On every continent, you’ll find family-friendly beaches where the kids can splash around while you relax with a cold drink under the warmth of the sun. But if you’re travelling with the family, you might be looking for a seaside resort that’s away from the booming sounds of nightclubs, strong currents and bare-all sunbathers. Fortunately, the world has no shortage of such destinations.

    Whether you want to escape the crowds to enjoy some peace and tranquillity, collect seashells or take part in child-friendly water activities, there’s a perfect beach for you. Here’s our pick of the best family beaches on the planet.


    Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii, USA

    Paddle in the crystal-clear waters of Waikiki

    Waikiki Beach is a 2-mile stretch of sand split into 8 sections on the island of Hawaii. Here, you can relax in the sun while perfecting your tan or paddle with the kids in the crystal-clear ocean. More of an adventurer? Activities here include surfing, canoeing, boogie boarding, snorkelling, and parasailing.

    Different sections of the beach cater to various demographics. For families, the best sections include Duke Kahanamoku Beach, where the humanmade lagoon is filled with calm waters, and Fort DeRussy Beach Park, which is one of the least crowded stretches that’s shaded by palm trees. The nearby Honolulu Zoo is home to animals ranging from peacocks to Komodo dragons, making it an ideal family day out.

    Aloha sunshine

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    Antalya, Turkey

    Explore ancient ruins near the family-friendly beaches

    Antalya is one of Turkey’s most popular summer resort towns, home to dozens of family-friendly beaches that have soft sand, calm waters and lifeguards. Whether you want to relax next to ancient Greek and Roman ruins on a day of exploration or visit a shoreline that stretches for miles, Antalya has something unique to offer.

    Konyaaltı is one of the most popular beaches for tourists, but thanks to being the city’s largest, you won’t struggle to find space for the family. If you want to play volleyball or take to the seas for parasailing and boat rides, head over to Lara Beach, which spans an area of 180 hectares.

    Take me there


    Praia do Ancão, Praganca, Portugal

    Treat yourself to a luxurious family getaway

    The golden sands that form the beaches of Praia do Ancão are suitable for luxury family getaways thanks to being located near the Algarve’s most affluent resorts: Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vale do Garrão (also known as “The Golden Triangle”). This Blue-Flag-award-winning destination offers plenty of facilities to keep the kids comfortable, such as sun shelters, loungers and a range of seafood dining establishments.

    While you’re here, explore the otherworldly sand dunes in the nearby Ria Formosa Natural Park. Alternatively, stay in an upscale hotel to enjoy an exclusive stretch of sand away from the crowds. The kids will enjoy splashing around under the supervision of lifeguards as well as activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

    Let's go


    Santa Monica, California, USA

    Head to the Golden State’s best family beach

    With its 3.5-mile stretch of well-maintained shoreline, Santa Monica’s beach is one of the most iconic in Southern California. Due to its size, this summer destination is split into 2 sections, with the pier being the border. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of hotels, restaurants, shops and parking spaces.

    We recommend heading north of the pier, which is home to the family-friendly North Beach Playground. Here, there are separate play areas for toddlers (kids aged 2 to 5 years old) and youngsters (children aged 5 to 8 years old). You’ll find swings, slides, climbing frames and plenty of games for groups.

    Join the fun


    Manza Beach, Okinawa, Japan

    Scuba diving, watersports and unique seaside activities for children

    Manza Beach is a resort operated by InterContinental, and it’s one of the top-rated family summer destinations in Okinawa. It’s surrounded by a beautiful national park and a coral reef, making it an ideal spot for adventuring and scuba diving. The resort itself is home to an outdoor pool, tennis court and spa.

    Kids can enjoy supervised jet ski rides, banana boat rides and an inflatable playground that’s been constructed on the water. Alternatively, they can enjoy the ocean while wearing themselves out on an amphibious trike. When you need a break from the water, explore the area by bicycle or play a game of mini-golf.

    Explore now


    Prainha, Itacaré, Brazil

    Relish the unspoilt beauty of Prainha Beach

    Prainha Beach is widely considered to be one of the world’s best beaches thanks to its untouched beauty, sand and water quality, favourable year-round weather conditions, and remoteness. This 700-metre stretch of sand is flanked by cliffs and surrounded by a protected area, where construction is prohibited. As such, it’s been described as one of Rio de Janeiro’s hidden jewels.

    Most tourists visit Prainha as part of a day trip from Rio, though there are a few nearby accommodation options. Activities include surfing, sunbathing and swimming. If you want the kids to work up a sweat, hike to the Caeté Summit to enjoy panoramic views of the mountainous coastline.

    To the sunshine


    Lamai Beach, Samui, Thailand

    Head to secluded island bays, serene beaches and waterparks

    After Chaweng, Lamai Beach is the second-largest resort area on the Thai island of Samui, ideal for families looking for a quiet place to relax. The beach boasts a laid-back atmosphere and plenty of affordable dining, shopping and accommodation options. In addition to the golden stretch of sand, families flock here for the multitude of nearby activities for the kids.

    Just north of Lamai Beach lies the 250-metre-long Silver Beach, which is a small but postcard-perfect bay. Popular activities include snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing. If the kids want to do more than swim, consider a day trip to Pink Elephant Water Park on the north coast of Samui, where huge slides, wave pools and a lazy river will entertain the family for hours.

    Beach, please

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    Chrissi Akti (Golden Beach), Crete

    Paddle in the shallow waters of Greece’s Golden Beach

    Chrissi Akti (Golden Sand) Beach is one of the most serene sandy stretches on the island of Crete. It consists of 2 beaches separated by a line of rocks and boulders: Golden Beach to the west, and Aptera Beach to the east. The west cove area is popular with families thanks to its shallow waters, golden sands, lifeguards and nearby children’s playground.

    While the kids paddle in the sea under professional supervision, you can relax under the shade of an umbrella on a lounger with a cold beverage. Or, you can take part in activities ranging from kayaking to volleyball with the kids. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of quiet accommodation options, ideal for children who need a good night’s rest away from the island’s nightlife.

    Paddle away


    Ilha Grande, Brazil

    Swim with the fish in the seas surrounding Ilha Grande Island

    Ilha Grande is a Brazilian island that’s ringed by pristine gold beaches, covered by forest and brimming with nature trails. Surfers tend to head to the south-eastern shore, but the calm, fish-filled waters towards the north of the island are more suitable for families.

    The island’s tourist appeal has been rising since it became a resort in the 1990s, but most beaches are still largely untouched. If you’re looking for some seclusion, head to Palmas Cove, where generators keep the power running until 10pm. If you’re willing to embark on a boat ride and a 20-minute jungle trek to Lopes Mendes, you’ll be rewarded with shallow, clear waters and 3 km of white sand.

    Take a dip


    Sanibel, FL, USA

    Go shelling on Sanibel Island

    Sanibel is a family-friendly island retreat located about 25 miles from Fort Myers, Florida. Sanibel, and the neighbouring Captiva Island, boast dozens of secluded beaches, golf courses and the 2,500-acre Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where you can take the kids to see animals ranging from exotic birds to crocodiles.

    If your children love building sandcastles and collecting shells, we recommend visiting Bowman’s Beach, which also offers activities such as sailing and windsurfing. Near Blind Pass Beach, you’ll find the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, which houses some of the world’s largest shells. Take the kids along after a day of shelling to identify what you’ve found.

    This way to the beach

    Joshua Saunders | Contributing Writer

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