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The Best Family Beach Vacations in the U.S.

6 min read
The Best Family Beach Vacations in the U.S.

While the United States is not tropical, the country has many beaches that will make travelers feel like they have reached paradise. The domestic beaches of the U.S. are, for some travelers, more attainable travel destinations than the popularized global beach destinations. The top beaches across the country have high-quality activities for travelers, clear waters, pristine sands, and some of the best coastal views there are to offer. We have compiled a list of the best family beach vacations in the United States for travelers who want to have a blast during their family trip.

Best USA Beaches

These are the best family beaches in the United States.
Pictured: a rocky California beach with turquoise waters and lush green palm trees

These are the best family beaches in the United States. Pictured: a rocky California beach with turquoise waters and lush green palm trees

The United States has a varied landscape and many different coasts. The beaches of North America offer unique experiences for travelers. Some of these beaches offer engaging and specially tailored opportunities for family-friendly vacations. For travelers who want to explore the best family beach vacation spots in the United States, these are the best options.

Seabrook, Washington

This beach town is a haven for parents and children alike. It has many vacation homes to rent, so it is a great place to stay. Travelers will have great beach access in the cozy accommodation options that Seabrook offers. There are plenty of fun things for kids to do like play at the playground, swim in the pool, check out the arcade, and enjoy the abundance of green space. The streets of Seabrook are even (relatively) kid-proofed. The streets are designed European style, so there is slower traffic and (older) kids are accustomed to riding their bikes, venturing to the tennis courts, and going to local pizza places on their own. Seabrook has a great sense of safety and charm, so families love vacationing there.

Santa Barbara, California

The iconic beaches of Santa Barbara are centrally located and stunning. Travelers will not be disappointed with the accommodation options available. In fact, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara is one of the top resorts in the area. For those on a more modest budget, there are downtown hotels that provide great amenities for families. Near Stearn’s Wharf is the most popular area for families spending time in the area. West Beach is considered the top spot for aquatic fun, sunbathing and a scenic stroll. Most families love kayaking, windsurfing, playing beach volleyball and enjoying leisurely picnics near the water.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

This beach, which is close to Charleston, offers travelers a serene ambiance. For tourists traveling in packs, this slower pace may be preferable. But there are still things to do while visiting. The Kiawah Beachwalker Park has the majority of amenities available to travelers. These amenities include the scenic boardwalk, rental desk and snack area. Families have accommodation options including luxury hotels, cottages and house rentals. In all of these types of accommodations travelers will find that there are choices that fit an array of family sizes and budgets.

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama

This vacation spot is underrated and worth the visit. With miles and miles of vacation rentals, travelers will surely be comfortable on the coast. The white sands and turquoise waters of this beach make it a big attraction. But what keeps travelers coming back is the family-friendly atmosphere and southern hospitality that they experience. Travelers can enjoy boat tours, visit the zoo, collect seashells, visit the waterpark, take a Segway tour, go to the museum or simply take in the natural beauty of the Alabama coastal region. Some of the most popular adventure activities for visitors include parasailing, dolphin cruises, diving and fishing.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria Island has seven miles of coastline with clear waters and soft white sands. This beach is a great quiet place for families to swim. It is actually considered one of the best secluded family-friendly beaches in Florida. But travelers should not let the beaches’ peaceful reputation fool them. Travelers have things to do while in the area. The nearby Rod and Reel Pier is where most visitors go for food or fishing. There is also a historical society, botanical gardens, aquarium, children’s garden and many museums nearby.

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island has a total of seven beaches. There are some that are more family-friendly than others. The Great Dunes Beach Park is among the most popular beachfront areas for traveling families. There travelers can easily access picnic pavilions, play areas and game courts. Travelers will be kept busy with all the shopping, restaurant and accommodation options available to them. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, historic district, island museum, waterpark and dolphin tours are usually enough to keep travelers enjoying family fun. But travelers have to pay for a daily, multi-day or annual pass to access the island. Since it is a state park, travelers have to pay an auto access fee which costs around $10 a day.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head is known as a place with an array of family-friendly experiences. It has a laid back and relaxed energy but has fun activities for travelers to partake in. From museums, nature adventures and the boardwalk, families definitely will not be bored during their trip to South Carolina. There are even many beaches for travelers to explore on Hilton Head Island. Some of the top beaches of Hilton Head are Islanders Beach Park, Driessen Beach and Coligny Beach. Coligny Beach is the most popular on the island and sees the most visitors per year. This means that while travelers have access to the best amenities and activities, there may be seasonal crowds.

Saugatuck, Michigan

This beach, which technically is surrounded by Lake Michigan, is a beautiful option for travelers. Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers travelers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding beauty. With 2.5 miles of a secluded beach, this area has one of the best beaches in Michigan. While there are six beaches in the Saugatuck area, the best ones for family friendly experiences are Pier Cove and Oval Beach. The art scene, culinary offerings, water adventures and nice views of this area are quite popular features.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket has some of the most pristine shorelines there are to see. Travelers also have plenty of location options depending on the type of beach vacation they desire. Sconset Beach is going to be the best choice if any members of the family have mobility issues, since it is very easily accessible. Surfside Beach on the other hand is one of the most popular beaches of Nantucket. It, as the name suggests, is a great place for surfing. Jetties Beach is another family friendly option where travelers can enjoy hikes, restaurants, shopping and even a playground.

Bethany Beach, Delaware

Bethany Beach is a coastal town that is known for its boardwalks. It is famous for its calm waters, welcoming locals and charming atmosphere. The beach is relatively small, which is a nice factor if families prefer a bit of solitude. Due to its size, it does get crowded in the summertime which may be a reason to avoid family travel during that time. For travelers that visit Bethany Beach, there is plenty to do. The town boardwalk is a great place for leisure, but many travelers appreciate the beach for sunbathing or swimming. There are hiking trails, group beach exercise, free concerts, movie viewings and more that are hosted at Bethany Beach.

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