Beaches & Lakes

Take the Subway to NYC Beaches: Coney, Rockaway, Orchard Beach

Fourteen miles of sparkling sand and crashing waves can be found in four of the five boroughs (sorry river-locked Manhattan), which is good news for NYC families. Because as much as we enjoy hitting the Jersey Shore, Fire Island, and other Long Island beaches, we're not big fans of renting cars and sitting in traffic.

New York City's beaches are just a subway, bus, or ferry ride away. From the "Bronx Rivera" to iconic Coney Island and the Rockaways, these urban seasides often offer just about everything suburban beaches do except the out-of-town commute.

The Best Beaches for Families on Long Island

Stretching along the north and south shores of Long Island are dazzling beaches known for their family-friendly vibes and natural beauty, and we don't mean just the Hamptons. Whether you have younger kids looking for tranquil shores or older kids looking to body surf, there is a Long Island beach for you. It's time to get ready for cool sea breezes and the feeling of sand between your toes.

At these Long Island's family beaches, you'll find picnic areas, swimming pools, and bathroom complexes along with food trucks and umbrella rentals. Use our guide to choose the best beach for your family's needs. These beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless noted. Prices listed are for summer 2018.

If you're in the mood to travel, check out our list of the best family beaches near New York City or our guide to the Jersey Shore area. For more family fun, see our guide to Long Island amusement and water parks.

Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families: Sandy Hook to Cape May

Make your New Jersey kid a beach baby and go "down the shore." New Jersey boasts 130 miles of shoreline and some of the prettiest beaches anywhere. Whether your family is looking for a busy boardwalk with children's rides, a beachside water park or sprinkler playground, towering lighthouses, toddler attractions, or something a bit quieter, the Jersey Shore has it. 

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite Jersey beaches, from a national park on the northern shore down to the busier southern beaches of Cape May and Atlantic City. So pack the car (and the kids) for a beach day trip or a long weekend—the summer possibilities are endless. And for more beach fun, check out our Jersey Shore Family Guide, including a roundup of our favorite boardwalks.

8 Texas Lakes To Visit for Unforgettable Family Getaways

It's written on every Texan's heart: Summertime is lake time (or river time, pool time, any area of water that will cool down your core body temperature time). While we love a day out at a fun water park, there is just something special about relaxing on the banks of your favorite man-made lakes - if you aren't a native Texan, don't judge us for this; we live in a mostly flat state - or riding the waves on a jet ski or tube. As a native Houstonian, I've spent at least one summer at these spots around the Lone Star State because they are beautiful and full of things for kids and adults to do.

Coney Island with Kids: Luna Park, Aquarium, Beach, Mermaids

The shores of Coney Island and Brighton Beach open for the season on Memorial Day weekend, but the amusement park rides have been spinning for a month, and the boardwalk and New York Aquarium are open year-round, making this season the perfect time for a Brooklyn day-cation!

The big news on this slice of sand is undoubtedly the arrival of Ocean Wonders: Sharks at the New York Aquarium later this summer, but before the predators arrive, there's still plenty of fun to be had. Catch a thrill at Luna Park, enjoy the old-school favorites like the carousel and Deno's Wonder Wheel, visit the Coney Island Museum or Circus Sideshow, and scarf down a Nathan's Famous hot dog. And we haven't even mentioned the sandy beach and waves and Friday-night fireworks. Without further ado, here are the best things to do in Coney Island with kids this season.

Visiting Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya in Mexico with Kids

Mexico's Caribbean coast is known for its first-class resorts, especially along the Riviera Maya, including towns such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum. So much so that sometimes the sparkling waters, stunning beaches, and swank surroundings of this northern Yucatan peninsula's all-inclusive deals make it hard to want to leave the lovely confines of your hotel.

But there’s so much more to this gorgeous Mexican coastal region just south of Cancun than beachside getaways. To introduce the kids to a taste of authentic culture, including Mayan ruins, natural wonders, and unlimited adventure, you don’t have to go far. Some excursions may take only an hour and others a whole day, but these 25 ideas are surely worthy of drawing the family out of the resort for even just a few hours.

10 Best Beaches near Disneyland, for a Break from Mouse Madness

Disneyland may be the happiest place on earth, but eventually even the most enthusiastic Disney fans need a break from crowded shows, long lines, and sugary treats. When your little princess or prince melts down for the third day in a row because the line to meet Cinderella is longer than your trip home, it may be time to take a breather on the beach.

15 Best Campgrounds for Tent Camping with Kids Near LA

Marshmallows. Check. Bug spray. Check. Air mattress. Check. Camping season is upon us. Hurrah! And thankfully in this multi-terrain region of ours, you don't need to go far to enjoy a night or two under the stars. A weekend without electronics, breathing fresh air, and enjoying meals over the campfire: all this can be yours without driving more than an hour or two—in some cases even less! Read on to find an easy destination for you and your happy campers. (And if the one you want is full this weekend, check out a few last minute camping spots.)

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