Vanilla ice cream cone held up against the beach and ocean.
Watergate Bay is the perfect place for surfers and sunbathers alike.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Miles of Sand and Family Fun Abound at These Beach Destinations

Newquay, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Newquay in Cornwall has drawn tourists to its shores for more than a century. Today, surfers and sunset lovers alike admire the waves in Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach. Situated barely more than two hours from any major city in the United Kingdom and sporting a dozen beaches, it’s the perfect destination for your August Bank Holiday long weekend.

As the crowds have increased, though, family-friendly diversions have cropped up around the town. Flambards serves up thrills and chills aplenty with its array of roller coasters, gravity-defying rides and a spectacular fireworks display.

The live actors of Pirate’s Quest explain to attendees the sordid history of lawlessness on the high seas. Try a tour by bike or waverunner to learn a little more about the surrounding area.

And when you’re ready for a little retail therapy, browse the quaint boutiques in downtown Newquay. Another reason to choose Cornwall as your destination? It’s one of the cheapest holiday locations in the UK.

Hiking path leading along the shore with green brush on either side.From La Jolla to Mission Beach to Coronado Beach, there's plenty of sun and sand to choose from.Photo Credit: Getty Images

San Diego, CA

America’s Finest City is both an economic powerhouse and a great place for a beach-front family escape — and an especially great vacation destination to go with toddlers. La Jolla, Mission Beach, Coronado Beach — it’s hard to not find a great stretch of sand in San Diego.

The area also has a ton to offer in addition to swimming and surfing. The San Diego Zoo boasts more than 1,000 acres of space filled with about 4,000 endangered and rare animals. Birch Aquarium at Scripps will let little ones handle critters commonly found in tide pools.

And Old Town Trolley will ferry you through 200 years of history in the downtown area.

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Two people stand with surf boards looking out to the ocean.Byron Bay is home to plenty of idyllic beaches and is close by to rain forests that are perfect for exploring.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Australia may bear the nickname “The Land Down Under,” but it could just as easily be dubbed the Land of Beaches. Over 10,000 sandy stretches line its shores, and one of the best for families — particularly families with teenagers — is Byron Bay.

Originally a lodestone for hippies and alternative-lifestyle types, it has a decidedly posher tilt nowadays. You’ll also have your pick of excellent beaches, everything from the great views of Wategos to the idyllic enclosed shores of Cosy Corner to mingling of rainforest and sand at Broken Head.

Just remain aware that the city allows topless sunbathing.

Non-beachy attractions include brushing up on big-top stunts at Circus Arts Byron Bay or enjoying the hands-on petting zoo at nearby Macadamia Castle. You can also hire tour guides to take you on all sorts of themed hikes through the nearby rainforest.

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