Sunset at Sunrise Beach in Ft. Lauderdale with palm trees and beach entry feature.
Sunshine Beach has it all — palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze, delicious dining options and miles of warm sand.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Miles of Sand and Family Fun Abound at These Beach Destinations

Build Sand Castles and Make Memories

Ah, the beach! The allure of sun-burnished stretches of golden sand is hard to deny, especially for active families with younger children.

Wondering where you can find the best family beach vacations all around the globe? Read on to see six of our top suggestions. Don’t forget to fill a jar of sand from each place you visit as a souvenir of all the beach memories you’ve made!

Fort Lauderdale, FL

South Florida may conjure up memories of booze-soaked spring breaks, but the Venice of America has largely moved on from its partying past. Whether browsing the quaint shops lining the shore in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, enjoying the people-packed expanse of Fort Lauderdale beach, or shelling in Dania Beach, the city positively teems with opportunities for family fun.

After you get your fill of sand and sun, visit the Museum of Discovery and Science or stroll the beautiful boutiques and high-end restaurants lining Las Olas Boulevard. Particularly adventurous clans may enjoy stopping by the Swap Shop, the world’s largest daily flea market.

If you’re looking for a slightly quieter set of beaches, opt for Tampa instead. There are an endless number of things to do in Tampa that will make for a more laid-back family vacation.

Father and son walking in the surf as the sun sets.Chesterman Beach in Tofino makes for great surfing or even just taking long walks and looking for treasures washed up by the sea.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Though Vancouver Island typically draws couples looking for a little romantic rest and relaxation, it can also serve as great getaway for parents and kids. Peer at sea lions and starfish anywhere along the 15 miles of unbroken shore that comprise Radar Beach, Long Beach, Combers Beach and Wickaninnish Beach.

While not exactly an ideal environment for tanning, Vancouver Island still draws plenty of surfers, sea kayakers and windsurfers. Trails throughout Pacific Rim National Park let hikers of every experience level stretch their legs, and the capital city of Victoria contains museums, restaurants, shops and historical sites aplenty.

Don’t miss the Victoria Bug Zoo!

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Aerial view of boats and stingrays in waterStingray City on Grand Cayman is a shallow area where visitors can swim with and touch the stingrays in the water. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Grand Cayman

Like most Caribbean islands, Grand Cayman can slot you in to the all-inclusive experience with little muss or fuss. However, families longing for a vacation experience that’s a little more personally tailored will have an easy time stitching together their own tropical escapes.

After your crew gets its fill of sunbathing or snorkeling along Seven Mile Beach, head over to the Cayman Turtle Farm or Dolphin Discovery Park in at West Bay. Then delve into the watery depths on a submarine ride courtesy of Atlantis Submarines International.

Ready for a break from the ocean? Enjoy a horseback ride, take a gander at the vegetation in Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, and zip along the go-cart tracks at Cayman Karting.

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

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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