From mermaid exercise classes, to live children's performances, campfires and canoe trips, the best beaches for families 2017 offer features and amenities that go beyond basic shower and changing facilities.
Family travel site Family Vacation Critic, a TripAdvisor offshoot, has compiled a list of the most kid-friendly beaches in the US by scouring destinations that offer fun and innovative programs for the entire family.
"Beach vacations are at the top of so many families' must-do list throughout the year.
Whether for a day trip or a longer vacation, our list aims to help families narrow down the options to find beaches that truly are fantastic for families -- every beach has lifeguards, in addition to kid-friendly activities and a selection of lodging options nearby. These beaches go beyond just a day on the sand, but offer some really fun features for families to enjoy together."
explained Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic.
Here's a look at a few of their picks:
Jones Beach State Park, New York (Wantagh, NY)
At the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center located inside the park, visitors learn about the marine habitat, and can touch live marine animals, dig up whale bones in the Discovery Bone Cove, and walk through a butterfly garden or view a shipwreck.
Coronado Beach, California (Coronado, CA)
New this year, the Hotel del Coronado has launched a "Mermaid Fitness" class that allows visitors to channel their inner mermaid during cardio and core exercise classes, while wearing a mermaid fin. Classes are family-friendly.
Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts
When they've had their fill of sand and sun, take the kids to the nearby Cape Cod Inflatable Park, which is currently undergoing an expansion to offer more inflatable rides. The Cape Cod National Seashore also offers ranger-guided activities like guided walks, campfires and canoe trips.
Seaside Beach, Oregon, Seaside, OR
Known as a prime place for whale watching, Seaside Beach will also be a top spot for watching the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
Ponce Inlet, Ponce Inlet, Fla.
A trip to Ponce Inlet can be as much a fun visit as an educational one, with a wide stretch of the beach doubling as a conservation area for sea turtles. Families can also visit the Marine Science Center to learn about local marine life, and visit the tallest lighthouse in Florida, the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse.