Hands down, the beach is my happy place. The serenity of just sitting and watching the waves and reading a book as the waves lap at your feet, there isn’t anything like that feeling.
However, a trip to the beach with kids isn’t always the relaxing paradise that our dreams are made of. The key to achieving a bit of a balance is finding the beach that works best for the needs of your family.
In our travels, I believe that we have found some of the best beaches for families. Take a look at our list and our reasons why we think your family will love that spot.
Best Beaches for Families:
Navarre Beach, Florida
We’ve written about Navarre Beach before, but Navarre has captured our hearts, so we have to bring this spot up again!
Navarre Beach is a true beach destination. There aren’t ‘junk shops’ crowding the streets, there aren’t mini golf courses dotting every corner. It is just a pure, unspoiled beach spot. However, if folks traveling with you really want to do the ‘touristy’ type things, Pensacola Beach isn’t a terrible drive and is perfect for a day trip.
Crystal River, Florida
Most people think of Crystal River Florida as a spot to swim with manatees, which is a really fantastic experience.
But what is kept a secret is Fort Island Gulf Beach.
This little beach is a public beach that is perfect for families with smaller kids. The shoreline wasn’t so overwhelming that I felt as if I could lose sight of them. It was so manageable, it has shelters with picnic tables as well as restrooms for the public that were kept very clean.
While there are no beachfront rooms, there are accommodations nearby. For my family, this would work very well because my husband doesn’t want to be a beach bum the entire time that we are on vacation. For the beach lover (like me) it works because I can be near a perfect little beach, quickly.
We totally understand that a trip to Hawaii may not be a reality for everyone, but if it is something that you can plan for we highly recommend it. In Kaanapali, Hawaii (on the island of Maui) you can find some of the most tranquil beaches.
When I visited this past September, I discovered the most amazing beach area at the Sheraton Maui. It is tucked sort of into a cove type area, this keeps the waves calm and manageable for families with little kids and chickens like me who prefer smaller waves.
The bonus is that up against the black rock cliff, people saw sea turtles! This spot screams Hawaii and is exactly what I picture when I think of Hawaii.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
This beach has been my family’s go-to spot for several years now. It is a fairly easy trip from our home in Louisville Kentucky and is a hidden gem of sorts. Although, lately it seems like more and more people are catching on to my secret!
While folks don’t think of Alabama as a spot to travel to if you are a beach bum, it is exactly that! With miles and miles of white sandy beaches and a family-friendly atmosphere, it is a great spot to head when you want to catch some waves.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
Clearwater Beach is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida and has the charm of a small coastal town. Clearwater may ring a bell due to the attention it received with Winter the dolphin. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to Winter the dolphin and is open to visitors.
Clearwater is extremely family friendly and is actually one of Flordia’s most popular beaches.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is a fantastic beach destination for families, especially active families! There are 60 miles of beach in Myrtle Beach but there are tons of family-friendly activities as well. Think amusement parks, mini golf, and even a safari!
There are a wide variety of lodging type options from condos, hotels and resort type lodging. So no matter what kind of accommodations your family prefers you are bound to find something that everyone likes.
Santa Monica Beach, California
Santa Monica beach is everything that classic beach dreams are made of. With its iconic pier and the ferris wheel overlooking the beach. Take a break from soaking up rays and building sandcastle’s and grab a shake or find a new treasure in one of the shops.
We’ve written about Santa Monica and all there is for kids to do, take a look at our post here.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
Sure, you aren’t likely going to head to Michigan in the dead of winter to stand at the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes, but in the summer it is a fantastic alternative to the traditional beach spots. Which you won’t be taking in the ocean’s waves, you and your kiddos are likely going to be just as happy upon these shores.
Take a look at our article about Sleeping Bear Dunes here.
Tell us, where is your favorite spot to catch some waves as a family?