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Top beach vacations for families

Sandy beaches. Endless sun. Ocean waves. These are the perfect ingredients for a family vacation — and of course, a castle-building family will tell you not just any dash of sand will do, which is why we’ve zeroed in on four of the top beach vacations that get all the fixings just right for the perfect family getaway.

Among Florida’s best beach vacations

If we’re talking about ingredients, the Colony Hotel & Cabana Club has the perfect ocean mix — Florida Mediterranean architecture, the sultry Cabana Club and its Atlantic Avenue location. Even Sparky, the family dog, can get in on the fun thanks to the club’s pet-friendly beach.

The beachfront Colony Cabana Club provides guests with private ocean access while staying at this Florida hotel. The oceanfront Cabana Club is just two miles from this Atlantic Avenue location and features 250 feet of private beach with complimentary cabanas, chaises, umbrellas and towels. A salt-water pool and grilled lunch specialties add to the club vibe.

The hotel is located in Delray Beach, voted “America’s Most Fun Small Town” by Rand McNally. The intimate historic hotel, which opened in 1926, is nestled in the heart of Delray’s charming downtown area. (But if you’re looking for a different kind of beach location — say one with cool sea breezes in Kennebunkport, Maine — try Colony Hotel & Cabana Club’s sister location, the Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport, another member of Historic Hotels of America.)

A Caribbean island getaway

There are plenty of Caribbean beaches that families can experience, but few destinations boast their own secluded peninsula with seventeen acres of lush foliage. Welcome to Caribe Hilton, a San Juan AAA Four Diamond resort nestled on the island of Puerto Rico.

Featuring the area’s only private beach, along with the resort’s oceanfront swimming pools, families can claim a cabana that boasts enviable Atlantic Ocean views. The Fortín de San Gerónimo del Boquerón, a 17th century fort that juts out into the Condado Lagoon, adds another stunning backdrop for guests to enjoy.

With 270 miles of beautiful Puerto Rico coastline to discover, families can venture off to other beaches, some of which are recognized as the best in the world. From marine-life adventures to world-class surfing, and even Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays, the beach vacation takes on a whole new meaning. And if we don’t have you convinced this is the ultimate island location, consider this: Caribe Hilton was the birthplace of the Piña Colada, first served in 1954. So when it comes to tropical ingredients for fun at the beach, we think Caribe Hilton nailed it.

Hawaii's top island vacations

We can’t talk about the top beach vacations (or the top island vacations) without mentioning Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku Beach, named the No. 1 beach in America. This coveted designation comes from Dr. Beach, also known as Stephen Leatherman, a renowned coastal ecologist who creates an annual list of top beaches using factors like crowd sizes, sand conditions and water cleanliness. This beach also boasts Duke’s Lagoon, a salt-water beachfront lagoon that provides a tranquil, turquoise retreat.

Duke Kahanamoku is considered the South Shore’s widest stretch of beach and seamlessly transitions into the ever-popular Waikiki Beach with its renowned surf breaks and Diamondhead views. Hugging these two popular Oahu beaches is the Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort. A member of Historic Hotels of America, families flock here for the most memorable of stays. On a Friday night, the beach is set aglow as the resort launches fireworks into the Hawaiian sky.

South of the resort’s lagoon, Ala Wai Harbor offers the Oahu guest a convenient place to shove off on an ocean adventure. From sunset cruises to whale watching, families can embark on a day of fun, returning back to Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort as the colorful sunsets cap off their beach-filled day.

Top beach vacations on the Gulf Coast

Named after Bernardo de Galvez, who first chartered the Texas Gulf Coast, Hotel Galvez & Spa, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, is one of Historic Hotels of America’s most luxurious beachfront gems. Seldom-wavering sun allows for guests to venture across the street for year-round beach activities, including sunbathing, swimming and horseback riding along thirty miles of the Gulf Coast’s sandy stretches.

A vision of elegance rising from the Texas sand and surf, the Galvez was known as the “Queen of the Gulf” on the day she opened in 1911. A year after her opening, Hotel Monthly billed Hotel Galvez as one of the “best arranged and most richly furnished seaside hotels in America.” This claim would become prophetic with the hotel flourishing as a hot spot during the Jazz Age and Big Band Era, becoming the accommodation of choice for guests like Franklin Roosevelt, Howard Hughes and Frank Sinatra.

Galveston Island itself is the No. 2 destination in all of Texas. A barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston is about fifty miles from Houston. Families can take a five-minute stroll from the hotel to Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, an amusement park with an unprecedented number of rides that soar over the ocean.

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