Squishing sand between your toes is a summer necessity. After a long, snowy winter, start thinking ahead to your warm-weather plans and make sure to squeeze in a trip to the beach. But before you pack up the car with flip-flops and sand pails, do your research.
TripAdvisor’s family travel site, Family Vacation Critic, recently compiled its 2015 “Best US Beaches for Families” list, providing reviews of some of the best spots. Among packed destinations like Virginia Beach, Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, and Carlsbad State Beach in California, New England received two shout-outs: Crescent Beach on Block Island, R.I., and Ogunquit Beach in Maine. Both offer stunning views and plenty of sand for a castle or 12, but Family Vacation Critic ruled that to make the cut as a top family destination, the appeal has to extend far beyond that.
“It’s not just beautiful sands and picturesque views,” says Lissa Poirot, editor in chief of Family Vacation Critic. In addition to the natural scenery, the cleanliness and safety of each beach is also prioritized, as well as any local attractions close by. “We’re looking for beaches that offer a well-rounded experience for families. . . . Accommodations, dining, and entertainment within close distance of the beach, and plenty to keep the whole family entertained while in town.”
To fill the bill, New England offered up some heavy-hitting contenders. Tried and true is Ogunquit Beach, a top regional vacation spot. With plenty of prime beach towel real estate, the whole family can settle in to dig for crabs and keepsake shells. If you start feeling peckish under the hot sun, head into the nearby village of Ogunquit, nestled along the bank of the Ogunquit River and full of restaurants and shops. If you’re looking to stay awhile, TripAdvisor highly rates the Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort, the Riverside Motel, and the Beachmere Inn. With idyllic views of the ocean, flanked by craggy cliffs and sparkling sand, there’s a reason the indigenous Abenaki name means “beautiful place by the sea.”
If you’re looking for something a little more secluded, head out to Crescent Beach, a 2.5-mile stretch on Block Island’s eastern side. With part of it nicknamed “Baby Beach” for its soft sand and shallow waves, it’s perfect for little swimmers. Accommodations along the beach are plentiful, equipped with restrooms, showers, chair, umbrella and boogie board rentals, and snack bars. For those looking to sunbathe, make sure to face the Mohegan Cliffs. Now you know what to do: Breathe to the rhythm of the waves.