22 fantastic family beach vacations in the US you and your kids will love

family of 4 on white beach walking away from the camera

A handpicked selection of fantastic family beach vacations in the US for families with kids of all ages. Beach family beach vacation spots on the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest and the South for a perfect family sea and sun holiday.

Our friends make fun of us for always flying all the way from Europe to the US for a family beach vacation but seriously: after we had our first sun holiday in the US with the kids, we are simply in love with US family beaches!

Large expanses of beautiful sand, more facilities you can ever ask for, tons of entertainment options for kids – US beach vacation spots are simply perfect for a family like ours and the choice is vast!

So vast in fact that the question is legitimate: what are the best family beach vacation spots in the US?

Here, I share a selection of fantastic beaches for families on the West Coast, family beach vacations on the East Coast and more!

This is a list of great US beaches for families to inspire you: always abide by current regulations and travel restrictions and plan responsibly.

Best family beach vacation destinations in the US map: our tops picks

How we picked the best US beaches for this list

To make this list of best US family beaches, we looked at beaches that are/ have:

  • Large sandy beaches perfect for kids to run around, make sandcastles, swim and splash
  • Kid-friendly waters, gentle waves and not overly dangerous currents (but always check conditions for the days you are there!)
  • Good family accommodation options
  • Family-friendly town vibes
  • Children activities
  • Easy to reach thanks to the presence of large airports of big cities nearby

Infinite and immortal, the waters of the beaches that are the beginning and the end of all things on earth – Heinrich Zimmer

Find more quotes about the beach here

Beast family beaches in Hawaii: Oahu, HI

A list of the best beaches in the US for families can only start with Hawaii beaches, among the most scenic in the country.

Pahu beach with flowers in foreground

But what is the best beach in Hawaii for families?

Or maybe better: what Hawaii island is best for families with kids?

We believe Oahu is just perfect as the choice of beaches here is vast and let’s be honest – once you come to Hawaii, why see only one beach if you can explore?

Some you want to check out are Waikiki, one of the most famous Hawaii beaches of all, Ko’Olina, one of the best beaches for small kids in Hawaii, Waimea Bay and Lanikai Beach.

As well as the beach, Oahu also offers terrific opportunities for hiking, waterfall exploring and watersports Hawaii is famous for.

It is also a fantastic place to enjoy Hawaiian food, which has specialties the whole family is sure to love!

Best US family beaches on the West Coast – California

The West Coast is our first love when it comes to US beaches. California is a place of the heart for us and our kids adore it too – these are our tops picks for a family beach vacation in California!

Carlsbad Beach with kids, CA

Carlsbad is an exceptional West Coast destination for families looking for a beach vacation with quintessential Southern California feel.

One of the best family beaches in San Diego, it has a lovely, relaxed, laid-back feel of the quintessential seaside town but packs an absolute punch when it comes to keeping the kids happy, and the parents!

The town has miles and miles of clean and beautiful sandy beaches, many family-friendly restaurants, plenty of family-friendly hotels, resorts and rentals – so if you are looking for an easy and well-equipped US beach town, you cannot go wrong here!

In terms of entertainment, the beach is lovely and fun for kids and you also have here the Carlsbad lagoon which is fantastic for water sports (think paddleboarding and boating) and you also have Legoland and Legoland water parks, which are kids’ heaven!

On top of this, Carlsbad is close to San Diego and all its excellent family attractions – you can reach it by car or, more fun, by train!

If you are looking for a US beach vacation that does not require a car and with the option of trips into a big city, Carlsbad is simply ideal.

One of our favorite places in Southern California for kids.

What makes Carlsbad a perfect destination for a family beach vacation. Find our complete guide to planning a family vacation in Carlsbad here.

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Village atmosphere: yes
  • Something special: Legoland and Legoland water park, Carlsbad lagoon for watersports
  • What to see nearby: San Diego, Coronado, La Jolla, Disneyland (1h by car)

Top Tip! Carlsbad has lovely family hotels with great locations and facilities for kids. Check options and prices here.

La Jolla, CA

Another fantastic beach destination for families on the West Coast is beautiful La Jolla.

La Jolla beach at sunset

La Jolla is a scenic, upscale enclave close to San Diego and is an absolute delight to visit with kids thanks to many family-friendly beaches and family activities.

If you want to just go to the beach and relax or play watersports, you can choose between the many kid-friendly beaches of the area such as La Jolla shores and La Jolla cove.

If your kids love marine life, they can play in the tide pools or explore the fantastic Birch Aquarium at Scripps and one the right season, they can even be able to see the seals right on the town shore!

For those days when you just want to stay outside but not get on the sand, you can rest on the green under the Lorax Tree (Did you know that Dr Suss lived in La Jolla?) and for days when you feel more active, you can head down to San Diego and tap into all the wonderful entertainment options the city has to offer.

if you are looking for a stunning upscale destination for a west coast beach vacation, la Jolla is simply ideal.

You can find our essential guide to La Jolla with kids here.

What makes La Jolla a perfect destination for a family beach vacation:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Village atmosphere: yes
  • Something special for the kids: Lorax Tree, puppy seals, Aquarium
  • What to see nearby: San Diego, Coronado, Disneyland (1.5h by car)

Top Tip: find family friendly hotels and beach rentals in La Jolla here.

Hermosa Beach, LA

Hermosa Beach is a beautiful beach city in South Bay, Los Angeles and one of the best places in Southern California for kids, from all points of view!

hermosa beach pier, california

Blessed with an incredible sandy beach that goes on for miles, the city has a lovely and walkable center with nice green areas and tons of shops and restaurants, a lovely promenade for walking and scooting and of course a stunning beach, a sandy piece of heaven that seems to never end.

We adore Hermosa as it has something for everyone.

Our kids loved the beach and the playground, we adults adored the many family-friendly restaurants (isn’t it nice when you don’t need to compromise between parent taste and kid-friendliness?) and all of us adored the proximity to LA.

If you feel like going into the big city, from Hermosa you can easily tap into all the things LA has for kids and if you don’t and want to just relax, Hermosa has more than enough for you to do just that!

Hands down, one of the best beach vacation destinations for families in the US (and, dare I say, it, the world!)

What makes Hermosa Beach one of our favorite family beaches in LA and a perfect destination for a family beach vacation:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Village atmosphere: yes
  • Something special: LA and Disneyland are on your doorstep!
  • What to see nearby: Disneyland, LA

Top Tip: Hermosa Beach has lovely family rentals and kid-friendly hotels close to the beach and all the town amenities. Find them here.

Santa Monica, CA

Another fantastic beach city in the LA area for families is Santa Monica, which is absolutely wonderful for kids!

The city has all you need for a family vacation and strikes a great balance between entertainment options and just beach time!

If you want lazy days on the beach, you have miles and miles and miles of it here, all sandy and soft.

The water is colder than farther South but still ok to swim and perfect for bodyboarding and surfing in the hot season and the town has plenty on offer for kids even when you want to stay away from the sand.

The Santa Monica pier is world-famous for its fantastic amusement park and the city has a lovely pedestrian area with lots of shops and family-friendly restaurants, cinemas etc.

Los Angeles and all it has to offer is on your doorstep and when yo feel like a change of scenery, you can easily go to Venice Beach or Malibu, very different from each other but both worth seeing.

Find here our >>> Guide to visiting Santa Monica with kids <<<

What makes Santa Monica a perfect destination for a family beach vacation and on of the best US family beaches:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Village atmosphere: yes
  • Something special: Santa Monica Pier
  • What to see nearby: LA, Disneyland, Malibu, Venice Beach

Top Tip: Santa Monica has a huge selection of family-friendly hotels and rentals, many right on the beach and with good kids’ facilities. Find family hotels in Santa Monica here.

Laguna Beach, CA

Another fantastic beach destination in Southern California with a lot on offer for kids and adults is Laguna Beach.

Find here our >>> Full guide for visiting Laguna Beach with kids <<<

There, the coast has small, picturesque coves rather than large expanses of sand but it is nonetheless lovely for kids and this is perfect if you want a beach vacation with a bit of variety.

Crystal Cove Crescent Bay and Laguna main beach are lovely for your days in the sun and the town has a charming historical district and an artsy, upscale feel that is lovely for kids and parents.

Laguna is also a lovely place for spotting marine wildlife thanks to the several whale and dolphin tours available and the presence of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

What makes Laguna Beach a perfect destination for a family beach vacation:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Village atmosphere: yes
  • Something special: Laguna beach pirate tower
  • What to see nearby: Los Angeles, all the beaches of Orange Country, Disneyland

Santa Cruz, Ca

Farther north, closer to San Francisco, you find lovely Santa Cruz, a surfers paradise and another great West Coast beach for families with kids!

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

The water here is much colder than in southern California but the beach is stunning and the town has something kids simply adore: a boardwalk with one of the coolest amusement parks!

For those days when the water is not in the cards, Santa Cruz also offers plenty of children’s entertainment: cool places for kids are the Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and tons and tons of ice cream places and restaurants that will make parents and kids happy.

If you are looking for a beach vacation destination in California without excessive heat, this is just the place!

We think it is one of the best destinations for a family getaway in Northern California.

What makes Santa Cruz a perfect destination for a family beach vacation:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Village atmosphere: yes
  • Something special: a fun boardwalk with an amusement park
  • What to see nearby: San Francisco, Monterey and its fabulous Aquarium, Pacific Highway 1 and its stunning scenery

Top tip: The area of Santa Cruz is one of our favorite places for a weekend getaway in Northern California with family.

Coronado, CA – for us, best beach for toddlers in the US!

If you are looking for a great US beach for toddlers, then look no further than Coronado!

Coronado island is all wonderful for families.

Flat, stroller friendly, safe, with super facilities and with the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, the beach is large and sandy, safe and simply perfect for babies and toddlers and their parents!

You can find our full guide to visiting Coronado with kids here.

Coronado beach and hotel USA

Best beaches for families in the South East

The East Coast has incredible beaches for families and so varied, you are sure to find one you love, whatever your travel style and the of your kids!

Naples, FL

Naples Florida is the favorite beach destination of my brother-in-law and his family who regularly goes there with 3 kids ranging from baby to pre-teen!

It is easy to see why: located on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida, Naples beaches are sandy, long, with gentle waves and those crystal water the scream ‘ vacation’ as soon as you spot them from the plane window!

As well as family-friendly beaches, Naples has nice kid-friendly attractions including playgrounds, Naples Zoo and Caribbean garden, Mini golf, Aquarium, and the Everglades National Park is only a short car ride away.

If this is not a great beach vacation for families, I don’t know what is! What makes it special.

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Village atmosphere: yes
  • Something special: gentle waves, tons of kids activities
  • What to see nearby: Everglades National Park

Top Tip: Naples has lovely family-friendly resorts, hotels and rentals for all your family needs. Find them here.

Clearwater Beach, FL

If you are looking at a family beach vacation to rest after days of playing in Orlando, then Clearwater is the destination for you.

Large family friendly beach Clerwater Florida USA

Located in the Tampa area and super convenient to reach, Clearwater is regularly listed as one of the best family beaches in Florida and it is easy to see why.

Clearwater has white, sandy beaches, gentle waves and lots of nice family hotels and resorts as well as many activities for kids to choose from.

Pier 60 always has fun performances, there is a wonderful Aquarium and there are more tours and water activities that you can pack in a week’s vacation!

Do you have kids who love jet skis, dolphin tours or you want to try swim with manatees? Here, you can!

Things that make Clearwater a great spot for a beach vacation in Florida with kids are:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Something special: gentle waves, tons of water activities for kids
  • What to see nearby: Walt Disney World (4 Theme Parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios), Universal Orlando (2 Theme Parks; Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure), Legoland.

Top Tip: Clearwater beach has a variety of accommodation options for families. Find them here.

Panama City Beach, Florida – best Florida Panhandle beach for families

Ask for the best Florida Panhandle beach for families and you will hear an almost unanimous answer: Panama City Beach!

Scenic view of the coastline of Panama City Beach in Panama City, Florida

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 white 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!

Tybee Island – Fab for a family beach vacation in 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 US 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!

Find family hotels and rentals in Tybee Island here.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach always makes the list of best US beaches for families on the East Coast and with good reason!

Myrtle beach with family under orange umbrellas, USA

As well being one of the best beaches in South Carolina, with endless sand to play on, Myrtle Beach has a ferry wheel, crazy golf, ziplining and treetop adventure, the fun Family Kingdom Amusement park, arcade fun on the famous city boardwalk and Broadway at the Beach entertainment complex!

Basically, if you are looking for a family beach destination with things to do and entertainment for the kids, this is the perfect place: the children will not get bored here!

In Myrtle Beach you have:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Something special: fun boardwalk and amusement parks

Top Tip: find family hotels and rentals in Myrtle Beach here and book early: Myrtle beach is very popular!

Hilton Head, SC

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

Hilton Head Island is packed with activities for kids big and small.

The beach is terrific 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 the sun, you can go to the Sandbox interactive 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.

Top Tip: find family accommodation in Hilton Head here. There is plenty of choices but it books out fast!

Outer Banks, NC

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!

Outer Banks beach North Carolina

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.

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

Topsail Beach, NC

Topsail Island in North Carolina is a fantastic family beach in north Carolina 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, hotels and vacation rentals for sun unforgettable beach vacation. Look at this one for instance: isn’t is wonderful?

Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia beach is a large and super kid-friendly beach on the East Coast of the US perfect for kids of all ages.

Viewing binoculars in Virginia beach USA


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 Virginia beach you find:

  • Family-friendly beaches: yes
  • Family hotels and resorts: yes, a large choice of hotels rentals and resorts for families
  • Something special: water park, mini-golf, wonderful boardwalk
  • What to see nearby: Washington DAC, Colonial Williamsburg

Top Tip: find family hotels and rentals on Virginia Beach here

I hope you enjoyed this selection of fantastic beach vacation spots in the US and it helped you plan your family vacation in the sun!

Fire Island, New York

Fire Island is a scenic 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 beautiful 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!

Find family-friendly accommodation on Fire Island here

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

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

Martha's Vineyard seen from the water

Indeed, Martha’s vineyard is simply perfect for US beach 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 US 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!

Find family rentals and hotels on Martha’s Vineyard here

Nantucket, Massachusetts

If you are looking for a great beach getaway for families in Massachusetts, then you should also consider beautiful Nantucket.

Nantucket beach and lighthouse

Full of historical charm, Nantucket is simply perfect for a family beach getaway with the kids.

The beaches here are sandy and scenic (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 evocative lighthouses, cool biking trails and a beautiful night sky perfect for stargazing.

Find family accommodation in Nantucket here.

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport Rhode Island is another beautiful domestic 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!).

Find family accommodation in Newport Rhode Island here.

Old Orchard, Maine

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

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!

Find family accommodation in Old Orchard here

Silver Beach St Joseph, Michigan

When looking for a family beach vacation in the US, the attention tents to go to California beaches and East Coast beaches however, there are also wondeful family beaches in the Midwest!

A wonderful family beach in Michigan is Silver beach in St Joseph. Often recognised as one of the best beaches for kids in the USA, this is a busy vacation spot in the Midwest with plenty to do for kids.

The beach itself is lovely, perfect for swimming and sandcastle making the town also has a fun splash pad and indoor activities such as Curious Kids Museum and fantastic shops and restaurants for that pizza and sweet treats that make a beach holiday so special!

I hope you enjoyed this selection of great family beach vacation destinations in the US and it gave you ideas for a fantastic beach vacation with the kids!

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