Your Guide To The 9 Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Destinations

Planning a family beach vacation can be overwhelming, with so many destinations to choose from. It's best to do extensive research beforehand to make the decision-making process easier. Look into different locations and compare them to see which ones prioritize entertainment for children and offer kid-friendly cuisine. Planning the trip will be a breeze once you have all the details sorted out. We've compiled a list of the top 9 beach vacation destinations, both near and far, that cater to families. You'll find that most of these destinations offer a variety of activities for kids and beautiful beaches to enjoy.

Insider tip: Who says babies can't go on vacation? Here are some wholesome vacation ideas for families with a baby and some of the best all-inclusive family resorts to accommodate them!

1. Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos

The Turks & Caicos Islands are a fantastic choice for families seeking an active getaway with ample beach time. This destination is perfect for those who need a relaxing vacation. Turks and Caicos is known for its great snorkeling spots, especially in Providenciales (Provo), where you can find the popular Grace Bay Beach. The beach has turquoise waters and glistening white sands that make it stand out, and it's easily accessible, convenient, and perfect for families, thanks to the many family-friendly resorts located right along the beach.

Beaches Turks Caicos Family Aerial

When you visit Grace Bay, you can take advantage of the available water sports or even book a private boat trip. With a private boat trip, you'll have the opportunity to explore some of the more secluded islands and cays. If you're interested in scuba diving in Turks & Caicos, there are several popular options, including Grace Bay Reef, Bight Reef, Malcolm's Road Reef, Smith's Reef, and Salt Cay.

Expert tip: If you are planning a vacation in Turks & Caicos, take advantage of the direct flights available from most major East Coast airports. Once you arrive on the islands, capture every moment by taking plenty of photos!

Earlier, we mentioned that Grace Bay Beach is located near some of the top resorts in Turks & Caicos. One of these is Beaches Turks & Caicos, a family-friendly resort that features its own waterpark. Guests at this resort have access to 21 restaurants, 10 pools, a beach, and a range of activities suitable for all ages. One of the best things about staying at this all-inclusive resort is that your vacation package covers a variety of expenses, including accommodation, food, drinks, snacks, entertainment, and more. This means that you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about any additional expenses.

2. Negril, Jamaica

Negril is a well-known vacation spot that offers great options for an all-inclusive family beach vacation. The town has a variety of accommodation and exploration choices. Many vacationers in Negril tend to visit Seven Mile Beach first. This lively beach spot always has something going on, and there is plenty of space to relax. There are also several resort options along the stretch, including Beaches Negril.

Beaches Negril Aerial Overview

Beaches Negril is a fantastic option for families, and Beaches Ocho Rios is not too far away. These resorts provide exhilarating land and water sports, day and night entertainment, and a massive water park to entertain parents and kids. You can spend your time at the beach, float down the "Lazy River," go windsurfing, or even enroll your children in a supervised program as part of Beaches Resorts' Kids Camps. You can also enjoy themed restaurants and make the most of your time on the islands!

Expert tip: If you are planning to go on a vacation with a baby or young children, then you should definitely consider staying at Beaches Resorts. They provide professional nannies who are always available to take care of your children and offer a variety of fun activities for them. Your children can enjoy Sesame Street-themed activities, shell collecting, face painting, magic shows, and much more. There are plenty of options available to keep your little ones entertained during your stay.

3. Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios is a must-visit destination for a lively beach vacation with your family. You can enjoy various activities here, from a visit to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville to the picturesque Mahogany Beach. Choosing to stay at one of the resorts in Ocho Rios will allow you easy access to some of the top attractions in the area.

Beaches Ocho Rios Aerial

If you're looking for a family-friendly resort in Ocho Rios, then Beaches Ocho Rios is the perfect place for you. You can enjoy golf clinics, spend time at the beach, or visit the Pirates Island water park on the property. The resort is located on 22 acres of tropical gardens, so there's plenty of space to relax. In the evenings, you can dress up and dine at the resort's themed restaurants, which cater to all tastes and preferences.

Insider tip: Guests at Beaches Resorts can effortlessly arrange tours and excursions in Ocho Rios. Explore a myriad of adventures, from ATV tours and bobsledding to ziplining and waterfall visits.

4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

If you're looking for stunning beaches with soft white sand and turquoise waters, Punta Cana is a great destination to consider. However, visitors should be aware that as Punta Cana is located in the Atlantic Ocean, the waters here can sometimes be a bit rougher compared to other islands in the Caribbean.

Punta Cana Republica Dominicana Aerial

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That being said, there are plenty of things to do in Punta Cana, regardless of the weather. You can choose to wake up at dawn to experience the beauty of the place, or you can sleep in and let the kids enjoy the new surroundings. While the beaches are the main attraction, there are many to choose from in Punta Cana.

5. Destin, Florida

Take a break and enjoy the leisurely pace in Destin, Florida. This charming town boasts family-friendly beaches that are hard to resist. It's not only an ideal spot for a simple family vacation but also for a multigenerational vacation nearby. Some of the top beach options in Destin are the Henderson Beach State Park and the Shores at Crystal Beach Park. While exploring, make sure to visit the Norriego Point tide pools. Additionally, a few family-friendly hotels in Destin cater to kids, making it a great destination to consider.

Destin Florida Aerial

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Good to know: While in Destin, one of the top activities is going on boat tours. This can be an exciting experience for all ages, especially as you look for dolphins. The kids can even sign up for pirate-themed boat cruises.

6. Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Located on the northern coast of Jamaica, Runaway Bay is a coastal town renowned for its exceptional beaches and lush forested areas. If you're planning a vacation in Jamaica, exploring this area is a must. You'll love the serene and laid-back atmosphere, along with the numerous natural landmarks and activities available. Moreover, some of the best all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica can be found near Runaway Bay.

Runaway Bay Jamaica Aerial

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A visit to Runaway Bay is ideal for travelers who want a relaxing getaway, especially families who can look forward to a variety of activities and immersive cultural and historical experiences. When in Runaway Bay, don't miss the chance to visit Runaway Bay Beach, Cardiff Hall Beach, and the Green Grotto Caves. Other nearby attractions include Dunn's River Falls and the Ocho Rios Blue Hole.

7. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The beaches in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico are a major attraction for vacationers seeking to spend their days in the sun. This destination is situated on the Pacific coast in the state of Jalisco. Puerto Vallarta is a popular choice for families who want to relax on the beach, go shopping, and explore the sights. As a sizeable resort town, it has a laid-back atmosphere that visitors appreciate.

Puerto Vallarta Mexico Overview

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If you're planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta, we highly recommend exploring the cobblestone streets of Zona Romantica. This area is a bustling hub for shopping and dining. Take a stroll down El Malecón, a beautiful beachside promenade adorned with striking sculptures, and keep an eye out for the famous seahorse sculpture -- it's a real treat to find it. For some beach fun, head to Los Muertos Beach where you and your family can enjoy exploring the extensive pier and even take a boat trip. This area offers a variety of food and drink options, and you can also visit cultural attractions such as the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church and square.

8. Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii is the only state in the United States comprised entirely of islands. This destination is unique and stands out because of its vibrant cultural traditions, scenic beaches, and vast opportunities for adventure. There are countless waterfalls, volcanoes, and lush jungles to explore.

Oahu Hawaii Aerial Beach

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Oahu is one of the best places in Hawaii to plan a family vacation, catering to all age groups. Activities such as surfing, outrigger canoeing, horseback riding, and more can be included in your itinerary. Moreover, Oahu is home to the renowned city of Honolulu, where tourists can immerse themselves in the history of Pearl Harbor, explore world-class museums, and savor delicious local delicacies.

Expert tip: Planning a vacation for families of 4 or 5? We’ve got some incredibly helpful tips on how to plan a family vacation, even if you’re on a budget!

9. Outer Banks, North Carolina

If you're looking for a relaxing family vacation close to home, Outer Banks, North Carolina is a great destination to consider. This area is known for its laid-back atmosphere, family-friendly setting, and some of the best beaches in the US. The beaches offer consistent yet manageable waves, perfect for families looking to enjoy some fun in the sun. The lush greenery and warm summer weather, with highs in the 70s and 80s, make this destination even more appealing.

Outer Banks North Carolina Aerial

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When planning a family vacation in OBX, consider renting a cottage or condo for your stay. These options are perfect for group travel, providing just the right amount of space, and there are many options available near the beach. Nags Head is a popular beach to explore in this destination, offering plenty of space to stretch out, build sandcastles, and watch the kids play in the sand and surf. For easy beach access with the added safety of lifeguards on duty, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills are great options to consider.

Which family beach vacation destination will you choose?

We have put together a list of the 9 best family beach vacation destinations for you to choose from. We understand that planning vacations can be overwhelming, especially when traveling with kids. That's why we compared different destinations to find the ones that cater to both parents and children. When selecting the perfect beach vacation destination for your family, remember that it should bring pure joy to everyone.

Beaches Turks Caicos Family Beach Aerial Edit

Choosing an all-inclusive hotel or resort when vacationing on the beach can greatly reduce stress. Beaches Resorts, which is designed with families in mind, provides on-site restaurants, kid-friendly activities, and quality amenities, making it convenient for everyone. This resort offers a range of options for adventure or tranquility, ensuring that both parents and kids can fully enjoy their beach vacation. We hope that this list helps you decide on the ultimate beach vacation destination for your family!

Expert tip: Not sure what to do for your next family vacation? Take a look at our beach vacation vs road trip comparison which just might help you to decide! We’ve got other cool family vacation ideas that you might want to check out as well!

Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Writing for 13 years, Kylie discovered that experiences tell the best stories. As a Caribbean mother who wrote for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, she believes inspiration is even found in our kids!