The most family-friendly US beaches for 2018

/ 11:40 PM March 04, 2018

Image: istock.com/lightfieldstudios via AFP Relaxnews

The 2018 edition of best beaches for families in the United States includes on-site aquariums, thrill rides, children’s festivals, mini-golf along with amenities and features designed specifically for children with special needs.

Family Vacation Critic, an offshoot of TripAdvisor, has released its picks for the top 10 family-friendly beaches for families in 2018, after looking at a set of specific criteria.

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For the list, critics looked at cleanliness of the beaches; lifeguard supervision or other safety measures; restrooms; showers; nearby attractions; as well as accommodations and dining.

“For families traveling with kids, there are a number of factors that are of top importance when choosing where to go for a beach vacation,” said Amanda Norcross, features editor of Family Vacation Critic, in a statement.

“Every beach on this list has met the family-friendly criteria that matters most to families —  lifeguards, restrooms, nearby activities and accommodations and clean, calm waters — making them the ideal destination for families looking for a great place to lay back, relax and enjoy each other’s company,” she added.

Here are the top 10 beaches for families in the U.S. and their best family-friendly feature:

1. Clearwater Beach (Clearwater Beach, FL): Clearwater Marine Aquarium
2. Coney Island (Brooklyn, NY): Luna Park amusement park
3. Coronado Beach (Coronado, CA): Kids Free program, where kids can ride, eat and sleep free in October
4. West Beach (Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – Gary, IN): Indiana Dunes Junior Ranger program
5. Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, (Gulf Shores, AL) – Coming soon: a boardwalk and walking paths along the beach, along with new dining destinations
6. Massengale Park (St. Simons Island, GA)- Neptune Park Fun Zone with mini-golf, water attractions, pool, playground
7. Virginia Beach Oceanfront (Virginia Beach, VA)-Grommet Island Park is designed for kids with special needs, with a playground that is 100 percent handicap-accessible, and 15,000 square feet of ramps and decking, soft play sculptures, accessible play equipment and special beach wheelchairs.
8. Old Orchard Beach (Old Orchard Beach, ME): Coming in 2018: a new roller coaster that stands 70 feet tall and travels at speeds of more than 40 miles an hour.
9. Siesta Beach (Siesta Key, FL): Sarasota Jungle Gardens is home to 150 native and exotic animals
10. Surfside Beach (Surfside Beach, SC): The first certified autism-friendly destination in the world, with staff trained and certified by the Champion Autism Network. JB

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