Families planning their next beach holiday have a wide variety of destinations to choose from, whether looking for an inexpensive family vacation spot or the ultimate tropical vacation. There are many great options in the US, from the Outer Banks on the continent’s East Coast to the shores of Hawaii.
Those looking for a truly exotic beach vacation can venture to the distant islands of Thailand or Fiji, or enjoy an unforgettable time on the Greek island of Corfu.
The best family beach destinations are those with plenty of things to do beyond the shoreline, from amusements for younger kids to activities for teens.
For the top places to visit, read our list of best family beach vacations.\
San Diego, California
There are so many things that make San Diego one of the best places to visit with kids, and its 70 miles of beautiful beaches have a lot to do with that. The most popular family beach is Pacific Beach, also known as The Strand. Visitors can find everything they need on this two-mile stretch of beach, from equipment rental shops to restaurants, as well as restrooms, lifeguards, and showers.
Belmont Park is a great option for those looking for a seaside amusement park, with rides ranging from kiddie-friendly to thrilling.
La Jolla Shores is another beach that’s popular with both tourists and local families, and it’s especially well-known as a great place to learn how to surf and SCUBA dive. Families can learn more about life beyond the beaches at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, home to a variety of species native to the Pacific Ocean, including a large coral reef aquarium.
San Diego’s Sea World has a variety of ocean life, including dolphins, sea lions, and orcas, as well as a range of rides and other aquatic-themed amusements.
Phuket Island, Thailand
For the ultimate tropical family vacation, head to Phuket Island, located off the western coast of southern Thailand. This is where you will find some of Thailand’s best beaches, from tourist-packed resort areas to smaller coves that can only be reached by boat.
The island’s biggest beach is Patong Beach, a lively place with many hotels to choose from and plenty of restaurants and shopping. Another hot spot is Nai Harn Beach, popular with families because of the good range of amenities within walking distance of the beach.
For a more peaceful place to spend the day snorkeling, take a short boat ride from Patong to Freedom Beach, one of the island’s rarer unspoiled beaches.
One of the most famous beach resorts in the world and one of Hawaii’s top-rated beaches, Waikiki is a perfect family holiday beach destination located in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Waikiki consists of several beaches that sit along the southern shore of the island of O’ahu in the heart of Honolulu, home to major tourist attractions like Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri Battleship, as well as natural attractions like Diamond Head State Monument.
Nearly all the beaches in Waikiki are great for families, and many of them are considered an excellent spot to learn how to surf thanks to gentle waves. There are plenty of rental shops where you can find boards and other water sports equipment.
For an unforgettable experience, plan a visit to Hanauma Bay, where the family can learn about the fragile reef ecosystem and then snorkel in the shallow, protected waters of the unique volcanic bay.
Nassau is one of the best-known islands in The Bahamas, both a popular cruise ship port and resort destination. Nassau’s Paradise Island is home to the biggest resorts, as well as a great shopping and dining complex, Marina Village. No matter where you stay, tourists can visit many of the attractions on the grounds of the bigger hotels, like the Versailles Gardens and French Cloister.
The Royal at Atlantis is the ideal place to stay in Nassau with kids, serving not only as a full-service resort but also as a theme park. Designed to capture the magic and grandeur of the lost city of Atlantis, this huge resort has on-site family entertainment; a water park; and an impressive marine habitat, which includes dolphins and other favorites.