Best Family Beach Vacations

Beach vacations should be all about building sandcastles, finding the best ice cream, and searching for seashells—not spending hours in traffic or navigating your route. (And remember that even on sunny days, seasonal driving tips come in handy.) These five beaches across the country are easy to get to—and even easier to enjoy!

Laguna Beach, Calif.

Big kids can rent boogie boards and hang ten, while families with smaller children might pack a lunch and visit the appropriately named Picnic Beach. “Head to Diver's Cove for water that is a little shallower and easier to wade in,” says Corinne McDermott, Founder of HaveBabyWillTravel.com. “The tide pools at Heisler Park reserve and Treasure Island are teeming with fascinating sea life to delight your tiny marine biologists.”

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Laguna Beach, Calif.

Big kids can rent boogie boards and hang ten, while families with smaller children might pack a lunch and visit the appropriately named Picnic Beach. “Head to Diver's Cove for water that is a little shallower and easier to wade in,” says Corinne McDermott, Founder of HaveBabyWillTravel.com.

Big kids can rent boogie boards and hang ten, while families with smaller children might pack a lunch and visit the appropriately named Picnic Beach.

Laguna Beach, Calif.

Shilshole Beach, Puget Sound, Wash.

Relax after sunset and keep warm with a bonfire. Ideal for active families, it's also a prime spot for beach volleyball. “Nearby is a beach park called Golden Garden near Shilshole Marina in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle,” suggests Anne Taylor Hartzell, Founder of Hip Travel Mama. Take in the majestic views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, hike the forest trails or fish from the pier.

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Shilshole Beach, Puget Sound, Wash.

Relax after sunset and keep warm with a bonfire. Ideal for active families, it's also a prime spot for beach volleyball. “Nearby is a beach park called Golden Garden near Shilshole Marina in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle,” suggests Anne Taylor Hartzell, Founder of Hip Travel Mama.

Relax after sunset and keep warm with a bonfire. Ideal for active families, it's also a prime spot for beach volleyball.

Shilshole Beach, Puget Sound, Wash.

Cocoa Beach, Fla.

“Make sure you take a break from the sand to visit to the Kennedy Space Center,” says McDermott. “The Shuttle Launch Experience is a must for children 44" and taller, and a stroll through the Rocket Garden will amaze and inspire your mini astronauts in training.”

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Cocoa Beach, Fla.

“Make sure you take a break from the sand to visit to the Kennedy Space Center,” says McDermott. “The Shuttle Launch Experience is a must for children 44" and taller, and a stroll through the Rocket Garden will amaze and inspire your mini astronauts in training.”

“Make sure you take a break from the sand to visit to the Kennedy Space Center “The Shuttle Launch Experience is a must for children 44" and taller."

Cocoa Beach, Fla.

Wailea Beach, Hawaii

Located on the island of Maui, the beach’s calm surf makes it ideal for young swimmers. Families who love the one-stop shop ease of a resort will want to park their umbrellas here. “Go kayaking or snorkeling at Maluaka Beach, aka ‘Turtle Town,’ in front of the Makena Beach Resort and see dozens of sea turtles up close while swimming through gentle waves,” says Amy Norman, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Little Passports.

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Wailea Beach, Hawaii

Located on the island of Maui, the beach’s calm surf makes it ideal for young swimmers. Families who love the one-stop shop ease of a resort will want to park their umbrellas here.

Located on the island of Maui, the beach’s calm surf makes it ideal for young swimmers. Families who love the one-stop shop ease of a resort will want to park their umbrellas here.

Wailea Beach, Hawaii

Nags Head, N.C.

You’ll enjoy un-crowded beaches, great seafood and affordable accommodations. Outings nearby will enthrall aviation buffs. “Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers invented flight, was fascinating, but learning to hang glide with Kitty Hawk Kites along the glorious sand dunes of Jockey's Ridge State Park was a highlight of our visit,” McDermott says.

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Nags Head, N.C.

You’ll enjoy un-crowded beaches, great seafood and affordable accommodations. “Grab a classic scoop at Scammell’s, or indulge at Fatboyz for a ‘Peanut Butter Jammer’ sundae,” McDermott says. Outings nearby will enthrall aviation buffs.

You’ll enjoy un-crowded beaches, great seafood and affordable accommodations. Outings nearby will enthrall aviation buffs.

Nags Head, N.C.

If your summer travel plans involve a U.S. road trip this year, make sure you and your vehicle covered with the right auto or RV insurance. Get a fast, free quote online and get covered before you hit the open road.

By Celia Shatzman

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