Top 10 Beaches for Kids
Kid-friendly Fun: Boogie boarding, beach volleyball courts, and a chance to glimpse Navy SEALS training.
Coronado Central Beach's weather is excellent throughout the year and the water warm enough for swimming in the summer, while the softly sloping beach makes it easy for kids to run for the surf. The vigilant lifeguards and gentle surf make it safe for younger kids, though there are still enough waves for older kids to boogie board, body surf or even surf. Sandcastle building and beach volleyball courts provide fun out of the water.
When the afternoon heats up you can pop into the historically cool Hotel Del Coronado for an ice cream from MooTime Creamery . You'll likely see military aircraft from the nearby base flying overhead, which will have your kids craning their necks and pointing excitedly; if you're lucky you might even get to see the elite Navy SEALS training on the beach.
Kid-Friendly Fun: Learning to surf where the pros ride the waves.
Located on the North Shore of Kauai, Hanalei Beach offers calmer surf than other Hawaii beaches, especially during the summer months, making it easier for young surfers to learn and better for swimming. The pier is the calmest part of the water since it is more sheltered, and you can catch bigger waves further down the beach. The pier also has the least crowded parking and is great for family photos.
Lifeguards here can read the ocean well, so check with them as to the current conditions before you go in the water. Every Tuesday the quiet beach town of Hanalei has a great Farmer’s Market ; don’t miss the key lime lemonade for a cool drink on a hot day.
Best Ages: Babies, Toddlers, Preschool, School Age
Kid-Friendly Fun: Kids LOVE to chase the birds by the shore.
The kids will have a blast chasing after all the birds on the shoreline, and afterwards you can learn all about them at the Heron Park Nature Center . Although the park has the only public access, all of the beaches are technically public, so you can stroll as far as you want to find a peaceful spot to relax.
Kid-Friendly Fun: Warm-water with soft sand and a snack bar and playground nestled in a perfect beach town covers all bases.
The sand here is the major attraction – it may well be the softest in the country and rivals the best sand in the world. Siesta Beach's cleanliness makes it one of the 10 best beaches for kids. Smoking is not allowed, which keeps the air fresh and that soft sand free of cigarette butts, and the equally clean, clear blue water is very warm for swimming. There is also a playground for the younger kids and beach volleyball courts on the sand for the older kids to enjoy. Shaded picnic areas and a quintessential beach town bring everything full (family) circle. Be sure to stop by Big Olaf’s Creamery for a cone or a float on a hot day.
Kid-Friendly Fun: Buy fresh ice cream on the beach from roving “helado” men.
If you’re looking for a tropical paradise that is also kid-friendly, it is hard to beat Luquillo Beach in Puerto Rico. The sand is baby-powder soft and the water is shallow, warm, and so clear you can see the bottom even when up to your waist. Kiosks lining the beach sell all kinds of delicious treats, but keep an eye out for the “helado man” canvassing the beach with fresh coconut or pineapple ice cream the kids will adore. There are lifeguards on duty and it's quieter than many other Puerto Rico beaches, making it perfect for kids, but arrive early in the day if you want a shady spot under one of the palm trees.
Kid-Friendly Fun: Soft sand and shallow, calm, crystal waters – within easy sight of relaxed parents.
Soft white sand extends into shallow waters on this beautiful beach near Cancun. Adults can easily wade a hundred yards into the water and barely be at waist height, so kids can play safely in the water without fear of sudden drops.
Many of the beach restaurants will provide you with free beach chairs and umbrellas if you make it known you plan spending the day there and purchasing food and drinks from them – not a bad way to enjoy the beach with a clear view of your kids building sand castles and swimming in the warm clear water. This isn’t in the party-crowd part of Cancun either, making it a good bet for families.
Kid-Friendly Fun: Biking along the beach, eating food off a Frisbee.
This is the quintessential family beach in the quintessential family beach destination, Cape Cod. Coast Guard is often quieter than some other beaches, and it's filled with wildlife that kids will love, something that crowds and development have driven away from some other Cape beaches.
Young kids will think the tram ride from the parking lot to the beach is cool, and it’s included in the parking fee. The water is a bit cool compared to beaches further south, though it very refreshing after some sun time and the sand is perfect for castle building. Kids can ride miles of bike trails along the shore. The nearby town of Eastham has plenty of good eats, and kids will be amused when they are served their meal on a Frisbee at local favorite Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar .
Kid-Friendly Fun: Climbing the dunes and laughing at mom and dad from the top – then running and rolling down.
It’s not the ocean, but you will think you are in Cape Cod when you see the miles of shifting sand dunes and glistening waters. The beach is pristine and quiet, and since it’s Lake Michigan you don’t have to worry about riptides or heavy surf. Save the dune climb as a separate adventure and not an access point to the beach – there are easier places to reach the lakeshore and you won’t want to lug your gear over those dunes. The kids will have a blast climbing and running up and over the dunes as well as swimming in the cool water. Take the scenic drive before you settle in at the beach; the views are not to be missed and you might be too tired at the end of the day.
Kid-Friendly Fun: Kite-flying on miles of uncrowded sand.
Although the Oregon coast is rugged, there is plenty of fun for kids at Cannon Beach, which sits in the shadow of Haystack Rock. The beach is sandy and rarely crowded, and if you move just a bit away from the staircases you’ll find lots of space. Cannon Beach is a favorite for kite flying and sandcastle building. Haystack Rock can be climbed when the tide is out, but only to the barnacle line, after which it’s protected for wildlife. If your beach vacation ideal is more exploring and less lying in the sun, Cannon Beach is a great pick. Arcades and ice cream parlors dot the friendly town. Go later in the summer when the weather is sunnier and warmer.
Kid-Friendly Fun: The boardwalk is dotted with ice cream stands and arcades for classic beachfront fun.
If a boardwalk with old-school arcades is a part of your dream of the perfect beach, Rehoboth has what you’re seeking. The boardwalk is full of beach-town charm, but it’s small enough to feel comfortable for families. The beach is clean and sandy, the lifeguards are on duty and the restrooms are impressively clean. Don’t miss Dolly’s Taffy on the boardwalk, it’s well worth the extra toothbrush time later. This is the beach vacation that nostalgic memories are made of.
The 10 best beaches for kids all offer safety features, fun for the younger set and relaxation for the grown-ups too. After all, the kids can’t go on vacation without you, so choosing a place where you'll have fun or relax with the kids is key to the perfect family beach getaway.