After months in quarantine, many of us parents and kids are just plain itching to get outside. And while we can’t overstate the importance of wearing masks and keeping a minimum six-foot distance from those not in your family/quarantine pod, we’re also relieved to know that it is possible to leave your house, breathe fresh air, and stay safe. Taking the kids on a hike is one great option, but as summertime stretches on, we know you’re going to feel that pull towards the water. The good news is that many U.S. beaches are reopening or have reopened, with stricter safety measures (which can be a bummer, such as shut down playgrounds and public bathrooms, but it’s for your own good!).
But even if you can go, should you go? And where should you go? We’ll leave the former up to you and your family — and the recommendations of your state and the CDC, of course. After all, parents with only one kid may be much more comfortable bringing her to a beach at dawn for some quiet family time than parents of five who can’t guarantee all five rascals will remain socially distanced throughout a crowded lunchtime beach romp. Yikes.
As for where to go, well, we won’t leave you on your own for that decision. We’ve rounded up some of the best (read: most family-friendly) beaches around the country for your first seaside venture post-quarantine. If you’re in driving distance of any of these, you’re in for a treat because this list will set you up with gorgeous nature, shell-collecting, ice cream, food trucks (plein air eating, ’tis the 2020 way) and more.
After all, a Michigan State study found that a view of water can make people less stressed. And isn’t destressing something you and your kids really, really need right about now? Yeah, we thought so.
Here are our 16 favorite family-friendly beaches for wave-jumping, sandcastle-building, and just plain peace and quiet.