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Ready to add some beach time to your family summer to-do list? Kids love the beach and it's the perfect family outing, whether for a whole week of vacation or just a day away. If you've got toddlers in tow, you'll want to plan ahead and choose a beach that's toddler friendly — and not full of spring breakers. Here are our 10 best beaches for toddlers.
Kiawah Beachwalker Park, South Carolina
Visitors to this top-rated beach boast about the natural, undeveloped beach area that is perfect for a family day at the beach. Located on Kiawah Island, 21 miles south of Charleston, Beachwalker Park has restrooms, picnic areas, a snack bar, chair and umbrella rentals and lifeguards on duty during the summer season. Kids will love searching for seashells and watching the birds run along the shore. Waves tend to be mellow here, making it a safer alternative for families with wee ones.
Ocean City, New Jersey
Boasting eight miles of white sandy beaches, Ocean City is known for being a family-friendly place for your beach vacation. With changing rooms and restrooms scattered along the beach, finding a place to clean your toddler's hands (or change a diaper) is easy. In keeping with their reputation as a family-friendly area, Ocean City is a dry city — no alcohol is sold on the island and drinking on the beach is prohibited. Goodbye, spring breakers.
North Beach at Fort De Soto Park, Florida
You can't beat Florida beaches for their warm water and seashell-laced sand, but North Beach at Fort De Soto Park takes the cake for toddler-friendly beach fun. A sandbar off the beach creates a lagoon that fills with clear water, yet is only about three-feet deep — creating the perfect kiddie pool. There is a playground near North Beach, restrooms and shady picnic areas that make it easy to take a break and beat the sun.
Coronado Central Beach, San Diego, California
You would be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque scene than this — the grand Hotel Del Coronado stretching down a pristine, glistening white stretch of the cleanest beach around. And the best part is you can enjoy this public beach without being a guest at the pricey resort. The weather is moderate, the sand is incredibly clean and when the tide is low you can investigate the tide pools filled with tiny sea creatures. Free parking, lifeguards and restrooms along the beach make this a must-do for families traveling to San Diego.
Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, Florida
The pure white sand and warm waters of this Florida beach favorite are enough to draw anyone back year after year. A favorite with families, Siesta Beach has a shaded picnic area and playground, shallow water for the little ones, year-round lifeguards and a concession stand. Toddlers will love playing in the shallow water at the shoreline and collecting seashells on the shore.
First Street Beach, Manistee, Michigan
Who says that beaches are only at the edge of the ocean? On the shores of Lake Michigan, First Street Beach in the town of Manistee is a great place to explore with a toddler in tow. There are relatively new changing rooms and restrooms, picnic areas just across the street, a snack bar, outdoor showers and a foot wash, a play area with swings and two big slides that make this beach a family favorite.
Oak Street Beach, Chicago, Illinois
For those who have never visited this incredible city, the thought of a toddler-friendly beach may seem way off base. On the shores of Lake Michigan — and right in the heart of the city — Oak Street Beach encompasses 26 miles of shoreline trail that is shared by joggers, bicyclists and stroller-pushing parents alike. The beach itself offers stunning views of the city's interesting architectural history, all while building a sand castle or venturing into the water to cool off.
Poipu Beach Park, Kauai, Hawaii
Located on the south shore of Kauai, Poipu Beach is one of the safest and most popular beaches on the island. Endangered monk seals often pull themselves up out of the water and rest on the beach — but they are protected, so keep your distance. With restrooms, picnic tables, lifeguards and a shallow area for the little ones, Poipu Beach should be on your must-see list when you are vacationing in Kauai.
Kamaole Beach Park III, Maui, Hawaii
This beach is part of a trio of beautiful Maui beaches, each separated by lava outcroppings. Waves here are small, making it easy to spot fish or even turtles close to the shore in the shallows. With a nice grassy area for a picnic or to rest for a while, this is a great beach for a day with toddlers. Park III (also called "Kam 3") has the largest park of the three, picnic tables, restrooms and outdoor showers near the beach.
Capitola City Beach, Capitola, California
This lesser-known neighbor of the popular Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk has a charm all its own. Crowds are more low-key here, and Capitola has a cute little downtown you can easily walk around with little ones. The sand is clean, the bathrooms are clean and lifeguards are on duty. In the summertime Monday through Friday, they run a junior lifeguard program, so the main beach area is a bit crowded with camp kids. But you can easily move down the beach to avoid the crowds.
Share with us!^What are your favorite family-friendly beaches? Share with us in the comments.