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Best family beaches in the US

Surf's up!

Summer's here and the surf's up! If you have your heart set on a beach vacation for your family this year, you are in luck! There are several beaches from coast to coast that are idea for a picture-picture getaway for the whole family. Check out our 10 favorite beach destinations for the whole family.

Family running on beach

1

SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA

Santa Cruz is one of California's best-kept secrets. Check out the beach boardwalk that is almost 100 years old that boasts a full amusement park right along the coast -- with free admission! When you're done with the adventure rides, take in the scenery at the Natural Bridges State Beach or cruise along the legendary Highway 1.

2COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA

Cocoa Beach, the closest beach to Orlando, this sleepy beach town with state-of-the-art space exploration is located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River Lagoon. From the shores of this beach you are likely to see dolphins at play and if you're really lucky, you may even see a space shuttle taking off into orbit! If you're little ones are astronauts in the making, Cocoa Beach is the place to be. Don't miss a kayak exploration off the Banana River islands as well as indigenous wildlife.

3Panama City, Florida

The pure white sand beaches of Panama city make this a gorgeous family-friendly beach getaway. Just be sure that you are not visiting the city during its famous Spring Break! Home to 27 miles of white sand and emerald green waters, this beach town features family-friendly mazes, water and amusement parks, a zoo, sport fishing and never-ending beach activities.

4Jekyll Island, Georgia

Located along the southern coast of Georgia, Jekyll Island is a fun experience for the whole family. Don't miss year round festivals, fireworks, concerts, athletic events, and breathtaking fireworks displays. Dolphin watching, Summer Waves Water Park and sea turtle walks also add to the non-stop adventure of this beach destination.

5

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is a great place for a family vacation. Located along the northern coast of South Carolina, just below the North Carolina state line, the 60 miles of sandy Myrtle Beach offers all kinds of fun activities in addition to splashing in the surf. Ride the waves in a banana boat, check out one of the award-winning festivals, or check out some of the water attractions off the beach such as the Wild Water & Wheels amusement park.

6Sandy Hook, New Jersey

New Jersey's Sandy Hook Beach, a seven-mile stretch of ocean and bay front beaches, is super-clean and home to more than 300 species of migratory birds. So if your little ones love bird watching (or chasing!), Sandy Hook is the place to be. Hitch a ferry ride from Manhattan and then a shuttle bus (or bike ride) to get to the beach. Don't miss the maritime museum after a day in the sun!

7Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York

The main beach on Long' Island's Southampton village, Coopers Beach is stunningly pristine, clean and beautiful. June is a relatively quiet month to visit the shore, and if you are looking to avoid peak-season prices hit the beach in May or September. Come prepared to pay for parking however! It's $25 per day during the week, $30 on the weekends for non-residents!

8DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA

Del Mar is home to some incredible beaches, including Solana Beach. This coastal town is quaint and quiet, and boasts art galleries, Seagrove Park, James Scripps Bluffs Preserve for some great sightseeing when you are done sunning in the surf. You won't find oceanfront concessions on this pristine beach, so be sure to pack in provisions if you are planning on spending the day on the water.

9St George Island State Park Beach, St George Island, Florida

Located on Florida's panhandle, St. George Island is a relatively quiet island that boasts some of the country's most breathtaking and family-friendly beaches. It is ideally equipped with both sandy shores and grassy flats, as well as grills, tables, and restrooms – perfect for family picnicking! Primitive campsites are also accessible via trail or boat.

10Stewart Beach, Galveston, Texas

This beach park is ideal for families. It features volleyball, sandcastle competitions, concerts and other family-oriented activities throughout the summer season. It also boasts a children's playground, umbrella and chair rentals, and an outdoor pavilion with snack bar, restrooms and a bathhouse.

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