Under-the-Radar: 7 Secret Beach Towns Perfect for Family Escapes

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7 Secret Beach Towns Perfect for Family Escapes

 

Replace crowded tourist beaches with quieter and less explored ones. Many families searching for a new seaside getaway often miss the peaceful hidden treasures scattered along the coast. These lesser-known beach towns offer just as much charm, convenience, and comfort – if not more.

We found the top seven peaceful beach towns in the United States, great for a family beach vacation. 

Considerations When Selecting Your Family's Home-Away-From-Home

When it's time to plan a family beach retreat, there's more to it than just sand and surf. Each family will have unique needs and preferences that should inform their choice of destination. Here are some universal factors to consider as you weigh your options:

Proximity to Major Cities

While some families prefer a total escape from city life, others might appreciate being within a short drive of an urban center.

Access to Basic Amenities

It's important to think about the availability of facilities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical services, especially if you have young children or elderly family members traveling with you. This can ensure that you have access to essentials and support in case of emergencies during your beach retreat.

Local Attractions and Activities

Evaluate what's important for you and your kids. Are you looking for adventure, history, or simply relaxation? Consider the availability of local attractions and activities that suit your family's interests and hobbies. Whether it's water sports, hiking, or sightseeing, having a good mix of options nearby can enhance your beach retreat experience.

Affordability

Your budget will play a key role in your decision-making process. Don't forget to consider the cost of living and housing when comparing destinations. It's important to factor in the affordability of the destination, including the cost of dining out, entertainment, and transportation. Looking for deals and off-peak times to travel can also help stretch your vacation budget further.

Safety and Community

Would you like a tight-knit community or just the serenity of the sea? Safety is paramount, especially when traveling with children. Considering the safety and community aspect, it's crucial to research the crime rates and general atmosphere of the destinations you are considering. Additionally, looking for places with established expat communities or family-friendly neighborhoods can provide a sense of security and a supportive network for a more enjoyable experience.

Accessibility

If you have very young children or elderly relatives, accessibility will be crucial. Look for destinations that are convenient to reach and offer ease of movement once you're there.

 

Siesta Key Beach

 

7 Secret Beach Towns Perfect for Family Escapes 

Port Orange, Florida 

In the understated shadow of Daytona Beach, Port Orange offers coastal living at a leisurely pace. The town's natural beauty is a drawcard for parents wanting to share a love for wildlife and the outdoors with their kids. Watch for dolphins at Dunlawton Bridge or witness majestic manatees in the waters of Spruce Creek, which snakes through the town. The population is just over 62,000, and the median home price in Port Orange is over $300,000, which is 4.6% more expensive than the national average. Port Orange is popular for families who want a relaxed coastal lifestyle, thanks to its parks, green areas, and beautiful landscapes.

Siesta Key, Florida

Siesta Key is known for its beautiful beaches, including Crescent, Turtle, and Siesta. These beaches have white sand and clear blue water. Unlike popular Florida destinations like Miami, Key West, Destin, and Panama City, Siesta Key is quiet and peaceful. Winter brings tourists from the North, while summer attracts locals to the beach. Siesta Key offers more than just beaches; it offers shopping, golfing, art galleries, and museums in nearby Sarasota. Siesta Key's population was 5,483 as of 2024. The neighborhood's average home value was $953,452, a slight dip of 3.3% over the previous year.

Ocean Park, Washington

Ocean Park, a small town with a population of just over 1,100, is a hidden gem on Washington's beautiful southwest coastline. It is located on the Long Beach Peninsula, which offers a 28-mile stretch of sandy beach. This tranquil location is perfect for people who enjoy surfing, building sandcastles, and clam digging. The beach is one of five state spots for digging razor clams. Every year, there's a fun festival with free clam-digging lessons, a chowder contest, and a clam-fritter cook-off. Let's talk numbers: The median home listing price is a reasonable $228,000, an appealing factor for potential investors. Moreover, the robust year-over-year price growth of 27.9% further attests to the town's burgeoning appeal in the real estate market. Ocean Park, Washington, might be your perfect haven if you've ever dreamed of a coastal retreat.

Dewey Beach, Delaware

Visit Dewey Beach in Delaware for a peaceful alternative to the busy Jersey Shore. Enjoy clean beaches, a relaxed atmosphere, and plenty of water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing. You can even take lessons at the Dewey Beach Surf Shop. If you want a weekend getaway or a longer stay, you can easily drive to Dewey Beach from New York City, Washington D.C., or Philadelphia. While there, make sure to have breakfast at The Dewey Post, try beers at Dewey Beer Co. (especially the Strawberry Pretzel Salad beer), and enjoy late-night entertainment at The Rusty Rudder. Dewey Beach's population is 409 in 2024, growing at a rate of 3.28% annually. This is a 13.93% increase from the 2020 population of 359. Depending on different sources, the median home price in Dewey Beach can vary a lot, ranging from $740,400 to $1.6 million. These prices have been increasing each year. However, if you prefer renting, the median rent price in Dewey Beach is about $1,200.

Rockaway Beach, Oregon

Explore the beautiful Twin Rocks at Rockaway Beach, a peaceful retreat on the West Coast. This gem in northwest Oregon has stunning views of Tillamook Bay and has been a popular destination since the 1920s. The sound of train whistles still adds to its nostalgic charm. The coastline has amazing Twin Rocks that attract photographers and travelers. There are many things to do, like swimming, surfing, and relaxing on the soft sandy beach. The coast is well known for its kite-flying tradition, especially during the Kite Festival in spring. So, come with your family and join the fun – go fly a kite! Interestingly, the tranquil town of Rockaway Beach, with its present population of 1,463, is on an uplift, showcasing a growth rate of 0.21%. As for the real estate market, the median listing price for homes sits at $289,900, with an impressive 11.8% growth observed year-over-year.

Florence, Oregon

You'll find tranquil beaches along the Pacific Ocean and the peaceful Siuslaw River in Florence, Oregon. It's a quiet escape from the crowded Cannon Beach and Seaside. You can have a unique adventure by horseback riding or driving a dune buggy on the 40-mile dune. Visit Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for a stroll to see Heceta Head Lighthouse, then go to Sea Lion Caves to see the largest sea cave in the US and watch sea lions on the rocks. The charming city of Florence, Oregon, is home to about 8,815 individuals. A notable fact about this city is its affordable housing. The median home value here stands at $198,300, which is considerably lower than the national median home value of $204,900.

Harbour Island, Bahamas

A Tropical Paradise Near The US For families willing to venture slightly beyond US borders, Harbour Island is an idyllic destination that remains relatively unspoiled by the tourist influx. Expect certified purple-pink sands, year-round perfect weather, and an inviting ocean brimming with marine life. Although not recognized as a US territory, many families in Florida choose the Bahamas as their secret weekend getaway. This suggests that getting there is easier than you may imagine. Harbour Island, Bahamas's population is 1,861, according to the 2022 census. Harbor Island's luxury real estate market offers high-end homes for sale, with prices starting at $2.98 million. It appeals to wealthy buyers looking for exclusive properties in a beautiful island location. 

Conclusion

With these seven idyllic beaches at your fingertips, your next family beach holiday promises to be filled with memorable moments. Make a list of what each destination offers and see which one checks the most boxes for your family. It could bring an unforgettable escape to a delightful, lesser-known slice of the US coastline.

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