Nothing conjures up a more perfect image of a family holiday, then relaxing on the beach with a drink, without having to worry about the kids entertaining themselves. With a wide-range of activities to indulge in, from water sports to camping, our list of essential family-friendly beach holidays should keep a smile on your face as well as the rest of the family.
Siesta Key, Florida, United States
One of America’s best beaches, Siesta Key is an eight-mile long barrier island off Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Its powdery white sand is said to remain cool under foot even when the subtropical heat sizzles.
There are lifeguards year-round, plenty of watersports facilities, playground equipment and picnic areas. At the southern end of the key Turtle Beach is quiet and really good for shells.
Rimini, Adriatic Riviera, Italy
Rimini and the surrounding area offer 10 miles of sandy beach that gets crowded in summer. The beaches are clean, well equipped and safe. Theme-type parks include Italy in Miniature, several dolphinariums, a water park and Fiabilandia fantasy park.
Many of the beaches belong to the hotels or are private so you have to pay to use them.If you’d rather do your own thing, there are also public beaches.
Alvor, The Algarve, Portugal
Alvor is a quiet resort, with a backdrop of the Monchique mountains and views over the Bay of Lagos. Its wide, four mile long, sandy beach boasts dramatic rock formations and is dotted with sand dunes.
The old fishing quay offers traditional restaurants that are popular with families. It retains much of its original charm and temperatures are pleasant year-round.
Alcudia, Majorca, Spain
Alcudia Bay on Majorca’s north-east coast is an ideal choice for those looking for a Mediterranean getaway, having the longest sandy beach on the island – some seven miles. Its white sands shelve gently into the sea, making it popular for water sports.
Alcudia town stands at one end of the beach with its 14th century city walls and remains of a Roman theatre. There’s an attractive harbour area. One drawback is the busy road so families should pick accommodation on the beach side.
Ile de Re, France
The Ile de Re, west of La Rochelle, is popular with French and British families for its shallow bathing waters and good sunshine hours. There are camping grounds here too – good for those on a budget.
The island is dotted with traditional whitewashed houses. Its main town is the quaint fishing village of Saint Martin de Re. The best beaches are at the western tip or flank La Couarde in the south.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Calm, clear turquoise Caribbean waters lap the fine white sands of this beach in the Cayman Islands. It’s popular beach for swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling.
There are plenty of local spots kids will love, including, for older children, the glass-bottomed boat ride to Stingray City where youngsters can feed these amazing creatures. Cardinal D’s park has all kinds of wildlife such as parrots and blue iguanas.
Santo Tomas, Minorca, Spain
This small friendly resort is on the quiet side but it’s ideal if all your kids want to do is to potter around on the beach. Santo Tomas is at one end of Minorca’s longest sandy beach, Son Bou.
The nightlife is low-key and teens are likely to get bored but it’s good for younger children, mums and dads and even grandparents who want a relaxing family holiday not too far from the UK.
Stavros Bay, Akroti Peninsula, Crete
This quiet corner of Crete’s Akrotori Peninsula is all about getting away from it all. The focus are the beaches, which are gorgeous and quiet. The north beach is quieter and is good for swimming and snorkelling.
There is a wide bay with very green, very salty water. The immediate area doesn’t have a lot else going on, and you will need a car to get there, but it’s worth the journey. Explore the snow-capped mountains and tiny fishing villages.
Cala Capra, Sardinia
Cala Capra on Sardinia’s east coast is a family friendly resort with two beautiful calm bays and views across to the Costa Smeralda. It’s ideal for a quiet day’s sailing or for simply chilling out.
Cala Capra’s soft white sand and clear waters are surrounded by tall pine trees, offering shade for the midday sun. Just behind the beach there’s a lawn area – great when you’ve had enough of getting sand out of everyone’s eyes, hair, noses and nappies.
Coral Bay, Pathos, Cyprus
Known for its long sandy beaches, Coral Bay is perfect bucket and spade territory, and the waters are calm and shallow for little ones. For bigger ones, there a lots of watersports on offer. It’s a popular spot, so there’ll be plenty of friends to be made.
Pathos, the former capital of the island, is only 13km away and has plenty of historical sites to explore as well as cafes and restaurants.