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Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

To help you choose your next family beach vacation, U.S. News Travel considered factors like safe waters, kid-friendly attractions and dining, spacious accommodations, multi-generational appeal and overall accessibility. The list below spans the country and brings you the United States' beaches that are most ideal for family getaways. Weigh in by voting below, then use this list to plan your upcoming travels. 

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Why go: North Carolina's Outer Banks features a wide array of beaches that are especially lauded for their consistent-yet-manageable waves and beautiful natural landscape. You can also count on OBX to deliver great summer weather. A cottage or condo rental will give you more space for family time and prime beach access. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Outer Banks

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Why go: While cost is a barrier for any family getaway, it's an especially large barrier in Hawaii. Still, Maui contains some of the most abundant and exotic family-friendly sands in the United States. Wailea Beach is the go-to, with sun-dappled sands and plenty of umbrellas to go around.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Maui

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Why go: The oceanfront at Myrtle Beach is famous for luring East Coasters to its cool waters and golden sands. But after you've had time on the beach, take advantage of the Family Kingdom Amusement Park and Ripley's Aquarium. Just be sure to wear plenty of sunblock, as the South Carolina sun can be unforgiving. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Myrtle Beach

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Why Go: Sanibel Island is a hit with kids for two reasons. The "Sanibel Scoop" — the island's pastime — keeps little ones occupied for hours as they comb the wide beaches for shells and sand dollars. If you're not yet convinced, keep in mind that hotel deals are pretty easy to find here. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Sanibel Island

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Why go: San Diego remains a top-ranked family beach destination for its access to calm, family-friendly and lifeguard-patrolled beaches. Mission Beach is the star attraction, with miles of creamy sand easily accessible from the downtown area. The northern coastline boasts calmer waters ideal for novice swimmers. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Diego

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Why go: Oahu is expensive, which is a serious drawback for some, but the island is still widely regarded as the best Hawaiian beach destination for families. The most family-friendly beaches are in Waikiki, where waters remain relatively calm throughout the year and are patrolled by lifeguards. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Honolulu - Oahu

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Why go: One of the most affordable and accessible Caribbean destinations, the U.S. Virgin Islands contains a host of welcoming beaches, family-friendly hotels and interesting historic attractions. Don't forget to check out Virgin Islands National Park, which teems with accessible hiking trails for family excursions. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in U.S. Virgin Islands

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Why Go: On quirky Cape Cod, your family can learn about the country's first residents at the Pilgrim Monument, go whale-watching in lively Provincetown and tackle the scavenger hunt at the Sandwich Glass Museum. At night, pile the whole family in the car and catch a flick at the Wellfleet Drive-in. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cape Cod

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Why go: Unlike Miami Beach, this quintessential Florida destination has been able to shake its reputation for rowdiness. Now, Fort Lauderdale features all the trappings of a quality family retreat. The Fort Lauderdale Beach is both expansive and safe, and resorts along the beach also offer many child-friendly amenities, including large kids' clubs and playgrounds. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

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Why go: The beach-and-boardwalk combo rarely disappoints, and the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is no different. The wooden-planked walkway provides easy access to the golden Atlantic coast, not to mention a variety of games, shops and kid-friendly eateries. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Virginia Beach

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