Large crowds and loud music are the kinds of things that can take a much-anticipated family vacation from a 5-star stay to a 1-star stay in no time. So, before booking your next family beach trip in the United States, make sure you research the destination or choose from these kid-friendly beach vacations.
Top 10 Kid-Friendly Beach Vacations in the United States
There are plenty of kid-friendly beach vacation options with THIRDHOME!
10. Assateague Island, Maryland
This sliver of oceanside paradise extends from Southern Delaware, through Maryland and all the way to Northern Virginia. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be focusing on the Maryland segment of Assateague Island National Seashore near Ocean City. The wild horses that roam the island are one of the main attractions for visitors. The horses are technically wild but are effectively tame. Just don’t feed them! Your kids will love swimming in the Atlantic, exploring Ocean City and taking pictures with the locals.
9. Clearwater Beach, Florida
Florida’s Gulf west-facing coast is filled with splendid beaches, many of which are great for kid-friendly beach vacations. But few Floridian beaches offer Clearwater’s level of kid-friendliness and number of activities. Clearwater has been voted “Best Beach Town in Florida” a number of times due to its cleanliness, safe and shallow waters, walkability and surrounding activities. City workers rake the sand every morning and local law enforcement patrol the beaches every day, leaving a safe and fine talcum powder-like grain behind for eager families to relax on. Your kids will love swimming in the crystal clear surf. They don’t call it “Clearwater” for nothing!
8. Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts
A longtime, Cape Cod favorite, Coast Guard Beach is the perfect Northeastern family getaway. You’ll find rolling dunes, marshlands and big waves at Coast Guard Beach. If you look close enough, you might also catch a sea lion swimming offshore. The beach also has historical significance. 65 days out from Plymouth, the Mayflower made its first landfall in the New World at Coast Guard Beach. If you’re a family that loves history, you won’t find a lack of it in Cape Cod.
7. Corolla Beach, North Carolina
The Outer Banks of North Carolina have always been a family-favorite beach destination. The long stretch of communities, that make up the Outer Banks, all have something different to offer. The town of Corolla, where Corolla Beach is located, is known for its seclusion and wealth of shopping and dining options. Take your family to the Center for Wildlife Education, the Kitty Hawk First Flight Museum or observe the majestic beauty of Corolla’s Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs that roam the shores. The beach itself is immaculately kept and less populated than other parts of the Outer Banks, making Corrola Beach the perfect destination for kid-friendly beach vacations.
6. Gulf State Park, Alabama
Alabama’s Gulf Shores boasts 3.5 miles of unspoiled white sand beaches. With that much space, it’s very easy to find a quiet secluded spot for your family. Plus, the Orange Beach area has plenty to offer children of all ages. The Wharf, one of Orange Beach’s busiest spots, offers unique shopping, entertainment and dining for your family. Gulf Shores is also home to the country’s largest artificial reef program, making it a wonderful destination for charter fishing. This area is very popular for kid-friendly beach vacations.
5. Hanalei Bay Beach, Hawaii
This nearly 3-mile long horseshoe beach is located on the northern coast of Kauai Island, amidst a picturesque mountain backdrop. Hanalei Bay is a well-kept secret and hasn’t been widely commercialized for tourists, making for a secluded old-school Hawaiian feel. You won’t find any large crowds or loud music in this turquoise blue gem. The intensity of the waves also changes depending on your location on the beach. The far-side, near the pier, offers weak waves for beginners. The closer you move to the middle, the larger the waves get. This beach is perfect for children learning how to surf or boogie board.
4. Hilton Head, South Carolina
The southern region of Hilton Head, near Coligny Beach, is the best beachfront for a quality day with the family. Although the popularity of Hilton Head might make this beach more crowded than others on this list, it’s easy to see why families flock back to Coligny Beach every year. The number of shopping and dining amenities in the area makes it so convenient! The beach also has fine white sand that is hard-packed for comfortable sitting and sunbathing. Shallow waters with flat sandy bottoms also make the beach safe for first-time swimmers.
3. Kailua Beach Park, Hawaii
This 2.5 miles beach on Oahu gives Hanalei Bay a run for its money. Located only 30 minutes from Honolulu, Kailua Beach is one of the most easily accessible beaches in Hawaii. The water is a clear turquoise blue like Hanalei Bay and the sand is equally as inviting. But calm waters and additional park amenities make this beach stand out. Beach showers, bathrooms, grills, kayak rentals, lifeguards and volleyball courts are available to visitors. This beach usually features a kid-friendly beach crowd and should be perfect for a family-friendly Hawaii holiday.
2. Kiawah Beachwalker Park
Just southwest of Charleston and two hours up the coast from Hilton Head is Kiawah Beachwalker Park. This well-kept park sits on the west end of Kiawah Island and includes a number of park amenities including drink vendors, picnic areas, restrooms and dressing areas. A cooperative of county commissions all pitch in to make sure that Kiawah Beachwalker Park is as clean as possible for visitors. A gentle surf and a large number of accumulated tide pools make Kiawah Beachwalker Park a perfect place for first-time swimmers. If you value solitude, beautiful sunsets, and miles of uninterrupted beachfront, Kiawah Island might be the place for you!
1. Menemsha Beach, Martha’s Vineyard
Named Travel + Leisure‘s Best Sunset in Massachusetts, Menemsha Beach is a must-visit for anyone staying in Martha’s Vineyard. This small secluded beach has a sleepy New England feel and is close to some of the island’s best seafood vendors. The calm surf and amenities provided at Menemsha Harbor make this beach very popular with parents of young children. The beach faces the Vineyard Sound rather than the Atlantic Ocean, making it a calmer experience than other beaches on Elizabeth Island.
Destinations for kid-friendly beach vacations aren’t limited to just our top 10 picks. Check out this bonus location below!
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Once Known as the “Nation’s Summer Capital,” Rehoboth Beach was once known as a beach getaway for Washington D.C. locals. It has now grown into the largest beach resort town in Delaware. This small Victorian-style beach town knows how to cater to families. Throughout the summer, the city puts on a number of recreational activities for families including arts & crafts days, children’s entertainment at the bandstand and ocean education activities. If you want an all-American boardwalk, salt water taffy, small-town style holiday, Rehoboth Beach might be the destination for you.