Sun, Sand, and Smiles:
15 Spectacular Beach Trips for Kids
Sun, Sand, and Smiles: 15 Spectacular Beach Trips for Kids
When it comes to family vacations, few destinations offer the perfect combination of sun, sand, and smiles quite like the beach. The USA is home to a plethora of stunning coastal destinations that provide unforgettable experiences for kids. From exciting water parks and thrilling amusement rides to wildlife encounters and educational exhibits, these 15 beach trips offer a spectacular range of activities and attractions that will leave kids beaming with joy.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is a true paradise for kids and families alike. Its pristine sandy shores provide endless opportunities for sandcastle building and beach games. What makes Myrtle Beach truly spectacular is its array of amusement parks, including Family Kingdom and Myrtle Waves Water Park. These attractions offer thrilling rides, water slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools that guarantee hours of laughter and excitement. Mini-golf courses, go-kart tracks, and Ripley’s Aquarium add to the fun, making Myrtle Beach an unbeatable destination for kids of all ages.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is a vibrant coastal city that offers an incredible beach vacation experience for families. The wide sandy beach is perfect for kids to swim, play in the waves, and build sandcastles. The three-mile-long boardwalk is lined with entertainment, from bike rentals and rollerblading to street performers and amusement rides. Families can visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, where children can marvel at marine life through captivating exhibits and interactive displays. Dolphin-watching tours and fishing charters are also popular activities that allow kids to get closer to the ocean’s wonders.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is a coastal gem that offers a unique beach experience for families. Kids will love exploring the massive sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, which provide a fantastic playground for rolling, running, and flying kites. History comes to life at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where children can learn about the pioneers of flight. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is another highlight, with its iconic black and white stripes and panoramic views. The Outer Banks also provides ample opportunities for fishing, crabbing, and encountering the famous wild horses that roam the beaches.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores, Alabama, is a hidden treasure along the Gulf Coast that offers a fantastic beach vacation for families. The pristine white sand beaches provide a picturesque backdrop for kids to play and build sandcastles. Gulf Shores is home to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, where children can observe exotic animals up close and even have the opportunity to feed and interact with some of them. The thrilling water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers at Waterville USA guarantee endless entertainment for kids of all ages. With its relaxed atmosphere and exciting attractions, Gulf Shores is a spectacular destination for a family beach trip.
Destin, with its crystal-clear waters and sugary white sand, is a dream come true for beach-loving families. Kids can spend hours swimming in the warm Gulf of Mexico or building elaborate sandcastles on the shore. Thrill-seeking youngsters will be delighted by the variety of water sports available, such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking. For an unforgettable experience, families can visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, where children can interact with dolphins, sea lions, and other marine creatures. With its natural beauty and family-friendly activities, Destin is a top choice for a sun-soaked getaway.
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland, is a bustling beach destination that promises non-stop fun for kids and families. The iconic boardwalk stretches for miles and is filled with exciting attractions. Kids can hop on amusement rides, play games at arcades, and challenge each other to rounds of mini-golf. The Jolly Roger Amusement Park is a must-visit for thrill-seekers, offering roller coasters, water slides, and go-karts. For those who love the water, Ocean City provides opportunities for swimming, boogie boarding, and even fishing from the pier. The town also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, adding an extra layer of excitement to your beach vacation.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island is a paradise for families seeking a relaxing beach getaway with plenty of activities for kids. The island’s pristine beaches provide a tranquil setting for swimming, building sandcastles, and collecting seashells. Hilton Head Island is known for its extensive bike trails, allowing families to explore the island’s natural beauty on two wheels. Kids can also engage in nature activities, such as spotting wildlife in the island’s nature reserves or learning about conservation efforts at the Coastal Discovery Museum. Many resorts on the island offer children’s programs and activities, including arts and crafts, sports, and nature walks, ensuring that kids are always entertained.
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz, located along California’s central coast, is an exciting beach destination that guarantees smiles for the whole family. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a highlight, offering a classic amusement park experience with thrilling rides, games, and delicious treats like cotton candy and funnel cakes. Kids will also enjoy exploring the Mystery Spot, a gravity-defying area where natural laws seem to bend. Santa Cruz’s beautiful beaches provide opportunities for swimming, boogie boarding, and sunbathing. Whether it’s strolling along the boardwalk, visiting the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, or simply enjoying the ocean views, Santa Cruz is a fantastic choice for a beach vacation with kids.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod’s charming coastal towns make it an idyllic destination for families seeking a beach trip filled with beauty and adventure. The beaches on Cape Cod offer calm waters, perfect for young kids to splash and play. Families can embark on whale watching tours, where children can marvel at the majestic creatures of the sea. Cape Cod also provides a network of bike paths, allowing families to explore the scenic landscapes and picturesque towns at their own pace. The Cape Cod Children’s Museum offers interactive exhibits and activities designed to stimulate young minds through play and learning.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Kiawah Island is a tranquil and family-friendly beach destination known for its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. The island’s pristine beaches invite children to swim, build sandcastles, and hunt for seashells. Kiawah Island offers numerous nature trails, allowing families to spot wildlife and explore the island’s diverse ecosystems. Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the world-class golf courses, while kids can engage in tennis, biking, and other sports activities. Many resorts on Kiawah Island provide kids’ programs and activities, giving young travelers the chance to make new friends and participate in fun-filled adventures.
St. Pete Beach, Florida
St. Pete Beach, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, offers a blend of beautiful beaches and family-friendly attractions. The wide sandy beaches provide ample space for kids to swim, build sandcastles, and play beach games. Families can visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, famous for being the home of Winter, the dolphin from the movie “Dolphin Tale.” Kids can also explore the exhibits at the Salvador Dali Museum in nearby St. Petersburg, where they can marvel at the works of the renowned artist and engage in interactive art experiences. St. Pete Beach is also known for its fantastic sunsets, and families can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach as they watch the sky transform into a breathtaking canvas of colors.
Sanibel Island, Florida
Sanibel Island is a paradise for shell enthusiasts and nature-loving families. Known for its abundance of seashells, kids will be thrilled to comb the beaches and collect unique treasures. The island’s beaches are also ideal for swimming, building sandcastles, and enjoying picnics. Families can explore the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where children can spot a variety of bird species, alligators, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum provides educational exhibits on shells and marine life, offering a deeper understanding of the fascinating coastal ecosystems.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island offers a peaceful and secluded beach retreat perfect for families seeking a serene getaway. Kids can run and play on the uncrowded beaches, building sandcastles and splashing in the gentle waves. The island’s bike paths provide an opportunity for scenic family rides, allowing everyone to appreciate the island’s natural beauty. Families can visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, an educational facility that rehabilitates and releases sea turtles. The center offers interactive exhibits, educational programs, and a chance to witness the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these fascinating creatures.
Coronado Beach, California
Coronado Beach, located in the picturesque city of Coronado near San Diego, offers a magical beach experience for families. The wide sandy shore provides plenty of space for kids to play in the sand and swim in the ocean. Families can explore the historic Hotel del Coronado, known for its stunning architecture and luxurious ambiance. The nearby Coronado Beach Central Park features playgrounds, picnic areas, and green spaces where kids can run and play. A visit to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, just a short drive away, provides an opportunity to encounter a vast array of animals from around the globe.
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Wrightsville Beach is a charming coastal destination that offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure for families. Kids can enjoy the wide sandy beach, where they can swim, boogie board, and build sandcastles. The gentle waves make it an ideal spot for children to learn how to surf or paddleboard. Families can explore the Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, offering opportunities for fishing and enjoying panoramic views of the coastline. A short drive away, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher awaits, where children can explore interactive exhibits, marvel at marine life, and learn about the importance of ocean conservation.
The 15 beach trips mentioned above showcase the best of what the USA has to offer for families seeking a memorable vacation by the sea. From thrilling amusement parks and water sports to wildlife encounters and educational experiences, these destinations cater to the interests and preferences of kids of all ages. With sun, sand, and smiles guaranteed, these beach trips promise to create cherished memories for families, fostering a love for the coast and the wonders of the natural world. So pack your sunscreen, towels, and beach toys, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure that will leave your children beaming with joy and excitement.