Family Beach Vacation Ideas

Family Beach Vacation Ideas #1: Cape May, on the southern tip of New Jersey, has over six-hundred Victorian-era buildings and is classified as a National Historic Landmark. The city is quiet, tree-lined and provides a taste of times past.

The beaches and the town are a more family-oriented atmosphere than some of the other more raucous beach destinations along the New Jersey shore. Sunset Beach is popular for their "Cape May Diamonds". These are quartz pebbles that have been polished naturally by the ocean so they resemble a real diamond.


Family Beach Vacation Ideas #2: Thirty miles off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, are the beaches of Nantucket Island. The beaches circle the small island and they are all free. Children’s Beach and Jettie’s Beach are the best ones for small children. 

But all the North Shore beaches are great for families as the water is calm and warm as well as easy beach access for families loaded down with all their beach paraphernalia.

It’s a good idea not to bring your car as the island is small and very popular. But there are lots of paved bike paths and dirt trails that are perfect for bikes and mopeds.


Family Beach Vacation Ideas #3: Head on down to the southern tip of Texas and you will find the beaches of South Padre Island. There are actually 34 miles of beautiful beaches on the island, all great for the family.

The sand here is perfectly suited for building sand castles! The Gulf breeze is comfortable and provides a steady drive for parasailers and windsurfers. 

You can fish in the bay and the South Padre Island Aquarium is there to enjoy. Just be sure to avoid bringing the family in March. This is when the college students take over for the wild times of Spring Break.


Family Beach Vacation Ideas #4: Along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina is 60 miles of beach called the Grand Strand. Myrtle Beach is the capital with loads of things to do for the family. Things like miniature golf, Myrtle Waves park, Wild Water and Wheels. 

Myrtle Beach can get pretty crowded but you can head a little north or south and find less-crowded beaches such as Crescent Beach, Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive and Windy Hill. Nearby are great family outing opportunities like Waccatee Zoological Farm or Alligator Adventure or tours of antebellum plantations.

Child Playing on the Beach

Endless summer days at the beach make priceless childhood memories.


Family Beach Vacation Ideas #5: Ocean City, Maryland, is known for its exciting boardwalk attractions and its clean white-sand beach. The boardwalk, piers and amusement park are at the southern tip.

Take the family there at night after a day on the beach. The bay side offers charter fishing boats for flounder, trout, and sea bass. The bayside fishing piers are the place to catch your own famous Maryland blue crabs. Nearby Berlin, Maryland is great for am antiquing side trip as is Assateague Island where you can view the famous wild ponies.


Family Beach Vacation Ideas #6: The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a top family vacation destination. There are some 26 miles of beach, all with excellent fine-white sand and a low-key atmosphere.

The introduction of casinos in the area has drawn some attention here but they are spread out and the coastal beaches maintain their excellent family appeal. Just offshore are six barrier islands accessible by ferry. There are more beaches here and less people. Compared to many of the other top beach areas, the Mississippi Gulf coast beach area is one of the more affordable.


Family Beach Vacation Ideas #7: Fifty miles south of Los Angeles, California is Newport Beach. Much of the area is high end luxury with yachts and mansions. These are fun to look at but there are miles of unspoiled beaches that are great for your family vacation.

The Balboa Fun Zone has been entertaining families since 1936 with rides like the Ferris Wheel and bumper cars. The area between Santa Ana River Jetty and the Newport Pier is called The Wedge and it offers some of the best body-surfing you can find anywhere.


Family Beach Vacation Ideas #8: The beaches at Hilton Head Island are very popular yet remain relatively un-crowded. Hilton head is a barrier island located at the southeast tip of South Carolina. It is a very family-oriented beach vacation area with lots of safe natural attractions that are perfect for family exploration.

The coastal marshes are great for canoeing or kayaking. The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge provides fourteen miles of trails for hiking and cycling. The Savannah National Wildlife refuge is 26,000 acres and has a winding road through it for a family nature drive.

Family Beach Vacation Ideas - Activity Suggestions: Everyone knows the basic family beach vacations menu; relaxing in the sun, building sand castles, burying each other in the sand and cooling off in the water. Here are a few other fun vacation ideas. Take along a Frisbee! This is always a popular beach game and is also fun if you’ve brought the family dog. (Make sure that pets are allowed on the beach you have chosen).

Other good games to bring include football and badminton. Any ball at all is great for tossing around and making friends. Look for shells, starfish, sand dollars or driftwood. This is great adventure for all and makes great holiday souvenirs.

Some places it is illegal to remove living creatures or live shells so check first what’s allowed. Some places have charter-shelling cruises that will take to the best shelling spots.

If there are rocks that lead out into the water, investigate the nooks and crannies for interesting little creatures like mollusks or crabs. Be careful not to harm their homes and please don’t kill them for sport!

Buy a cheap metal detector and look for lost coins and jewelry. It’s a fun family beach vacation idea and people actually do find valuable items occasionally.

Bring a pair of binoculars and do a little amateur bird watching. You could even prepare a little ahead. Get an inexpensive book on birding that covers the area you are in. This is an especially good idea if the beach you have chosen is part of or near a wildlife refuge or park.

Bring or rent some fishing gear and try your luck. Look for a fishing pier to make it easy to drop your line in a little deeper water. Many beach areas will have charter boats available to take you out for some deep sea fishing. Many of these will provide all the equipment you need. No experience necessary to have a good time.

Depending on your family beach vacation destination there may be nature trails nearby or historic sites and buildings to investigate. Lighthouses are interesting places to visit. These can be an excellent choice when the sun gets to be a little too much.

Rent some bicycles and tour the beach area. Scout around for local antique shops and craft boutiques. Many beaches have calm areas that are great for snorkeling. Bring a mask, snorkel and fins and enjoy the wildlife below the surface.

Look for a place to go horseback riding. Some beach areas have great trails for this and provide the horses for you to ride. Rent a jet ski or two and have blast racing across the surf. Get the family together and relax on the beach as you watch the evening sunset. This can be a really nice quiet time for family togetherness after a hard day of play.


General Family Beach Vacation Tips: Swimming is great fun but there are dangers. Please investigate the beach you have chosen and find out about any potentially dangerous currents or other hazards. Avoid beaches that do not have lifeguards especially if you have children.

Some beaches have sections that are naturally protected from the waves and make a safer swimming area for small children. Best is when the tide is low. Many times there will be small pools of water left in low sections of the beach. These make great play areas for the small kids. Seek these areas out. Please make every effort to leave the beach without a trace of your presence. This means carry out every piece of your trash. Don’t pick flowers or grasses from the sand dunes. If you find a shell with a living sea creature inside leave it alone.

If you are bringing your pet, find out before you go if she is allowed on the beach. If not you will need to make proper arrangements for her care. Some beaches allow pets on the sand but not in the water. Many require dogs to be leashed.

Be prepared. Don’t forget to bring – plenty of +30 or higher sunscreen, plenty of water to drink, sunglasses, camera, lots of big beach towels, a big beach umbrella, balls and water toys, bucket and shovel, and books and magazines.

There are many choices for accommodations on your family beach vacation. You can rent a house, condo, beach cottage or stay in a hotel or motel. Your budget and family size will determine which is most appropriate for you.

Wherever you stay you better make reservations well in advance. If you are planning a summertime family beach vacation at a popular beach, you may need to reserve a whole year in advance to get the accommodations you want.

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