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Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Taking the family to the beach can create lifelong memories, as long as every member of the family is satisfied. To help you choose your next family beach vacation, U.S. News considered factors like safe waters, kid-friendly attractions, dining options, spacious accommodations and multigenerational appeal to determine the list below. Weigh in by voting below, then use this list to plan your upcoming travels.

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#1 San Diego

#1 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: San Diego remains a top-ranked family destination for its access to family-friendly and lifeguard-patrolled beaches. Mission Beach – accessible from downtown – is the most popular, but the northern coastline boasts calmer waters that are ideal for novice swimmers. Read More »

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#2 Ocean City

#2 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Ocean City's beach stretches for 10 miles along Maryland's Eastern Shore. The whole family can boogie board and jump waves in the Atlantic Ocean or head to shore to surf fish. At night, head to the boardwalk, where various arcade games and rides are offered. Read More »

Ocean City boardwalk
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#3 Honolulu - Oahu

#3 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Oahu is expensive but has some of Hawaii's most inviting beaches. Head to Waikiki, where the water remains relatively calm and lifeguards are always present. When you need a break from the beach, explore some of the island's historic sites like the USS Arizona Memorial. Read More »

Wakiki Beach
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#4 Maui

#4 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

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

Hula Dancing
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#5 Biloxi

#5 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: While this Mississippi locale is best known for its casinos, families also have multiple white-sand beaches to choose from. Biloxi Beach offers shore-based amenities like a pier and a lighthouse, while Ship Island features pristine water and marine animals galore. Read More »

Beach Time
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#6 Outer Banks

#6 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Outer Banks beaches are lauded for their consistent-yet-manageable waves and verdant landscape. And you can count on OBX to deliver great summer weather. Plan on renting a cottage or condo – this will give you more space and prime beach access. Read More »

Outer Bank beaches
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#7 Hilton Head

#7 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Hilton Head is perfect for families looking to slow down. You'll find two notable beaches here: Alder Lane and the ever-popular Coligny Beach. For a break from the sands, take a stroll (or bike ride) through Harbour Town and climb to the top of the lighthouse. Read More »

Aerial Harbour Town
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#8 Martha's Vineyard

#8 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Martha's Vineyard has 20 beaches to choose from, but Lobsterville Beach and Joseph Sylvia State Beach have calm waves that are ideal for families. Keep in mind, New Englanders and tourists flock here in the summer, so head to the beach early to save your spot in the sand. Read More »

Sunset on Martha's Vineyard
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#9 Sanibel Island

#9 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Sanibel Island is a hit with kids for two reasons: Calm waters are perfect for play, and the "Sanibel Stoop" will keep little ones occupied for hours as they search for shells and sand dollars. If you're not yet convinced, remember that hotel deals are pretty easy to find here. Read More »

Shelling
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#10 Destin

#10 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Destin's family-friendly atmosphere and impressive beaches woo multigenerational groups year after year. The stark white sand and calm jade water at Henderson Beach are picture perfect, plus many area resorts cater to kids, so parents can relax while the little ones play.  Read More »

Boating
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#11 Myrtle Beach

#11 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Myrtle Beach has no trouble luring East Coasters to its expansive sands. But after you've had time on the beach, check out Ripley's Aquarium or catch a game at Pelicans Ballpark. Wear plenty of sunblock – the South Carolina sun can be unforgiving. Read More »

Myrtle's Morning Pier
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#12 Nantucket

#12 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Nantucket's hotels and restaurants make this a pricey beach vacation option. However, its family-friendly atmosphere can't be beat. Jetties Beach offers some of the area's calmest waves, while Children's Beach hosts fun summer activities like dance classes and tie-dye projects. Read More »

Brant Point Lighthouse
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#13 Jacksonville

#13 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: By vacationing in this Florida city, families are just a short drive from several beach communities, including Amelia Island, Atlantic Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach. Plus, Jacksonville boasts kid-friendly attractions like the Jacksonville Zoo and the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary. Read More »

Jacksonville Skyline and Water Taxi
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#14 Virginia Beach

#14 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: Families love Virginia Beach's three beaches. Though its most iconic and easiest to reach is by the boardwalk, kids will love playing in Chesapeake Beach's mild waves. The beach's eastern end also sits next to First Landing State Park, where families can spot animals and ride bikes. Read More »

King Neptune
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#15 South Padre Island

#15 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Why go: South Padre Island is great to visit with kids when spring breakers aren't in town. In addition to the city's sands, kids can zip down Schlitterbahn Waterpark's slides and learn about turtles and dolphins at Sea Turtle, Inc. and the Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center. Read More »

South Padre Island Morning
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Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

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Boca Raton

Boca Raton Main

Boca Raton

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Monterey

Monterey

Monterey

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Santa Barbara

View from the Courthouse

Santa Barbara

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West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach Skyline

West Palm Beach

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