12 Fabulous Family Beach Vacations in the Southeast

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    Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Florida

    sanibel island shells
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    Heading to the sunny Southeast? Check out these top picks for the best family beach vacations from Virginia to Florida and up the Gulf Coast.

    The famous shell-strewn beaches on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva are among the most beautiful in all of Florida. There are no amusement parks, no traffic lights, no billboard-lined highways, no glaring neon, and no tracts of high-rise condos. Instead, you'll find a laid-back vibe, terrific restaurants, chic shops, and 15 miles of drop-dead-gorgeous beaches.

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    Outer Banks, North Carolina

    Corolla Beach North Carolina
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    Steeped in history and natural beauty, the 200-mile string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina known as the Outer Banks—and commonly known the OBX—is a popular family destination renowned for its temperate climate and wide expanse of open beachfront.

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    Daytona Beach, Florida

    The Shores Resort Daytona Beach
    Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

    "The world's most famous beach" offers 23 miles of beach and is known for its sandcastle-building, surfing, and sunrises. Planning a getaway to family-friendly Daytona Beach is a snap when you know where to play and eat with kids.

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    Hilton Head, South Carolina

    Hilton Head Island
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    Just 20 miles north of Savannah, Hilton Head Island is a popular resort destination in South Carolina and a more upscale alternative to Myrtle Beach. Drawn by miles of Atlantic beachfront, a host of world-class golf and tennis facilities, and a wide choice of hotel and vacation rental options, families have long found the island to be an alluring vacation destination.

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    Destin, Florida

    Destin beach
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    With sand like powdered sugar and the brilliant turquoise Gulf of Mexico, Destin is a gem on the Emerald Coast. Put these kid-friendly attractions on the top of your to-do list.

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    Tybee Island, Georgia

    Tybee Island Lighthouse
    Don Cook/Getty Images

    Just 18 miles from Savannah, Tybee Island is a popular family getaway destination. Rich in both history and natural beauty, the barrier island is famous for its seafood and spectacular uninterrupted three-mile beach. Families can explore salt marshes that teem with birds and wildlife unique to Georgia’s coast.

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    Fort Myers Beach, Florida

    Fort Myer Beach, Florida

    Looking for a super laid-back Florida beach with white-sugar sands and a vibe that's as kid-friendly as can be? In southwest Florida, you'll find down-to-earth Fort Myers Beach on a skinny barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Read on for a roundup of the most fun attractions for families in this beach lover's paradise.

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    Carolina & Kure Beaches, North Carolina

    Kure Beach
    ncrob/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    On the southern coast of North Carolina, Carolina Beach and nearby Kure Beach are less commercially developed than many other beach towns in the Southeast and offer a relaxed, family-friendly vibe. Both towns deliver a classic beach town experience, with lovely stretches of sand, fishing piers, and boardwalks. 

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    St. George Island, Florida

    USA, Florida, Saint George Island, Cape St. George Lighthouse
    Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

    Tucked into the crook of Florida's Panhandle, the 28-mile St. George Island is renowned for its unspoiled beaches. Located just off the coast, the barrier island is part of the long stretch of beaches known as Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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    Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama

    Orange Beach, AL
    Jim McKinley/Getty Images

    With 32 miles of spectacular, sugar-white beaches and a raft load of outdoor activities and family attractions, the neighboring towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are premier family beach vacation destinations.

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    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    Cherry Grove Pier, North Myrtle Beach
    Kelly Verdeck Photography/Getty Images

    Looking for a quintessential affordable family getaway in the Southeast? Myrtle Beach is a value-oriented family-friendly beach destination with a slew of kid-friendly hotels, including a handful with indoor waterpark features such as pools, lazy rivers, and waterslides to lure families all year long.

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    Siesta Key, Florida

    Siesta Key Beach
    Pola Demonte/Getty Images

    A stone's throw from Sarasota on Florida's Gulf Coast, Siesta Key is a laid-back gem that boasts TripAdvisor's no. 1 beach in America, among many other family-friendly attractions. Siesta Beach is indeed wonderful, but so are the island's other sugary beaches, so we encourage exploration.