Dreaming of that ideal beach vacation with the kids this year?
While there are plenty of fantastic beaches around the world, not all are brilliant for family vacations. Popular beaches can be intensely crowded, whilst off-the-beaten-path and remote beaches may lack family amenities. Is there a “just right” solution for family beach vacations?
We asked this question of our family travel blogger group and we were absolutely delighted by the response. In fact, we have 20 incredible ideas here for you to try for your next family beach vacation!
On this page we will cover:
- Best Family Beaches in Asia
- Best Family Beaches in Africa
- Best Family Beaches in Europe
- Best Family Beaches in North & Central America
- Best Family Beaches in Australia
Come have a look, do you agree with our selection?
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Best family beach destinations in Asia
South-East Asia is certainly one of the first places my mind jumps to when I think family vacations full of fun and sand. With miles of glistening white sand across the world’s most populous continent, which beaches were our travel blogger favourites?
Agoda Beach, Goa, India
Jenny from Travelynn Family
Situated in South Goa, Agonda Beach is a golden crescent of powder-soft sand, where the pace slows down to the meditative sway of the palm trees, and where cows come to congregate at sunset. This is a far cry from the concrete jungles and party beaches elsewhere in Goa; although you will still easily find WiFi and Western Food.
We were visiting Goa with kids (aged 2 and 4) and this was a perfect beach for them as it’s not too busy, it’s clean, and the surf was just right for boogie-boards. Plus, despite my kids both being very fair, then didn’t receive any unwanted attention or selfie-requests, which is something we always had to deal with whilst out and about at our then home in Bangalore.
Agonda is a quiet beach, and the sea has just the right amount of gentle surf for a good boogie-board session (Sea Star Resort where we stayed, lent the boys theirs). There are also a handful of restaurants serving Western (e.g. pancakes, omelettes and chips) as well as your yummy South Indian curries. But, the best thing is that these restaurants are right on the beach, so visitors can enjoy a Kingfisher whilst the little ones play in the sand.
Sally-Ann from Toddlers on Tour
There’s little wonder that Phuket is a popular beachside family holiday destination with a plethora of family-friendly resorts located all along the white sandy beaches of the Andaman sea; from Kata beach in the south through bustling Patong and 30 minutes north to Kamala, Bang Tao Bay and Surin beaches.
Families with kids big and small will not be short of activities: elephant rides, monkey parks, bird zoos, 4WD ATV tours, mini-golf, shopping in Patong and the Phuket town night markets plus dazzling shows like FantaSea that will keep all the members of the family entertained ensuring no one will get the chance to be bored at this beachside location.
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes
Negombo is the perfect place to start or end a holiday in Sri Lanka or, indeed, to spend a week if you don’t want to travel far from the airport. Located just a 30-minute drive from Bandaranaike International Airport, you would never know you were so close once you get there.
One of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, Negombo has a wide beach with soft sand and lots of shade under gently swaying palm trees. Beware of swimming there – it can be muddy and the rip tides are strong but the shallows are great for paddling.
The main part of the town boasts a few good hotels including a couple from the Jetwing collection. There are a variety of restaurants along the main street and also lining the beach – perfect for sundowners. The beach is also very popular with locals so it is fun to go and watch them all flying kites and socialising. There are also a variety of water sports shops on the beach where you can hire equipment or take a scuba course.
For anyone interested in history there are some lovely old Dutch houses and a Dutch Fort as well as a Portuguese church.
Lara Beach Antalya, Turkey
Bolupe from 13 Weeks Travel
Lara Beach Antalya is a Blue Flag beach on the turquoise coast of the Turkish Riviera. It lies in the exclusive area of Antalya tagged as Turkish Las Vegas because of the magnificent array of luxurious hotels designed in amazing shapes like the Concorde Airplane.
The beach conditions are attractive and clean. Children of all ages will have fun at this beach. While the younger children can enjoy paddling in its shallow, crystal clear water, the older children can explore a range of water sports available on Lara Beach like banana boats, Jet Ski and para-gliding.
You can find several historic Roman ruins like Hadrian Wall in surrounding areas, which give a detailed and profound guide to the Island’s rich history. There is also the natural mineral bath spa Pamukkale and Duden Waterfalls if you go chasing waterfalls.
Lara Beach offers everything, and more, from exquisite restaurants to bars offering exotic fruit cocktails, you can choose self-service or full service. If you’re looking to relax on the beach, there is plenty of space for comfortable resting on the hammocks, beach sofas and pavilions.
The attractions on offer for children include impressive sand sculptures, horse riding, beach volleyball contests and bouncy castles in the child-friendly playground.
Lara Beach Antalya Turkey offers the full package on relaxation, entertainment and adventure. A must for every family.
JBR Beach, Dubai, UAE
Yukti from Travel With Me 247
JBR, Beach in Dubai located on the Persian Gulf has been developed into a vibrant cosmopolitan beachfront. A very popular beachside which is most popular among families. There are plenty of activities for kids like splash pool, outdoor gym, games, beach play, dining, events, shows, and a lot of many things.
For teenagers, there are many activities like banana boat rides, to parasailing or wakeboarding. This beach is famous for adventure sports as well as fitness activities like a perfect jogging track, yoga events, and open gym. You can ride on a train to get a glimpse of the whole beach or go for a camel ride which will give you a glimpse of Arabic culture.
Not only adventure sports or fitness, but this area is also famous for craft and Ripe Markets too. You will find lots of kiosks selling handicrafts which are beach themed. This beach is equally popular in the evening too for its stunning sunset and nightlife. There are numerous hotel apartments plus resorts located here, as well as restaurants hosting fine dining to brunches.
Being a public beach, access to JBR beach is free. It can be easily accessed by public transport. The whole stretch of JBR Beach is one of the most popular and vibrant attractions of Dubai due to the cosmopolitan scene and family-friendly beach.
Best Beaches in Europe
Whilst maybe a little chiller than some of their Asian counterparts, there are many fantastic coastlines around Europe itching to be explored. We have skipped over many of the popular Meditteranean destinations that can be chaotically crowded in summer to bring you some more unique choices.
Tikva from Gezin op Reis
Blåvand in Denmark is home to one of the best beaches in Northern Europe, a 40 kilometre long, clean and beautiful beach. Here you can enjoy nature, wild dunes and many birds while playing with your kids. Our daughter loved building sandcastles and running in the wind.
While swimming in Denmark is limited to the short summer months there is plenty to do the rest of the year. On the south beach of Blåvand are the remains of several bunkers dating back to the 2nd World War. They are part of the Atlantic Wall, a defensive line built by the Germans in order to prevent an invasion. Instead of demolishing everything, the English artist Bill Woodrow transformed them into horses.
The town is also home to a small zoo and Denmark’s oldest candy shop.
Claire from Devon with Kids
The great thing about visiting Devon in the UK is that you are never more than an hour from one of its 99 beaches. We love the beaches here for the sheer variety of shorelines. They range from rugged seascapes with rock pools and caves, to secluded coves with sheer cliff faces and others with miles of fine yellow sand.
Devon has two coastlines – one facing into the English Channel and the other out on to the Atlantic. This makes for very different conditions, with the north coast being popular with surfers. In the south, there’s family beach resorts and sheltered waters – ideal for letting little beachcombers explore.
Praia dos Alemães, Albufeira, Portugal
Diana from Travels in Poland
Praia dos Alemães in Albufeira is one of the best beaches to take your family on the Algarve coast. The sheer beauty of the beach is one of the main reasons as well as it’s family-friendly atmosphere.
The beach is the most easterly beach in Albufeira and is a Blue Flag beach which is perfect for families. The gold stretch of sand and the natural rocky backdrops make it a beautiful beach in Albufeira. In the peak summer months, the beach is very popular as it has an array of water activities for families and children including an inflatable playground right off the beach.
There are plenty of sun umbrellas for families to use as well as lifeguards that keep watch over the visitors. There are also several bars and restaurants that line the beach and concession stands as well as shower facilities, which are not very common on the coast. The beach itself has two beaches on either side of it making it easy for families to hop from one beach to another to explore more of the Algarve’s magnificent coastline.
Cath from Travel Around Ireland
One of the best family beaches in the world is Salthill in Galway, Ireland. Salthill is a seaside resort on the north shore of Galway Bay and is a mostly sandy beach, with some rocky stretches. Salthill has a 2km promenade, popular with walkers, runners and holidaymakers. Visitors to the Prom, as it is locally known, can get views across Galway Bay and towards Galway City itself.
On warm summer days, the beach is a popular place to visit with kids, not only for the sandy stretches and the chance to dip your toes into the chilly Atlantic Ocean but also for some of the amenities nearby. There is the Galway Atlantaquaria, the national aquarium of Ireland, and Leisureland, a leisure centre featuring three swimming pools, one with slides and a pirate ship. There is also an outdoor amusement park between Easter and October.
Being a seaside town, you will also find souvenir shops, cafes, restaurant and takeaways for traditional fish and chips by the sea. Salthill is so much more than just its beach, which is worth strolling along, even on a not-so-nice day. And if you want to venture further Galway City is just a 20-minute bus ride direct into Eyre Square, or a leisurely walk of about 45-50 minutes, depending on little legs.
For more on our favourite European Destinations with kids check out the Discover Europe section of our blog
Best Family Beaches around Africa
Africa’s beaches are probably some of the least well known around the world but may truly surprise you.
Wilderness Beach, South Africa
Ting from My Travel Monkey
Gasps were not uncommon as we travelled the famous Garden Route from Cape Town to Knysna in South Africa – the scenery ever-changing and dramatic. But as we descended into the small coastal town of Wildnerness, all we could see was a dizzying stretch of beach that went in for miles and miles.
I still recall our stay on Wilderness Beach with much fondness. Unspoiled, uncrowded and with the warm Indian Ocean and its waves breaking onto fine golden sand, it’s the perfect family-friendly beach. The beach is generous in size, and the water shallow enough for children to paddle and boogie board in. And while you can go for long walks, there is also a good chance you’ll spot whales and dolphins out at sea, too.
Our kids loved it here, from running up and down the sand dunes to splashing in the water, we spent hours and hours on Wilderness, even managing to catch a few glorious sunsets.
A lot of accommodation is situated on the beachfront, including ours, so while there are no cafes right on the beach, you will find lifeguards and showers. If you’re visiting for the day you’ll need to pack a few things such as towels, drinks, and sunscreen – although there are ample cark parking spaces. Meanwhile, Wilderness village which is close by has a small supermarket and plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from, if you need to a bite to eat or to stock up on food and drink.
It’s not often a beach remains largely untouched and Wilderness Beach is arguably one of the most beautiful coastlines I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying on. The only problem now is so spoiled I have been, it’s hard not to compare others to it.
Lisa from Flip Flop Globetrotters
Unlike many Asian destinations, Dahab doesn’t have large stretches of white sand with clear blue waters. However, if you like a side of culture and nature with your beach, you’ll find plenty of reasons to visit Dahab.
For kids, we particularly like the central Lighthouse area with its shallow, confined area. It’s situated in a sheltered bay, so even if it’s windy, this is a great place to swim. In between swims you can relax at one of the many restaurants right near the water. You’ll also find plenty of shops right there on the boulevard.
Eel Garden has a similar setup, minus the shops. We especially like it there if there’s no wind. Dahab’s Laguna is also a great area for families, with lovely sandy areas and shallow water. The only downside to the Laguna is that it’s a bit outside of town and there are no facilities and no shade.
Heading to the south of Dahab, you’ll find Wadi Gnai. This is one of our favorite places in Dahab. Spend the day swimming and lounging at one of the Bedouin restaurants right near the water. These are in proper Bedouin-style, with carpets, pillows on the ground and low tables… and you can often see camels passing by.
One tip for visiting Dahab with kids: make sure you bring water shoes!
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Shoba from Just go Places
We don’t take that many beach holidays. In a family where three of the four of us have varying degrees of attention deficit disorder, sitting on a beach is just not that interesting. Sometimes, however, you really just need to get away from the bleakness of winter. A beach holiday of sunshine and relaxation can really make a big difference in attitude for the whole family.
My children adored the black sand beaches of Tenerife. The black sand beaches are the natural beaches of Tenerife whereas the yellow sand beaches on the island are imported from the Sahara.
For the kids, mixing the black sand with some water and it was just like playing in the mud. They looked a fright by the end of the day but it all washes off. On the plus side, it was much easier to clean them off because you can spot the black sand much easier than the usual yellow sand!
Best Beaches in North & Central America
With plenty of rugged coastline around North America, to the luxurious soft sands of the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast, let’s look at our bloggers’ favourites in the Americas.
Mayan Riviera, Mexico
Amy from Passports & Pigtails
There is very little that can rival the experience of standing where sand meets the sea, that magic spot existing in nature and explored by people from all over the world. The crescent-shaped beaches of the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan Peninsula, are spectacular, offering powdery white sand and palm trees overlooking the turquoise waves of the Caribbean Sea.
Set along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-longest coral reef on the planet, this stretch of coastline offers some of the world’s most incredible snorkelling and diving, yet its waters are calm enough for even the youngest beach babes.
Famous for large scale all-inclusive resorts, tourists have no shortage of sunny spots to enjoy all that the Mexican coast has to offer. You can become sunkissed on the world-renowned Maroma Beach, swim with turtles at Akumal, snorkel along the protected National Marine Park at Puerto Moreles or enjoy a dip at Parasio after touring the historical ruins of Tulum.
The beaches of the Mayan Riviera are the perfect place for romance, celebrations and family connection. It is quite simply paradise.
Playa Jutías, Cuba
Barbara from Mums on Flip Flops
Playa Jutías in Cuba’s western peninsula Piñar del Río is one of the best beaches with families you can find in Cuba. Like the famous Varadero beach, Playa Jutías offers the most pristine white sand and turquoise waters. The beach itself is quite narrow, but the overall feeling makes it a dream location!
The beach is great for kids as the water is very calm and shallow for a long while. Little ones can even go in on their own. As it is so remote there is no nearby accommodation nor are there any shops. Most tourists visit Cayo Jutías as a day trip from Viñales.
There are 3 parts to the beach: the central area is where you’ll find the most visitors. You can rent sun chairs and umbrellas (great choice if you come with kids – the sunburn!) and there’s a (very bad!) restaurant. If you go to the West, there’s a more remote area with a couple of bars. If you go to the East (you have to walk through the mangroves a bit, but it’s very easy) you’ll reach another remote area.
There’s a lot of natural shade here, fewer tourists and it’s the best spot for snorkelling.
Gulf Coast, Florida USA
Amanda from Patsey Family Travel
The United States is full of some amazing beaches and some of the best family-friendly beaches can be found on the Gulf Coast in Florida. There are numerous options for beach towns that provide great access to the beach, resorts/rentals, restaurants, and other things to do for families.
One of the best areas for families to visit is Sanibel Island. This island on the Gulf Coast in Florida has some of the best beaches for shelling in the whole state. There are also tons of great places to eat, and easy to get around with just a bike!
Another great family-friendly beach in Florida is Siesta Key. The water is clear, the sand is some of the softest ever and the waves are not big which are perfect for kids. Siesta Key has a great town too where you can walk around the various shops and restaurants after a day at the beach.
In addition to Sanibel Island, and Siesta Key a few more popular areas for great family-friendly beaches on the FL Gulf Coast include Marco Island, Fort Myers, Anna Maria, and Clearwater Beach.
Prince Edward Island, Canada
Preethi from Local Passport Family
While renowned for its Anne of Green Gables sites, Prince Edward Island is also a perfect family beach destination. On PEI, the beaches are calm and clean, and rarely crowded.
While there are a number of beach stops around the island, the Cavendish beaches of Prince Edward Island National Park are particularly lovely. Miles of soft sand dunes extend to wetlands and forests, creating a stunning diversity in the landscape.
There are a number of access points to get to the beach areas, including several with clean bathrooms, showers, and even food areas – perfect for families with little ones. And since it’s definitely not part of the spring break circuit, the beaches tend to be quiet and geared toward children. No need to worry about interrupting big parties with kids running around!
When you’ve gotten your fill of surf and sand, be sure to check out the enormous variety of wildlife and birds nearby – the dunes create a home for a grand diversity of species. After soaking up all the nature, head back to Charlottetown for some top-notch food and restaurants – an excellent destination for families of varying interests!
Kohala Coast, Hawaii, USA
Melissa from The Family Voyage
The Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island is an amazing area for families! It’s home to some of America’s most pristine white sand beaches and offers plenty of calm waters for everyone.
Some of the area’s most popular spots are world-famous Hapuna Beach, Mauna Kea Beach and Spencer Beach Park. There are numerous others as well, but throughout the Kohala Coast you’ll find generally calm waters with shallow entries. These beaches also have services like well-stocked bathrooms and shower stations.
Spencer Beach Park is generally regarded as the best for youngest kids thanks to its extremely flat water. It also offers a few big shade trees for crucial sun protection (though you’ll need to get there pretty early to snag one of them). Hapuna Beach has the prettiest sand in the area and lots of parking. There are a few shelters with picnic tables but they’re up the hill closer to the parking.
Mauna Kea Beach is mostly used by guests of the wonderful Mauna Kea hotel, but there are also a handful of free first-come-first-served parking spaces available, and the limited access keeps crowds down. In addition to some intro-level boogie boarding in the center of Mauna Kea beach, you’ll also find plenty of nice snorkeling on the far left and you can spot manta rays near the hotel once the floodlights are turned on at night!
In addition to relaxing on the island’s stunning beaches, you won’t want to miss Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the lush Hilo waterfalls during your visit to the Big Island. Start your planning with this itinerary so you don’t miss a thing!
For more family adventures in North & Central America check out the Discover the Americas section of our blog here
Best Family Beach Vacations in Australia & New Zealand
Last but not no means least, our very own Australia. It was a tough act not to basically declare the entire 35,800kms of it our favourites but we’ve tried to narrow it down to a few gems our family’s love, as well as a brilliant idea from over the water in New Zealand.
Rainbow Beach, Queensland, Australia
Nicci from Trip Chiefs
Blessed with beautiful white sandy beaches and clear blue water, there are a few other amazing features that make Rainbow Beach truly special. Its stunning coloured sand cliffs are a sight to behold and great for exploring with kids, while the Carlo Sand Blow provides not only an incredible vista but also fun for the family to go sand tobogganing.
You can hire a 4WD and drive along the long stretches of beach to find your own patch of paradise to enjoy for the day. When you’ve had enough relaxing, there is also plenty for families to do with nearby dolphin feeding, horse riding on the beach, fishing, bushwalking, sea kayaking, and there is a great café, Italian restaurant and pub to enjoy.
Rainbow Beach is the gateway to the iconic Fraser Island, so if you feel the need to discover more, you’re only a barge ride away. One thing I really love is that this tiny town is very laid back and peaceful, and when you’re travelling with little boys, there aren’t too many places we can say are peaceful!
Smiths Beach, Margaret River, Western Australia
Marianne from Mum on the Move
Most people associate the Margaret River region of Western Australia with wine. After all, over 20% of Australia’s premium wine comes out of the 200+ wineries here.
But another reason to head here is the beaches, and Smiths Beach is one of our all-time favourite beaches anywhere in the world. The wild ruggedness of the dunes that line the sand gives a natural beauty to the beach, which is so long and wide that you can’t imagine it ever feeling that crowded, no matter how many people were to turn up. Last time we were there, we even spotted a pod of dolphins off the shore – amazing!
The beach is popular with surfers, and older kids will enjoy boogie boarding here, but the Southern end of the beach is calmer and is also shallow enough to take your smaller kids in for a paddle or swim too.
The 90 Mile Beach – Victoria, Australia
Mark from Wyld Family Travel
The 90 Mile Beach is located in East Gippsland, Australia. As its name suggests, it stretches for 90 miles. This section of the coastline is underpopulated and undeveloped in a lot of area’s and there are only a handful of towns along the beach that have access to it.
Seaspray is a small holiday town with a shop and camping park at one end of the beach. At the other end stands Lakes Entrance a holiday mecca for Victorians in the summer. The 90-Mile beach is popular for fishing with shark and salmon caught regally near Seaspray.
While at Lakes Entrance families swim happily in the mostly calm ocean with sand as far as the eye can see. I have fond memories of this beach as we holidayed at Lakes Entrance every year as kids; now as an adult, I have fun taking my kids here to go swimming and fishing.
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Jennifer from Backyard Travel Family
Mount Maunganui, in the North Island of New Zealand, is one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the country and is really great for kids. The main beach is an expansive popular surf beach (without the crazy huge waves) and is well protected by local lifeguards. The great thing about the Mount is that it sits on the peninsula, meaning if you prefer a flat, calmer beach, you can walk 5 minutes across the road to Pilot Bay and enjoy more protected, flat waters. This means it is great on any day, no matter the weather.
Mount Maunganui is a popular holiday spot for locals, meaning it has many great hotels and apartment accommodation close to the beach. Ice cream stores are right across the road for a classic kiwi ice cream at the beach and there are many cafes and restaurants close by.
An iconic thing to do while visiting Mt Maunganui beach is to climb the Mount. The views from the top of the Mount walk are incredible, but if you prefer, there is a seaside track around the base of the mountain, for a flatter, easier walk. Make sure you say hello to the resident seal who loves to bask in the sun on the rocks.
Are there any spectacular family-friendly beaches you think we’ve missed? We’d love to hear your favourites in the comments below.
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Looking for more amazing family vacation destinations?
We have a bunch of amazing round-ups we have compiled with help from our worldwide travel community. Before you go why not check out:
- Our complete guide to the hottest Family Destinations this year – as chosen by our Facebook group parents Family Travel Inspiration
- Top 20 city breaks for families
- 14 Inspiring & education trips you should try with your kids
- 25 Wine routes that are surprisingly family-friendly
- 20 Epic road trips you need to try with your kids
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