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17 Best Family Beach Vacations Around the World

If you’re thinking about a family beach vacation, the list of options is so long it can feel overwhelming just trying to decide where to go. Whether you’re looking for something close to home, the west coast, east coast, south coast, or a destination that’s more exotic, there’s something out there that’s perfect, but it can be hard to know for sure until you go. These options might just inspire the motivation you need to book before the best accommodations are sold out.

Los Cabos, Mexico  Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
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Los Cabos, Mexico

Los Cabos, which sits at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, has long been known as a popular honeymoon and partying spot, but it also makes for a fantastic family beach vacation. On one side are the turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez, ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and on the other, the wild waves of the Pacific. There is a wide range of resorts in both San Jose del Cabo, the quieter side and in Cabo San Lucas, the heart of the action with its iconic arch at Land’s End and beautiful, swimmable Medano Beach.

Clearwater Beach, Florida Clearwater Beach
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Clearwater Beach, Florida

By heading to Clearwater Beach, families can enjoy the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico for a wide range of water sports, including parasailing and excursions like dolphin cruises. Kids will love the wide range of family-friendly activities on offer, including Pier 60 with its sunset festival hosted nightly that features a variety of performers like stilt walkers and magicians, as well as live music and local artisans.

Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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Grand Cayman

Stay on Grand Cayman at Seven-Mile Beach, particularly at its north end or in the more secluded area of Rum Point, and you’ll be able to take advantage of clear, shallow warm water that kids can wade in as far as 25 feet. The largest of the three Cayman Islands is a water lover’s paradise with a multitude of family-friendly resorts, activities, and attractions. At Sting Ray City, the whole family can walk into the water and be surrounded by hundreds of gentle stingrays and even feed them by hand for an especially unforgettable experience. There’s also a turtle farm nearby where kids can swim with the animals in the turtle lagoon.

Poipu Beach, Kauai Poipu Beach on Kauai, Hawaii
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Poipu Beach, Kauai

Kauai is ideal for a family beach vacation with a long list of interesting attractions, with Poipu Beach arguably the best spot to base yourself. Adults and kids of all ages will love Poipu Beach Park, which offers a shallow wading area for young ones as well as areas to swim, snorkel or surf. Enjoy picnics under shady palm palms and walks or bike rides along the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail. This is also a great place to enjoy a colorful sunset or embark on a sunset catamaran cruise.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

One of the most popular family-friendly beach getaways in the U.S., Myrtle Beach not only offers sands for lounging on and beautiful blue waters to splash around in but a boardwalk and promenade that spans more than a mile. It has a carnival-like atmosphere, complete with arcades, rides like the popular SkyWheel, souvenir shops, and eateries. On summer nights, there’s live entertainment like stilt walkers and jugglers, as well as a firework display. The city is also famous for its golf courses, offering a host of fantastic 18-hole courses as well as mini-golf so the whole family can play, such as Jungle Lagoon, Treasure Island, and Captain Hook’s Adventure Golf.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The resort town of Punta Cana offers many beautiful beaches at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, but Bavaro Beach is the family favorite. The water is clear and calm enough for even the little ones to splash around in, and there are beach chairs, umbrellas, and a variety of water sports gear available for rent too. You’ll also find a good range of family-friendly resorts, including all-inclusive properties right at the beachfront. Many offer kids’ programs to ensure the younger members of the family are happy while the parents enjoy a relaxing break.

Naxos, Greece Naxos, Greece
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Naxos, Greece

Naxos is one of the most family-friendly islands known for its beaches, with some of the best you’ll find in the Greek Islands. With the sand made up of marble and granite, it’s brighter and whiter than other Greek beaches and it edges crystal-clear turquoise water. Plaka Beach has what looks and feels like a huge swimming pool with the water calm, warm, and strikingly clear from around late May through early October. The beach stretches for about 2.5 miles providing plenty of room for all and there are organized areas with umbrellas and lounge chairs. There’s no shortage of beachfront cafes with, some of which provide beach service. Families who like to hike can trek up Mount Zeus for a panoramic view and there’s several intriguing ancient ruins too.

Costa Adeje - Tenerife, Canary Islands Overlooking El Duque beach on Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Credit: Overlooking El Duque beach on Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Canary Islands by Photo 192364000 © Dorinmarius - Dreamstime.com

Costa Adeje - Tenerife, Canary Islands

Located on the southwestern coast of Tenerife, Costa Adeje is renowned for its beaches and numerous beach resorts. One the favorite stretches is Playa del Duque with many restaurants and shops just a short walk away. It’s a Blue Flag beach (designated as such for its pristine state), and there are restrooms and shower facilities along with vendors offering water sports gear, chairs, and umbrellas for rent. In the town of Adeje, you’ll find the Jungle Park with animals like penguins, big cats, and primates, along with two water parks, Siam Park and Aqualand.

Gold Coast, Australia Aerial view of  Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
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Gold Coast, Australia

The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia, renowned for its long stretches of golden sands (covering around 44 miles) and top surfing spots. Head to Rainbow Bay if you want to learn to surf with great waves for beginners and a sheltered swimming area near the shore that’s ideal for families. You’ll also find numerous theme parks in the area, including Wet ‘n’ Wild and Dreamworld. At attractions like Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, you can even feed kangaroos and cuddle up with Koalas.

South Padre Island, Texas South Padre Island
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South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island is a popular Texas beach destination that may be a favorite with spring breakers, but it’s a great choice for families too, with a wealth of family-friendly, affordable hotels and all sorts of water sports available, including dolphin watching, sailing, swimming, kiteboarding and more. Schlitterbahn South Padre Island is a highlight, a water park with some two dozen rides, slides, and rivers to float on. Plus, there are 60 miles of beach in the area for relaxing, sandcastle building, and shell collecting. Visit the South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sea Life Nature Center to learn more about marine life here through educational demos and a touch tank.

Provincetown, Cape Cod Provincetown, Massachusetts
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Provincetown, Cape Cod

Located on the Cape Cod National Seashore’s northernmost tip, Provincetown is home to over 30 miles of beaches, including Herring Cove Beach, with calm water and no undertow, making it ideal for swimming and wading, even for young children. Race Point Beach is ideal for watching whales from the shore, or you can get a closer look by joining a whale-watching tour. There are lots to enjoy in the colorful downtown area too, including fudge shops, bookstores, galleries, and a wide range of eateries from fine dining restaurants to casual seafood shacks.

Carvoeiro - The Algarve, Portugal Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal
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Carvoeiro - The Algarve, Portugal

Located on the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve is home to many of the country’s best beaches and offers lots of family-friendly resorts, some of which even have their own stretches of sand. Praia da Marinha, in the town of Carvoeiro, is one of the most spectacular, framed by orange-hued cliffs. Multiple publications have named it among the world’s most beautiful beaches, with its soft golden sands and gorgeous aquamarine water accessed via a long set of stairs. At this top-rated coastal town in Portugal, you can also take a boat tour to see some of the interesting rock formations nearby.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica Ocho Rios, Jamaica
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Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Jamaica is one of the most affordable Caribbean destinations. It’s filled with family-friendly resorts, including all-inclusive options, not to mention non-stop flights are available from many cities around the U.S. Not only can everyone enjoy playing in the sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, but if you stay in or near Ocho Rios, it’s easy to visit Dunn’s River Falls which features a series of cascading waterfalls and tranquil lagoons. There’s an easy hike families can do that is even suitable for toddlers – the Dolphin Cove Nature Trail is a nature trail for exploring wildlife like iguanas, birds,  and resident snakes, as well as tropical plants.

The Outer Banks, North Carolina wild horse Outer Banks, North Carolina beach house
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The Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks make for an ideal family vacation, with opportunities to book vacation rentals that have room for everyone right on the beach. This long, narrow strip of land separates Pamlico Sound from the open waters of the Atlantic, which means visitors can enjoy a variety of activities like surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and wading. There are lots of local shops in the area that offer equipment rentals and lessons, and you can even discover stretches with wild horses, who’ve roamed the beaches in the area for centuries now.

Seaside, Oregon Seaside, Oregon
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Seaside, Oregon

Located on the northern Oregon coast, Seaside offers a ton of family-friendly attractions just a little over an hour’s drive from Portland. There’s a two-mile-long paved promenade that’s great for strolls and bike rides. It also borders the three-mile-long stretch of beach for endless activities in the sand. You can also visit the aquarium, which sits just off the “Prom,” home to sea lions that perform tricks on their own in hopes of convincing visitors to toss a fish their way. Plus, it has a touch tank for feeling prickly sea urchins, starfish, anemones, and more. Downtown hosts an arcade and a wide range of souvenir shops and eateries.

San Diego, California San Diego, California
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San Diego, California

San Diego is always a hit with families, with pristine white sand beaches and a wealth of attractions. Visit Balboa Park, the country’s largest urban cultural park home to 16 museums, the San Diego Zoo, gardens, restaurants, and more, or head over to LEGOLAND. Of course, the kids might just want to spend their days building sandcastles on beaches like Coronado Central on Coronado Island, accessed by crossing the bridge from downtown.

Eastsound - Orcas Island, Washington umbrellas and chairs on the beach near Eastsound, Orcas Island, Washington
Credit: umbrellas and chairs on the beach near Eastsound, Orcas Island, Washington by © Matthew Ragen - Dreamstime.com

Eastsound - Orcas Island, Washington

Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands, lying off the north coast of Washington State. It can be accessed by car ferry and includes some of the highest mountains in the archipelago for hiking, along with some fabulous beaches. Quaint hotels and inns, cabin rentals, RV, and tent camping, are all available in and around Eastsound Village. At West Beach, you’ll find a marina for renting kayaks, canoes, boats, and more. Head out onto the water and watch for the Southern Resident orcas that are most often spotted between late May and early October.

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