To many, beaches are synonymous with summer. Packing sunscreen, beach chairs, and a cooler full of snacks is a ritual that leads to fun in the sun, romping in the waves, and searches for seashells. If you are looking to travel to a family-friendly beach in the U.S. this summer, then you are in luck as there are many states with beautiful beaches, perfect for a family getaway. Here are some of our favorite beaches that have family fun and activities built in!
Laguna Beach, California
Laguna Beach is a coastal city in California whose beaches are popular during the summer with average temperatures in the upper 70’s/low 80’s. The coastline consists of over thirty beaches and coves, all of which are part of a protected ecosystem. Check out 1,000 Steps Beach, a picturesque beach where you can spot sea lions and go kayaking. Historic Victoria Beach and stunning Treasure Island Beach boost the perfect waves for boogie boarding along with pristine views of golden cliffs and multimillion-dollar houses. There’s also a range of tours for those wanting to see more of Laguna Beach, including kayaking, e-bikes, trolly rides, and whale & dolphin watching experiences. Looking for a place to stay in Laguna Beach that’s both family-friendly and luxurious? Check out Montage Laguna Beach.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
Just a 2-hour drive from New Orleans, Grand Isle is home to only 1,600 residents. During the summer months, it is a prime vacation destination. When packing, don’t forget your fishing pole and birding binoculars because this island is famous for its fishing and wildlife. Start your journey at Grand Isle State Park and walk the Grand Isle Nature Trail which features five bird watching spots. The fishing options are endless, as Grand Isle has over 280 species of fish, and you can catch them from any spot on or off the island! If you like being on the water, then Grand Isle is the place for you to kayak, paddleboard, and even surf. You can rent a surfboard and take lessons from Pontcha Surf Club, go paddleboarding with Calypso Paddle Company or try kiteboarding if you’re looking for something more extreme. This family-friendly beach also allows you to pitch a tent right on the sand where the scent of the sea salt air and waves washing ashore will lull you to sleep. Want to book a beach cottage for your stay? Look into Blue Dolphin Inn & Cottages.
St. Simons Island, Georgia
If you want a of taste of old Southern tradition, head to St. Simons Island. This historic island is like taking a trip back in time. As one of four islands that make up Georgia's Golden Isles, St. Simons is known for the centuries-old moss-draped oak trees, historical landmarks, white-sand beaches, and 99 holes of golf. Cars are allowed on the island, but the leisurely pace of life here will make you want ditch anything with a motor. St. Simons is a nature-lovers paradise with activities such as dolphin tours, canoeing, kayaking, trolly tours, and much more. We recommend renting a beach cruiser and pedaling the 14 miles along the beaches, plantations, the lighthouse, and Christ Church which was originally built in 1820. There are plenty of stops along the way to admire the scenery, and during the summer months, you’ll find a wide variety of activities including kids’ camps, horseback riding, live entertainment, and water parks! There will be no problem keeping the kids entertained.
Looking for lodging? Check out The Inn at Sea Island.
Destin is a family-friendly destination with impressive beaches including Henderson Beach State Park which boasts striking white sands, boat tours, pirate-themed cruises, and dolphin watching tours. From the boardwalk, you can embark on a number of different watersport adventures, including parasailing and jet-skiing excursions, and even rent your own paddleboards and kayaks. The boardwalk stretches about a quarter mile along the waterfront and offers enough entertainment of its own to keep you entertained for hours, including bars and restaurants that host live entertainment. There’s also plenty of shopping at designer outlets, and you can even golf where the pros play. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family fun-filled vacation, the Destin area has something for everyone.
Looking for a place to stay? Check out Henderson Beach Resort.
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City Beach is home to one of America's most-acclaimed boardwalks, stretching three miles along the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean waterfront. This popular tourist spot is entirely free to access and is a lively spot for swimming, surfing, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing for beachgoers of all ages. In the summer months, the beach is patrolled by lifeguards. Ocean City Beach has been voted as one of the nation's top family beaches for its ample playgrounds, kid-sized tennis courts, and Tuesday evening Family Beach Olympics events, which feature tug-of-war battles, sandcastle-building contests, and relay games. Of course, there’s an amusement park, Ferris wheel, ice cream parlors, souvenir shops, and fun fair food along the boardwalk. In the summer months, they also offer free movie nights and “Sundaes in the Park” topped off with fireworks at night. Wanderer Tip: The best family-friendly spots are North of the boardwalk. Looking for a place to stay in Ocean City? Check out the Courtyard by Marriott Ocean City Oceanfront.
Nags Head Beach & The Outer Banks, North Carolina Nags Head Beach is one of the Outer Banks' top tourist destinations that offers welcome relief from crowded cities and other overrun vacation spots along the East Coast. In fact, you won’t find any cities on the Outer Banks, just 100+ miles of wide-open shoreline and charming seaside villages. This charming beachfront offers attractions to suit all visitors' tastes, from boutiques, restaurants, and museums within the city's downtown district to maritime forests and trails within nearby Jockey's Ridge State Park. Corolla offers wide-open beaches and the chance to spot the famous wild horses that roam the dunes. The herd of wild Mustangs is even more popular than the Currituck Beach Lighthouse or the guided tours in specialized 4X4 vehicles. Nags Head is a popular spot for kiteboarding, kayaking, and swimming, with pier fishing offered at the newly remodeled Jennette's Pier. The pier is also home to a youth educational center and museum offering educational programs during the summer months. Go-kart tracks, miniature golf courses, and ice cream parlors will keep young ones entertained, with several movie theaters and the only bowling alley in the Outer Banks located nearby.
Looking for lodging? We recommend Surf Side Hotel in Nags Head.
Did we miss a family-friendly favorite beach? Reach out to us at WinniWanderer@winni.com to tell us! Hearing from you will make our day!
By Staff Contributor
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