These locations are fabulous spots to host your next family reunion
Beach destinations are an excellent option for family reunions for a variety of reasons. They offer a wide range of activities that appeal to all ages, from young children to grandparents. These attractions can include swimming, beach activities, water sports, and more. Many beach destinations can be a great choice for seaside family vacations throughout the year, while other waterfront locations are best during specific seasons.
Beach resorts typically have a lot of space, which is essential for large family gatherings. There are usually plenty of rooms, suites, and common areas where everyone can gather. And, of course, many of these beach resorts are often located in some of the most beautiful places in the country, with stunning ocean views. These surroundings provide a gorgeous backdrop for family photos and memories.
Here are five great beach destinations in the United States for family groups to gather:
CLEARWATER BEACH, FLORIDA
This beach is known for its white sand and clear waters. Families can enjoy water sports, dolphin watching, and visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Clearwater Beach offers many family-friendly attractions, including:
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium: This aquarium was the home of Winter the Dolphin, the popular star of the movie Dolphin Tale. Families can learn about marine life and rehabilitation efforts and even watch the dolphins being fed.
- Pirate Ship Adventure: Kids can channel their inner pirate on this interactive boat tour, complete with treasure hunts and water gun battles.
- Clearwater Beach Jet Ski Rentals & Guided Tours: Families can rent jet skis and explore the waters around Clearwater Beach or take a guided tour to see dolphins and other marine life.
- Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise: This pirate-themed boat tour includes face painting, storytelling, and a treasure hunt for children.
- The Sandpearl Resort: This popular resort is an excellent choice for family groups. It features a private white sand beach, a wide array of water sports, a climate-controlled lagoon-style pool, and a kids’ club. The property’s suites offer full kitchens as well as washers and dryers.
LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA/NEVADA
Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for families, with stunning beaches, hiking trails, and ski resorts. Families can also visit the nearby casinos and amusement parks. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, with crystal-clear water, towering mountains, and pristine forests. Families can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, swimming, and boating while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
One of its most visited attractions is Emerald Bay State Park, located on the California side of the lake and home to Emerald Bay, one of the most beautiful spots on the lake. There are hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitor center with exhibits about the area’s history and natural environment.
Families seeking a five-star Lake Tahoe vacation with lake access should check out The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. The resort features its private Lake Club with boating options and a wealth of water activities. In addition to its luxurious accommodations, the property’s many amenities include a heated pool and hot tubs, watersports, gondola rides from its mid-mountain location, and a huge spa. Families enjoy The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s Ritz Kids program, and summer dive-in movies under the stars.
Families aiming to shop can visit Tahoe City, a town on the north shore of the lake that offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation. There are also several parks and beaches in the area.
Another great stop is Heavenly Mountain Resort. This ski resort is located on the California/Nevada border and offers a variety of activities in the summer months, including hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining. There’s also a gondola ride that offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Another popular stop is Sand Harbor State Park, which is home to a beautiful beach and crystal-clear water. There are also hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitor center with exhibits about the area’s history and natural environment.
KIAWAH ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA
Kiawah Island is a private island resort with beautiful beaches, golf courses, and tennis facilities. Families can also enjoy biking and kayaking through the island’s nature trails.
One of its most popular attractions is Kiawah Island Beach. This beach is the main attraction on Kiawah Island. It’s a beautiful, wide stretch of sand with plenty of space for families to spread out and play. Professor Stephen Leatherman ranked Kiawah’s sandy strand as one of the nation’s ten best beaches on his coveted Dr. Beach list this year. There are also lifeguards on duty during the summer months.
Other attractions include:
- Night Heron Park: This popular park is located within the Kiawah Island Golf Resort and offers many family-friendly activities. There’s a playground, a nature center, a pool, and even a rock climbing wall.
- Kiawah Island Golf Resort: This beachfront resort offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including bike rentals, golf, tennis, swimming pools, and seasonal children’s programs. There are also several restaurants at the resort and a spa for parents who need some relaxation time. Options for family accommodations include The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, a luxurious AAA Five Diamond property, as well as multi-bedroom condominiums, townhouses, and vacation homes.
- Dolphin Watching Tours: Several companies on Kiawah Island offer dolphin watching tours. These boat excursions are a great way to see these amazing creatures up close and learn more about them.
- Charleston Tea Plantation: While not located on Kiawah Island itself, the Charleston Tea Plantation is a short drive away. It’s a working tea plantation with various tours and activities for families.
- Freshfields Village: This shopping and dining area is located just outside of Kiawah Island and offers a variety of family-friendly activities. There’s a playground, a splash pad, and plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MASSACHUSETTS
This island off the coast of Massachusetts offers beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, and a charming New England feel. Families can also visit the island’s many art galleries and museums. It is home to a slew of beaches the entire family will love, including South Beach, Katama Beach, and Oak Bluffs Town Beach.
Families seeking a lighthouse adventure have plenty of options, as the island is home to five historic lighthouses, including the Edgartown Lighthouse and the Gay Head Lighthouse.
Explorers can visit the Aquinnah Cliffs, a stunning natural landmark on the western end of the island. Visitors can take a tour of the cliffs and learn about the history and culture of the Wampanoag Tribe.
Martha’s Vineyard also has miles of scenic bike trails, including the 11-mile Martha’s Vineyard State Forest Trail. The trail is a loop that winds through the forest and passes several ponds, including Duarte’s Pond and Ice House Pond. The trail is rated as moderate and is suitable for hikers of all levels, although some sections of the path can be steep and rocky.
Along the trail, hikers can enjoy views of the forest and ponds, as well as the opportunity to spot wildlife such as deer, turkeys, and various bird species. There are also several picnic areas along the trail, making it an excellent spot for a family outing or a picnic lunch.
Families seeking great resorts on Martha’s Vineyard have a number of excellent choices, including the Winnetu Oceanside Resort and the Harbor View Hotel.
VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA
Virginia Beach offers more than 35 miles of sandy beaches, as well as a boardwalk with shops, restaurants, and entertainment.
Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a popular coastal destination with plenty of family-friendly activities. Here are a few:
- Virginia Beach Boardwalk: The boardwalk is a three-mile-long oceanfront promenade that offers plenty of family-friendly activities, including bike rentals, street performers, and many shops and restaurants.
- Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: This aquarium is home to a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays. There are also interactive exhibits and a 3D theater.
- First Landing State Park: This park is located on the Chesapeake Bay and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation activities, including hiking, biking, and kayaking. There’s also a beach and a visitor center with exhibits about the area’s history and natural environment.
- Military Aviation Museum: This museum is located just outside of Virginia Beach and features a collection of vintage military aircraft. There are also interactive exhibits and a gift shop.
- Ocean Breeze Waterpark: Located just a few miles from the beach, this waterpark offers a variety of water slides, pools, and other attractions. There’s also a lazy river and a wave pool.
- The Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club: The historic Cavalier Hotel opened in 1927 and has hosted ten presidents, movie stars, legendary singers, and other luminaries. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, The Cavalier is a great place for families to visit or stay in Virginia Beach. The resort features a beach club, pools, restaurants, a full-service spa, complimentary bike rentals, the Cavalier Kids Zone, and more.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort Header Photo Credit: Nancy Schretter