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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 Outer Banks

#1 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Outer Banks beaches are lauded for their consistent yet manageable waves and verdant landscapes. And you can count on OBX to deliver great summer weather. Plan on renting a cottage or condo – this will give you more space without being too far from the beach. Read More »

Outer Bank beaches View 24 photos
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#2 Destin

#2 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

This Florida town's family-friendly vibe and impressive beaches entice multigenerational groups year after year. The stark white sand and calm jade water at Henderson Beach State Park are picture perfect. Plus many Destin resorts cater to kids, so parents can relax while the little ones play. Read More »

Boating View 17 photos
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#3 Maui

#3 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

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 beaches. Wailea Beach is the go-to option, with sun-drenched sands and plenty of umbrellas to go around. Read More »

Hula Dancing View 44 photos
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#4 Hilton Head

#4 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Hilton Head is perfect for families looking to slow down. You'll find two notable beaches here: Alder Lane Beach and the ever-popular Coligny Beach Park. 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 View 22 photos
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#5 Myrtle Beach

#5 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

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

Myrtle's Morning Pier View 18 photos
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#6 Sanibel Island

#6 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Sanibel Island is a hit with kids for two reasons: The beach's 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 View 16 photos
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#7 Honolulu - Oahu

#7 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Oahu is expensive but has some of Hawaii's most inviting beaches. Head to Waikiki Beach, where the water remains relatively calm and lifeguards are always present. When you need a break from the beach, trek the kid-friendly Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail or explore some of the island's historic sights, such as the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Read More »

Wakiki Beach View 46 photos
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#8 Boca Raton

#8 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

This South Florida city appeals to travelers of all ages who are eager to swim, surf and snorkel at Red Reef Park and Spanish River Park. Plus, Boca is home to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, where budding naturalists can participate in turtle walks and a hatchling release program. Read More »

Boca Raton Main View 16 photos
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#9 Santa Barbara

#9 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

A few beaches sit within Santa Barbara's city limits: East, West and Leadbetter. Of the three, East is best suited for families, offering lifeguards, a playground and volleyball courts. Following some time in the sun, kiddos can search for their favorite animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Read More »

View from the Courthouse View 14 photos
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#10 West Palm Beach

#10 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

West Palm Beach's more affordable summer rates and proximity to the Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Juno Beach sands make it a great option for families. What's more, West Palm sits only 25 miles east of Lion Country Safari, a cageless drive-thru zoo. Read More »

West Palm Beach Skyline View 20 photos
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#11 Monterey

#11 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Of the six beaches available in Monterey, families are drawn to Window on the Bay Beach for its playground and skate park, as well as Municipal Beach, which offers calm waters and a pier packed with eateries. For even more fun, go whale watching or touch bat rays at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Read More »

Monterey View 19 photos
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#12 Cape May

#12 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Cape May's nearly 3 miles of family-friendly sands fill with locals during school breaks. You and your little ones can bond while surfing, kayaking or strolling along the promenade. Just remember to buy beach tags for visits between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and reserve accommodations a few months in advance.

Cape May
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#13 Sandy Neck Beach

#13 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Of Cape Cod's beaches, few are as impressive or as family-friendly as Sandy Neck. Occupying 6 miles of coastline in Barnstable, this beach boasts 4,700 acres of dunes, forests and marshes to explore. Keep in mind, though, that drivers need a vehicle day pass to park here.

beach
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#14 Galveston

#14 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Stewart Beach woos families with its playground and lifeguards, but visitors with kids in tow won't be limited to this beach. At Galveston Island State Park, children can swim, kayak and fish. Meanwhile, Seawall Urban Park sits close to Galveston's resorts and pier, which has rides for travelers of all ages. Read More »

Galveston Beach View 19 photos
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#15 Jekyll Island

#15 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

Families keen on relaxing will love this Georgia island's sands. You'll have five beaches to choose from, including St. Andrews Beach (where you may see dolphins swimming) and South Dunes Beach (with screened-in picnic pavilions). For more action, play volleyball or bocce at Great Dunes Beach.

Jekyll Island
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