Lazy days on the beach are among the most popular ways to enjoy a summer vacation, and the United States is bursting at its seams with excellent family-friendly options. Whether you’ll be spending the summer on the west coast, the east coast or points in between, a suitable beach for your family to enjoy is bound to be within range. Check out our list of the top ten family-friendly U.S. beaches below for some inspiration.
Bowman’s Beach – Sanibel Island, Florida
Most kids – and adults – are wild about seashells. If you’re going to be in Florida this summer, there is no better place to find them than Sanibel Island. Bowman’s Beach is not only piled high with seashells, but it boasts shallow water, soft, white sand and barbecues as well. On Florida’s gulf coast, there’s simply no better place to while away a day as a family.
Cannon Beach – Oregon
While swimming is a huge part of a beach’s allure for most people, Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast is proof positive that it’s not the only thing that matters. The water here is usually too cold to swim in comfortably, but the superior sandcastle building and kite flying that can be enjoyed here more than make up for it. There’s even an annual Sandcastle Day to honor the fun pastime.
Mayo Beach – Cape Cod, Massachusetts
There are few more popular resort areas along the East Coast than Cape Cod. There are plenty of beaches all along its crooked length, but Mayo Beach is definitely one of the best for families. Located at Wellfleet Bay, this beach boasts warm, calm waters. There’s a playground within walking distance, and kids will get a kick out of watching the fishing boats coming and going from the nearby pier.
Hilton Head Island – South Carolina
Finding a beach that will accommodate the needs of kids of all ages – along with the parents – is no easy feat. On South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island, though, it’s a breeze. More than 12 miles of beaches boast gentle, shallow waters that are studded with sand dollars; dolphins frolic just off the shore, and a breathtaking lighthouse creates an unforgettable backdrop to it all.
Bathtub Beach – Stuart, Florida
Quiet, out-of-the-way beaches are best bets for families with small children, and Florida’s Bathtub Beach is at the top of the list. Unlike many other beaches on Florida’s Atlantic coast, this one is protected by a reef and boasts a lagoon-like atmosphere. Warm waters, picnic tables and lifeguards all ensure that children big and small will have a blast.
Poipu Beach Park – Kauai, Hawaii
The Hawaiian Islands are best known for their appeal to honeymooners, but they also offer plenty of family-friendly beaches as well. Poipu Beach Park on Kauai is an excellent example, thanks to its calm, shallow cove, picnic tables and playground. Older kids can try surfing near the reef, and the whole family will have a blast viewing green turtles and other sea creatures while snorkeling in the park’s crystal clear waters.
Higbee Beach – Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May is a consummate East Coast seashore resort area; as such, it offers a little bit of something for everybody. Higbee Beach is the clear winner in terms of family-friendliness, thanks to its calm surf and quiet, relaxing nature. Extra fun can be had here through the spot’s excellent bird watching and whale watching opportunities.
Coronado Beach – San Francisco, California
Families who are looking for some active fun will have a blast at San Francisco’s Coronado Beach. Along with exceptional swimming opportunities, this beach offers surfing, boogie boarding, biking and beach volleyball opportunities. All of the fun can be had amid a cheerful, holiday-like atmosphere that is bound to charm the whole family.
Indiana Dunes State Park – Michigan City, Indiana
If you find yourselves in the middle of the country with a hankering for a topnotch family beach, then head over to Indiana Dunes State Park. Situated on Lake Michigan, this beach offers three miles of delightfully soft sand, picnic areas and a pavilion with a snack bar. All of the facilities are clean and well-maintained, making this a popular spot for families – and the perfect place to hang out on a beautiful summer day.
Newport Beach – California
In the Los Angeles area, you won’t find a more appealing beach for every single member of the family than Newport Beach. Several things converge to make up Newport Beach, including Corona del Mar State Beach – which is perfect for families with little kids. Older kids will get a kick out of watching surfers brave 25-foot waves at the “Wedge” at the Balboa Peninsula, while the boardwalk is a delightful spot for the whole family to explore on foot.