10 Best Beaches in USA for Families

Honolulu, Hawaii. Waikiki beach and Honolulu's skyline.
Honolulu, Hawaii. Waikiki beach and Honolulu's skyline.

Nothing says summer like a vacation or day trip to the beach. The United States boasts some of the most beautiful, family-friendly beaches that are unique in their own way. 

From the northern beaches of New England to Southern Florida and up and down the California coastline, the beaches are plentiful.

I have put together a list of the top ten beaches for families in the United States. Each beach has something exciting to offer every member of the family. I hope this list helps you decide where you may want to take your next family vacation. 

Outer Banks, North Carolina

aerial view of beach and outer banks at nags head, north carolina
aerial view of beach and outer banks at nags head, north carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are rich in history and beauty. This cluster of barrier islands off the coast of the Tar Heel State has something for everyone. It was on the Outer Banks that the Wright Brothers amazed the country with their first flight and the Lost Colony disappeared.

Attractions such as windsurfing, fishing, and snorkeling are sure to keep your family busy. If you do decide to snorkel, you can explore one of the many shipwrecks that sit just outside the Outer Banks. 

There are also a ton of mini-golf courses as well as beautiful beaches. Lighthouses, beach shops, and eateries will ensure there is always something to do.

Sanibel Island, Florida

Stunning aerial view during sunrise of Captiva Island and Sanibel Island.
Stunning aerial view during sunrise of Captiva Island and Sanibel Island. Editorial credit: Noah Densmore / Shutterstock.com

Located near Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is a quiet, low-key beach. Laid back, the island is known for its abundance of beautiful seashells that will be sure to give your kids something to talk about. 

The island is alive with beautiful white sandy beaches that seem to stretch forever. You and your family can also enjoy museums and chic little shops as well as restaurants offering delicious food.

Honolulu Beaches, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii. Waikiki beach and Honolulu's skyline.
Honolulu, Hawaii. Waikiki beach and Honolulu’s skyline.

The island of Oahu is a mix of cosmopolitan and scenery that is more beautiful than most people imagine. The beaches of Honolulu spread miles of sparkling white sand against the modern highrises of the city.

Brilliant blue waters will entice you to spend your day relaxing while listening to the waves crash. There are also some fantastic hiking trails. The beaches of Honolulu also boast upscale restaurants and a thriving nightlife for the younger crowd.

Monterey Peninsula, California

Carmel, Monterey Peninsula, California, USA
Carmel, Monterey Peninsula, California, USA

With its beautiful architecture and humble lifestyle, time seems to slow in Monterey Peninsula. The lifestyle is a mix of laid-back and sophisticated, depending on what side of the peninsula you are on. 

The coastline is breathtaking with its miles of beautiful landscape. The beaches on Monterey Peninsula make for a wonderful vacation, no matter what size family you have. 

Golf courses, tours, and whale watching tours are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to vacationing in Monterey Peninsula.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head, South Carolina, lighthouse at dusk.
Hilton Head, South Carolina, lighthouse at dusk.

The beaches on Hilton Head are perfect for those who like things slower paced. The spotless white sand is aplenty and an ideal place for young children. Enjoy a relaxing dinner watching the sunset with your family, and enjoy some of the live music that is sure to get you to stop and take a deep breath. 

Golfing, tennis, and museums accompany the twelve miles of sandy beaches. You will love the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge if you enjoy wildlife. Be sure to bring your camera!

Nantucket Beach, Massachusetts

The entrance of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The entrance of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

For residents of the Bay State, visiting Nantucket at least once in your life is a must. Located thirty miles south of Cape Cod, Nantucket is only accessible by ferry. 

This posh island isn’t for the family on a budget, but you can still visit without spending a fortune. Along with enjoying the beautiful shoreline, you can stroll through the cobblestone streets on foot or a bicycle. 

If you are willing to splurge, the food is amazing, and the unique little shops have something for everyone. 

Cape May, New Jersey

Lifeboat on Beach in the morning, Cape May, NJ
Lifeboat on Beach in the morning, Cape May, NJ

Cape May is the premier summertime escape for those living in the northeast. Just 45 miles south of Atlantic City, Cape May is a tiny town that boasts pristine beaches and hundreds of beautiful Victorian homes and buildings. 

Quaint little bed and breakfasts are a true pleasure for those who favor them. Along with spending the day at the beach, one can choose to go bird watching or tour the many historical sights and take in the charm this coastal town has to offer. 

St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida, USA town square and fountain.
St. Augustine, Florida, USA town square and fountain.

St. Augustine and its breathtaking beaches are a must for any history lover. You and your family will love the cobblestone streets and revival architecture. After a day in the sun, treat yourself to dinner at one of the various restaurants. 

Browse the local boutiques or take the kids to the Pirate and Treasure Museum. Check out the St. Augustine Wild Reserve or the eclectic shops on St. George St. 

If you have a ghost lover in your family, St. Augustine has plenty of ghost tours that take place after dark, as the city is thought to be haunted!

Kennebunkport, Maine

Gorgeous homes sit on the rocky shores of Kennebunkport beach.
Gorgeous homes sit on the rocky shores of Kennebunkport beach.

It’s not hard to understand why the Bush family enjoys vacationing in Kennebunkport. This simple yet beautiful seaside town is complete bliss. 

The natural beach stretches for miles, with fabulous summer homes that sit along the rugged shoreline. Sailboats are there for all to enjoy, whether just watching them or taking a ride on one. Aside from being a fabulous beach for families, it’s also a favorite among fishermen who love to partake in the plethora of fresh seafood.

Dock Square features unique shops with something for everyone. The beaches here are on the quiet side, some with secluded paths which make perfect backdrops for family photos. Kennebunkport and its beaches will truly let you get away.

Newport Beach, California

Waves in the Pacific Ocean and view of the beach at sunset, in Newport Beach, California
Waves in the Pacific Ocean and view of the beach at sunset, in Newport Beach, California

It’s hard to pick only a few of California’s beautiful beaches, but Newport Beach certainly stands out. It is perfect for the family getaway with a pristine coastline and excellent restaurants. 

Stretching ten miles, you’ll have plenty of time to stroll along the shore and admire the yachts. Surfing here is perfect and a must for the family member that enjoys hitting the waves. 

Newport Beach is only about forty minutes from Los Angeles, and it’s also not far from Disneyland, and it makes a perfect place to come back to after a day in the park. 

The harbor area has hundreds of eateries and shops, and amusement rides that sit on the pier. The beach is glamorous and a fit for almost any kind of family. 

See Also

US Beaches

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!