Welcome to our second installment in the Best of Family Travel Destinations; if you missed the first in our series don’t forget to check back on our 10 Best Cities for Family Travel for some inspiring ideas on big city travels with your kids
This month our team of family travel bloggers have been hard at work again to try and uncover some hidden gems for you and your family. We are looking for the world’s best beaches – we’re not talking resorts here but somewhere the whole family can enjoy, looking at activities in and around the beach as well as natural beauty and family-friednliness. It might come as no surprise that Australian beaches were going to feature heavily in our list – after all there are over 35,800kms of coastline on the mainland alone – but we’ve also included a selection from Europe, Asia and Central America.
Come have a look, do you agree with our selection?
Tikva from Gezin op Reis
Blåvand in Denmark is home to one of the best beaches in Northern Europe, a 40 kilometer long, clean and beautiful beach. Here you can enjoy the nature, wild dunes and many birds while playing with your kids. Our daughter loved building sandcastles and running in the wind. While swimming in Denmark is limited to the short summer months there is plenty to do the rest of the year. On the south beach of Blåvand are the remains of several bunkers dating back to the 2nd World War. They are part of the Atlantic wall, a defensive line built by the Germans in order to prevent an invasion. Instead of demolishing everything, the English artist Bill Woodrow transformed them into horses. The town is also home to a small zoo and Denmark’s oldest candy shop.
The great thing about visiting Devon in the UK is that you are never more than an hour from one of its 99 beaches. We love the beaches here for the sheer variety of shorelines. They range from rugged seascapes with rock pools and caves, to secluded coves with sheer cliff faces and others with miles of fine yellow sand. Devon has two coastlines – one facing into the English Channel and the other out on to the Atlantic. This makes for very different conditions, with the north coast being popular with surfers. In the south there’s family beach resorts and sheltered waters – ideal for letting little beachcombers explore.
Mayan Riviera, Mexico
Amy from Passports & Pigtails
There is very little that can rival the experience of standing where sand meets sea, that magic spot existing in nature and explored by people from all over the world. The crescent shaped beaches of the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan Peninsula, are spectacular, offering powdery white sand and palm trees overlooking the turquoise waves of the Caribbean Sea. Set along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second longest coral reef on the planet, this stretch of coastline offers some of the world’s most incredible snorkelling and diving, yet its waters are calm enough for even the youngest beach babes. Famous for large scale all-inclusive resorts, tourists have no shortage of sunny spots to enjoy all that the Mexican coast has to offer. You can become sunkissed on the world renowned Maroma Beach, swim with turtles at Akumal, snorkel along the protected National Marine Park at Puerto Moreles or enjoy a dip at Parasio after touring the historical ruins of Tulum. The beaches of the Mayan Riviera are the perfect place for romance, celebrations and family connection. It is quite simply paradise.
There’s little wonder that Phuket is a popular beach side family holiday destination with a plethora of family friendly resorts located all along the white sandy beaches of the Andaman sea; from Kata beach in the south through bustling Patong and 30 minutes north to Kamala, Bang Tao Bay and Surin beaches. Families with kids big and small will not be short of activities: elephant rides, monkey parks, bird zoos, 4WD ATV tours, mini golf, shopping in Patong and the Phuket town night markets plus dazzling shows like FantaSea that will keep all the members of the family entertained ensuring no one will get the chance to be bored at this beach side location.
Rainbow Beach, Queensland, Australia
Nicci from Travel with Boys
Blessed with beautiful white sandy beaches and clear blue water, there are a few other amazing features that make Rainbow Beach truly special. Its stunning coloured sand cliffs are a sight to behold and great for exploring with kids, while the Carlo Sand Blow provides not only an incredible vista but also fun for the family to go sand tobogganing. You can hire a 4WD and drive along the long stretches of beach to find your own patch of paradise to enjoy for the day. When you’ve had enough relaxing, there is also plenty for families to do with nearby dolphin feeding, horse riding on the beach, fishing, bush walking, sea kayaking, and there is a great café, Italian restaurant and pub to enjoy. Rainbow Beach is the gateway to the iconic Fraser Island, so if you feel the need to discover more, you’re only a barge ride away. One thing I really love is that this tiny town is very laid back and peaceful, and when you’re travelling with little boys, there aren’t too many places we can say are peaceful!
Smiths Beach, Margaret River, Western Australia
Marianne from Mum on the Move
Most people associate the Margaret River region of Western Australia with wine. After all, over 20% of Australia’s premium wine comes out of the 200+ wineries here. But another reason to head here is the beaches, and Smiths Beach is one of our all-time favourite beaches anywhere in the world. The wild ruggedness of the dunes that line the sand give a natural beauty to the beach, which is so long and wide that you can’t imagine it ever feeling that crowded, no matter how many people were to turn up. Last time we were there, we even spotted a pod of dolphins off the shore – amazing! The beach is popular with surfers, and older kids will enjoy boogie boarding here, but the Southern end of the beach is calmer and is also shallow enough to take your smaller kids in for a paddle or swim too.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Shoba from Just go Places
We don’t take that many beach holidays. In a family where three of the four of us have varying degrees of attention deficit disorder, sitting on a beach is just not that interesting. Sometimes, however, you really just need to get away from the bleakness of winter. A beach holiday of sunshine and relaxation can really make a big difference in attitude for the whole family.
My children adored the black sand beaches of Tenerife. The black sand beaches are the natural beaches of Tenerife whereas the yellow sand beaches on the island is imported from the Sahara. For the kids, mixing the black sand with some water and it was just like playing in mud. They looked a fright by the end of the day but it all washes off. On the plus side, it was much easier to clean them off because you can spot the black sand much easier than the usual yellow sand!
The 90 Mile Beach – Victoria, Australia
Mark from Wyld Family Travel
The 90 Mile beach is located in East Gippsland, Australia. As its name suggests, it stretches for 90 miles. This section of the coastline is underpopulated and undeveloped in a lot of area’s and there are only a handful of towns along the beach that have access to it. Seaspray is a small holiday town with a shop and camping park at one end of the beach. At the other end stands Lakes Entrance a holiday mecca for Victorians in the summer. The 90 mile beach is popular for fishing with shark and salmon caught regally near Seaspray. While at Lakes Entrance families swim happily in the mostly calm ocean with sand as far as the eye can see. I have fond memories of this beach as we holidayed at Lakes Entrance every year as kids; now as an adult I have fun taking my kids here to go swimming and fishing.
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Are there any spectacular family-friendly beaches you think we’ve missed? We’d love to hear your favourites in the comments below.
All photos are credited and copyrighted to the original bloggers listed in this article.