Best family beaches in the U.S.? Two in the West make top 10 list

La Jolla Cove

Good wildlife viewing (like this pelican) at La Jolla Cove in San Diego, which made Family Vacation Critic’s top 10 list of best family beaches in the U.S.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

What’s your family’s favorite beach? Southern Californians have lots of great options up and down the coast. But it’s always nice to have recommendations on where to go when you’re away from home too.

The editors at Family Vacation Critic, a travel website that’s part of the TripAdvisor family, have picked 10 safe and clean beaches that “that offer a level of convenience that meet the needs of those traveling with various age groups.”


What’s your favorite beach you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.



Two in the West made the list:

--La Jolla Cove in San Diego offers good opportunities to see sea lions, go tide-pooling and exploring the famed nearby cave. It’s not far from Ellen Browning Scripps Park (think restrooms and picnic areas) and the cool underwater park where snorkelers can have fun.

La Jolla Cove

Paddlers at the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park take a guided tour.

(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)


--Golden Gardens Park in Seattle on Puget Sound is a place where families can tour a botanical garden, hike forest trails or stroll along the coast. It’s also near Ballard Locks, where kids can watch kayaks and boats crossing the channel.

Here are the rest of the beaches that made the cut.

--Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Outer Banks, N.C. Check out climbs (some are at night) of two lighthouses in summer for great views.

Golden Gardens park

A pair of small sailboats float past beachgoers at Seattle's Golden Gardens Park. The Olympic Mountains are in the background.

(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

--Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore in Empire, Mich. Look across Lake Michigan from bluffs about 450 feet above the lake.

--South Padre Island in South Padre, Texas. Kids will love the sea turtle releases during summer months at this Gulf of Mexico spot south of Corpus Christi.

--The Wildwoods in Wildwood, N.J. These well-known beach area in the southern part of the state are free -- and includes a dog beach too.

--Captiva Beach on Captiva Island, Fla. There are beaches and bayous to be explored by boat or kayak at this spot off the Gulf Coast from Fort Myers.


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Traverse City, Mich., is a popular Great Lakes beach.

(Unknown / Asspcoated Press)

--Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly, R.I. There’s a water park here on the beach that charges but it’s oh-so convenient.

--Million Dollar Beach in Lake George, N.Y. Check out the fireworks shot from a barge over the upstate New York lake on Thursdays in July and August.

--Clinch Beach in Traverse City, Mich. You and the family can bike, paddleboard and kayak at this beach on a Lake Michigan bay.

Check out the entire list.

Here are more beaches to consider if you’re looking for a swell summer vacation spot: Earlier this year, TripAdvisor’s 2016 Traveler’s Choice Awards recognized 25 of the best beaches in the U.S.


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