If I never had to get in the ocean again, I’d be totally fine with that. My favorite vacations have my feet flat on the ground! However, my children are mer-creatures, so we keep on making sure we find our way to a beach once a year. I thought it would be fun to ask other travel bloggers what the best international beach vacations for families were and now I’m sharing their list with you! Let me know in a comment if we’ve missed one of your favorite beaches for kids; I had so much fun reading about all these different places and why they loved them.
If you enjoy these “best of” posts, check these others out while you’re here!
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Any time we go to the beach, we take some of the same essentials, how about you!:
25+ best international beach vacations for families
Assateague Island Beach in Maryland, United States
” If you’re looking for a unique beach experience while on vacation in Ocean City, MD, Assateague Island National Seashore should definitely be on your list. It’s one of the best beaches to visit with kids since it offers the chance to see wild horses up close. Seeing the horses just a few feet away from you is definitely something to experience at least once.
In addition to the horses, Assateague National Seashore also has great facilities. There are a few buildings with bathrooms and showers, plus a small shop to purchase necessities. The beach itself is well taken care of. The Atlantic Ocean water is also warm during the summer. There’s a fee to enter the beach given that it’s a National Park. You can, however, purchase a weekly or annual pass for a better rate. If you want to learn more about Assateague Island, there’s also a visitor’s center on the way to the beach.” — Amanda from Toddling Traveler
Bribie Island Beach in Moreton Bay Region, Australia
“Located just an hour from Brisbane, Bribie Island is connected to mainland Australia by a road bridge. The island offers 35km of pristine ocean shoreline, with visitors regularly sighting dolphins, turtles and even dugongs frolicking off the coast.
Famous for its white beaches, opportunities for swimming all year round and its resident kangaroos, the Bribie Island experience has attracted holidaying families for decades. Bribie’s most popular beach, Woorim, is a patrolled surf beach that ensures a safe and family-friendly beach experience, whilst the surrounding cafes and picnic areas mean you can easily spend an entire day enjoying this Australian treasure.
For those who would prefer a longer stay, there are a number of hotels on Bribie Island and even oceanfront camping for those looking for a more adventurous experience.” — Ngaire from Brisbane Kids
Costa Rei Beach in Sardinia, Italy
“There is little doubt that Costa Rei is one of the best beaches in the world. Located on the south eastern coast of Sardinia (Italy), the name refers more to the area than to the beach itself, and in fact you will find various beaches in a long stretch of land. Yet, the one that goes by the name of the area – Costa Rei – is the most popular one. It is a 12 km stretch of fine golden sand with the clearest waters you can imagine. As the beach is easily accessible, and the sand a pleasure to walk on and play with, this is a beach that is perfect for families with children.
Dalawella Beach in Galle, Sri Lanka
“Sri Lanka was voted the best place to visit by Lonely Planet in 2019 and it’s easy to see why. There is so much variety on this small island including luscious green hill country, ancient ruins and national parks teeming with animals, but the beaches are Sri Lanka’s main draw for many people.
Sri Lanka has many beautiful beaches, but not all of them are family-friendly because of strong currents and large waves. There are a few gems though and one of our favourite family-friendly beaches in Sri Lanka is Dalawella, right next door to the more famous Unawatuna beach.
Dalawella is unique because the reef creates a lagoon making the water perfectly safe for swimming. What makes it extra special is that turtles like glide in for a swim in the shallow waters and it’s such a magical experience for little ones. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear!” — Jacquie from Flashpacking Family
Elafonissi Beach in Crete, Greece
“Remote Elafonissi is one of the best beaches in Crete, and for that matter, the Mediterranean. It’s hidden away in the secluded south-west corner of the island, but that doesn’t stop thousands of visitors making their way there every day in the summer season. The reason everyone goes out of their way to get to Elafonissi is that it’s a piece of paradise, with a fringe of pink sand adding an extra frisson of beauty to the scene. The pink sand is made up of millions of crushed seashells, and it’s an amazing sight. The rest of the sand is golden, and the water is crystal clear turquoise – visually it’s a slice of paradise.
Elafonissi is popular with families because of the shallow water around most of its shoreline. It’s an ideal place for kids to paddle or swim – the lagoon side is only a few centimetres deep, and the sea side of the beach is comfortable for kids and novice swimmers. The one thing to be aware of with Elafonissi is that it’s very overcrowded through the summer season until the end of September. Things get quieter in October, when the sea is still warm enough to swim in, but the crowds gradually head back home.” — David from Delve Into Europe
Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico
“Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico, is perfection for families with shallow, crystal blue waters, Lifeguards, kiosks selling beach accessories, authentic Puerto Rican food, and drinks (including Piña Colada).
The mile stretch of Flamenco Beach is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The shallow waters make it effortless for the kiddos to swim and snorkel safely. And the stretch of beach is unique, refreshing, and rejuvenating.
I use the word unique because of what you will find when you stroll the stunning stretch of white sand beach. Away from the crowds stands an old, remnant tanker, a reminder of a complicated history with the United States and a quick history lesson for the kids (and adults).
For those of you United States history buffs, the Navy used the Spanish Virgin Islands (Culebra and Vieques) for training exercises and testing. Protests erupted in the early ‘70s, the citizens of the islands wanted them out. By 1975, the Navy ceased their activities and vacated the island, but left reminders such as this rusty tanker, covered in graffiti, sunk into the pristine shores of Flamenco Beach.” — Jenny from Traveling Party of 4, find more tips on visiting Puerto Rico here.
Horseshoe Bay Beach in Port Elliot, Australia
“Horseshoe Bay is near the town of Port Elliot, an hour from Adelaide in South Australia. From its safe water, beautiful setting and ample parking, Horseshoe Bay is the perfect family beach.
The crescent shaped bay is great for building sandcastles or relaxing in the sun. There are rock pools to explore, a little jetty to fish from and walking trails and lookouts close by.
If you get tired of the sand, right behind the beach is a grassy park with a playground and picnic area. We always finish our day with some fries from the foreshore cafe. Bliss!” — Natalie & Steve from Curious Campers
Inch Beach in County Kerry, Ireland
“Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland, is absolutely stunning and the perfect beach to go with kids. No matter what the Irish weather is like, there are so many things to do on this 4 miles long stretch of sand. If your kids are into water activities like surfing, then check out Kingdom Waves Surf School.
As Inch Beach is a Blue Flag beach and has lifeguards supervising the beach during the summer months, surfing (or if you are tough, swimming) in the wild Atlantic waves is a (sometimes literally) breathtaking experience. Alternatively, marvel at professional surfers riding the waves. As it is often quite windy at Inch beach, your kids might also enjoy flying a kite. Either way, the beautiful setting of Inch Beach (enjoy a 360 degree panorama of stunning Irish mountains and sea) makes this place an absolute gem to discover for yourself!” — Nils from Let’s Go Ireland, check them out on Pinterest here.
Isles of Scilly Beach in the United Kingdom
” If you’re looking for a deserted beach to enjoy with your family even in the peak school summer holidays, you should head to Great Bay on the island of St Martin, part of the Isles of Scilly in south west England.
This stunning arc of golden sand is backed by heathland with not a building or vehicle in sight. Indeed, you’ll need to walk a good half hour to reach it from the ferry terminal. But the walk is definitely worth it. When we had a Scilly Isles family holiday, we enjoyed a whole morning at Great Bay and only shared the beach with one other person during our several hours there.
The sea is cool but gloriously clear and there are rocks at the far end for clambering on. Our kids loved playing in the sand and paddling in the shallows. The peace and tranquillity is in stark contrast to the rest of coastal England in summertime.” — Annabel from Smudged Postcard
Junkanoo Beach in Nassau, Bahamas
“We love to take cruises and one of the most regularly-visited cruise ports in the Bahamas is Nassau. Junkanoo Beach is just a short walk from the cruise port and it’s our favourite place to spend the day.
The sand is lovely and soft with the perfect amount of shells and pebbles to add interest and the water is always warm with just the right height of waves to splash in. The beach is lined with trees to it’s easy to find a shady spot without having to hire an umbrella.
As Junkanoo Beach is so near to the cruise port, it’s common to see cruise ships sail right past. We love spotting them and hearing them honk their horns.” — Jenni from Cruise Mummy
Kailua Beach in Oahu, Hawaii, United States
“Kailua Beach, on Oahu’s gorgeous Windward coast, is one of our favorite beaches to visit with kids. It offers everything we need. The scenery is second-to-none, with beautiful turquoise waters in front and the lush Ko’olau mountain range tower behind.
The sand is just right for younger kids to enjoy playing and building sandcastles and the overhanging trees offer opportunities to keep the youngest babies in the shade. While there are some areas with fairly flat water for toddlers to splash, there’s also a wide swath with waves that are just right for kids (and their parents) to learn how to boogie board! If you want to try snorkeling, it’s an easy hop to Lanikai Beach next door.
With activities for the whole family and full services like parking, bathrooms and showers, it’s easy to see why Kailua is a top Oahu beach among both locals and visitors.” — Melissa from The Family Voyage
Kure Beach in North Carolina, United States
“Kure Beach, North Carolina is the perfect family beach getaway! The beach in Kure is so beautiful with white sand and waves big enough to boogey board. In the town of Kure, you can rent an affordable beach house or condo with easy access to the beach. On the bay side you can paddle board, kayak and rent jet skis. Kure Beach, NC is on the southern coast of the state, about a 2.5 hour drive from Raleigh, and about 20 minutes south of Wilmington. You can visit for a day trip from the Triangle area as well. We have twice been to Kure Beach and are hoping to return this summer!” — Harmony from Momma To Go
La Jolla Beach in San Diego, California, United States
“La Jolla is a beautiful beach town located a few minutes outside of downtown San Diego. It has seven miles of coastline with whitesand beaches, jagged rocks and crashing waves. The temperature is mild and breezy. It is easy to park. There are several cute shops and restaurants. There is no charge to enter the beach area. The typical beach activities one would expect, such as surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking, are available. La Jolla has coves to explore and plenty of sandy areas from which to choose.
All of that beach goodness pales in comparison to its real draw, the wild seals and sea lions who set up shop in the La Jolla Cove and claimed it as their home. I’m not talking about a few seals and sea lions. A whole bunch of them. You can go out on the bluffs and stand within feet of them. Watching them interact with my children is one of my favorite vacation memories of all time. If I could move anywhere in the world, it would be La Jolla.” — Adriane from Put On Your Party Pants
Naples Beaches in Florida, United States
“While we have traveled to many places with our kids, I have not found a better beach for kids than the ones in Naples, FL.Our favorite is Barefoot Beach. As part of a preserve, you can go on lovely walks among the mangrove trails before going for a dip in the water. The water is calm and shallow, which is phenomenal for little kids as they learn to swim and snorkel. The fine, soft sand is ideal to make castles or other sand sculptures. Playful dolphins, shorebirds, and majestic pelicans are common sightings in these waters. You may not even need to bring toys as the abundance of shells, rocks, and coquinas provide enough exploration and entertainment!” — Rosana from A Pragmatic Lens, get even more outdoor time and use this nearby Naples campground too.
Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand
“One of our most favorite beaches to date has been Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand. It is our favorite because the sand is soft, water is warm, calm waves, and fun activities. We loved it because we could sit on the beach without worrying that water would away sweep our toddler. This is the perfect place for weaker swimmers and younger children. If you have older kids, they can enjoy jet skiing, playing in sand, snorkeling, or simply laying on the beach.
If you get hungry there are plenty of restaurants within in walking distance to eat and return to the sun. The best thing about this beach is the location. The beach is near most of the major hotels in Patong, making is easy to access. If you stay long enough you will be rewarded with a breathtaking sunset.” — Corrita from It’s A Family Thing
Playa Blanca Beach in Lanzarote, Spain
“Playa Blanca in Lanzarote, is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a beach holiday with your kids. The town used to be a fishing village and has grown from there, but it’s still a low key, pretty tranquil place that borders the lovely sandy beaches. Being in the south of the island, Playa Blanca is also meant to get the most reliable sunshine, which is always a bonus for a beach holiday!One of our favourite things about Playa Blanca is the promenade that runs around the resort’s beaches. It’s perfect for a stroll and is also ideal if you’ve got a little one in a pushchair.
There are a few different beaches in the resort, with the main Playa Blanca beach situated directly in front of the promenade, Playa Dorada, which is larger and to the east, and Playa Flamingo, which is great for kids as it’s protected by breakwaters so is very calm. If you’re happy to go a bit further, Playa Papagayo is around 20 minutes drive from Playa Blanca and is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. If you’re looking for a beach holiday with kids, Playa Blanca is a great option!” — Clare from Epic Road Rides
Playa de Burriana Beach in Nerja, Spain
“Descending downhill from the east of Nerja old town (on the Costa del Sol, Spain) brings you to Burriana Beach. It is a long expanse of sand, attractively framed by rolling hills behind. The clean, blue waters of the Mediterranean are calm and family friendly, and perfect for swimming.
The rear of the beach is lined with beach-side cafes and restaurants, some with charcoal barbecues cooking up the best of the local seafood, and all with great sea views. It is great to be able to sit and relax at a cafe table whilst watching your little ones playing on the sand in front.
Another great idea for keeping the kids entertained is making use of the children’s play areas, complete with various climbing frames and slides that are spaced periodically all along the beach. It all adds up to create a great beach for all the family to enjoy a day out in the Spanish sunshine.” — Rachel from Children of Wanderlust, read more about their Nerja visit here
Playa Larga Beach in Cuba
“Cuba offers many pristine beach resorts, filled with the whitest sand and the bluest waters. However, along with the views come the tourists. For parents looking for a great beach holiday, but wanting to get a bit more off the beaten track, Playa Larga is the perfect spot (read more about the town in this detailed guide to Playa Larga).
While it is not overly touristy, there are enough visitors to not make you feel like the outsider in town. And while the beach may not have pure white sand like Varadero, it’s more than ok for a relaxing family beach trip.
Playa Larga town has 2 beaches, Playa Larga and Playa Caletón. We actually preferred the second one as Caletón is the most fun area to stay in. The beach has 2 restaurants with sun chairs set up on the sand. You can use those for free if you drink something (though they aren’t very strict [march 2020]). There are a bunch of palm trees for shade – which is always great with little ones. And the ocean is calm, warm and shallow for a long while. The perfect conditions for a beach holiday
with kids!” — Babs from Mums on Flip Flops
Seaside Beach in Seaside, Oregon, United States
We didn’t do any swimming, but I had to include Seaside Beach because 2 years later, my kids still talk about these swings! There were several sets along the beach and they had so much fun swinging while listening to the ocean. This is a cute little beach town that we visited on a PNW road trip that you can read more about here.
Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
I need to finish my blog post for our Cayman trip, but this beach is so fantastic! You can see more photos on Instagram here, but Seven Mile Beach is the most well known beach on Grand Cayman. The water is super calm and you can snorkel in several spots close enough in that kids can swim to them. The water is turquoise, crystal clear, and calm!
Soma Bay Beach in Egypt
“Soma Bay is 45 minutes by car from Hurghada and has been a family favourite for us for over 10 years now. We stayed at several hotels there including Sheraton and Kempinski. The sandy beaches, gentle waves and relaxed vibes make it very child-friendly. My daughter loves marine animals so she really enjoys snorkelling and getting up close to the colourful fish. We also have a blast at the Soma Bay Splash Aqua Park and the heated swimming pools. My husband and I would leave our little one at the hotel’s kids club to do some painting or reading and squeeze in a massage at the nearby Cascades Spa and Thallaso. If your older kids are into water sports like water skiing, kite surfing and scuba diving, they are guaranteed an amazing time. There are also activities you can enjoy as a family such as horseback riding, biking and sailing. Perhaps the best thing about Soma Bay is that it is close to other family-friendly areas such as Gouna, Makadi Bay or downtown Hurghada so if your kids get restless, you can always explore other places.” — Miriam from Miro from Cairo
St. Simon’s Island Beach in Georgia, United States
“St Simons Island is located on the southern coats of Georgia, a short drive from Jacksonville, Florida. It is a charming southern beach town that is ideal for families. The soft sandy beach alone probably would have kept our family happy. But add in the southern charm, historic monuments, fun art of the island tree spirits and a lighthouse to make for the perfect family beach vacation.
Jekyll Island is a short drive away and offers a sea turtle conservation center, and Driftwood Beach, with stunning art created by nature of stark driftwood. From Brunswick Stew to southern BBQ and shrimp and grits, it is also a fantastic place to experience unique flavors. And, did we mention the sunsets and sunrises?” — Liana from Insider Families, find more family activities on St. Simon’s Island over on her blog, too!
Tresaith Beach in Cardigan Bay, Wales
“Cardigan Bay on the Welsh coast is a bit of a secret. People who’ve visited don’t want to share the spectacular scenery, the range of activities and the laid-back atmosphere with anyone. Nestled within its dramatic coastline are lots of hidden beaches. Our favourite by far is Tresaith Beach. It really does have it all.
Plenty of sand to spread out on, rock-pools to investigate, shallow water to play in and caves where dragons might lurk, but it’s the waterfall spilling down from the cliffs above that elevates this beach to a must-visit. Prepare to spend a very happy four to five hours here. Unless you arrive early expect to park at the top of the village and walk down the hill to the beach. There is a shop near the beach for seaside essentials but no café or restaurant.” — Debbie from Grand Adventure Story
Viareggio Beach in Italy
“Viareggio beach is a fantastic place for a relaxing beach getaway either by yourself or with family as part of your Italy trip. Viareggio is located in the province of Lucca on the west coast of Italy. Its long, flat, expansive beachfront draws tourists in droves during the summer months, and its equally long promenade features restaurants and beautiful hotels offering never ending entertainment.
It’s famous for the Carnival of Viareggio which dates back to 1873, and features papier-mâché floats which parade along the promenade during Carnival festivities in February and early March.From the beach you can enjoy stunning views of the Apennine National Park. On the beach itself you can enjoy calm waters for kids to swim and you can setup on the sand or hire a lounge and umbrella if you plan on making a day of it.
Viareggio is a beautiful beach to soak up the sun and the nearby promenade offers many options for a bite to eat or a drink to cap off the perfect day!” — Matt from It’s All In Italy