There are so many beautiful beach destinations for kids in North America. Because there are so many choices, planning a beach vacation with kids can feel overwhelming. So, we’ve rounded up this list of 5 amazing beach destinations for young families in Canada and the USA. We have personally visited each of these destinations and would recommend them to our own family and friends.
Beach Destinations for Kids in the USA
Anna Maria Island, Florida
Anna Maria Island is definitely one of the best beach destinations for kids in North America. It is located approximately one hour south of Tampa and is connected to the mainland by roads so it is easy to access. This destination has a 7-mile strip of stunning white sand beaches. It is easy to get around by bike, golf cart or by hopping on and off the free trolley. And there are tons of amazing rental houses available, many with backyard pools.
The main attraction on the island is definitely the beach, but there are also opportunities for kid-friendly boat tours, snorkelling and mini golf. There are also plenty of family-friendly beachside restaurants that serve delicious seafood. The best time of year to visit is in the Spring months (April/May) when the weather is hot but not stifling yet, and before the beginning of hurricane season.
Galveston is a family friendly beach destination located on the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 1 hour from Houston city centre. It is actually an island city connected to the mainland by the highway so no ferries or flights are required to access it. The beaches on Galveston are beautiful and there are also many other family friendly attractions in the area, including amusement rides at the Pleasure Pier, and the Moody Gardens, which is home to several fun features including an aquarium and waterpark!
The best time to visit Galveston is in the spring (March/April) or fall (October/November), when the weather is warm but not stifling hot. Another consideration is hurricane season, which is from June to November each year, with the peak being in August & September.
San Diego, California
San Diego is a fantastic beach destination for young families. It is home to many beautiful beaches and there are also many, many amazing attractions in the city for kids.
On our visit to the area we stayed in a rental house with a backyard pool, about 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego, in the beachside town of Oceanside. We were located just 10 minutes from beautiful beaches that were great for kids, including Carlsbad State Beach and the Oceanside Pier Beach. We also enjoyed visiting some of the world class attractions including the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park and Legoland.
San Diego has beautiful weather nearly all year round, but the best times to visit are in the Spring (April/May) or Fall (September/October) when the weather is warm, but it is not the peak summer travel season.
Beach Destinations for Kids in Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver is a beautiful city and is the ideal destination for nature-loving, outdoorsy families. There are several family friendly beaches in the city, including our absolute favourite, Ambleside Beach, which has a playground, paved walking path and beachside restaurant. The city is also home to beautiful mountains and many stunning, kid-friendly hikes.
Vancouver is very rainy for much of the year, especially between October and April. For warmer, dryer weather, the best time of year to visit is between June and September. During the summer months, families can also enjoy swimming in one of the beautiful outdoor pools (like Kitsilano or New Brighton), overlooking the ocean and mountains. There are also many family friendly attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium, Playland and Cultus Lake Adventure & Water Park. For a list of our top 10 choices of things to do with kids in Vancouver, click here.
Prince Edward County, Ontario
Prince Edward County (PEC) is not on the ocean, but the Lake Ontario beaches in this area rival any of the ocean destinations on this list. PEC is home to the famous Sandbanks Provincial Park where you will find beautiful white sand dunes and clear, clean water. It is located approximately 2 hours east of Toronto.
Many families who visit the area choose to camp in Sandbanks Provincial Park, though due to its popularity, it is necessary to book campsites several months in advance. There are also many cottages in the area available to rent. The best time of year to visit the County is between June and September when the weather is warm.
PEC is not a large metropolis like some of the other destinations on this list so you won’t find big attractions like theme parks or water parks. BUT, you WILL find a slower pace of life, cute roadside farm stands with fresh produce, antique stores and plenty of opportunities to canoe, fish, bike or simply lay on the beach and sun tan.
Know of other great beach destinations for kids in Canada or the USA? We would love to hear about them!