Best Family Beaches

Surf, sand and sun come together to make an amazing vacation for everyone.

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Coki Beach

Cozy, gorgeous, kid-friendly Coki Beach adjoins Coral World Ocean Park and offers hair braiders; a sensational dollar-a-minute massage for mom, dad, or teens; and opportunities to snorkel, kayak, parasail, and "snuba." Inhale the view on St. Thomas and enjoy!

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Folly Beach

There are several great beaches in the Charleston vicinity, but Folly Beach, easy to get to and fun for kids, is the best choice for families. At the west end is Folly Beach County Park, which offers wide-open spaces, picnic tables, dressing rooms and a boardwalk.

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Hanalei Beach

After a long and scenic drive along Kauai's North Shore, the reward is a gorgeous two-mile stretch of Hanalei Bay Beach, which first gained national attention when it was used in the 1958 musical South Pacific. Locals come here to enjoy some of the best surfing on the island, fine white sand, sapphire blue water and palm trees.

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Joseph Silva State Beach

On hot summer days, scads of families come to Joseph Silva State Beach to collect shells and splash in the gentle surf. "State beach" (as it's known to Martha's Vineyard locals) has a gradual incline and calm waves, thanks to its location on Nantucket Sound. Observant families will recognize the scenery from "Jaws," including a famous bridge that's been named in the film's honor.

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Bahia Honda State Park

Most beaches in the Florida Keys are rocky and murky, which is why families go ga-ga over Bahia Honda State Park. Children under 7 will prefer calmer Calusa beach, while older kids will prefer the stronger waves and fish of the oceanside's Sandspur beach. Both offer a Keys' rarity: soft, powdered sand, and tempting teal water.

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Kaanapali Beach

One of the few white sand beaches on the Big Island and one of the best beaches in the world, Hapuna Beach State Park offers great boogie boarding, body surfing, sand-castle making, and snorkeling. With a sand bar that stretches half a mile, this beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

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Playa Caracol

Nice beaches abound in Cancun, so you might think that the beach outside your hotel may be all you need, but Playa Caracol (Snail Beach) is a popular beach with tourists and locals alike. Its sapphire blue waters remain calm even when the waves pick up at other beaches, making it an ideal beach for families with babies and young children.

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Race Point Beach

Very broad and very long, Race Point Beach on Cape Cod is recognized as one of the best beaches in the country. It gets its name from the strong Atlantic currents offshore, so parents should be mindful of the little ones, while older kids will love the exciting surf.

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Santa Monica Pier

As if screaming down the rails of a rollercoaster isn't exciting enough, here you can do it with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. The Santa Monica Pier is known for its loud arcade and hit-the-clown, win-a-stuffed-animal kind of games. In other words, it's kid heaven. Above the Los Angeles icon is a boardwalk that runs along the beach for miles.

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Silver Strand Beach

A beautiful, two-mile stretch of beach just a quick car trip from downtown San Diego, Silver Strand State Beach is perfect for making sand castles, watching birds and spotting wild life.

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Waikiki Beach

No trip to Oahu is complete without a day on famous Waikiki Beach. Kids will be awed by all of the sights: The people parasailing out over the ocean, canoes paddling over waves and, of course, the miles of sand and sandcastles.

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Wailea Beach

Wailea Beach was voted the best beach in the country in 1999, and it's easy to see why. Crescent-shaped and protected on each end by black lava points, the waters of off the Maui coast are exceptionally calm, with light waves that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling (and gentle enough for children).

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Wildwood Beach

Wildwood Beach is free and it's fabulous, consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world. Even on the most crowded days on the Jersey Shore, there's plenty of room to set up camp with towels, beach chairs, and an umbrella. When hunger strikes, eat your way through the fudge funnel cake, pizza or kettle corn.

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