10 Great Family Beaches in the United States

Life’s a beach, and it’s hard to find anyone, anywhere who doesn’t love a day at the beach. Even if you are not a sun worshiper, the combination of salt air, surf and the sound of the water, gulls and wind are special any time of the year. We love the beach in every season and we are always looking for the “perfect” spot on the perfect beach to plant a chair and sit.

Here are 10 Great Beaches in the United States. We won’t call our selection the “Best” or the “Greatest” because everyone has their own personal idea of what makes a beach great. Some like the sand and easy access, others rocks, lighthouses and sand dunes. It’s also way too tempting on a short list to award Florida and Hawaii more than their fair share of ribbons. Our selection of beaches was chosen for easy access, popularity for family fun, and for their wide geographic range. Interestingly, several of these beaches are state parks or included in the national park system. So here are a few of our favorites. If you are a beach lover, let us know!

  • Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

    Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

    A calm, sandy, postcard perfect beach. Seldom crowded, dog friendly and ensconced in a lovely Southern US setting. Great waves for children with plenty of facilities for day-trippers, the beach is perfect for walking and sunning. A great place to spend some time contemplating everything and nothing at all. Long and low with lots of warm shallow water in the summer months. There is a $10 per car fee to park. http://www.ccprc.com/1411/Kiawah-Beachwalker-Park

    See More
  • Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida

    Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida

    A beach on an island reachable only by boat? Yep, that is Caladesi Island State Park. A short ferry ride of 15 minutes takes visitors over to the park each summer until mid-September, or the more adventuresome can kayak over. The clean and well-organized beach is a reminder of Old Florida. Take your own beach gear or rent it on the beach. Quite, peaceful and seldom crowded. No pets allowed on the ferry or beaches! The water is shallow for a good 45 yards out from the beach. The sand is littered with seashells with great open views of the Gulf of Mexico. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Caladesi-Island

    See More
  • Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    A small nature-lovers beach many enjoy off-season in the fall! On occasion one might spot a seal in the water and there are shark sightings. The beach is one of several on the National Seashore. Soft sand and, during season, strong lifeguard support. Dog friendly with lovely small sand dunes. Nice hiking areas through the salt marshes and scrub brush woods. During the summer it can be crowded with limited parking, though. There are sometimes rip currents, so watch the little ones! https://www.nps.gov/caco/planyourvisit/coast-guard-beach-eastham.htm

    See More
  • Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

    Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

    Is it possible for sand to be too soft? A clean, but sometimes busy, beach set against the backdrop of the Coronado Hotel and Resort. Military planes flying overhead often put on a show and the beach is free, windy and warm during the summer months, though the water is a bit cooler than the beaches of Florida or Hawaii. Lots of family fun facilities at hand, including great dining and shops. And great wave action too! http://coronadovisitorcenter.com/what-to-see/home-of-the-u-s-a-s-1-beach/

    See More
  • Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, Florida

    Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, Florida

    Florida’s Emerald Coast is a much sought after destination, but Henderson Beach State Park is perhaps the best in the Panhandle. Parking is plentiful and there is ample beach with lots of space for your favorite beach activities. The water is is a brilliant clear turquoise and the quartz sand soft and white. There is a campsite at the beach with excellent facilities including bathhouses, playgrounds, and picnic settings. Pets are permitted in the campground, but not the beach. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Henderson-Beach

    See More
  • Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii

    Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii

    Consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best beaches. The beach borders the Kapalua Ritz Carlton, but there is plenty of space for everyone as well as excellent kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and diving. The beach facilities include showers, restrooms and changing areas. A large grassy area is used for picnics and games. The beach is largely sheltered from the wind by large rock outcroppings. The beach is a popular one for weddings, and guests often see large parties gathered for the nuptial ceremonies. http://www.gohawaii.com/maui/regions-neighborhoods/west-maui/kapalua/

    See More
  • Hulopo’e Beach, Manele Bay, Lana’i, Hawaii

    Hulopo’e Beach, Manele Bay, Lana’i, Hawaii

    The long, curving beach at Manele Bay on Lana’i is another award winning beach in Hawaii. Just offshore is a marine preserve filled with colorful coral and fish bathed in warm, tropical water. Only thirty miles of road on the entire island, the beach is popular but seldom crowded and is a nature lover’s paradise. Hiking, kayaking, scuba and snorkeling are the primary beach activities here. Naturally, the weather is warm all year round, and the beach is child friendly with shallow waters except during times of high surf and winds when some rip currents can result. Tidal pools and high cliffs in the vicinity make the beach fun to explore. In the winter, humpback whales can be viewed from shore. http://www.gohawaii.com/lanai/regions-neighborhoods/south-lanai/hulopoe-bay-lanai/

    See More
  • Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

    Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

    Situated on North Carolina’s Outer Banks chain of Barrier Islands, Ocracoke Island is both a beach and a walk through history. Here was one of the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s hideouts and the Ocracoke Lighthouse, built in 1823, is still in active service. It is an active person’s beach, with surf fishermen, kite flyers, surfers and Frisbee champions everywhere. The beach is owned by the National Park Service, and parts of the beach allow off-road vehicles. There are completely undeveloped sections of the beach and over 400 species of birds along with turtles, shellfish and other marine life abound. http://www.ocracokevillage.com

    See More
  • Ogunquit Beach, Maine

    Ogunquit Beach, Maine

    A beautiful, flat, soft sand beach on the ocean but also bordered by the Ogunquit River. At low tide several sand bars can easily be reached. There are food stands and bathrooms close by, and the park is well kept and clean. Like many beaches in Maine, there are extreme tidal swings and the water this far north is quite cool. The beach is over three miles long and there are lifeguards during the summer. Just an hour north of Boston, this beach is a real treasure for locals and visitors alike. https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/outdoors-adventure/parks-recreation-areas/ogunquit-beach/

    See More
  • South Padre Island, Texas

    South Padre Island, Texas

    The Gulf of Mexico has been kind to the sun-soaked shores of South Padre Island. A year-round beach with an active nightlife, and a college spring break following, South Padre Island has attempted to re-make its image into a family destination. The beaches here are wide, the sand is soft, and the amenities ample with hotels and restaurants lining the perimeter. The water is pretty and the beach life active with kite boarding and windsurfing — two very popular activities. Deep-sea fishing and dolphin watching excursions are available as well as nearby nature trails and hiking. http://www.sopadre.com

    See More