This page contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.
There is no better antidote to your busy lifestyle than a beach vacation with your family. With tranquil waters, beachfront playgrounds, tide pools, and trails, the sun-drenched coastline of Orange County has something to offer for every family who wants to spend some quality time by the ocean. So, grab your sunscreen and head to one of these kid-friendly beaches in Orange County!
Bolsa Chica State Beach
Set your sights on this sandy stretch in Huntingdon Beach if you’re planning a beach vacation in California with your family. One of the Orange County family beaches that never gets too crowded, Bolsa Chica is a playground for the outdoor enthusiast. Jog or bike with your kids along its paved trails or enjoy some surf fishing.
Its sheltered beach break is also perfect for novice surfers. With over 200 species of birds, an avian spectacle awaits nature lovers at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Access to an array of on-site amenities such as restrooms, showers, volleyball courts, fire rings, and year-round RV camping only add to its attraction as a family retreat.
Tucked at the end of the Balboa Peninsula past Newport Beach, Balboa is one of the best beaches in Orange County for families. Spend the day just basking in the sun while your kids frolic in the sand and surf. Or get out on the water with a rented boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. You can even drop a fishing line at Balboa Pier.
If you had enough fun by the ocean, head to Peninsula Park where the kids can enjoy immersive playground equipment or play soccer. Round off your day with a visit to the Balboa Fun Zone that not only has kid-friendly arcade games but also a Ferris wheel ride that offers panoramic views of the harbor and the Pacific Ocean.
Little Corona Del Mar Beach
Seclusion is just one of the many attractions that beckons visitors to this small, quiet Orange County beach the Corona Del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach. Little Corona is protected from swells and surf by the rocky reefs that flank it on either side. The calm waters coupled with amenities such as restrooms and showers make it ideal for a beach trip with kids.
Your family can explore the bounty of tide pools for diverse marine life. The rocky cove also offers some spectacular diving and snorkeling. Little Corona is notable for its unique rock formations too. Head out at low tide to explore and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Crystal Cove State Park
Look no further than Crystal Cove State Park if you want to reconnect with nature. Quiet coves set against towering bluffs provide a rustic contrast to the urban surroundings at this hidden Southern California beach located between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Enjoy aquatic activities like swimming, surfing, and scuba diving. Kids can enjoy beachcombing, kite flying, and sandcastle building. Take a guided tide pool walk together at Pelican Point.
If tired of hanging out beachside, go hiking, biking, or horseback riding along the meandering trail network and explore the wilderness. Or travel back in time with a visit to the vintage cottages from the bygone era of the 1930s and ‘40s in the Historic District.
Tucked in the back of Dana Point Harbor, this family-friendly beach in Southern California is nicknamed “Baby” for a reason. It is protected from swells and perfect for young swimmers thanks to its unthreatening waves.
With a plethora of amenities such as a roped-off swimming area for kids, lifeguards, restrooms, and showers, this place is seaside bliss for a visit with the kids. You can go swimming, kayaking, and standup paddleboarding.
If you tire of the beach, enjoy a picnic in the picnic area. Kids can explore the many engaging experiences at the Ocean Institute offshore. You can go on whale-watching excursions, tide pool hikes, and tall ship sails to name a few.
The large sandy stretch of Aliso in the resort city of Laguna Beach is one of the favorite kid-friendly beaches in Orange County. Along with the convenience of easy parking and access, it features extensive facilities like restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and a playground.
This popular spot is known as one of the warmest beaches in California offering excellent conditions for water activities. Your family can enjoy swimming, paddle boarding, or skimboarding. Kids can build sandcastles or go tide pooling
This is also the only beach in Laguna that has fire pits; so, cap off your day by snuggling around a bonfire with your family for an epic experience.
Salt Creek Beach
Located north of Dana Point, this spot is one of the popular Orange County beaches for families. Stroll on this wide sandy stretch of sand, sunbathe or swim. The left swell at Salt Creek Beach is some of the best along the coastline, so catch some waves if you like to surf, while the tide pool area offers discovery for children and adults alike.
You can also hike the trails from the beach to the bluffs. The Bluff Park nearby overlooks the ocean; enjoy whale watching with your kids from this vantage point during the migration season. It has picnic tables, benches, a half-court basketball court, and a grassy area for kids to play.
Linda Lane Park Beach
Swing by this sandy stretch in the idyllic beach town of San Clemente if you’re looking for a laid-back vibe. With its sandy bottom, outside break, and long shoreline, Linda Lane may be one of the perfect kid-friendly beaches in Orange County.
While the young kids romp in the water, older kids can swim or boogie board. Just steps away is a marine-themed playground with benches, picnic tables, water fountains, and an abundant grassy area to play. After a day at the beach, head to the iconic 1296-foot-long San Clemente Pier for sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, fishing, and premier dining.