When you hear the words “best family beach vacations,” what do you picture? For some families, it might be a tranquil spot of sand without any crowds. For others, it might be an action-packed destination with rides and never-ending entertainment. No matter what you decide, these 25 top family beach getaways will please everyone in your group, from the young to the young at heart.
When it comes to comfortably accommodating the whole family, a vacation rental is tough to beat. You’ll have extra space to fit everyone, plus handy amenities such as a full kitchen, laundry, and perhaps even a private pool! Whether you prefer a spacious luxury rental or a cozy beachfront cottage, you’ll find that the destinations below offer all types of properties available to book right on FlipKey.
From the rugged coast of Maine to the sandy shores of San Diego, here are the 25 best family beach vacations in America!
The peaceful and rugged seashore of Marconi Beach is a kid-friendly staple for a family beach vacation in Wellfleet. Bring your own entertainment, too—and no, that doesn’t include anything with a screen. Sand-castle building and shallow-water swimming will keep everyone happily occupied on this beautiful stretch of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Ocean City, MD
Ocean City is an ideal spot for a family beach vacation. Famous for its salt water taffy, three-mile boardwalk, and seemingly endless opportunities for kid-friendly fun, Ocean City Beach is undoubtedly one of the best beaches to spend your time with the kids. The large, local beach and action-packed Jolly Roger Amusement Park give you and your family plenty to enjoy.
Stretching for five miles across New Jersey’s calming shores is the city of Wildwood—and its great namesake: Wildwood Beach. This family-friendly seaside destination is one of the best spots to vacation with kids in the United States. With miles and miles of boardwalk fun, a huge stretch of sand, and a lively family-owned amusement park, you can never get bored! There really is something for everyone in Wildwood, no matter your age.
Myrtle Beach, SC
Great beaches, family-friendly dining, and lots of oceanfront rentals make Myrtle Beach a hotspot for beach vacations with kids. When the little ones grow tired of playing in the sand, there are plenty of amusement parks and water sports to keep them entertained. Just don’t forget to make a stop on the promenade for an added dose of family fun!
If you’re looking for a slow-paced family beach vacation, look no further than the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This beautiful, charming stretch of peaceful sand is ideal for relaxing by the sea with the kids. Currituck Beach is one spot where the whole family will love to get some peace and quiet, and maybe even watch wild horses roaming. Of course, there are still plenty of other ways to keep busy with surfing, jet ski rentals, and other water sport activities readily available.
If you like long walks on the beach, look no further than Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable. At six miles long, it’s the longest beach on Cape Cod—and one of the most peaceful, too. As you pass by the shoreline, all you’ll see is a snack bar, sea birds, and tide pools, making it the perfect place for a tranquil beach vacation with the kids.
Seaside Beach is an idyllic spot for a fun family beach vacation in Florida. It’s situated away from the crowds, with beautiful blue waters and plenty of shops and dining. Put the kids in surf school or lounge around together in the ocean all day for the perfect family vacation.
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Palace Playland is top kid-friendly draw on Old Orchard Beach, the only beach in all of New England with an oceanfront amusement park. While your kids aren’t laughing with delight on the merry-go-rounds and thrill rides, they can check out games and sample snacks on the 500-foot pier, take easy hikes through the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, or play in the gentle surf and sand that make Old Orchard Beach a long-standing family favorite.
Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach is an iconic and classic seaside getaway with stunning beaches, a vibrant boardwalk, and lots of amusement rides that will tire the kids out by sundown. If you want to get away from the crowds for a bit, head to the quaint Sandbridge Beach for some untouched sand. Or, you can try out some exciting water sports together as a family. Whatever it is that you choose, Virginia Beach is one of the best family beach vacations out there.
Rockaway Beach, OR
At Rockaway Beach, crabbing is the name of the game. Come during peak crabbing season (starting in mid-December) to enjoy the full bounty of Dungeness crab that the area is known for—Kelly’s Brighton Marina is a top pick for freshly-prepared catch. If you’re not into crabbing, you can still enjoy long walks and beautiful views at Rockaway Beach Wayside.
Located just 18 miles north of Seattle, Edmonds is the perfect family weekend getaway for a taste of coastal Washington charm. Stroll past locally-owned boutiques and scrumptious restaurants and cafes in the picturesque downtown—grown-ups will especially love the grain-to-glass pours at Scratch Distillery. Don’t miss the views at Stamm Overlook Park, or any of the half-dozen beaches lining the shores (Marina Beach Park is a favorite). If you’re visiting on a rainy day, the kids will love the small-but-mighty exhibits at the Cascadia Art Museum.
Captiva Island, FL
Captiva Island is tiny and idyllic, and sometimes it seems too good to be true. It’s the perfect place for a family beach vacation—no stress, no worries, and plenty to do. Families with kids of all ages can take to the seas after attending Offshore Sailing School, then regain your land-legs while shelling on Captiva Pass.
Honolulu has everything, from boogie boarding and surfing to swimming, sunbathing and diving. Bring the kids along for a walk down Waikiki Beach and dip your toes into the crystal clear waters after they have a taste of Oahu’s watersports—try snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. Between the perfect weather, beautiful views, and all that there is to experience, Honolulu makes for one dreamy family beach vacation.
Hollywood is regularly rated as one of the best family beach vacation destinations not just in Florida, but in the whole country. It makes the most of its prime real estate between Fort Lauderdale and Miami with its Broadwalk, a 2½-mile-long stretch of wide, brick-paved, multi-purpose path filled with cyclers, joggers, skaters, and even Segwayers. You and the kids can join in on the fun, or sit back and watch from one of the many restaurants, shops, and breweries lining the way. And don’t forget to visit Hollywood Beach, too!
Drive down the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge from San Diego to reach this idyllic island, just minutes from downtown San Diego. Coronado makes a great San Diego day trip—or even a jumping off point for a more adventurous option such as a deep-sea fishing charter. When it comes to beaches, Coronado takes the crown. From dog-friendly North Beach to the views and picnic tables that make Silver Strand State Beach a popular option to hang out, Coronado Island has some of the best family beach spots in Southern California.
Hampton, Virginia—with its pint-sized-but-stunning Buckroe Beach—is an ideal location for a beach vacation with kids. At only ¾ of a mile long, the beach is small enough for you to easily keep an eye on the little ones while enjoying the waves. Look out for special events like live music and movie nights during warm months, or take advantage of its prime location in historic Hampton to enjoy all sorts of family-friendly attractions like the Virginia Air and Space Center and Fort Monroe National Monument.
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Rehoboth Beach can be summed up in one word: Funland. This iconic amusement park has been providing beachfront thrills for generations—head to the boardwalk to enjoy a wide variety of games, rides, and kid-friendly amusements that are fun for the whole family. Afterward, stroll down the boardwalk to pick up Dolle’s famous salt water taffy or jump into the waves.
Tybee Island, GA
For families looking for a calming beachside retreat, Tybee Island has everything you could think of. The kids will have a blast, from paddleboarding and surf lessons to exploring along the pier that stretches out into the Atlantic. Wander around North Beach or swim along the beautiful South Beach, a local favorite. No matter what you choose to do, it’s one of the best family beach vacations to take with kids in all of the USA.
Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica is a vibrant California hotspot for families in search of a kid-friendly beach. With more than three miles of white sand, a 26-mile bike path and the iconic Santa Monica Pier, there is endless fun to be had. Take the kids on an electric bike tour along the beach or spend the day sunbathing and snacking at one of the many beachside food shacks.
For a family beach vacation with a twist, try Empire. It’s the only spot on our list that sits on a lake—Lake Michigan—rather than an ocean. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a fun family destination. Be sure to check out Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, where the kids can tire themselves out climbing over the dunes and you can take in the stunning natural beauty.. Take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive for a quick overview of the area’s gorgeous sights and views, or bring your teens along for an overnight camping trip on the shores of the Great Lakes.
Orange Beach, AL
If you want a family beach vacation on the Gulf of Mexico, look no further than Alabama’s Orange Beach. This picturesque destination has everything you’d expect of a gorgeous Gulf Shore destination, from sugary-white sand to sunset cruises and fishing charters. You might even see a gator in the wild if you brave the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.
Port Saint Lucie, FL
For an unforgettable family beach vacation with the kids, Port Saint Lucie won’t disappoint. This thriving community on Florida’s Treasure Coast is not only a bona fide beach destination – it’s also a go-to destination for hiking (try Savanna Preserves State Park or Paleo Hammock Preserve), as well as catching professional-level baseball games at First Data Field. Nearby Jensen Beach is always a hit with families, especially when you go to check out the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast.
Surfside Beach, SC
South Carolina’s Surfside Beach is a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path beach destination that’s ideal for family vacations. Whether the kids want to spend the afternoon in the sparkling ocean, sliding around at the local waterpark, or walking along the beachside pier—there is something for every mood. They can even have some fun with their very own Mermaid Lesson! With the well-earned nickname of “Family Beach,” you and your tribe will adore how kid-friendly this vacation destination truly is.
San Diego, CA
Laidback, full of sunshine, and home to beautiful spots like Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, San Diego is known for being one of the country’s best beach destinations—and especially great for a family getaway. Unwind and give yourself time to take in everything this California gem has to offer while the kids try out one of the areas many surf schools. Top attractions include the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum, while this San Diego Seal Tour or Whale Watching Cruise are both kid-favorites.
Corpus Christi, TX
Lining the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi is a terrific family beach vacation. Go camping on the beautiful Malaquite Beach, bike riding along White Beach, or bodysurfing at Whitecap Beach. There’s tons to do and plenty to keep everyone satisfied. It’s the ultimate kid-friendly spot, perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying some old-fashioned family fun!
This post was originally published on the TripAdvisor blog. FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company.