5 Best Beach Towns for Family Vacation

beach cottages

There is something so relaxing about lounging on the beach, listening to the waves and watching the dolphins play.  If your family is as beach-loving as our family is, take a peek at our top beach town picks.  Our picks are based on either personal experience or recommendations.  We have to admit that we are sort of partial to Virginia Beach since ZiggityZoom is based in Virginia Beach and we have logged many, many beach days there.

beach vacation

Most beach towns have a ton of fun things to do or you can just choose a really relaxing visit lying on the beach, jumping waves and searching for shells.  We love that lazy type of beach day ourselves.  But besides that the beach offers so much more ... fishing, kayaking, surfing, swimming and walks on the beach.

Top 5 Family-Friendly Beach Towns

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Topping our list is Virginia Beach, one of the most family-friendly beach towns on the East coast that offers a 40 block boardwalk for walking, bike riding and beach watching.  The boardwalk is home to many restaurants with outdoor cafes facing the Atlantic ocean.  Atlantic Avenue, which is filled with little shops and restaurants, was given a complete overhaul a few years ago.  It is quite charming now and families come from all over the country.

During the summer months, families can watch free concerts, weekly fireworks and even compete in the ECSC (East Coast Surfing Championship).  Boats depart daily for deep sea fishing and families can take boat tours for whale watching.  In June, there's the Boardwalk Art show that offers a fun art experience right along the boardwalk.  Seashore State Park offers camping, hiking trails and a lovely beach.  You will see quite a few paddleboarders in the ocean, as this fun, and relatively new sport finds more participants.

surfer girl

Outer Banks, North Carolina

This chain of barrier islands is a top destination on the East coast of North Carolina.  Some of the towns along this chain include Duck, Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Salvo, Rodanthe, Cape Hatteras.  Fondly referred to as OBX, there are miles and miles of beaches and beach cottage rentals.  A family vacation on the Outer Banks can be as low-key or high activity as one wishes.

Highlights include the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Gliding down the giant dune of Jockey's Ridge in a wind-kite, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and taking the ferry for a day trip to Ocracoke Island.  The areas around Salvo and Rodanthe are well-known for some of the best Windsurfing in the country.  Surfing has long been a favorite past time on the Outer Banks.  Another daytrip can be had to Roanoke Island, a very charming area that features a historical theatre, presenting The Lost Colony about the history of Roanoke Island.  It's an outdoor theatre and family-friendly. 

beach boys

Coronado, California

A stone's throw from San Diego, this beachy town on the Pacific Ocean is known for being family-friendly. It is less crowded than other well-known destinations along the California coastline.  Silver Strand State Beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the San Diego area.  Not to miss is the Coronado Playhouse, a family type cabaret theatre. 

A fave place to stay for a family vacation is the Lowes Coronado Resort Bay resort whish hosts all sorts of fun kid activities for kids of all ages. There's kids yoga, pool games, GPS scavenger hunts and more.  The Hotel del Coronado, a 125-year-old Victorian-style resort, is on Central Beach. It has a Kidtopia program with craft activities and three-hour camps for kids 4 to 12.

Known as a quaint and sophiscated beach town, there is shopping, restaurants, surfing, paddleboarding, golf and more.  Something for everyone in the family.

virginia beach

Sanibel Island, Florida

Located on the west side of Florida, along the Gulf coast, this beach town is low-key, quiet and quaint.  It is known as a shell hunter's paradise.  Families can fish, take boat tours, surf and swim.  One of the best places in the area for galleries, restaurants and boutique shops is located in Periwinkle Way.

If you are a shell lover, you won't want to miss the Bailey-Mathews Shell Museum, one of the best collections of shells on the East coast.

ocean kayaking

Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, Massachusetts

Lots of fun can be had at this fun Cape Cod spot.  Located at the Cape Cod National Seashore, there are miles of beach to surf, swim, fish and sunbathe. The Salt Pond Visitor center offers family campfire nights, ranger-guided nature walks, beach yoga and surf casting.  There is a 24 mile bike path and you can rent kayaks, surfboards and bikes.  This is a real family-oriented area for a beachy vacation.

paddleboarding

Sharon Pierce McCullough

Photos copyright ZiggityZoom