Beach vacations are among the most honored family traditions. Many families go to the same beach year after year, and they wouldn't have it any other way. This is especially true for those who own or have access to a beach house or condo, but plenty of families head for the same beach at least once every summer even if the cottage, motel or campground varies.
There are lists of "best" beaches in the U.S. and in the world, and some people like to try different ones. But for many families, the best beach anywhere is the one they visit every year.
Beaches come with their own set of traditions. Some beach areas are developed resorts with entertainment, shopping, amusement parks, hotel pools and every imaginable restaurant. Others are quieter, with more emphasis on the beach itself.
Families with children of varied ages may enjoy a combination. It's great fun to play in the waves, build sand castles, hunt for shells, walk on the beach and try your hand at fishing. Walking on the beach at night, after the crowds have left, is especially fun. Take a flashlight and look for crabs scurrying on the sand. Turn off the light and scan the sky for constellations and meteors. Build a campfire on the sand. Leave time to sit on the porch or deck, listen to the surf and enjoy your family's company.
Don't forget the fresh seafood. And sunscreen, of course, is a must. Too much sun on the first day can ruin the whole vacation before it really starts.