Chris and I really want to take a trip this summer with Kennedy, just the three of us (we are thinking for my birthday in July!) so I’ve been doing some research on the best family-friendly beaches around and thought I’d share what I’ve found. Planning trips with a baby is pretty difficult – the location needs to be easy to get to, have beach and pool access and have plenty for both kids and adults to do. You guys know I love good food and coffee, so that’s a must-have too!
P.S. I am also working on a blog post about what to pack for a beach trip with a baby (for example, a travel crib and travel bassinet). That should be up soon! And if you’re worried about bringing your baby to the beach, don’t be! Kennedy had her first beach trip at just a few months old and she was totally fine, in fact, she loved it. She really likes feeling the wind on her face, and the ocean is pretty much one giant sound machine, haha!
Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
You know I had to include Ocean Isle Beach on the list! This is my favorite beach because I’ve been going every summer since before I could walk. I actually took my first steps here as a baby! Ocean Isle is a small, family-friendly little island off the coast of North Carolina. Although it’s small, it’s PACKED with fun restaurants and things to do! If you want to relax, the beach is sooo peaceful and you can hang out there from sun-up to sundown. If you prefer activities, there’s an arcade, pier, beach yoga, mini golf, farmer’s market, museum, concerts, and even a huge play gym and splash pad for kids all right on the island. Check out this post for my Guide to Ocean Isle, which includes all of our favorite restaurants and things to do.
Wild Dunes Resort, South Carolina
Wild Dunes Resort, located on Isle of Palms near Charleston, holds a very special place in my heart. It’s the location of mine and Chris’s first vacation, my bachelorette party, and the first place we took Kennedy on vacation! Wild Dunes is a gated community that includes vacation rentals, two different hotels, a golf course and more. The Sweetgrass Inn is Wild Dunes’ latest addition, which we visited a few months ago with Kennedy. The hotel is incredibly baby- and kid-friendly! You can view the ocean from your balcony and it’s a short walk to the beach (they even put up the beach chairs for you!) and has an amazing pool with a splash pad. The thing we loved most about Sweetgrass Inn is the convenience of getting food – you don’t have to worry about groceries and/or cooking, because it’s steps away from several amazing restaurants, including our favorite, Coastal Provisions, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The other thing that’s really nice about Wild Dunes is it’s proximity to Charleston – if you’re down for a day trip, it’s only a quick 30-minute drive away!
30A Beaches, Florida
I have never been to 30A, but this is one of the places we’re considering for our family beach trip this year! I’ve heard AMAZING things about the beaches in 30A, and not only that, but the beaches boast beautiful, crystal clear ocean water! You can’t find ocean water like that in North Carolina. 😉 I’ve heard great things about Rosemary Beach and Seaside, with plenty of amazing eateries, coffee shops and happy hour spots, and a lot for kids to do as well. You can go for a bike ride, paddle across a coastal dune lake, head to Gulf World Marine Park, visit the Seaside Farmer’s Market, create pottery at Fired Up, or host a beach bonfire right on the beach. There are some beautiful house rentals on VRBO, just be sure to plan out your trip in advance, because they get rented quickly!
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Another great family beach is Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. One thing I love most about Hilton Head is that the beaches as well as the town are so clean! There are plenty of beach front places to stay from family friendly resorts to more private house rentals. One thing you’ll notice about Hilton Head is the lush vegetation – there are palm trees and plants growing seemingly EVERYWHERE and it’s really a beautiful sight to behold, even just driving through town. And there are over 60-miles are bike trails that easily take you across the island. Hilton Head also has a lot of yummy restaurants and cute shops, many of which are located at Coligny Plaza!
Outer Banks, North Carolina
A vacation to the Outer Banks can be as relaxing or as adventurous as you and your family want it to be. There is so much to do here such as climb one of the five lighthouses, hike the sand dunes at Jokey’s Ridge, or catch a glimpse of wild horses on the Corolla beaches. It’s also the perfect beach to slow down because it isn’t very populated and average summer highs are only in the 70s and 80s. I’ve been dying the go ever since I binged Outer Banks on Netflix last summer – anyone else have a crush on John B?!
Bald Head Island, North Carolina
If you really want a peaceful vacation, Bald Head Island is the place to go. It is truly a quiet getaway, partly because cars are not allowed on the island! You can only get to the island by a ferry that you board in Southport, NC. Then once you are on the island, everyone gets around by riding a golf cart, biking and/or walking! Part of the island is a nature reserve and the other part is full of locally owned shops and restaurants (none of those big chain places in sight). A house rental is definitely the way to go if you choose Bald Head.
If you have any more recommendations for family-friendly beach vacations, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Chris and I haven’t booked anything just yet so we could easily be persuaded!