Summer’s not quite over yet — there’s still time to enjoy the warmth, sunshine and surf. Even better is the possibility of spending the last days of the season on the beach with the ones you love most.
Of course, not every beach is ideal for families with kids. But we’ve narrowed down the list to the top seven coastal destinations for families with both grown-up and little kid interests to consider. Here they are:
1. Honolulu, Hawaii
Let’s start with a dream destination: Honolulu, Hawaii. Though the Aloha State’s beaches are known for having extra-tall waves perfect for surfing, there are calmer waters perfect for younger kids to splash around. Honolulu sits on the island of Oahu’s southern shore and has more to offer visitors than just stunning beaches, though there are plenty of those. The family can also check out the USS Arizona or take outdoor hikes, depending on how old your kiddos are.
2. Hilton Head, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island was recently named the best island in the continental United States by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine; it ranked second on the magazine’s list of best islands in the world, too.
There’s good reason why the island has become a destination for families of all generations: there’s truly something for everyone to do, and it’s not just the 12 miles of shoreline that Hilton Head has to offer. You can also go biking, golfing, climb a lighthouse and eat in top-tier restaurants.
3. Dennis, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a dream beach destination for just about every American who loves the sun and sand. Dennis, Massachusetts, has all of the New England charm you’re after, as well as calm expanses of coastline like Mayflower Beach. Here, tidal flats hide sea life — hermit crabs and sea snails, anyone? — your kids will love to dig up and discover.
If you’re free to get away in August, plan your trip around Dennis’s annual sand-sculpture contest. There are multiple categories, including kid-built and family-built sculptures, so you can even partake if you’re fans of oceanic architecture.
4. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach could just be the most popular beach for Delaware-area families. The boardwalk itself is enough of a destination, and your kids will love grabbing pieces of saltwater taffy on the way to the beach. There are even arcade games and rides to be enjoyed, too — we promise your little ones won’t complain about those, either.
Because it’s so popular, Rehoboth might be a bit difficult to book on short notice. Nearby destinations like Dover put you well within driving distance of the First State’s shores, and you will find plenty of entertaining activities in the state’s capital, too. While the grown-ups will love spending an evening at the local casino, kiddos can let loose in Constitution Park, where a four-foot cube has the entire constitution emblazoned on it.
5. Chesterton, Indiana
The southern curve of Lake Michigan is home to Chesterton, Indiana, and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Here, 15,000 acres of sandy beaches, serene forests, grassy dunes sit alongside the freshwater lake.
This landscape allows you to take part in just about any outdoor activity you can imagine. Of course, you can swim and relax on the beach, but you can also go kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, kite flying and biking. In fact, if you wait and plan your summer beach trip for October, you can try these activities and more at the Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival.
6. Destin, Florida
The beaches in Destin, Florida, are truly stunning, thanks to the Appalachian quartz that makes up the city’s gorgeously bright white sand. It reflects light back into the water, too, making the waters of the Gulf of Mexico appear a tropical, blue-green glow. Oh, and the sand even manages to stay cool despite the state’s warm sunshine.
If that’s not enough of an incentive to check out Destin, you can fill your itinerary with trips to local water parks, scuba diving lessons and fishing expeditions. Mom, Dad and older kids can also sneak off to a local golf course, too.
7. San Diego, California
Finally, there’s always San Diego — seriously, the city’s weather is gorgeous year-round. In other words, if can’t manage an end-of-summer trip, you can still go a bit later and enjoy the same attractions that draw tourists to Southern California every month.
Perhaps most importantly to parents, San Diego’s beaches come with lifeguards on patrol, ensuring little swimmers are extra protected as they splash and wade. If you head a bit north of Mission Beach, too, you’ll find even calmer waters where little ones can play safely.
Where will your end-of-summer beach getaway take you? No matter where you choose to go, you and your family will be creating summer vacation memories to last a lifetime — and there’s not much more important than that for parents and their growing kids.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
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