Kid-friendly restaurants with tropical treats

Summer is sun, sand and sea breezes. But as summer draws to a close and we begin to re-settle into the routines of work, school and daily life, we may not be quite ready to let go of those long days of lazy beach for now. That’s why we’ve rounded up a bunch of places in the city, in the suburbs and destinations worth checking out where you can go to the beach without committing to vacations and trips.

In the city

Bright colors and cool vibes will draw you in. But you’ll stay on the roof – misting fans to keep you cool on hot summer days and warm so your tropical cravings can be met even when it’s cold. There is also a first floor patio and indoor dining area, giving you plenty of options to relax and enjoy a tropical taste sensation and delicious frozen drinks. The Kids ‘Menu, or Little Mates, maintains the tropical vibe with several seafood options, but also offers a few classic kids’ dishes. Enjoy island music with your island bites and sips and the whole family can come home feeling like you’ve just spent the day on an island beach.

Tortuga Caribbean Bar & Grill
514 8th Street SE,
Washington, DC 20003

It’s not your typical beach vibe, but it still has that flair. With fluorescent pops of pink, yellow and blue, it gives off a strong Havana throwback vibe. Plenty of outdoor seating, including a rooftop patio, lets you soak up the sun while sipping on tropical delight – from cocktails to Cuban coffee, they quench your thirst. While there is no kids’ menu, there are plenty of options on the menu that will appeal to all ages, including the Colada Shop Cuban and the Churros for dessert. Combine it all with the high energy of the staff and a mix of Panamanian, Puerto Rican, Colombian and Cuban music and you will feel like you are walking the beaches of Latin America.

Colada Shop
1405 rue T NO
Washington, DC 20009

If your beach dreams include lounging in a cabin, THROW Social might be the place for you. Reserve a cabin so the whole family has a place to hang out and relax while you also participate in games of football, bowling and curling (without ice!). Enjoy delicious food and drink in this place that will remind you of your favorite Miami paradise! Although there is no children’s menu, there are certainly some kid-friendly tastes. Please note that it is 9 p.m. and after 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

1401 Okie Street NE
Washington, DC 20001
(888) 847-6919

In the ‘Burbs

It might not be Key West in your backyard, but it’s much closer than the real deal! MacDowell’s brings a Florida vibe to Leesburg, with its warm sandy beach and tropical themed menu. Add live music, fire pits, and tropical trees and you’ll have that beachy feel for days. While there isn’t a dedicated kids menu, there is a dedicated “kid-zone” play area filled with toys on the beach. Let the kids have fun on the beach for hours on end as you sip your favorite beer from the tap and listen to relaxing tropical tunes.

Insider tip: if you want to make it a real vacation, they Airbnb the Palm House right behind the beach.

202 B, rue Harrison, South-East
Leesburg, Virginia 20175

Authentic Haitian cuisine is all on the menu here and that means the laid-back beach vibe is offset by the slow preparation of the food. This is a great place to come with the kids if you really want to relax while enjoying some delicious island food and drink. It’s a great place if you have kids who are adventurous when it comes to food, but even the less adventurous eaters can find something to satisfy their appetite, like mac and cheese, rice, or fried beef. Port-au-Prince doesn’t just take you on a culinary journey through Haitian culture. You will also take an artistic journey discovering some of the most incredible original Haitian arts. Immerse yourself and fall in love with the island of Haiti in this little piece in the middle of DC.

Port au Prince
7912 Georgia Avenue
Silver spring, MD 20910

During the summer months you can reserve a beach space on Kentmorr Beach, but even after the season is over you can come to Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House to enjoy a lovely beach atmosphere. Parents can enjoy delicious seafood treats with adult drinks while kids can order from the kids menu. It’s a pretty limited kids’ menu, but it hits all the favorites. End the meal with a stroll along the docks or on the beach to extend the beach experience.

Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House
910 Kentmorr Road
Stevensville, Maryland 21666

Worth the detour

Think of the drive to Bowleys On The Bay as a transition from vacation reality to fantasy. As you enter the property, you will be instantly transported to a tropical oasis. Whether you opt for dining indoors in the dining room or bar, or alfresco on the tropical themed patio or hit the beach and dine on the sand itself, you will have an experience of beach that can only be matched by the beach itself. With a soundtrack including Steel Drum, Reggae, Salsa and Latin Jazz supporting the gentle breezes of the water and the slow sway of the palm trees, savor your seafood meal as you watch the boats go by. And during the winter months? Instead, enjoy a bonfire on the beach or the holiday lights!

The children’s menu is small but perfectly suited to their appetites. Older kids can also choose from a themed burger on the main menu if the kids’ menu doesn’t appeal to them.

Bowleys on the Bay
800 Chester Road
Baltimore, MD 21220

With boats, cars, and other fun things that have been “stranded” as a seating arrangement, Dockside offers a true seaside experience, especially the beach is right there with stunning views. With great food, great service and a great laid back atmosphere, this is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and continue with a swim. With indoor and outdoor dining, this kid and pet hangout spot is perfect for the whole family to get away from it all and enjoy a lazy day at the beach.

Quayside restaurant and tiki bar
1787 Castlewood Drive
Colonial Beach, Virginia 22443
(804) 224-8726

—Wendy Miller

featured photo: Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash


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