Coast to Coast: Family-Friendly Beaches

Smear on the sunscreen; track down the sand bucket and shovel There's still time for a sandy getaway. We've found the best family friendly beaches from coast to coast.

Ogunquit, MaineBest East Coast Charm

The Native Americans were spot on with their name for the slice of Maine coastline known as Ogunquit. It means "beautiful place by the sea." Amble along the Marginal Way (there are plenty of benches for little ones to park it on the way), soak in the view, and greet the fishermen (and ice cream cones) at Perkins Cove.

Ogunquit, Maine (ogunquit.org).



MiamiMost Varied Terrain

Miami's Crandon Beach is famous for more than just palm trees. Get there early in the morning to score a private cabana with a shower then journey to Crandon Park Visitors and Nature Center to explore dunes, mangroves, and seagrass beds. Afterward, wade out on the sandbar (take tots who haven't mastered doggie paddling yet).

Crandon Beach, Miami (miamidade.gov).



Must-Pack Beach Bag Items


MichiganA Midwestern Must

Saint Joe's has gotten flashier during the last few years, mostly because of the ginormous splash pad and indoor merry-go-round at its biggest attraction, Silver Beach. After play, save room for eats at Roxy's Hamburgs and Silver Beach Pizza.

Saint Joseph, Michigan (swmichigan.org).




Shelter Island, NYGlitz-Free Fun

If you want to avoid hobnobbing crowds in the Hamptons, hop the ferry to Shelter Island, where life moves at a leisurely pace (which explains the stoplight-free streets). Kiddos frolic in the calm waters of Wades Beach, a family favorite with restrooms and picnic tables.

Shelter Island, New York (shelterislandchamber.org).




Best Ice Cream Coast-to-Coast


WisconsinA Greater Lake

Lake Geneva is just a 90-minute drive from Northwest Chicago. Hop from beach to beach on the shore path and take a gander at mansions that line the way.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (lakegenevawi.com).





Carmel, California For Sophisticated Scenery

European flair meets the Cali coast at Carmel-by-the-Sea. Stroll down the main drag, Ocean Avenue, stopping at Hansel-and-Gretel-ish Cottage of Sweets for fudge and more than 50 flavors of licorice; keep an eye out for dolphins; and pitch a bonfire on the beach.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (carmelcalifornia.com).





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