Beaches for Kids in US – Top 5 in 2020

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

Planning your next beach trip can be fun!  It can also be nail-biting, especially when you have kids to consider. So if you’re planning your next beach trip and have kids to take along, we’ve carefully selected five of the best beaches for kids in the US.  Trust us, it was no easy task.  We scoured the best beach reviews, Trip Advisor and more, plus used our knowledge to bring you this list of five of the best out there.

The first four on our list were ranked highly for 2020 by Family Vacation Critic with our first choice Siesta Beach topping the Trip Advisor list as well.  We’ve taken care not to include actual resorts. By concentrating on just the fantastic beaches that are easily accessible, so you can take a day trip or find accommodation nearby, or maybe visit when staying at a nearby resort.  These beaches are all free of the constraints of a resort and are some of the best kid-friendly beaches in the world, right here in the USA.

 1. Siesta Key Beach – Sarasota, FL

Siesta Key Beach has been ranked the number 1 beach in the US in 2020 by Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards™.  An advantage of this beach is the large parking area.   The beach is open from 6 am to midnight.  There are two concessions, including a raised area for a great beach view where food and drink is available, including beer and wine.  Restrooms and a playground are on-site as well as tennis courts and an historic pavilion.  The soft white sand takes you down to gentle waves.  For the famous Siesta Key Drum Circle visit or stay on a Sunday evening to experience the tribal style drummers with sword balancing belly dancers and more.  The drum circle is suitable for all ages to enjoy watching or join in.

It’s a beach suitable for everyone, great for building sandcastles, paddling and swimming or playing beach volleyball.  You can rent trolleys, umbrellas and beach wheelchairs. That’s our number one beach of top best beaches for kids in US.

Best for: Mixed age families as there is something for everyone.

Siesta Key
Young couple having fun at tropical beach during honeymoon, Siesta Key beach, Florida

2. Santa Cruz Main Beach – CA

The beach is also known as Boardwalk Beach – it stretches the length of the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk.  As well as the beach, take a stroll along the wharf for a chance to spot sea life such as dolphins, sea otters, sea lions and whales from the pier.

Santa Cruz Main Beach is free to visit all year-round. The main beach is between the mouth of the San Lorenzo River and the Santa Cruz Wharf and has easy access to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Parking is recommended in the metered spots behind the row of hotels that line the beach. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, usually between 10 am and 7 pm.  Santa Cruz is a safe beach for children, especially as the swimming section is marked off by buoys to keep swimmers and nearby surfers separate and ensuring there are no collisions. There are plenty of nearby food outlets on the wharf and boardwalk and in town.  There are restrooms located nearby.  Also close by is an amusement park with rides and games.  There are child-friendly museums such as the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum and the World’s Smallest Bowling Museum. And that’s the number two of top best beaches for kids in US 2020.

Best for: Mixing sun, sea and amusements.

Santa Cruz
View of the rides on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the beach from the Wharf, in Santa Cruz, California.

3. Silver Beach – St. Joseph, MI

Starring at number three of top best beaches for kids in US, is Silver Beach Country Park, located in St, Joseph, Michigan at the mouth of the St. Joseph River.  Silver Beach is a wide, clean beach and approximately 1600 feet are dedicated to public swimming with lifeguards patrolling during the summer months.  

The calm waters ensure that it is great for families with little ones.  There are also accessible restrooms, showers and a concession stand.  Kids will love the good-sized playground by the beach that has swings and slides.

During the summer months the paid parking lots by the beach can get filled quickly, so aim to get there early.  Free parking options are available closer to downtown, but it is a longer walk to get to the sand.  However, there are plenty of child-friendly attractions in St Joseph.

Best for:  Going with young children.

Silver Beach - St Joseph, Michigan
The walkway and beach near the St Joseph light house sits empty on a warm spring day, as the whole state stays home under lock down orders

4. Waikiki Beach – Honolulu

The famous surfing beach is a fantastic place to watch the fun or for the whole family to join in and ride the waves.  There are lots of options for surfing lessons or practicing your moves. Check out our number four beach of top five beaches in US.

Waikiki Beach is part of a two-mile span of interconnecting beaches on Oahu Island and is also a good spot for paddle-boarding, canoeing, snorkelling, swimming as well as surfing.  It is adjacent to the lagoon, and the warm seaside water is calmer than Maui, while the lagoon is a little cold to swim in. There is a chance to sit on grassy, shaded areas and use picnic tables.  There are clean restrooms and showers, shopping and lots of great food outlets nearby.  The beach is a good viewpoint for Diamond Head or a good place to explore the Waikiki Historic Trail.

Torch-lighting and Hula shows are on several nights a week at the K?hi? Beach Hula Mound, and there is a firework display every Friday night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. 

Best for: Surfing, learning to surf and experiencing the world famous beach.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

5. Fred Benson Town Beach – Block Island RI

Accessible via a ferry, Block Island has some lovely beaches, and what sets the Fred Benson Town Beach apart is that it is the only one with restrooms and showers. The beach its self, the restrooms and showers all have high standards of cleanliness.  

 You can take your car on the ferry and parking near the beach is convenient and usually easy.  Although, for a more adventurous trip, leave the car behind and hire bicycles for exploring when you are not at the beach. The island has two lighthouses within cycling distance, and cycle hire complete with child seats, trailers and kid-sized bicycles is readily available.

The great thing about this three-mile stretch of sandy New England beach is that there is everything you’ll need for a day at the beach.  The beach is patrolled by lifeguards, has changing rooms and the concessions include ice creams, food to go on the beach, chair and umbrella hire.  It’s a great place to chill and watch the ferries going back and forth whilst enjoying an ice cream or going for a swim. The beach is well located if you want to go and explore the galleries, boutiques and restaurants.  

What’s great about this beach is making an adventure out of the ferry crossing, chilling on the beach and swimming in the calm waters, then exploring the lighthouses for another adventure, back for another dip and ice cream before returning home. That’s number five of top best beaches for kids in US.

Best for: Real adventure and clean facilities.

So there you have it.  Our top five kid-friendly beaches for 2020.   Each is different and is best suited to different needs. Hopefully, we have found something for everyone in this selection of beaches best for mixed-age families, sun, sea and amusements, young children, surfing and combining a trip to the beach with adventure.

Fred Benson Town Beach
Fred Benson Town Beach


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