The Best Beaches for a Family Vacation

Summer is the season for inshore adventure and the most anticipated trip for families annually is the beach vacation. Everyone from toddlers to grandparents can enjoy the ocean breezes, leisurely swimming, and fun activities. Walls replace the chaos of day-to-day life instantly, leaving everyone relaxed and rejuvenated. Here is a list of the top beaches for families to visit when planning their next beach vacation.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

The beach town of Gulf Shores, Alabama has so much more to offer than sand and shines. Here, the white sand beaches border 27 miles of untouched coasts, ensuring there will be plenty of room to make sandcastles and play in the surf. Nearby Waterville USA also offers family fun with its water slides, mini-golf, laser tag, and bumper boats. When not relaxing on the beach, families can enjoy some of the top family attractions in the south including Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, the Wharf, and Fort Morgan. Other kid-friendly options in town include the historic Fort Gaines, fishing charters, dolphin and eco-tours, and numerous wildlife reserves.

Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota, Florida has some of the best beaches in the state and offers the quintessential Florida beach vacation experience. Along with the white sand top Beaches, Sarasota also features an array of fun activities for the whole family. Spend a day at Siesta Key Beach, easily one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, or take a trip to the Siesta Key Marina for some guided fishing trips. Other family-friendly activities include kayaking on the Crystal River, taking a shelling tour on Turtle Beach, visiting the Big Cat Habitat, or enjoying a cup of frozen yogurt at the Lido Beach Food Court. Additionally, the nearby theme parks of Tampa and Orlando are convenient day trips for extra family fun.

Catalina Island, California

Catalina Island is a veritable paradise located just 26 miles off the Southern California coast. Families can relax on the stunning beaches, go glass bottom boat rides, hike the beautiful trails lining the island, or take part in the renowned zipline safari. Catalina Island also offers some of the best snorkeling in the region, with its crystal clear waters, abundant sea life and myriad of grottos and coves. Families can also explore the island’s amazing views from the sky in a helicopter ride or chartered boat tour. Lastly, Catalina Island is home to numerous kid-friendly festivals, events, theme parks, and attractions.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina stands out for its sheer variety of outdoor escapades and perfect relaxed atmosphere. Here families can enjoy a leisurely trip around the pool, build sandcastles directly on the beach, kayak and fish in the pristine waters of Calibogue Sound, or just relax and sunbathe on the 12 miles of uncrowded beaches. Nature trails line the coast where families can watch the diverse birdlife, play in the tide pools, and explore the island’s forests. Hilton Head Island is also the largest of the barrier islands and offers a big selection of luxury resorts, hotels, golf courses, and family activities.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach offers families a wealth of entertainment, both along and off the beach. Here, families can listen to live music throughout the city, watch surfers compete at the local tournaments, visit the iconic Boardwalk, or swim with dolphins at the Virginia Aquarium. Virginia Beach also offers fantastic educational programs with many interactive displays, all which can be found at the Virginia Beach Marine Science Center. Activities for kids include chartering a boat for fishing, day trips on the Chesapeake Bay, deep sea fishing at Rudee Inlet, and watching kiteboarders perform stunts off the coast.

South Padre Island, Texas

For a great beach vacation, families should check out South Padre Island, Texas. With 35 miles of unparalleled amenities, South Padre Island is a haven of activities: parasail rides, sunset cruises, horseback riding, deep sea fishing charters or hang out on Isla Blanca Park. South Padre Island is known for its expansive beach, making it a perfect place to splash in the surf and create sandcastles in the sand. The island’s calm waters draw in loads of migrating sea turtles making this one of the best places for beach-goers to view green and loggerhead sea turtles in their natural habitat and possibly even watch baby turtles hatch in the sand during the summer months.

Kapolei, Hawaii

Kapolei Beach, Hawaii is a great vacation destination for the family. Relax on the western shores of the island, where some of the clearest turquoise waters and welcoming lagoons can be found. Spend a day uncovering hidden coves through a kayak expedition, swim alongside dolphins and catch a glimpse of a breaching humpback whale, or take a sunset stroll on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Kids can also enjoy a thrilling ride on a banana boat, while the older kids can explore the numerous world-class surfing and windsurfing spots. Kapolei is also home to a plethora of theme parks, zoos, and nature reserves.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach draws thousands of tourists for its array of activities and entertainment. With 64 miles of beautiful beaches, families have several options to choose from. Myrtle Beach also offers an abundance of shops, restaurants, and amusement parks to keep visitors entertained. Families can also find theme parks like Legoland, arcades, waterparks, and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Myrtle Beach. Additionally, each night the Beach Boardwalk hosts the award-winning Children’s Pavilion, offering classic carnival attractions, a ferris wheel, and performances from local artists.

Beach vacations offer many fantastic activities for the entire family and give everyone a chance to unwind under the sun together. From the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama to the crystal clear waters of Kapolei, Hawaii, families have no shortage of choices when it comes to planning their beach vacation. Make sure to use this guide to find the perfect beach for your family, ensuring your time to create lasting memories and make unforgettable beach memories. There’s no better way to say goodbye to summer than with a beach vacation.