Not all beaches are family-friendly and even the beaches that cater to kids can be a crowded conundrum of concerns and hassles. To take the guessing work out of the equation, TripAdvisor subsidiary, Family Vacation Critic, offers these crowd-curated best bets for beaches this summer with insider tips for sun and fun.
Lincoln City Beach – Lincoln City, OR
Insider Tip: Search the sand for glass floats – they’re part of a program called Finders Keepers, in which “Float Fairies” disperse beautiful ornaments on the beach for vacationers to find and take home.
Virginia Beach — Virginia Beach, VA
Insider Tip: Don’t leave Virginia Beach without a photo in front of King Neptune, a 34-foot-tall statue of the mythological sea god. Families can also enjoy free concerts and live entertainment across the boardwalk in the summer.
Ogunquit Beach – Ogunquit, ME
Insider Tip: Use the Ogunquit Trolley to get to the beach and around town – fare is just $2.00 per adult and $1.50 per child (ages 10 and under).
Manatee County Beach – Holmes Beach, FL
Insider Tip: Reserve a Nesting Beach Tour at the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch to join federally permitted volunteers as they analyze nests and hatched (and unhatched) shells during turtle nesting season.
Carlsbad State Beach – Carlsbad, CA
Insider Tip: Historic Highway 101 has free parking – get there early to snag a spot. The City of Carlsbad also offers family events, classes and camps throughout the year – including surf school, S’mores parties and more.
Fort De Soto Park – St. Petersburg, FL
Insider Tip: Head to North Beach to enjoy a shallow, calm lagoon – perfect for new swimmers.
Rehoboth Beach – Rehoboth Beach, DE
Insider Tip: Bring or rent bikes to take advantage of the scenic trails that connect Rehoboth Beach with Lewes, Delaware.
Crescent Beach – Block Island, RI
Insider Tip: Take the Mobile Bike Tour of Block Island. At the island’s most popular attractions, families can use their smartphones to scan QR codes and hear about each featured attraction.
Cape May Beach – Cape May, NJ
Insider Tip: Enjoy free “Movies on the Beach” on Thursday evenings, mid-July through late-August. Showings are presented on the beach near Convention Hall (or inside Convention Hall when it rains).
Kings Beach – Lake Tahoe, CA
Insider Tip: Visit the Tahoe Central Market for picnic food to enjoy on the beach. The market features local, organic products, plus delicious smoothies and sandwiches.
“When choosing the top family-friendly beaches, we consider a number of factors – it’s not just beautiful sands and picturesque views,” explains Lissa Poirot, Family Vacation Critic editor. “Beyond clean, safe beaches, we’re looking for beaches that offer a well-rounded experience for families – accommodations, dining and entertainment within close distance of the beach, and plenty to keep the whole family entertained while in town.”