The 10 Best Beaches for Families in the U.S.

Editors' pick: Originally published April 21.

Daydreaming about a summer vacation with your family? While nothing beats a relaxing day at the beach, many popular locations leave a lot to be desired.

Luckily, Family Vacation Critic has selected ten of the best beaches to visit with your family this year. These spots offer a number of activities and amenities, such as historic sites and restaurants that are sure to make your trip memorable.

So, which beaches should you consider for your next vacation? Click through our list to find out.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Visitors to the 70-plus mile shoreline of Cape Hatteras, which is preserved by the National Park Service, can enjoy long walks, kite flying, picnics, building sandcastles, water sports, boating tours, and relaxing by evening beach fires. For those looking to take a break from the beach, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Wright Brothers National Memorial are both fun activities for the whole family.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open all summer for both daytime and a few nighttime climbs to the public. In the evening, families can climb with flashlights to get a prime view of the Milky Way.

Watch: These Are the 10 Best Beaches for Families in the U.S.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Glen Arbor, Michigan

Famous for its giant sand dunes, it's no surprise that the most popular activity at this national park beach is the "Dune Climb." However, there are also over 100 miles of hiking trails, fishing, geology tours, scuba diving, kayaking and canoeing.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: Pick up a free copy of the park's Junior Ranger Book, which includes fun assignments for children to complete. When they're finished, kids will receive a Junior Ranger badge and certificate!

South Padre Island
South Padre Island

South Padre, Texas

Don't worry, South Padre Island isn't just for college coeds. Considered one of the world's most beautiful barrier islands, South Padre Island offers fishing, dolphin watching, sandcastle lessons, and watersports. The island also has spas, over 50 restaurants, and even an entire water park.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: Families can work with local sea turtle rescue, Sea Turtle, Inc., on dozens of scheduled releases during the summer months, to watch as tiny sea turtles enter the ocean for the first time.

The Wildwoods
The Wildwoods

Wildwood, New Jersey

With three amusement parks on its boardwalk alone, the Wildwoods isn't lacking in attractions and activities. During the day, visitors can enjoy jet skiing, parasailing, wave running and surfing in addition to simply relaxing on the beautiful beach.

Visitors can also enjoy the many annual events and "Breakfast in the Sky" at Morey's Piers, an exclusive, hour-long breakfast atop the boardwalk's Ferris wheel.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: Access to the beaches in The Wildwoods is completely free -- no beach tags are required -- and there is a special Wildwoods Dog Beach, for any families planning to bring Fido along on vacation.

Captiva Beach
Captiva Beach

Captiva Island, Florida

The best bet for those looking for a relaxing summer getaway is Captiva Beach. While Captiva Beach is famous for its shelling, especially of conches and sand dollars, there are a number of other activities for families to enjoy. Visitors can go on boat tours, picnic or eat at one of the many restaurants in the area.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: The Captiva Kayak Company offers boat rentals and kayak expeditions into local waterways to explore Captiva's beaches and bayous.

La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove

San Diego, California

La Jolla, a suburb of San Diego, has a number of boutiques, art galleries, cafes, and resorts for visitors to check out. However, La Jolla Cove steals the show: this beach offers gorgeous views, sea lions, and tide pools. Families can also visit Scripps Park, a large grassy area, and La Jolla Underwater Park, which is a popular activity for anyone who loves snorkeling or scuba diving.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: La Jolla Concerts by the Sea are offered every Sunday afternoon during the summer, and provide fun for all ages with a wide range of music to enjoy.

Misquamicut State Beach
Misquamicut State Beach

Westerly, Rhode Island

Popular among locals and out-of-towners alike, Misquamicut offers a bathing pavilion, with a bathhouse, gift shop, offices and a lifeguard tower, in addition to the typical beach amenities. If that's not enough, Westerly also boasts the Watch Hill Lighthouse and a statue of Mrs. Potato Head. For younger children, the town's Atlantic Beach Park has a carousel, bumper cars, himalaya, monkey barrels, and a kiddie dragon coaster.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: Check out Water Wiz of Westerly, a water park with three slides located right on the beach! Discounts are offered for early birds.

Million Dollar Beach
Million Dollar Beach

Lake George, New York

The largest and most well-known beach in Lake George, Million Dollar Beach has free admission, trained lifeguards, picnic areas and the most "sand" of all the Lake George beaches. This beach also has well-maintained changing rooms for visitors to use, a sandy volleyball court, and a full-time, public boat launch.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: Head to nearby Lake George Village for fireworks over the lake. The shows commence July 4 and then run every Thursday through August.

Clinch Park Beach
Clinch Park Beach

Traverse City, Michigan

With over 1,500 feet of sand along West Grand Traverse Bay, Clinch Park Beach has something for everyone. The beach has a splash pad and playground for young children, as well as lifeguards for those old enough to swim in the bay. Families looking to take a break from the sun can head to the many restaurants or the small movie theater located within walking distance of the shore.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: Nearby Clinch Park Marina offers kayak, paddleboard and bicycle rentals to ride on the paved TART Trail, which runs above the beach.

Golden Gardens Park
Golden Gardens Park

Seattle, Washington

Seattle may be known for its rainy weather, but hidden on Puget Sound is a quiet beach with a playground, restrooms, shaded picnic tables, grills and fire pits. Visitors can also hike through forest trails and fish from a pier and boat launch.

Family Vacation Critic Insider Tip: Combine your beach day with a visit to the famous Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks), where you can watch boats and even kayaks cross through the channel. There's also a botanical garden and fish ladder at this free attraction.

Watch: These Are the 10 Best Beaches for Families in the U.S.

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