Summer Vacation Planning Made Easy: the Best Beaches for Families

Makeba Giles

Makeba Giles

Content Creator and Curator at MELISASource
Makeba Giles is an Health, Family, and Lifestyle Blogger. She is also a Midwest Mother of four, and the Founder and Creative Director of MELISASource.com. |

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Makeba Giles

Spring has arrived, and that means the start (or finalization) of those summer family vacation plans. For those who don’t live on or near a coastline, a vacation to a beach sounds like the perfect idea. However, with so many options to chose from, it can be a challenge to know which one(s) are family-oriented.

Well now there’s help. Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has released its annual list of the Best Beaches for Families – naming the best beaches in the nation, specifically for families traveling with kids of all ages.

“Choosing an ideal beach for families can be quite difficult,” explained Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “Families are looking for beaches that are not only safe and clean, but also those that offer a level of convenience that meet the needs of those traveling with various age groups. Nearby accommodations, restaurants and attractions – as well as cost – all add to a beach’s appeal for families. This list of winners was hand-picked by our team of editors to highlight not only large, well-known beaches, but also some of the smaller hidden gems worth a visit.”

Best Beaches for Families

Here are just a few of the beaches that made this year’s list:

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Best Beaches for Families in 2016

Cape Hatteras National Seashore – Outer Banks, NC
Insider Tip: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open all summer for both daytime and a few nighttime climbs to the public – in the evening, families can climb with flashlights to get a prime view of the Milky Way.

Best Beaches for Families

Best Beaches for Families in 2016

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore – Empire, MI
Insider Tip: Pick up a free Junior Ranger Book, including fun activities for children to complete – once finished, kids will receive a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.

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Best Beaches for Families

South Padre Island – South Padre, TX
Insider Tip: Families can work with local sea turtle rescue, Sea Turtle, Inc., on dozens of scheduled releases during the summer months, to watch as tiny sea turtles enter the ocean for the first time.

Best Beaches for Families

Best Beaches for Families

The Wildwoods – Wildwood, NJ
Insider Tip: Access to the beaches in The Wildwoods is completely free – no beach tags are required – and there is a special Wildwoods Dog Beach, for any families planning to bring Fido along on vacation.

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Best Beaches for Families

Captiva Beach – Captiva Island, FL
Insider Tip: The Captiva Kayak Company offers boat rentals and kayak expeditions into local waterways to explore Captiva’s beaches and bayous.

Best Beaches for Families

Best Beaches for Families

La Jolla CoveSan Diego, CA
Insider Tip: La Jolla Concerts by the Sea are offered every Sunday afternoon during the summer, and provide fun for all ages with a wide range of music to enjoy.

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Best Beaches for Families

Misquamicut State Beach – Westerly, RI
Insider Tip: Water Wiz of Westerly is a water park with three slides, located right on the beach – get there early for discounts.

Best Beaches for Families

Best Beaches for Families

Million Dollar Beach – Lake George, NY
Insider Tip: Nearby Lake George Village offers fireworks over the lake every Thursday from July 4th through August.

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Best Beaches for Families

Clinch Beach – Traverse City, MI
Insider Tip: Nearby Clinch Park Marina offers kayak, paddleboard and bicycle rentals to ride on the paved TART Trail, which runs above the beach.

Best Beaches for Families

Best Beaches for Families

Golden Gardens Park – Seattle, WA
Insider Tip: The nearby – and free – Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks), offer views of boats and kayaks crossing the channel, as well as a botanical garden and fish ladder.

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Family Vacation Critic logoFor more information, and to see Family Vacation Critic’s full list of the 10 Best Beaches for Families in 2016, visit the website.

Best Beaches for Families

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2 Comments

  • What a FANTASTIC list! I was wondering where I could bring my 4 and 2 year olds and actually have a good time, myself. So hard to find a family friendly and convenient beach.

  • I like all these destinations! Going to the beach with the kids is challenging but once you get there, it’s all FUN! Thanks for the list, I will definitely consider these when I start planning for summer vacations!

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