Our family has gone to many different summer vacation destinations. We have gone hiking in the mountains, biked around Mackinaw Island, and ridden the rapids in West Virginia. We have sung country music in Nashville, ridden the coasters at Cedar Point, and camped in the wilderness. We have loved it all.
But for our family, nothing quite compares to hanging out at the beach. We will pack a lunch, grab the towels and umbrella, and stay for the entire day. Some of our absolute best memories reside in the context of surf and sand.
If your family is thinking about a beach vacation this summer, consider these four beach summer vacation destinations we have enjoyed. There’s something for all ages, and after you’ve experienced these spots, you just might want to return!
One word: Classic. Whenever we think about beaches, we also think about boardwalks, skateboards, and shops. Throw in a ride or two, and we have the most classic beach of all. That’s what Santa Monica Pier is in Santa Monica, California. Now, admittedly, we only spent a day on this beach as we were exploring California’s west coast, but if we had it to do over again, we would spend less time in other touristy areas and more time playing here.
Santa Monica Beach was crowded but still fun, especially for people watching. The water was tons of very active the day we visited, so after getting beat up by the waves, we rode the roller coaster and Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel was especially delightful as we could see so far. After that, we hit the shops. We ended our day at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Seriously, in some respects, the Santa Monica Pier is touristy, but we fit the description, camera, crew socks, and hats: what a great time!
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What’s your pleasure? Rocks? Sand? Sea lions? Surfing? After exploring the amazing town of La Jolla, California, we hit La Jolla Shores Beach. We didn’t see sea lions, but we did see whales. Oh, amazing! We also watched the surfers, an adventure new and entertaining to us Midwesterners. Then we had a great time taking photos as we hiked on the rock and watched the sun set.
We’ve been to Hilton Head and North Myrtle Beach. Both are great places. Honestly, though, if you have kids, you have to be near the action, and the Grand Strand has action with a capital “A.” We spent days on the beach, enjoying the waves and playing in the sand. Then we spent evenings at the Pavilion Arcade, getting our picture taken at the Wild West Old Time Photos, and hitting numerous miniature golf courses. Our favorite meals consisted of fried seafood along Murrell’s Inlet.
I know there are prettier beaches – we have been to them, but even if for just one time, visit Myrtle Beach and go crazy with all the touristy entertainment.
From the extremely bourgeoisie of Myrtle Beach to, in my opinion, the other extreme of beauty, softness, and dream-come-true setting of Watercolor, Florida. This place matches its name. Neighboring Seaside receives most of the tourism accolades, but Watercolor is new enough that word hasn’t gotten out about it yet. You park your car for the week and ride your bikes everywhere.
Watercolor is tucked between the ocean and Western Lake, offering a beautiful natural backdrop anywhere you look. Tons of bike trails wind through this planned community, along with bridges, breezes, and numerous pools. The homes surrounding this resort area are incredible with their huge porches, watercolor hues, and lookout peaks. And the ocean water! Beautiful turquoise and perfect for jumping over waves.
If you’re looking for “dreamy,” this is the place to vacation.
I’ve written about other beach towns that would also make great summer vacation destinations, whether by ocean or lake, but these four beach towns are still a hit for the family. They are nothing alike besides from the fact they are beaches. So do a little research on what you really want for your family, then go jump in the ocean!