Friday, February 5, 2010

Best Beach Vacations

Thinking of taking a beach vacations with kids? The choices can be endless, ranging from the calm waters of the Florida gulf to the tropical paradise of the Caribbean sea. All-inclusive resorts are especially kid friendly vacation spots, since many kids under a certain age eat and stay for free. Here's a list of the top 5 family beach vacations in the USA.
  1. Clearwater Beach, Florida- Known for its volleyball tournaments, Clearwater Beach is packed with families and kids splashing around. Perfect white sand dots the beach, beckoning children to stack sand castles while the gentle waves are an invitation for snorkeling and swimming alike. Clearwater beach boasts family friendly Pier 60 where families can tote their tots and sight see amongst the clear, blue waters. The Clearwater City Marina is a place of discovery for many, where boats and yachts are just the tip of the experience. Shops line the docks with many offering sea-side activities such as parasailing, deep sea fishing, dinner cruises and island exploring. And don't forget to stop by the hub of Clearwater beach which features a covered playground, beach concessions as well as souvenir shops and cafe styled restaurants. Clearwater Beach easily ranks number one as the best beach vacation to take with kids.

  2. Fort Meyers Beach, Florida- Travel north of the bridge intersection in Fort Meyers Beach, FL for an all out family friendly beach vacation that hits the spot. Times Square, dotted with beach shops, ice cream parlors and restaurants with outside seating is the perfect starting point. Take a walk through Lynn Hall Memorial Park where a playground exists along the base of the pier. Don't forget your skim boards, since the shallow waters at Fort Meyers makes for perfect wave scooting. Jet skiing and parasailing stands are also found throughout the beach area, meaning non-stop fun for adventure minded kids and adults. Don't forget to stop by one of the many affordable shrimp eateries along the beach, one of Fort Meyers' claim to fame. Affordable lodging exists up and down the white sandy beaches, so it's a no brainier to stay right on the water. Choose the north or south end for more family friendly accommodations and a sandbar that helps keep the waters safer for children. Boat tours in search of dolphin sightings are also another wonderful family activity that anyone can enjoy while vacationing at Fort Meyer's Beach.

  3. Fort Walton Beach, Florida- Featuring some of the beach beaches in the world, the Florida panhandle and Fort Walton Beach make for a wonderful beach vacation. A boardwalk at the pier plays host to several restaurants, shops and volleyball. Need a break from the beach and the sun? Check out the Gulfarium where dolphins perform tricks such as jumping through hoops and sea lions balance balls on their noses. Across the street from the boardwalk and pier is more family fun, with racetracks, miniature golf, charters for sea excursions and other sea-side activities such as parasailing and jet skiing. Once again, affordable lodging across the beach makes it easy for families to vacation at Fort Walton. Day trips to the city of Destin and the Gulf Islands National Seashore make the trip memorable and complete.

  4. Nantucket, Massachusetts- Voted by the Travel Channel as one of the best family beach destinations, Nantucket is a little known gem for beach vacations. As an island off the coast, several family friendly beaches dot the shoreline where festivals are annually held to celebrate such activities such as sandcastle building. Children's Beach features a playground and picnic tables, as well as activities such as tie dying T-shirts if visiting between July and August. Kayaking, windsurfing and sail boating lessons can be found at Jetties Beach. Visit Nantucket for a summer beach vacation that thrives in the cooler air of the northern Atlantic coast.

  5. Newport Beach, California- For those who live closer to the west coast, Newport Beach is a perfect beach vacation to take with kids. Miles of trendy homes and yatchs make for an endless luxary sightseeing adventure. The waters are usually calm on this family friendly beach, but watch children and warn them of an occasional underwater current (lifeguards are always on duty during the day). On the Balboa pennisula of Newport Beach you'll enter the Balboa Fun Zone tailored to kids of all ages, from riding the ferris wheel to the more grounded carousel. Surfing and boating are just some of the many water activities to enjoy here. A Newport Beach, CA vacation is a fun-packed vacation destination for both adults and kids.

Photo credit, top to bottom: msalmi78;, erinadoresyou;, Orangecounty_girl;

References: Visit Florida: Family Friendly Beaches; Cheap Flights: Best Family Beaches