Something for Everyone: 12 Best Beach Resorts in the U.S. for Families

Sun, sand, and surf come guaranteed at the best family beach resorts in the U.S.
Mauna Kea Resort
(Photo: Mauna Kea Resort)

Packing up the kids and heading to the best beach resorts in the U.S. is one of the most popular family vacation ideas for a good reason. Whether you’re into splashing in the surf, building (and destroying) elaborate sandcastles, or just lounging in the sun with a few beach essentials on hand, family beach vacations in the U.S. (and beyond) can be a relaxing reset for the whole family.

But relaxing isn’t all you can do at the best U.S. beach resorts. In fact, the country’s most kid-friendly beach hotels offer everything from soothing spa treatments and oceanfront restaurants to cool kids clubs, over-the-top pools, and more water sport options than you can shake a pool noodle at.

From coast to coast, here are the most kid-friendly beach resorts in the U.S. where sun, sand, and surf are just the beginning of the family vacation experience.

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1. Chatham Bars Inn

Chatham, Massachusetts

Cottages and harbor at Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts (Photo: Chatham Bars Inn)
Families flock to Chatham Bars Inn for its classic coastal charm (Photo: Chatham Bars Inn)

Dating back to 1914 and open year-round, the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod has 217 guest rooms and suites along with plenty of classic seaside charm. Book a cabana rental on the inn’s private quarter-mile-long beach, or relax by the oceanfront heated pool. Complimentary bike rentals make it easy to explore the area and enjoy shopping on Chatham‘s nearby Main Street. The inn’s boats take guests on whale watching and fishing excursions.

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The seasonal supervised “Kids Crew” at this Massachusetts beach resort offers hands-on activities to help kids enjoy the outdoors, while activities for the whole family include “dive-in” outdoor movies at the pool, lawn games, and crafts. Grownups can head to one of the five treatment rooms at the inn’s spa or work up a sweat at a fitness class or personal training sessions at the 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center.

For an indulgent escape without the kids, book one of the exclusive adults-only suites located above the spa. These rooms feature steam showers, oversized hydrotherapy tubs, and fireplaces.

2. Hotel Del Coronado

Coronado Island, California

Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island is a National Historic Landmark (Photo: Nikolas Kuhn via Unsplash)

Recognized as one of the best beach resorts in the U.S. and a National Historic Landmark, Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island (near San Diego) blends more than 130 years of history with modern amenities for a truly unforgettable beach vacation. This kid-friendly U.S. beach hotel’s 901 guest rooms are located in different “neighborhoods” around the resort, ranging from the original Victorian inn to the newly opened Shore House at The Del, which offers 75 one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences done up in modern beach house style that’s ideal for families.

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Enjoy The Del’s private beach (and its full food and alcohol service) from a lounge chair, half-moon cabanette, or daybed, or book surfing or stand-up paddleboarding lessons to get out on the Pacific Ocean. The beach resort’s Ocean Explorers program for kids ages five to 12 offers immersive experiences both at its indoor classroom and out on the beach, with a focus on preserving the ocean and its variety of marine life.

3. The Lodge at Gulf State Park, A Hilton Hotel

Gulf Shores, Alabama

The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama (Photo: The Lodge at Gulf State Park)
The Lodge at Gulf State Park is situated within the 6,150-acre state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama (Photo: The Lodge at Gulf State Park)

Part of the Hilton brand, The Lodge at Gulf State Park is an environmentally friendly family beach resort designed for get-away-from-it-all nature-filled escapes. Built to meet LEED Gold standards, The Lodge offers 350 guest rooms (including 20 suites) done up in casual contemporary style with views of the Gulf of Mexico or Gulf State Park and a window that opens slightly “to allow the gulf breezes into the room.”

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Amenities include a gulf-front infinity edge pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and two gulf-front restaurants with outdoor terrace seating. The hotel sits within the 6,150-acre state park, which features two miles of beach, 28 miles of hiking trails, lakes for fishing and paddling, an Interpretive Center with exhibits, a fishing pier, and outfitters offering standup paddle board, kayak, and bike rentals.

4. Ka’anapali Beach Hotel

Maui, Hawaii

Ka'anapali Beach Hotel in Maui, Hawaii (Photo: Ka'anapali Beach Hotel)
Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is a little slice of paradise in Maui, Hawaii (Photo: Ka’anapali Beach Hotel)

Situated on the white sands of Maui’s glorious Ka’anapali Beach, Hawaiian culture takes center stage at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. Not just one of the top beach resorts in Hawaii but also one of best beach resorts in the entire U.S., here guests can take part in complimentary Hawaiian cultural activities to learn more about traditions like ukulele music and hula dancing, and everyone receives a Kukui nut lei upon departure.

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The oceanfront resort’s 432 rooms and 14 suites are situated in four wings surrounding a four-acre garden-filled courtyard that’s also home to the property’s iconic whale-shaped swimming pool. A complimentary children’s program and snorkel and stand-up paddle board rentals can help keep the whole family busy, and the Ka’anapali Beach resort area’s many shops, restaurants, and other activities are just a stroll away along a beachfront walkway.

5. The Ocean Lodge

Cannon Beach, Oregon

The Ocean Lodge at Cannon Beach, Oregon (Photo: The Ocean Lodge)
The beach views are unbeatable at The Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach, Oregon (Photo: The Ocean Lodge)

Overlooking a gorgeous stretch of Oregon’s famed Cannon Beach, the 45-room Ocean Lodge is one of the best beach resorts in the U.S. for cozy comforts and nostalgic charm. Douglas fir beams, reclaimed hardwood floors, and a two-story wood-burning river-rock fireplace set the scene in the lobby, where guests can find coffee and a cookie jar filled with fresh baked cookies throughout the day.

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No two guest rooms are exactly alike at this popular Oregon beach resort, but they all have mini-refrigerators, microwaves, and gas fireplaces, and some feature decks and patios for enjoying ocean views. Select rooms are also pet-friendly, and the lodge offers a dog wash on the front lawn for rinsing off after a day at the beach.

The grownups can partake in the daily evening wine reception or get a nightcap delivered to their room, while everyone in the family is free to enjoy the hotel’s collection of games, books, and movies during a stay.

6. The Cavalier Resort

Virginia Beach, Virginia

The Cavalier Resort and Virginia Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk (Photo: Virginia Beach Tourism Bureau)
The Cavalier Resort and Virginia Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk (Photo: Virginia Beach Tourism Bureau)

If you want a family beach vacation with options, it’s hard to beat The Cavalier Resort in Virginia Beach. Here you’ll have three distinct oceanfront hotel choices: the Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club (first opened in 1927), the modern Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and the Embassy Suites by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort (opened in February 2023). Families can choose the lodging that best fits their vacation style and then enjoy the nine restaurants and multiple pools found throughout the resort.

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Open May to October, The Cavalier Beach Club includes a seaside infinity pool and poolside bar and grill along with access to a semi-private beach, and the resort’s We Scream ice cream and coffee shop makes an ideal spot for an afternoon treat. A calendar of activities offers fun for all ages. The beach resort is also home to the country’s first in-hotel distillery, which is open for tours and tastings.

7. Inn by the Sea

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

A private boardwalk leads from Inn by the Sea to sandy Crescent Beach (Photo: Inn by the Sea)
A private boardwalk leads from Inn by the Sea to sandy Crescent Beach (Photo: Inn by the Sea)

Located in Cape Elizabeth on the coast of Maine, the charming Inn by the Sea is the premier East Coast beach hotel for dog-lovers. With everything from gourmet pet menus and beach towels to comfy blankets and special turndown treats, the family pooch truly gets pampered at this dog-friendly New England hotel. And even if you don’t have a dog in your family group, you can head to the lobby to meet a shelter pup staying for a while through a partnership with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. Guests can play with, walk, and even adopt the rescue dog if so moved.

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The inn’s suites offer plenty of space for families (and dogs) and include kitchens, fireplaces, and furnished outdoor decks. The property sits on a mile stretch of family-friendly Crescent Beach, and a seasonal outdoor pool, schedule of activities, and complimentary bicycles provide even more summer vacation fun. Head to the on-site spa, fitness center, and oceanfront restaurant to recharge after time spent exploring nearby Portland and other New England seaside towns and villages.

8. Omni Amelia Island Resort

Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Florida

Omni Amelia Island Resort on Amelia Island, Florida (Photo: Omni Resorts)
Omni Amelia Island Resort occupies a peaceful stretch of beach on Amelia Island, Florida (Photo: Omni Resorts)

Occupying a peaceful stretch of Atlantic Ocean beachfront on Florida’s Amelia Island, the Omni Amelia Island Resort features 402 guest rooms with balconies and ocean views. Cabanas, chairs, boogie boards, and beach games can be rented during the spring and summer to make your day on the sand even more enjoyable. Guests can book surfing lessons through the hotel, too.

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Two heated pools, a splash park, two hot tubs, and three fire features overlook the beach and offer even more fun for families. Golfers can tee up at the resort’s Pete Dye-designed championship golf course, take on the 10-hole “Little Sandy” short course, or put their way to victory at the 18-hole Heron’s Cove mini golf course. The beach resort is also home to nearly two-dozen tennis courts and seven pickleball courts. And when dinner comes around, even picky eaters will find something to munch on at the resort’s nine dining options. 

9. Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina (Photo: Kiawah Island Golf Resort)
There’s a lot more to do than play golf at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Photo: Kiawah Island Golf Resort)

What makes Kiawah Island Golf Resort one of the best beach resorts in the U.S. for families? Start with the scenic setting on a South Carolina barrier island that’s only about 20 miles from historic Charleston. Then move on to the three lodging options available: the 255-room, AAA Five Diamond-rated The Sanctuary oceanfront hotel and spa; the 500 resort villas and private homes available as vacation rentals; and The Cottages at The Ocean Course, consisting of four two-story, four-bedroom spaces ideally situated for golfers interested in playing the resort’s five championship courses designed by famed golf course architects.

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Amenities and recreational opportunities here include a tennis center, luxe spa, nature center, two pool complexes, bike and paddle board rentals, and all kinds of activities for kids and teens. It all adds up to a special spot for both beach vacations and golf vacations.

10. Mauna Kea Resort

Big Island, Hawaii

The Westin Hapuna Beach at Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island in Hawaii (Photo: Mauna Kea Resort)
Choose from three different lodging options at Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island in Hawaii (Photo: Mauna Kea Resort)

Whether you choose to stay at the Mauna Kea Beach HotelThe Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, or one of Mauna Kea Residences‘s luxury vacation rentals, you’ll have access to all that the picturesque Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii has to offer. That includes three pools (including two kid-friendly pools), two golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, and seven dining options.

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Mauna Kea Beach Hotel sits along the white-sand Kauna’oa Bay, and The Westin fronts a stretch of family-friendly Hapuna Beach. Both offer complimentary beach activities like snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, and daily outrigger canoe experiences.

Hawaiian art and cultural classes, the Mauna Kea Luau, and the resort’s “Keiki Club” for kids help guests of all ages learn about the islands’ history, while teens can enjoy experiences like the nightly Manta Ray Night Swim. And don’t miss the collection of Asian Pacific art at the mid-century Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

11. Sanderling Resort

Duck, North Carolina

The Sanderling Resort in North Carolina (Photo: The Sanderling Resort)
Families enjoy private beach access at The Sanderling Resort in North Carolina (Photo: The Sanderling Resort)

A U.S. beach resort situated on 13 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck Sound in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Sanderling Resort offers 123 guest rooms and suites (including poolside suites with private fire pits) and five vacation home rentals to suit every vacation style. Three private beach access points take you down to the sand, where you can get out onto the water on a kayak, standup paddle board, or surfboard via tours, lessons, and rentals that can be booked right at the resort. (Sanderling’s sandbar makes it a good spot for novices learning to surf.)

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Amenities include a zero-entry family pool, adults-only pool, indoor pool, fitness center, and spa with coastal-inspired treatments and views of Currituck Sound. The resort’s on-site “adventure planners” are available to help you enjoy activities like golf, biking, and tours for spotting Corolla’s wild horses.

12. The Resort at Longboat Key Club

Sarasota, Florida

The Resort at Longboat Key Club
Guests can lounge in a private cabana, join a waterfront yoga or fitness class, or partake in an organized beach walk (Photo: Resort at Longboat Key Club)

Occupying 410 acres on a barrier island off Sarasota, the luxe Resort at Longboat Key Club recently underwent a major renovation to cement its status as one of the best beach hotels in the U.S. Guest rooms and suites with views of the Gulf of Mexico are now done up in shades of blue and feature coastal-meets-contemporary furniture and decor. At the resort’s white sand beach, guests can lounge in a private cabana, join a waterfront yoga or fitness class, or partake in an organized beach walk.

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Beyond the sand, the resort’s 20 tennis courts have earned it kudos from players, and two golf courses serve as scenic and well-respected spots for driving and putting. A spa, fitness center, and outdoor pool offer other alternatives for some R&R, and five dining options provide food and drink to meet any mood.

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Beth Luberecki
Beth Luberecki is a Florida-based freelance writer who writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics for a variety of publications and websites. She enjoys exploring destinations close to home and farther afield with her husband and teenage daughter. Visit her website at or find her on Instagram at @bethlubereckiwrites and @findingfloridafun.