When traveling to the beach with kids, you'll want to find a spot that is fun for both the adults and the little ones. Tripping.com has highlighted ten kid friendly beaches across the U.S. to help you plan a fun beach getaway children will love as much as the grown ups. Here are the top ten beaches for the kiddos, from the crystal-clear Gulf of Mexico to the cobalt waves of the Pacific.
Best Kid Friendly Beaches: The Top 10 Beaches for Kids in the U.S.
Image Credit: Daria Nepriakhina
1. Lydgate Beach - Kauai Island, HI
The highlight of Lydgate Beach, near picturesque Wailua, is the man-made pools, perfect for little ocean explorers. The beach's surrounding rocks keep rough ocean waves at bay but don’t stop schools of tropical fish from swimming in, making this spot perfect for beginner swimmers and snorkelers. On top of the beautiful sandy beaches and crystal blue waters we expect from Hawaii, kids rave about the nearby playground, whose large grass field is perfect for kite-flying, picnics, and a game of frisbee. With safe conditions for younger kids, Lydgate Beach is a fantastic destination for both kids and adults visiting Kauai.
2. Seaside Lagoon - Redondo Beach, CA
Another great spot for little kids and new swimmers, Seaside Lagoon is a kids’ water wonderland in Southern California's popular resort town, Redondo Beach, just a quick seven mile drive from LAX. Seaside is a man-made ocean lagoon complete with playgrounds and waterslides. Guests don’t have to worry about any rough surf and there are lifeguards aplenty, making this oasis feel like an aquatic center but with the added bonus of soft sandy beaches, refreshing salt water and stunning ocean views. The nearby grassy area plays host to shaded tables and grills for a picnic. For those who don't come with food, the Seaside Lagoon has a small snack bar. Keep in mind, there is an entrance fee that varies throughout the year. Redondo Beach is a popular destination for families year-round but is busiest in the summer.
3. Little Corona Beach - Corona del Mar, CA
This small beach in stunning Corona del Mar has the distinct advantage among Orange County beaches of lacking stairs to climb, so getting to and from the water with a gaggle of kids or heavy beach bags at Little Corona Beach is a cinch. This sandy beach is surrounded by reefs that create an ideal spot for diving and snorkeling - great activities for the older kids. Its rocks protect the beach from heavy surf and with boats and jet skis not allowed, the kids can swim more freely. Corona del Mar is a quiet, “chic” village tucked into the San Joaquin Hills. Although it's popular with couples and families throughout the year, this town’s peak season is summer.
4. Cannon Beach, OR
For a taste of the wilder West Coast, this vast sandy beach of Goonies fame is perfect for swimming (if you can handle the cold temperatures of the Northern Pacific), strolling, kite-flying and birdwatching. The beach is teeming with tidepools at low tide, perfect for curious kids to spot starfish, anemones, and other shallow water creatures as well as puffins, which frequent the iconic Haystack Rock. The beach is easy to access and the town of Cannon Beach itself is charming and full of fun shops, restaurants, and cafes to explore when the kids get tired of sand and sea. After a long day of beach play, you can all curl up at your vacation rental, watch The Goonies, and say “hey, we’ve been there!” This beach is a great destination for families, couples, and anyone looking for peace and quiet. Summer, when the water is warmest, is the busy season .
5. Coronado Central Beach - Coronado, CA
This beach frequently tops “best beach” lists and many of its highlights are also why it’s a great beach for kids. The famous Hotel del Coronado makes for a stunning backdrop to this mile-and-a-half long beach. The golden sand is clean and perfect for volleyball and other beach sports while its warm, calm water makes for great swimming, and the year-round sunshine of Southern California makes it the ideal beach to visit any time of year. The on-duty lifeguards will make you feel a little safer swimming with your kids and free beach wheelchairs are available. Enjoy the tidepools, fire rings, nearby dog park, and shower facilities. And if the kiddos request a break from the beach, you’re just minutes away from some of San Diego’s best attractions including Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. Coronado and San Diego attract visitors of all ages from across the world and are busiest from June to August.
6. Fort Walton Beach, FL
The sparkling blue water and snow-white sand are reasom enough to visit this picturesque beach in the Florida panhandle, but the list of fun family activities available to visitors seals the deal. If you get tired of frolicking in the shallow Gulf waters, the town of Fort Walton is a veritable treasure trove of activities for kids, including a waterfront park, the Emerald Coast Science Center, and a disc-golf course at Ferry Park. Want to cross “swimming with dolphins” off your bucket list? Look no further than the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, to achieve that memorable dolphin encounter. Even if you don’t want to shell out for an encounter, there are plenty of other aquatic animals to see and fun to be had. This part of Florida is popular with families year round, though peak season falls in summer.
7. Ogunquit Beach - Ogunquit, ME
This peaceful beach village in Maine boasts quintessential New England charm. With icy cold waters, perhaps only the bravest kids will want to swim. The beach here is vast with clean white sand that is perfect for long walks and beach-combing. Young science enthusiasts can gawk at the diversity of sea life within the tidepools. Ogunquit is particularly popular among families and is busiest in July and August when the kids are out of school.
8. Children’s Beach - Nantucket, MA
Families adore Nantucket, one of Massachusetts' greatest beachy gems. In case its name didn’t make it clear, Children's Beach, located near the heart of Nantucket’s downtown, is great for children, especially the younger ones. The harbor waters are calm, lifeguards are ever-vigilant, and there are plenty of food stands, picnic tables, and even a playground. In addition to fun in the sun, the whole family can enjoy free movies (G-rated!) on Friday nights and concerts on Sundays. Nantucket attracts people of all ages and is particularly popular from May to September when the weather is warmest.
9. Kailua Beach Park - Oahu Island, HI
Not far from the bustle of Honolulu you will find beautiful Kailua Town. Fortunately for families, this quintessential Hawaiian beach happens to be very kid-friendly. With unbelievably powdery soft sand, shady spots sheltered by palm trees, and warm gentle waves, you and your kids will love swimming and playing at Kailua. The more adventurous kids and parents can rent kayaks and explore the gorgeous nearby islands and sea coves. Like many of the other beaches on this list, Oahu allures beach lovers of all ages. Hawaii famously boasts fantastic weather year round, though winter is Kailua's peak season.
10. Gulf Shores, AL
With a portion of the state bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama boasts beautiful warm-watered beaches. Gulf Shoes is an especially popular destination in the high season (spring and summer), but with over 30 miles of coast to explore, visitors will have no problem finding an uncrowded spot for the family to enjoy. With white sand beaches, a plethora of water activities accessible, including kid-friendly deep sea fishing and dolphin cruises, welcoming southern hospitality and rich history, the whole family will enjoy a Gulf Shoes vacation. Gulf Shores tourism hits its peak in between June and August.
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This article was written by Katie Vaughan, and edited by Tripping.com Content Specialist Lexi Perman.