Top Family Beach Vacations

Bring your family together for a great beach vacation everyone can enjoy.

Gulls circle overhead, waves roll in gently and the wind is just cool enough to ease the hot summer sun. There's nothing quite like getting away for family beach vacations, and you'll find picture-perfect spots to enjoy the sand and surf in every corner of the American coast.

Fort De Soto Park, Florida

The powdery white sand dunes of the Gulf Coast are just one attraction at this St. Petersburg, Florida park. With seven miles of coastline, it’s the place for family beach vacations. Kayak along the shore, go snorkeling, look for sea creatures in shallow tide pools or just relax in the sun with a good book. Fort De Soto Park includes restrooms, picnic pavilions, concession stands, playgrounds and biking trails. Lifeguards are posted in designated swimming areas in spring and summer.

Ogunquit Beach, Maine

Ogunquit Beach is a sandy paradise on the Maine coast—a perfect setting for the best beach vacations for families. Less than 10 miles from the city of Kennebunk—and footsteps away from dozens of quaint beachfront restaurants and shops—Ogunquit Beach is nestled on a long peninsula where  miles of sandy beach and grass-covered dunes separate the Atlantic Ocean from the Ogunquit River. The gentle surf is perfect for swimming and bodysurfing, and you can spend hours collecting shells and driftwood on the shore with the little ones in the family. Lifeguards are on duty in summer, and restrooms and outdoor showers for rinsing off are available.

Carlsbad State Beach, California

With a picture-perfect California view and an endless array of activities, Carlsbad State Beach is about as good as it gets for family beach vacations. Picnic tables provide a perfect place to enjoy a midday snack between swimming and beachcombing, and it's not out of the ordinary to spot dolphins and whales offshore. Situated beneath the coastal bluffs just south of Carlsbad, the beach also offers snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing and geocaching. Be sure to stick around until evening—the sunsets are out of this world.

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Grand Haven State Park, Michigan

One of America's most beautiful freshwater beaches, Lake Michigan shoreline in Grand Haven, Michigan; offers miles of white sand, crystal-clear water and no shortage of ways to keep the whole crew busy. You can access the beach through Grand Haven State Park, which includes playgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing access and a guarded beach for swimming. The park's best attraction might be the historic Grand Haven Lighthouse, which has guided ships to safe harbor through the often-treacherous Great Lakes waters since 1839.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

A three-mile boardwalk is the centerpiece of the city of Virginia Beach. On one side, you'll find endless shops, restaurants and attractions. On the other, an unbroken stretch of sand where you can spend your days swimming, surfing and soaking up the sun. Lifeguard stands are scattered along the beach, and the typically calm waters are ideal for kayaking or going for a swim. You can enjoy great fishing off the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier as well, and nearby First Landing State Park provides a wealth of wilderness to explore: think hiking, biking and canoe trails.

Lincoln City Beach, Oregon

Be sure to bring a kite when you visit Lincoln City, Oregon. The area's stiff coastal breeze has earned it the title of the "Kite Capital of the World," and while its beaches are perfect for flying kites, they’re also great for surfing and windsurfing. With ample beach access throughout the town, Lincoln City Beach is an idyllic spot for a vacation. It's one of a kind, with rock formations along the shore and colorful tide pools teeming with starfish, sea urchins and other marine life. Beachcombing is a fun activity as well—you could find anything from driftwood and shells to fossils and agates.

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