When it comes to family vacations, few destinations can beat the charm of a beautiful beach. The USA is home to a wide variety of stunning coastal destinations that cater to families, offering everything from pristine sands and calm waters to kid-friendly activities and amenities. In this two-part series, we’ll explore some of the best family-friendly beaches in the USA that are sure to make your next family vacation unforgettable.
1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is a renowned family destination that has something for everyone. With over 60 miles of pristine coastline, it’s the ideal spot for building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply taking a relaxing stroll. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade feature arcades, shops, and restaurants, making it a fantastic place to entertain the kids.
For those seeking adventure, Myrtle Beach offers thrilling water activities like jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides. Moreover, the area is dotted with family-friendly resorts and hotels, providing convenient accommodations for your beachfront stay.
2. Destin, Florida
Destin, Florida, often referred to as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” is another fantastic destination for family beach vacations. With its emerald-green waters and sugar-white sands, it’s easy to see why. The calm Gulf of Mexico waters make it perfect for young swimmers, and you’ll often spot dolphins playing in the distance.
The Destin Harbor Boardwalk is a vibrant hub for family entertainment. From delicious seafood restaurants to exciting water parks and mini-golf courses, there’s no shortage of things to do in this charming beach town.
3. Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May, New Jersey, offers a different kind of beach experience with its historic charm and Victorian architecture. The gentle waves and soft sands make it a top choice for families. But beyond the beach, Cape May offers unique attractions, like the Cape May County Park & Zoo and the Cape May Lighthouse, which you can climb for a breathtaking view.
The town is known for its family-owned ice cream shops, bike rentals, and trolley tours. It’s a place where your family can enjoy the beach and explore history together.
4. Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a string of barrier islands with some of the most family-friendly beaches on the East Coast. Here, your family can explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial, fly kites on Jockey’s Ridge, or visit the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.
The beaches of the Outer Banks are pristine, offering ample space for kids to build sandcastles and search for seashells. Plus, there are several charming beach towns to explore, such as Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Duck, where you can find family-friendly accommodations and delicious seafood restaurants.
5. San Diego, California
San Diego’s beaches are a delightful combination of natural beauty and family-friendly amenities. From the iconic La Jolla Cove to the gentle waves of Coronado Beach, you’ll find the ideal spot for your family’s beach day. The famous San Diego Zoo and Legoland California are just a short drive away, providing even more entertainment options for kids.
Balboa Park is a cultural oasis where you can explore gardens, museums, and the San Diego Zoo. Additionally, San Diego boasts a variety of accommodations that cater to families, from beachfront resorts to cozy vacation rentals.
6. Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores, Alabama, offers the perfect blend of Gulf Coast beauty and family-friendly activities. The soft, white sands are perfect for building sandcastles, and the clear waters are ideal for swimming. Gulf Shores Public Beach has picnic areas and a nearby fishing pier for added convenience.
A must-visit for families is the Gulf Shores Zoo, where you can encounter a range of animals, including kangaroos and lemurs. Additionally, Waterville USA is an exciting water and amusement park where kids can enjoy thrilling water slides and rides.
7. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a family-friendly tropical paradise. The gentle waves make it suitable for young swimmers, and the beach is lined with resorts and hotels catering to families. The vibrant Kalakaua Avenue offers shopping, dining, and street performances to keep everyone entertained.
For an educational adventure, visit the Waikiki Aquarium or the Bishop Museum, which showcases Hawaiian history and culture. You can also take a family hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater for panoramic views of the island.
8. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is an excellent choice for a family beach vacation on the East Coast. The three-mile-long boardwalk offers an array of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. The calm waters are perfect for young swimmers, and the city provides lifeguards for added safety.
Beyond the beach, Virginia Beach offers the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, where kids can explore marine life. You can also go dolphin watching or embark on a pirate adventure cruise, making it an unforgettable experience for children.
9. Santa Monica Beach, California
Santa Monica Beach, with its iconic pier, offers a vibrant and exciting family-friendly beaches experience. The sandy shores are ideal for playing beach volleyball or building sandcastles, and the Pacific Park amusement park on the pier provides rides and games for kids of all ages.
Renting bicycles and riding along the famous Santa Monica bike path is a great way to explore the area with your family. Moreover, the city’s restaurants serve a wide range of cuisines, ensuring there’s something to satisfy even the pickiest eaters in your group.
10. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is a true gem for family vacations. With miles of sandy shores and serene waters, it’s an idyllic place for beachcombing and swimming. The island is renowned for its numerous bike paths, allowing families to explore the area at their own pace.
Harbour Town, with its iconic lighthouse, is a charming destination with shops, restaurants, and a playground for children. Kayaking through the island’s picturesque waterways is another activity that families often enjoy.
Planning a family vacation by the beach can be an incredibly rewarding experience. From the captivating coastlines of the East Coast to the enchanting shores of the West Coast and the tropical paradises of Hawaii, the USA offers an array of family-friendly beach destinations that cater to the needs of both kids and adults. These beaches aren’t just places for sun and sand; they are gateways to lasting memories and exciting adventures.