nassau is down there in the bottom right corner of the map not far off the coast from Miami.) But alas, I don't think I would take a 5 and freshly turned 8 year old to a tropical island for a "relaxing" vacation, so we will hold off on that one a bit.
We left early on a Friday morning, and our one goal that day was to make it to a beach for the kids to play on. We set our sights on Biloxi, MS because we thought we could make it there by late afternoon with enough daylight left for the boys to romp a bit.
So Biloxi is on the coast, and there is sand and water, but I don't know if I would classify it as a "beach" in the classic sense of the word.
This was much more like a lake to me, with waves that rippled rather than crashed, but the kids were happy to get out in the water after 10+ hours of driving. (You can see Seth's little head on the right side of the picture. He was laying down...you could have walked out at least 50 yards and it still wouldn't have been over their heads)
The water was really brown. Like....close your mouth and do not accidentally swallow any of that water kind of brown.
In conclusion, I guess I might be a bit of a beach snob. I have seen too many beautiful, clean ones with nice big waves. But the great thing about kids is that they are unbiased and content with very little, so it was a great stop on our first day of driving for them.