If you’re looking for vacation ideas, there’s always the classic American getaway: the beach vacation. And fortunately for Americans, some of the world’s best beaches are well within reach. Whether it’s the cool shores of Malibu, the dramatic sands of Hawaii or the festive spots in the east coast, these U.S. beach destinations will not disappoint.
Maui – While cost is a barrier for any family beach vacation, it’s an especially large barrier in Hawaii. Still, Maui contains some of the most abundant and exotic family beach attractions in the United States. Writers especially recommend spending at least a day along and around the famed Road to Hana, as well as enjoying a hike along the beaches of Waianapanapa State Park. The beaches on the island’s southwest side are usually the calmest. Children will also enjoy the Maui Ocean Center to see the underwater creatures that populate the Pacific.
North Carolina’s Outer Banks – North Carolina’s Outer Banks has a wide array of large beaches that are especially prized for their consistent, but manageable, waves and for great summer weather. Most families rent a house or condominium near the water. The area is also home to Kitty Hawk, the site of the Wright Brother’s First Flight, which is appealing to both adults and children.
San Diego – San Diego remains a top-ranked family beach destination for its access to calm and lifeguard-patrolled beaches and its proximity to adult-friendly and child-friendly attractions. San Diego contains one of the most well-reviewed beaches in the United States: La Jolla Beach, commonly known as the “Pacific Riviera,” is considered one of the best beaches on the West Coast for its access to calm water and its general cleanliness. The beaches at La Jolla and elsewhere throughout San Diego are also situated near some of the most family-friendly attractions in the United States, most famously SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.
Myrtle Beach – The oceanfront at Myrtle Beach is famous for attracting families to sunbathe and swim on the East Coast. But writers and travelers always give the same advice: Wear plenty of sunblock, as the South Carolina sun can be unforgiving.
Ft. Lauderdale – Like Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale has the reputation for rowdiness. But beyond that veneer lies a quality family getaway. Family venues are located throughout the area, especially along the canal, where you can find exciting family-friendly restaurants. The resorts along the beach also contain many child-friendly amenities, including large kids’ clubs, pools and playgrounds.
U.S. Virgin Islands – One of the most affordable and accessible Caribbean destinations (and one of the few eligible for “American” status), the US Virgin Islands contains a welcoming host of beaches, family-friendly hotels and genuinely interesting historic attractions. The Virgin Islands National Park provides accessible hiking trails for family excursions, and many resorts and hotels are renowned for their hospitality toward families.
South Padre Island – When it’s not hosting Spring Break, South Padre Island makes a great beach getaway for you and the kids. The calm waters of Laguna Madre are perfect for young swimmers, while opportunities to kiteboard, dive and surf will keep the more adventurous teens occupied. When they tire of the beach, take your family to Sea Turtle, Inc. to learn about local wildlife or to Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark for a splashing good time.