Beach Retreats for Families

Get everybody packed! We found beautiful pink-sand beaches, prime swimming spots, and fun-filled resorts to make this summer’s getaway your most memorable yet.

Family at the beach

Photographer Thomas Northcut/Getty Images

All Aboard

Something for everyone—is that too much to ask in a family vacation? We don’t think so! If the kids want to surf, the grandparents head to the pool, mom books a spa treatment, and dad plays golf, these days it’s easier than ever to please everybody. Top resorts on every coast are catering more to multigenerational families who are vacationing together. Group activity lists are growing, and so are the rooms, the dining options, and the deals. We found 10 destinations that make family travel a breeze. Spread the word: This year’s reunion is on the beach!

Curtain Bluff

Courtesy of Curtain Bluff

Curtain Bluff, Antigua

Located on the southern tip of Antigua in the Leeward Islands, Curtain Bluff offers stunning scenery and abundant on-the-water activities. The new spa has private balconies with ocean views, and recently refurbished rooms keep this spot fresh but still familiar to the families who have been coming back to vacation here for almost 50 years.

Play All Day: To satisfy competitive spirits, get to the squash and bocce court, putting green, tennis facilities, or half basketball court. Make time for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and a twice-daily boat ride for reef snorkeling. Two beaches, a swimming pool, and bar area with chaise lounges and thatched umbrellas are available for relaxing. Watch live entertainment at night.

Explore: Nearby, Nelson’s Dockyard has been restored since its days as a British naval base and now features shops, museums, and restaurants in original 18th-century buildings. Climb the fort’s ramparts for more great views. On Sundays, head up to Shirley Heights Lookout for reggae music.

Family photo op: Chelle Hulford, owner of Curtain Bluff, welcomes family photos on her balcony with the island of Montserrat, home to the active Soufrière Hills volcano, in the background.

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The Buccaneer

Courtesy of The Buccaneer

The Buccaneer, St. Croix

Formerly a sugar, cotton, and cattle plantation, this hillside hotel is anchored by a pink great house with access to three beaches. Newly revamped accommodations boast oceanfront adjoining suites and rooms.

Play all day: Take the resort’s free, two-hour beginner scuba lessons for guests 10 and older, or choose reef snorkeling. The grounds include shops, restaurants, a fitness center, spa, Kids’ Camp (ages 12 and younger), golf, and tennis.

Explore: Head out with Ras Lumumba Corriette, a local island naturalist who provides educational hikes and tours.

Family photo op: Smile in front of the old sugar mill.

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Pink Beach Club

Courtesy of Pink Beach Club

Pink Beach Club, Bermuda

On the eastern side of the island, this 13-acre resort is secluded yet located just 15 minutes from Hamilton, Bermuda’s largest city. The resort provides plenty of access to famed pink-sand beaches.

Play all day: Take advantage of the swimming pool, moped rentals, snorkeling, tennis courts, and golf privileges at two nearby championship courses. Don’t miss afternoon tea in the Hibiscus Lounge.

Explore: Take the Pink Bus, private taxi, or a resort moped on an island tour. For casual lunch and dinner, try the moderately priced Swizzle Inn, Bermuda’s oldest pub, or visit a market and pick up goodies for a picnic.

Family photo op: Pose under the Moongate, Bermuda’s traditional stone arch meant to bring a lifetime of good luck.

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South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island

For the simplicity seeker, this island has no stoplights, billboards, fast food joints, or buildings higher than the tallest palm tree. Located off the southwest coast of Florida, Captiva is known as the “shell capital of the United States” with more than 400 rare species.

Play all day: Grab a pail and beachcomb for shells! Tennis, golf, and swimming in one of the resort’s 11 pools are on-site. The resort-sponsored Tiva Kids Camp provides supervised activities such as kayaking and family fishing. Or sign up for a beach walk with naturalist Vince McGrath, who’s been spotting rare birds and shells for more than 22 years.

Explore: Hop a boat to Cabbage Key, and hit the Dollar Bill Bar for a famous cheeseburger—eulogized in Jimmy Buffett’s song “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

Family photo op: Ask a guide to snap a photo of your group kayaking through mangroves.

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The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples

Owned and operated by the Watkins family, the Naples Beach Hotel is known for its non-glitzy Old Florida style.

Play all day: Enjoy the 125-acre grounds that offer a spa and tennis center, two pools, retail shops, four restaurants, and on-site Beach Klub 4 Kids. Pull up a stool at the Sunset Beach Bar, touted as the best place to catch a southwest Florida sunset.

Explore: Check out the Old Naples shopping, quirky dining options, and historic fishing pier. Or travel 18 miles south to Collier-Seminole State Park for canoeing through mangroves on the Blackwater River. Then head into Naples to The Dock, or satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream from Regina’s.

Family photo op: Assemble on the Naples Fishing Pier just down the beach from the resort.

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Little St. Simons Island, St. Simons Island

From the dock at Hampton Point River Marina in southern Georgia, the boat ride to the island takes 15 minutes. A cluster of small buildings accommodates up to 32 visitors. Spacious for families, the River Lodge and Cedar House have four bedrooms, private baths, wet bar, and wraparound deck.

Play all day: Nature lovers can bike, boat, fish, canoe, and hike.

Explore: The private barrier island is home to moss-laden maritime forests, marshlands, and seven miles of beach.

Family photo op: Meet under the weathered driftwood sign on the steps of the Hunting Lodge, the island’s central gathering and dining building.

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Portola Hotel & Spa

Courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey

From this bayside spot, everything in town is within walking distance. Have your fill of fun on Cannery Row, the famous main drag that’s lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions including the aquarium.

Play all day: Go scuba diving, kayaking in the bay, or biking along the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary—or head to the beach for soft sand, surf, and sea lions.

Explore: Drive five minutes to Pacific Grove, home to the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Try the Portola Café & Restaurant in the aquarium; tables are set with binoculars you can use to spot frisky sea otters, cormorants, and whales. Dinner at The Fish Hopper on the Row, once a sardine cannery, has panoramic water views and sustainable seafood choices.

Family photo op: Angle the lens to catch masses of barking sea lions with their calves at nearby Lovers Point Park.

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Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach

The resort’s dramatic perch above the Pacific Ocean—overlooking miles of Crystal Cove State Park—features some of the best sea views on the West Coast.

Play all day: Pelican Hill has two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, a spa, the largest circular pool in the world, and a Camp Pelican kids’ program. Activities include surfing, fishing, snorkeling, and whale watching.

Explore: Peruse sophisticated shops at nearby Fashion Island in Newport Beach, or gallery hop in Corona del Mar. The Beachcomber restaurant and the Shake Shack serve everything from seafood to malts.

Family photo op: At sunset, posing on the balcony overlooking the Promenade will capture the emerald golf course meeting a pink-and-purple sea.

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Sebasco Harbor Resort

Courtesy of Sebasco Harbor Resort

Sebasco Harbor Resort, Phippsburg

This privately held resort sits north of Portland, Maine, on the Popham Peninsula. Rooms in the Main Lodge overlook the gardens. The 1945 Lighthouse has 10 rooms with views of Casco Bay.

Play all day: The resort’s Camp Merritt has activities for kids; treatments at the waterfront spa, lobster bakes, kayaking, golf, harbor cruises, and campfires can be arranged.

Explore: Taste authentic Maine fare, and do a little antiquing in the nearby waterfront town of Bath, the “city of ships.”

Family photo op: Pose with the captain aboard the resort’s vintage 1935 motorboat, Ruth.

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Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, Cape Cod

Situated in Brewster, Ocean Edge is conveniently positioned near the towns of Orleans and Chatham. The resort is anchored by a historic mansion on the bayside north shore. Returning families say the private beach is the best spot on the Cape to watch the sunset.

Play all day: Get a golf fix on the Nicklaus-designed course, or enjoy indoor and outdoor pools. Ocean Edge Adventure for kids stages projects such as kite-making. Thursday nights are reserved for beach bonfires.

Explore: Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has Family Field Walks in the summer. Visit Hot Chocolate Sparrow coffee shop for homemade treats.

Family photo op: Assemble in front of the charming Carriage House.

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