Beaches & Lakes

St. Augustine, Florida: 25 Best Things to Do with Kids

Florida has its “Emerald Coast,” its "Space Coast," its “Treasure Coast,” and even its “Forgotten Coast.” But unless you spend time in its northernmost section, you might be unaware of its “Historic Coast,” home of the haven of St. Augustine.

About an hour south of Jacksonville, whose sizable airport services most major carriers, sits America’s oldest city. St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, is one of but a handful of American cities to have the flags of five nations fly above its buildings at one time or another. (Bonus points if you can name the countries: Answer below.)

To visit the city’s charming cobblestone streets and seemingly ancient architecture is to be reminded of Florida’s multicultural history. Of course, these days visitors are better welcomed than the 17th-century pirates who sailed in for plunder; these days, St. Augustine opens its doors to all types of boaters, pilots, campers, cyclists, and even the occasional camping and RV vacationers.

Orange County's Best Kept Secret Is a Water Park Right on the Beach

Apologies, but I am about to blow a well kept secret wide open: Newport Beach has a cove hidden in plain sight that may be the best family beach day in the Southland. Of course the definition of "best family beach day" may not be the same for everyone; only continue reading if your ideal beach day would include kayaks, SUP boards, paddle boats, and an inflatable water park in a warm surf-free lagoon surrounded by clean sand, fire rings for s'mores, easy parking, and clean bathrooms. Only head to Newport Dunes if you're prepared for that level of nirvana.

10 Great SoCal Beach Towns for a Classic California Seaside Day

Southern California's balmy beach towns are a treat worth seeking out at any time of year, whether you're an LA family looking for escape, or a visitor wanting to experience the best of our famous California beaches. Right in the heart of LA County we have a few seaside gems; drive an hour or two farther and you'll find towns that feel like they're a world away.  

 The 10 seaside towns below not only have fabulous sand and surf, there's plenty worth exploring once you head off the beach, too. Find out for yourself why these are our favorite SoCal beach towns.

Best Swimming Ponds and Lakes for Connecticut Kids

Connecticut is home to great water parks and more than 20 beaches, but some families are partial to the many ponds, lakes, and freshwater areas—some 3,000 across the state!—where kids can swim in calm waters. Here are our recommendations for swimming ponds and lakes where families can cool off and enjoy beautiful vistas. For more aquatic adventures, be sure to check out our Beaches and Water Fun Guide

25 Fun Ways To Beat the Heat with NJ Kids in August

If you're suffering from hot-weather burnout, don't sweat it: New Jersey has tons of cool activities to help the whole family chill out when the temperatures soar. From beaches and splash parks to blissfully air-conditioned bowling alleys and arcades, we've got the best ways to beat the heat during the sizzling second half of summer. 

Check out even more refreshing activities in our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide. Stay cool, NJ!

Best Cape Cod Beaches for Families

Wide, clean, and blanketed with soft sand, the Cape Cod National Seashore boasts miles upon miles of beaches that are great for kids and families. While many Cape Coddians claim their local spot is tops, the following beaches check all the boxes essential for family fun, including plenty of space, fun (but not too intense) waves, and helpful extras like lifeguards, bathrooms, and easy parking that can make a good beach day a great one.

Once you've had your fill of sandcastling and shelling, go explore the region's charming towns for more fun things for kids to do at the Cape. If you want to experience our Massachusetts shoreline with an island vibe, check out our favorite beaches and activities on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, too.

Best Tubing and Rafting for New Jersey Families

New Jersey offers several scenic spots where you can enjoy water tubing and rafting on rivers and lakes. Head west to go tubing on the Delaware River for a ride with the current, splashing and gliding past the wildlife and cliff-side rock formations. You can also hitch a ride around one of New Jersey's lakes. There are plenty of gentle tubing and paddling adventures that are suitable for children age 4 and up, so the whole family can enjoy this classic summer thrill.

For more family fun, including water parks and campgrounds in New Jersey, check out our Summer Fun Guide

Virginia Beach with Kids: 25 Things to do on a Family Vacation

Virginia Beach is a perennial favorite getaway for East Coast families and travelers, beloved for its sandy oceanfront and 3-mile-long boardwalk. The beach and Atlantic surf have kept kids entertained for ages.

The length of the beach translates into always being able to find a spot for your towel and beach umbrella, even at the height of summer, and the decidedly G-rated atmosphere in Virginia's largest city, including a ‘no cursing on the beach’ rule, means there's plenty of family-friendly activities and spirit. Take the kids bike riding, for a round of mini golf, or to the aquarium. 

With hotels that accommodate a range of budgets, no-frills eateries, and free entertainment, Virginia Beach is a top pick for families craving a beach vacation. Colonial Williamsburg is also nearby, or you can add-on a visit to Washington, DC with the kids or another Virginia city, such as Richmond. Here’s what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Virginia Beach.

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