Planning a summer vacation certainly doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems when you are bringing your little ones along. Especially
if you are heading to the beach! With an overabundance of kid-friendly beaches in America, the question shouldn’t be where to go, it should be when to pack up! Here is a list of the top 10 best kid-friendly beaches in the US to start planning your family’s next beach vacation!
If you’re planning a Cape Cod vacation, don’t miss out on Coast Guard Beach. Coast Guard Beach boasts miles of sand and surf located on the Cape Cod National Seashore. Be sure to take advantage of stopping at the Salt Pond Visitor Center to learn about free area programs, that include family campfire nights, ranger-guided nature walks, beach yoga, and even surf-casting lessons. You can even rent kayaks, surfboards, and bikes! The beach itself can be reached by a quick shuttle ride from the main lot, and has lifeguards on duty, showers, and changing rooms.
- Coopers Beach – Southampton, New York
If you are planning on heading up to the Hampton’s this summer, be sure it includes a visit to Coopers Beach which offers the priceless view of the vastness of the Atlantic on one side and historic mansions on the other. Cooper’s Beach is the ideal spot for families, its gently sloped beach offers on-duty lifeguards, snack bars, chair and umbrella rentals, even a great summer concert series. Be sure to take the time to do some shopping in town on the whimsical, tree-lined streets of the area. It should be noted that parking on the streets can be hard to find, and is also pretty pricey so try and arrive early if shopping is in fact on your agenda.
Heading to Hawaii? The slower pace of Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai makes this two-mile long, half-moon beach the perfect location to breathe in some salty air and take in some rays. Located at the foot of emerald mountains and dotted with gorgeous waterfalls, beachgoers can swim, bodyboard, and even learn to surf in the calmer waters of summer. The quaint town of Hanalei is only a five-minute walk from the beach and is a fabulous throwback to old Hawaii, where you will find surf stores, gift shops, casual eateries, and children selling fresh lei’s on street corners.
- Kiawah Beachwalker Park – Kiawah Island, South Carolina
If your family is filled with nature lovers, pristine condition of the barrier island, of Beachwalker Park, is the perfect spot. Located 20 miles south of Charleston, Beachwalker Park is the only public beach that is located on Kiawah Island; the rest is a golf resort. Wildlife sightings, a gentle surf and tons of amenities, including a snack bar, umbrella and chair rentals. Be sure to plan a visit to the Heron Park Nature Center to learn how to explore the surrounding flora and fauna. Your family can even take a kayak trip through preserved mangrove forests and lagoons. And be sure to not miss out on the weekly BBQ and oyster roast on Mingo Point, where you can take in the gorgeous sunset and listen to some great music.
Santa Cruz Beach is the home to the very last of the West Coast seaside amusement parks. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a family-friendly spot that is filled with some great features like rides and games for kids of all ages and live music events during the summer. Just north of the main beach is Cowell’s Beach, which offers some of the finest conditions available on the West Coast for anyone wanting to learn to surf. If you are seeking to take a bit of a break from the sand and surf, take your family for a ride on the Roaring Camp Railroads train, which picks up passengers on the boardwalk and then takes them for a cruise into the majestic forest of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
Famous for its sand that looks and feels like powdered sugar (and scientifically confirmed to be comprised of 99% quartz) Siesta Beach claims to have the “whitest and finest sand in the world.” With kid-friendly amenities including a snack bar, tennis courts, shaded picnic area, and playground as well as on-the-beach entertainment such as kite flying to beach volleyball. And even wildlife sightings that include dolphins, manatees, egrets, and pelicans, Siesta Beach is the perfect location to hit if you are making your way down to Florida!
- Coronado Central Beach – Coronado, California
The historic Hotel Del Coronado (also the setting for Marilyn Monroe’s film “Some Like it Hot”) provides a stunning backdrop to experience and is a perfect beach for families. The warm surf allows for super fun activities like Boogie boarding, surfing, and swimming. Younger kids can even enjoy sandcastle building and kite flying, while older ones can take in some beach volleyball, biking, and rollerblading along 15 miles of designated pathways. There are even amenities that include restrooms, free parking, showers, and year-round lifeguards.
- Crane Beach – Ipswich, Massachusetts
Soft sand, gorgeous ocean view, off-beach attractions and all of which lay just north of Boston, on Massachusetts’ “other cape.” Calm waters, warm tidal pools, and on-site amenities of which include a healthy snack bar that offers homemade sandwiches and fresh salads make this an ideal travel destination for families. Your family can even take advantage of hiking trails through sand dunes and salt marshes, bird watching, and some of the best shell collecting in the area. And don’t forget to take a tour of Castle Hill mansion’s gorgeous gardens!
- Stinson Beach – Stinson Beach, California
Stinson Beach can be found via a winding drive along Highway One just north of San Francisco and descend into three and a half miles of world famous California coastline. Here, your family can try out kayaking, surfing, hang-gliding, and swimming. And amenities include a 51-acre grassy park area that offers picnic tables and grills, as well as an on-the-beach snack bar, restrooms, and on-duty lifeguards. Your family can even take a hike in the nearby Muir Woods which offers trails through a redwood forest with trees up to 700 years old!
Heading down south? Why not take a ferry from Hatteras Island to the incredible Ocracoke Island to enjoy the clear, calm waters that sit among 16 miles of unspoiled beaches which are the perfect setting for kayaking, kiteboarding, parasailing, and windsurfing. Your family can even rent bikes to explore the quaint Ocracoke Village, that is set around the crescent-shaped Silver Lake Harbor. Not to mention the history buffs of your family can take in the 1823 lighthouse while your little pirate enthusiasts will be thrilled to explore Teach’s Hole that includes an exhibit about Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, who hid out on the island before being killed by British troops!