Best Family Beach Vacation Ideas

There's nothing quite like a vacation that combines sun, sand and surf. These family-friendly beach destinations belong on your vacation short list.

 

  • 01 of 12

    America's Top 10 Beaches

    Clearwater Beach, Florida
    ••• Franz Marc Frei /LOOK-foto/Getty Images

    Love beach getaways? TripAdvisor crunched the numbers on user ratings and determined that these are the best beaches in the United States. Six of these spectacular beaches are in the Sunshine State, with three in Hawaii and the remaining top pick in California.

     

  • 02 of 12

    Southeast

    SiestaKey_SiestaBeach_TripAdvisor.jpg
    ••• TripAdvisor

    The sunny Southeast is just the ticket when your crew needs a dose of Vitamin D. Here are our picks for best family beach vacations from Virginia to Florida and up the Gulf Coast.

  • 03 of 12

    California

    SCTwinLakesSB_FCC_DonDeBold.jpg
    ••• Flickr Creative Commons/Don DeBold

    The Golden State's 840-mile coast line offers a lifetime of fabulous beach vacation possibilities. Read on for our roundup of best kid-friendly California beach vacations.

  • 04 of 12

    Hawaii

    Maui with Kids - Hawaii Family Vacations
    ••• M Swiet Productions/Getty Images

    Ohana is a Hawaiian word meaning "family" and has central importance in Hawaiian life. For visitors, this means that families are welcome even at high-end luxury brand resorts. We've grouped our picks of family-friendly Hawaiian resorts by island. Many Hawaii resorts have kids' clubs, and lavish pools with slides, waterfalls, and other features—just don't expect to find all-inclusive pricing in Hawaii.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Gulf Coast

    Destin_HendersonBeach.jpg
    ••• Florida State Parks

    With its sand like powdered sugar and azure blue waters, the Gulf of Mexico offers a slew of gorgeous beach destinations from Texas to Florida. Here are our favorite Gulf Coast picks for families.

  • 06 of 12

    Caribbean

    Beaches Boscobel. Photo courtesy of Beaches Resorts.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Beaches Resorts.

    All-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean are extremely popular with families, who love the their easy pricing, beautiful beaches, fun watersports, and kids' programs. Here are some top suggestions for family holidays.

  • 07 of 12

    Mexico

    Iberostar Playa Mita
    ••• Iberostar

    With their tempting prices and many amenities, Mexico's all-inclusive beach resorts are a favorite vacation of families. These are some of the very best when you have kids in tow.

     

  • 08 of 12

    Upper Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Quissett Beaches, Upper Cape Cod
    ••• Quissett Harbor Preservation Trust

    The most westerly region of Cape Cod—Bourne, Sandwich, Mashpee, Falmouth, and Woods Hole—make up the Upper Cape. Life is a bit sleepier here than on the Outer Cape. The beaches are a bit calmer and prices a bit lower, too, which combine to make this an ideal getaway with kids.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Chincoteague Island, Virginia

    ChincoteaguePonies_BonnieGruenberg.jpg
    ••• Bonnie Gruenberg/Wikimedia Commons

    Accessible by boat or by car off Virginia's Eastern coast over the Route 175 bridge, the small and serene Chincoteague Island is the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore—a nature refuge that is home of the herds of wild ponies made famous in the classic children's book Misty of Chincoteague.

    Explore hotel options on Chincoteague island

  • 10 of 12

    Ogunquit, Maine

    Marginal Way - Ogunquit, Maine
    ••• View along the Marginal Way in Ogunquit. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

    A jewel along the southern Maine coast, the pretty village of Ogunquit delights families with a stunning coastal walk, wonderful beach, saltwater taffy, lobstering cruises, and lots of unpretentious family fun.

    Explore hotel options in Ogunquit

  • 11 of 12

    Best Family Beach Near Orlando

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    ••• View from The Shores Resort & Spa, Daytona Beach. Photo: Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

    A reader is looking to add some beach time to a few days at Disney World. Here are the Florida beach destinations Suzanne recommends within driving distance of Orlando.

  • 12 of 12

    Best Beach in New Jersey

    Ocean City New Jersey Lifeguard Stand
    ••• Kevin Jarrett/Flickr Creative Commons

    New Jersey has hundreds of miles of beach towns known collectively as the Jersey Shore, which offers a little something for everybody, from the bustle of Seaside Heights to the upscale Victorian splendor of Cape May. Find out the winner of New Jersey's Top 10 Beaches Contest.