With the end of summer approaching, chaotic back-to-school schedules are quickly gaining steam. Yet, there’s still time to enjoy one last relaxing getaway with the kids before it all begins. If you want your family to start the new school year rejuvenated and energized, take the whole clan to one of these five family-friendly beach destinations.
1. Ocean City, Maryland
While Ocean City, MD, may only have one beach, it stretches for 10 miles and is completely open to the public. Spend your vacation lounging in the sun, building sandcastles, and taking a dip with the kids. Or, if you need more adventure, stop by one of the nearby surf shops to rent a paddleboard, surfboard, kayak, or canoe. Once the kids are worn out, head to the three-mile boardwalk to peruse the shops, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy sky-high views from atop the Ferris wheel.
Along with soaking up the sun, the city offers family-friendly activities daily during the summer months. There are beachside movies, fireworks, games, and dance parties throughout the season, and every event is free. The city also offers specially designed beach wheelchairs, along with multiple accessible access points.
2. Corolla, North Carolina
Just off the coast of North Carolina, the small village of Corolla is one of the East Coast’s hidden gems. The community rests on the remote Outer Banks, which offers virtually endless opportunities for sand, sun, and relaxation. Unlike other family-friendly beaches, the 11-mile stretch of sand at Corolla isn’t commercialized. In fact, you won’t see skyscrapers, boardwalks, or boutiques, but you will find plenty of rugged room to stretch and enjoy the beach with your family.
Aside from the mesmerizing natural beauty and quiet location, all beaches in Currituck County are dog-friendly. Additionally, if you venture to the northernmost sections of the beach, you can see wild horses. Located in what’s known as the “4WD accessible beaches,” the far north area of the beach near Carova, NC, is incredibly rugged and requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access. Fortunately, there are guided Jeep tours in the area that will get you up close and personal with the area’s wild Spanish Mustangs.
During your stay, make time for a few non-beach-related activities. First up, stop by the Currituck Beach Light Station. Built-in 1875, the lighthouse offers unrivaled views of the area, and they even allow guests to take on the 220-step trek to the top. Next up, hit the historic Whalehead Club for a tour of the lavish house and grounds, followed by a trip back in town for dinner at Outer Banks Boil Company and a sweet treat at Ned’s Ice Cream and Sweets.
3. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is one of the most popular beach destinations in the country — for good reason. From bustling to tranquil, there are a variety of oceanfront experiences all in one city. If you’re looking for fun and excitement, the Oceanfront District is the place to go. Along with a wide stretch of sand, the lively area is home to the three-mile boardwalk, which is lined by resorts, restaurants, and boutiques. Rent a Jet Ski, enjoy live street entertainment, and conquer the whole boardwalk on rollerblades — all in a single afternoon.
For any parents wanting some peace and quiet, head to the Chesapeake Bay District. Boasting six-miles of beachfront, the area offers a laid-back atmosphere with plenty of landmarks, shops, and activities. Or, if you truly want to get away, venture south to the Sandbridge district. The area is completely removed from the hustle and bustle of Oceanfront, offering a remote, carefree vacation with virtually endless chances for outdoor exploration.
4. San Diego, California
When every family member’s idea of the perfect beach differs, San Diego, CA, is the best choice for family-friendly beaches. There are numerous beaches located throughout the metro area, and each one offers its own unique features and atmosphere. For snorkeling and swimming, head to Pacific Beach, or if the kids want to try their hand at surfing, put Imperial Beach at the top of your list. Traveling with Fido? Ocean Beach is not only pet-friendly but also doesn’t require leashes.
5. Corpus Christi, Texas
Offering direct access to the crystal-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, an end-of-summer vacation to Corpus Christi, TX, is sure to satisfy the whole family. While there are over 100 miles of sand-lined beachfront across Corpus Christi Bay, North Beach is one of the most family-friendly sites. Along with the carefree public beach, you can visit the USS Lexington Museum and the Texas State Aquarium. The city also offers easy access to Padre Island — home to the beloved Bob Hall Pier — and Mustang Island, which is ideal for a family camping trip.
Enjoy a Back-to-School Beach Vacation for Less
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