20+ Fantastic East Coast beaches for families for a perfect vacation

clearwater beach Florida

A handpicked selection with 20 of the best East Coast beaches for families perfect for a family getaway with kids.

If you are dreaming of a perfect family beach holiday on the East Coast, you are in the right place!

We love going to the US for our vacations and time on the beach is always a priority for our kids so today, we are going to share out top pick of family-friendly beaches on the East Coast that we believe are perfect for a sea and sun family vacation!

We have chosen a variety of beaches, that we trust will cater to all your family’s needs.

Some have the most exceptional resorts filled with lots of activities for everyone and others are quieter and perfect for a more tranquil vacation

This is our selection of the best East Coast family beaches.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

20 of the best East Coast beaches for families map

Best East Coast beaches for families with kids: our top 21 beaches for kids

Clearwater Beach, Florida

Gulf of Mexico’s Clearwater Beach one of the finest beaches on the East Coast and it is perfect for families with kids.

clearwater beach Florida

This gorgeous beach has miles of sand to run around and build sandcastles and is lined with resorts that offer a variety of family-friendly activities that will be a blast for the whole family.

Here, you can take strolls along the pier, play in the fabulous beach playground, take wildlife tours and more adventurous kids can go jet skiing and parasailing.

With so much to see and do, it is not hard to see why it is considered one of the best if not the very best family beach in Florida!

Another thing that makes Clearwater Beach in Florida such a great place for a family vacation?

The sunsets are breathtaking, the atmosphere is just right for that mix of family fun and relaxation that makes a perfect family beach destination and you are less than 2hours away from kid-heaven: Orlando!

Stay with the kids at the pleasant Island Key family hotel, minutes from the beach, or splash out with a stay at the kid-friendly Wyndham Grand.

Panama City Beach, Florida – best panhandle beach for families with kids

If a trip to the ‘world’s most beautiful beach’ is on your bucket list, then Panama City Beach is the East Coast resort for you and your family.

With miles and miles of white sand welcoming you and your kids, Panama City Beach regularly makes the list of the best panhandle beaches for families and you are sure to have a great time here

Many things make Panama City Beach in Florida such a great place for a family vacation.

As well as playing on the sand, here you can take a sea fishing charter, try your hand at Geocaching, try the Panama City Beach Escape Rooms and you can spend time snorkeling in the calm waters of the Gulf, which are simply perfect for beginner swimmers.

The beach is surrounded by numerous family-friendly restaurants and festivals, making it one of the most family-friendly beaches on the East Coast.

Panama City Beach is one of Florida’s best beaches for families and if you go there for your next beach vacation, you will definitely see why it is considered one of the best beaches in America!

Amelia Island, Florida – Fantastic family beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast

Amelia Island is one of the best family beaches on Florida’s Atlantic coast and a perfect East Coast family beach getaway.

It is on the northernmost stretch of the Florida coast and has a lot to offer to families.

The beaches of course, with white and compact sand (fun fact: in some areas, 4×4 can drive on the beach here, fun to see!), but there are also fun activities off the sand.

In Amelia Island kids can explore Fort Clinch State Park, a historic fort that also has bike trails and hiking opportunities and you have plenty of options to go kayaking on Florida’s calm waters, perfect for active kids!

Naples, Florida

Naples is another wonderful beach vacation destination for families in Florida and regularly ranks as having some of the top beaches in the USA!

Naples Florida marina at sunset

It is hard to overstate how family-friendly Naples beaches are.

Here, you have the wonderfully clear waters of Florida, soft, clean, glorious sand and tons of family activities for toddlers and older kids.

Some of the most family-friendly attractions in Naples are the Su-n-fun lagoon (waterpark), the children’s museum, the swamp sanctuary and the fun mini-golf courses.

If your kids love to be on the water and boats, Naples is also perfect for them as here you can rent canoes and kayaks and you can also join boat tours to the area, including to the incredible Everglades, only a short car ride from here!

Cocoa Beach, Florida – great East Coast beach for kids who want to learn to surf

Cocoa beach is one of the best beaches in Florida for kids who want to learn to surf since the waves are perfect for beginners.

In terms of beaches, Cocoa Beach has the wonderful sand and waters you expect from a family beach vacation in Florida but it also has something more: the proximity to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.

Family attractions in Cocoa beach include the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, the fabulous pier and miniature golf – perfect space coast destination for families with kids!

Stay with the kids at then family-friendly Best Western Cocoa Beach for a beachfront location

Bethany Beach, Delaware

If you are looking for a quiet resort vacation for families on the East Coast, then you will love Bethany Beach, one of the best family beaches in Delaware.

Bethany Beach Delaware with houses along the sandy shore

This is the perfect family resort to take off your shoes and dig your toes into the most beautiful sands that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean’s shoreline, and relax!

Bethany Beach in Delaware has clean and well-maintained beaches and a warm, welcoming small-town vibe which your family is sure to love.

If you want to avoid the noise and bustle of a busy resort and relax in a peaceful location, this is the place to go.

Cape Henlopen, Delaware

One of the best family beaches in Delaware to escape the crowds and engage the beautiful nature of the east Coast is Cape Henlopen.

Cape Henlopen is a state reserve and is wonderful for a family beach getaway but also for hiking, crabbing, cycling, going paddle boarding and kayaking.

Depending on where in the park you are, you can choose between calmer waters or more open sea, which makes this area perfect for kids of all ages.

Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City is one of the best beaches for families in Maryland and a very popular one.

The beach here is long and vast, full of restaurants, shops and play areas for the kids.

An amusement park takes care of making happy ride-loving kids and there are plenty of activities such as jet skiing and deep-sea fishing that will keep the kids well entertained.

Basically, if you are looking for an east coast beach vacation with things to do as well as lovely beaches for a relaxing day, this can be just the place!

Ocean City Beach, New Jersey

Ocean City Beach NJ is one of the most popular family beaches on the East Coast and is perfect if you are looking for a family beach vacation packed with fun activities for the kids.

This breath-taking beach is lined with fun shops that sell unique crafts and souvenirs and boasts lots of restaurants that serve delicious intercontinental and exotic meals that are great for both adults and kids.

There are tons of family-friendly activities like crabbing, kayaking (a favorite summer activity), or even kite-flying and Ocean City Beach also has two amusement parks and two Ferris Wheels which kids absolutely love!

The water park is perfect for families, and there is a Music Pier where several concerts, pageantries, and shows happen regularly.

This is a great place for families with kids and teens who are sure to find plenty to be busy with!

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Outer Banks has some of the beach beastes in North Carolina for families, and if you see its location it is easy to see why!

Long sandy beaches are the star of the show here, where kids can spend endless hours swimming, sandcastle building, kite flying: Duck and Corolla are some of the best East Coast beaches for families in the entire country.

Outer banks has lots of activities for families even off the sand.

The Aquarium is a kids favorite, Roanoke Island Festival Park is a cool family interactive attraction about the first settlement in the area and climbing to the top of Bodie Island lighthouse is a must-do.

The area is also packed with nice family hotels and lots of family-friendly restaurants, for a great vacation with no cooking needed!

Sat at the Hilton Garden Inn at Kitty Hawk for family rooms with ocean views.

Topsail Island, North Carolina

Topsail Island in North Carolina is a fantastic family beach on the East Coast boasting over 20 miles of sandy shores.

Topsail Beach is perfect for families because of its small-town feel and the lack of crowds, which can be intense in other areas.

Kids love it here because the beach is fantastic, the waters shallow in several areas, you can visit a cool turtle rehabilitation center, play on the pier and even visit USS North Carolina Battleship!

In terms of facilities, you have all you may need in terms of family-friendly restaurants and hotels.

Treat the kids to a stay right on the beach at Beachfront Oasis (vacation rental) for sun unforgettable beach vacation.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

If you want to enjoy some time on the beach and ride one of the country’s most prominent Ferris wheels, Myrtle beach is the place to go!

Myrtle beach boardwalk leading to the sand with orange umbrella in the distance

As well as many miles of wonderful sandy beach, Myrtle Beach offers a lot of family-fun activities like an amusement park and a prominent sky wheel plus kids favorite attractions such as Go Ape Ziplining.

There is an adventure park along Myrtle Beach with ziplines and Tarzan swings and rope courses.

These all have different levels ranging from moderate to extreme so you can pick the one you and the kids feel most comfortable with.

This thrilling tree-top adventure is perfect for tweens and teenagers and one of the many things that make Myrtle Beach one of the top-rated beach vacation destinations for families in the US.

Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Myrtle Beach for a family-friendly stay on the beachfront

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island is a very popular East Coast beach vacation spot for families and one of the most kid-friendly beaches in South Carolina.

Hilton Head Island is packed with activities for kids big and small. The beach is wonderful for kids, with wonderful sand for running around, splashing and play in the sun.

The beach here is white, soft and clean and the waters are delightfully warm!

When the kids are tired of playing under, you can go to the Sandbox children’s museum or the Coastal Discovery Museum (fun and educational).

For days when you want to get active, you can rent bikes or go horse riding in the nearby nature reserve or you can even join a pirate cruise, which is sure to be exciting for little ones!

If you are looking for a relaxing, laid-back family beach vacation on the East Coast with little kids, this is one of the best spots you can find.

Get a family apartment at Coral Sands Resort by Palmera or stay on the beachfront with a room at Marriot Hilton Head Resort and Spa

Tybee Island, Georgia

If you are looking for a fantastic family beach in Georgia perfect for toddlers, older kids and parents, then look no further than Tybee Island.

Located just 18 miles outside of Savannah, Georgia, this beach is a glorious location for families to unwind and have some fun.

It is one of the most family-friendly beaches on the East Coast, with several fun activities for both kids and adults.

Some fantastic activities your kids would love include climbing the tallest lighthouse in Georgia, feeding live alligators (don’t worry, they are caged, and the kids can feed them from a safe distance), learning how to surf and trying out several seafood delicacies.

Tybee is also considered one of the ‘most bike-friendly communities’ so bike-loving kids will have a blast discovering it on wheels (several place rent bikes for the day)

If you visit the beach around October, you can attend the Tybee Island Pirate Fest, when you get to wear a pirate costume and learn how to talk like a pirate. A fun idea for a fall family getaway!

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Another stunning East Coast beach vacation spot for families is Virginia beach, a large and super kid-friendly beach on the East Coast of the US perfect for kids of all ages.

pier at Virginia beach USA with binoculars pointing at the ocean

The beach here is long and sandy, there is a vast choice of accommodation and food places for all budgets and there are many activities that will keep entertained kids big and old!

Among the best things to do in Virginia Beach with kids you have: a lovely boardwalk for a family walk, scooting or biking, Grommet Island Park and its wonderful accessible playground, miniature golf courses, Ocean breeze water park and more beach than you can imagine!

In terms of family hotels and resorts, Virginia beach has tons of kid-friendly options and has the added advantage to be close to both Washington and Williamsburg, both great for kids.

If you are looking for an easy-to-reach, beautiful beach on the East Coast that is also close to interesting cities for sightseeing with kids and teens, Virginia Beach is simply perfect!

You can get a family suite a the Turtle Key Diamond Resort for a relaxing family stay.

Fire Island, New York

Fire Island is a wonderful family-friendly beach in New York State, with fantastic sand and a wonderful lighthouse that gives the place that quintessential East Coast charm.

The shoreline is protected and is perfect for families who want to enjoy nature and take in those beautiful windswept East Coast landscapes.

For kids, there is plenty of running around and sandcastle making to do, there are nice walks (stroller friendly), the lighthouse has an interactive museum and the proximity to New York and Long Island means you have an endless list of things to do a short ride away.

One of the most scenic beaches near new York and a fantastic family destination

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

If families who can vacation anywhere in the world choose Martha’s Vineyard for an East Coast family vacation, there must be a reason, right?

Indeed, Martha’s vineyard is simply perfect for an East Coast vacation with the kids.

Upscale and beautiful, the place comes to life in summer, when you can enjoy the many family-friendly beaches of the area.

Long Point beach is one of the best East Coast beaches for toddlers, thanks to its shallow waters and Menemsha Beach is lovely to play on its rocks and for catching a sunset (bring water shoes!)

In terms of activities, in Martha’s Vineyard, there are wildlife sanctuaries, a fun alpaca farm and an arts community center with programs for kids. Upscale, beautiful and fun, this is one of the best beach destinations in Massachusetts for families!

Nantucket, Massachusetts

If you are looking for a great beach getaway for families in Massachusetts, then you may also like Nantucket.

Full of historical charm, Nantucket is simply perfect for an East Coast beach getaway with the kids.

The beaches here are sandy and wonderful (aptly names Children beach has a playground and a grassy area for picnics), you have lifeguards on duty and plenty of facilities and restaurants for families.

Nantucket is famous for its excellent whale watching, which is always exciting for kids and adults, it has wonderful lighthouses, cool biking trails and beautiful night sky perfect for stargazing.

As well as things to do for kids, there is plenty to enjoy here for parents too: have a look at this excellent guide with the best things to do in Nantucket – you will want to go right now!

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport Rhode Island is another wonderful East Cast beach vacation destination for families with kids.

The town has something for everyone.

Here, you can take in miles of stunning coastal scenery, see historic Colonial and Progressive Era architecture, walk along bustling waterfront piers, and of course sink your toes into the sand of gorgeous beaches.

This is an upscale area with iconic mansions, lots of restaurants and shopping opportunities and in summer is a very popular seaside vacation spot for people from New England and beyond.

The Cliff Walk in Newport is a family-friendly trail that runs along the rocky cliffs of Newport, lovely to stretch your legs.

If you’re interested in history, this colonial town has the country’s oldest synagogue, and vast waterfront mansions designed by America’s wealthiest families during the Roaring Twenties sure to get a wow from the kids (mine are obsessed with beautiful homes, one of them wants to be an architect!)

Crescent Beach State Park, Maine

If you’re looking for more rustic, family-friendly beaches and family resorts on the East Coast, then Crescent Beach is the right spot.

Maine has some stunning coastal landscapes and is home to Acadia, one of the best National Parks on the East Coast for families and is simply perfect for nature lovers.

During the day, you can enjoy the beach or get to the water renting paddleboards or booking a sea kayaking tour for you and your family.

At night, the tremendously dark sky at Crescent Beach State Park allows for excellent stargazing (bring your kids’ telescope, this is where portable ones get into their own!).

This beautiful family holiday beach is the perfect haven for nature lovers. It features pristine oceanfront beaches, cool wooded areas and unique saltwater coves, absolutely perfect for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life!

Old Orchard, Maine

Another wonderful and quaint beach vacation spot for families in Maine is the delightful Old Orchard.

Quiet in winter, this historic town gets popular in summer thanks to its stunning long sandy beach and its wonderful pier, simply perfect for a family stroll!

There are plenty of thigns to do in Old Orchard for kids.

As well s the beach and pier, small kids will love Palace Playland, the only beachfront Amusement park in New England, play crazy golf in Pirate island, and they can get active kayaking or paddleboarding.

A perfect East Coast beach getaway for kids and parents who love that stunning New England charm!

I hope you enjoyed this selection of great family beaches on the East Coast and it gave you ideas for your next family beach vacation. Safe travel planning!

Ready to pack? Don’t miss out on our family beach vacation packing list!

Best East Coast beaches for families: pin this!

Collage of 3 beaches on the east Coast with birds, lighthouse and tropical water with tent: 21 fantastic East Coast that are perfect for families with kids

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