Top Ten Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Coney Island Beach, New York
Coney Island Beach, New York. Editorial credit: Keep Smiling Photography / Shutterstock.com

With summer just around the corner, most of us are thinking of those beach getaways. Whether you live close to the ocean and plan on making a few day trips or going on a vacation to the east coast, there are several beautiful beaches you can enjoy with your family. 

The east coast has everything from those stunning New England beaches to the waves up and down the Florida coastline. The following is a list of the top ten beaches for families on the east coast. 

Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Old Orchard beach at sunset, aerial view
Old Orchard beach at sunset, aerial view

Going to Old Orchard Beach is a right of passage for those who reside in New England. Located about a quarter of the way up Maine’s beautiful coastline, Old Orchard is one of the best beaches for families. 

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While the water may be a little colder, the beach is full of things to do. If it’s an adventure you seek, try your hand at jet skiing or body surfing. The beach is known for its pier, where you can browse the many shops and, of course, indulge in Maine’s famous seafood. 

One of the things that makes Old Orchard stand out is the beachfront amusement park that is a blast for kids of all ages. 

Mayflower Beach, Massachusetts

Beautiful sunset in Mayflower Beach
Beautiful sunset in Mayflower Beach

It’s not hard to understand why the Cape Cod National Seashore is a favorite of the Kennedy family. It boasts miles of beautiful, natural seashore blanketed in clean, soft sand. Several of Cape Cod’s beaches are great for families, but one of the best is Mayflower Beach in the town of Dennis. 

Mayflower Beach stands out, especially for young children, as it has miles of tide pools that can be explored during low tide. Your children will have plenty to do looking for seashells or wading in the pools. The beach also has a small boardwalk and picnic area for those hungry kids. 

Newport Beach, Rhode Island

Sunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse on Newport, Rhode Island 1
Sunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse on Newport, Rhode Island 1

Aside from having a fantastic beach for families, the town of Newport is home to the Newport Mansions. The Newport Mansions are a group of stunning gilded age mansions that offer daily tours and are a must for any historian. 

Newport is home to a few beautiful beaches, but my favorite is Easton’s Beach, also known as First Beach. The beach is only a 15-minute walk from downtown Newport and is a blast for families. The beach has live music during the summer and entertainment for children in July and August. 

Coney Island, New York

Coney Island Beach, New York
Coney Island Beach, New York. Editorial credit: Keep Smiling Photography / Shutterstock.com

New York City has a lot to offer, but we often don’t think of the beach. Coney Island is a stretch of soft, inviting sand surrounded by a family-friendly atmosphere. 

Aside from swimming in the ocean, you can enjoy the giant Wonder Ferris Wheel and amusement park. And, of course, plenty of world-famous hot dogs.

Ocean City, Maryland

Several of the amusement rides are popular attractions in the summer on the Ocean City boardwalk.
Several of the amusement rides are popular attractions in the summer on the Ocean City boardwalk. Editorial credit: George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

Ocean City screams family vacation. This enormous beach seems to stretch forever. Ocean City is truly a family spot with plenty of facilities and lifeguards on duty. 

Its boardwalk boasts shopping, eateries, and play areas for smaller children and a giant amusement park for older kids. If you are looking for a different experience, you can visit the Assateague Island National Seashore. There you can take in the beauty of the feral horses, and they are absolutely gorgeous. 

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Fishing Pier at Sunrise at Virginia Beach
Fishing Pier at Sunrise at Virginia Beach

Beautiful Virginia Beach is a thriving environment with plenty of family-friendly things to do. Wildlife is aplenty at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. 

The waves at Virginia Beach are gentle enough for smaller children, and the myriad of restaurants and shops will give you plenty to do. 

Wilmington, North Carolina

At the Beach, Kure Beach, NC
At the Beach, Kure Beach, NC

Wilmington, North Carolina is one of the beautiful cities I’ve visited. It boasts a unique southern charm and also has several gorgeous beaches. Kure, Carolina, and Wrightsville Beach all offer something different for each type of family.

Kure Beach is perfect for families who prefer things to be quieter and slower-paced. Long walks along the shoreline can be great for collecting shells and just enjoying nature. 

Carolina Beach has a bustling boardwalk with shopping and amusements for those seeking excitement, while Wrightsville Beach is perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying some great seafood. 

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach South Carolina Drone Skyline Aerial.
Myrtle Beach South Carolina Drone Skyline Aerial.

Myrtle Beach is famous for its warm water and soft, white sand, and it is also full of reasonably priced entertainment for all family members. The miles of beaches are perfect for basking in the warm sun, and the boardwalk seems to go on forever. 

Myrtle Beach offers plenty of stores, go-karts, and fantastic food up and down the coast. Your kids will especially enjoy Wonderworks Amusement and the famous Ripley’s Museum.

Vero Beach, Florida

Atlantic Ocean Beach at Vero Beach, FL
Atlantic Ocean Beach at Vero Beach, FL

Nothing says beach like the gorgeous coastline of the sunshine state. Vero beach is unique because it doesn’t have the large crowds that fill most of Florida’s beaches. 

The coastal hamlet is picturesque with its sandy beaches. You will see plenty of turtles, pelicans, and sandpipers as the wildlife is abundant. The whole family can enjoy learning about the conservation of loggerhead turtles before enjoying a walk through the old downtown. 

The beach also has plenty of shops, and museums, not to mention excellent seafood.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA beachfront skyline.
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA beachfront skyline.

Imagine twenty-three miles of Florida coastline; that’s Daytona Beach, and it has plenty of amazing things to do for all members of the family. The activities never cease, from renting bicycles to petting stingrays at the Marine Center. Go on a dolphin boat tour with the kids or bring them to the children’s museum. 

Of course, there are the white sandy beaches to rest your weary head aside from other countless adventures. Shopping, golfing, restaurants, you name it. 

Daytona Beach is the epitome of the family beach vacation, where there is plenty to do for all ages. You won’t struggle to find not only an incredible place to stay but something to keep everyone happy and busy!

Conclusion

I hope this list of my ten favorite beaches gives you some ideas for planning a family vacation. No matter where you are from, the east coast boasts some of the best places to relax and enjoy family this summer. 

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!