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The Best U.S. Beaches for Families

Family Vacation Critic names the best family-friendly beaches of the year, and shares insider tips for each destination

The Luxonomist. 06/04/2015
Playas en familia
Virginia Beach — Photo Credit: Virginia Beach CVB (PRNewsFoto/Family Vacation Critic). Click to book

Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has announced the winners of its annual Best Beaches for Families list, naming the top family-friendly beaches of the year, along with fun, insider tips for each destination.

«When choosing the top family-friendly beaches, we consider a number of factors – it’s not just beautiful sands and picturesque views», explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. «Beyond clean, safe beaches, we’re looking for beaches that offer a well-rounded experience for families – accommodations, dining and entertainment within close distance of the beach, and plenty to keep the whole family entertained while in town».

According to the editors of Family Vacation Critic, this year’s list of the Best Beaches for Families includes:

Virginia Beach — Virginia Beach, VA
Insider Tip: Don’t leave Virginia Beach without a photo in front of King Neptune, a 34-foot-tall statue of the mythological sea god. Families can also enjoy free concerts and live entertainment across the boardwalk in the summer. 

Lincoln City Beach
Lincoln City Beach (Photo: Lincoln City Visitor & Convention Bureau). Click to book

Lincoln City Beach – Lincoln City, OR
Insider Tip: Search the sand for glass floats – they’re part of a program called Finders Keepers, in which «Float Fairies» disperse beautiful ornaments on the beach for vacationers to find and take home.

Ogunquit Beach
Ogunquit Beach (Photo: Audrey Gottlieb). Click to book

Ogunquit Beach – Ogunquit, ME
Insider Tip: Use the Ogunquit Trolley to get to the beach and around town – fare is just $2.00 per adult and $1.50 per child (ages 10 and under).

Manatee County Beach
Manatee County Beach (Photo: Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau). Click to book

Manatee County Beach – Holmes Beach, FL
Insider Tip: Reserve a Nesting Beach Tour at the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch to join federally permitted volunteers as they analyze nests and hatched (and unhatched) shells during turtle nesting season.

Carlsbad State Beach
Carlsbad State Beach (Photo: Visit Carlsbad) Click to book

Carlsbad State Beach – Carlsbad, CA
Insider Tip: Historic Highway 101 has free parking – get there early to snag a spot. The City of Carlsbadalso offers family events, classes and camps throughout the year – including surf school, S’mores parties and more.

Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park (Photo: Visit St. Pete-Clearwater) Click to book

Fort De Soto Park – St. Petersburg, FL
Insider Tip: Head to North Beach to enjoy a shallow, calm lagoon – perfect for new swimmers. 

Rehoboth Beach
Rehoboth Beach. (Photo: The Beards Photography). Click to book

Rehoboth Beach – Rehoboth Beach, DE
Insider Tip: Bring or rent bikes to take advantage of the scenic trails that connect Rehoboth Beach with Lewes, Delaware.

Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach (Photo: Block Island Tourism Council). Click to book

Crescent Beach – Block Island, RI
Insider Tip: Take the Mobile Bike Tour of Block Island. At the island’s most popular attractions, families can use their smartphones to scan QR codes and hear about each featured attraction.

Cape May Beach
Cape May Beach (Photo: Craig Terry/Cape May County Tourism). Click to book

Cape May Beach – Cape May, NJ
Insider Tip: Enjoy free «Movies on the Beach» on Thursday evenings, mid-July through late-August. Showings are presented on the beach near Convention Hall (or inside Convention Hall when it rains).

Kings Beach
Kings Beach (Photo: California Tourism Office). Click to book

Kings Beach – Lake Tahoe, CA
Insider Tip: Visit the Tahoe Central Market for picnic food to enjoy on the beach. The market features local, organic products, plus delicious smoothies and sandwiches.

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