When your child grows from a baby to a toddler, it’s a momentous occasion. They can walk, talk (sort of), and they’re finally growing into their own little person. Excitingly, they’re also finally old enough to play in the sand, old enough to paddle, and just generally old enough to actually enjoy a holiday. The age of the family holiday begins now, so it’s time to make the most of it on these child-friendly beaches.

SANDYMOUTH • CORNWALL • ENGLAND

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Cornwall may not sound all that exotic, but its cooler weather actually makes it the ideal holiday spot for travelling toddlers who run the risk of getting grumpy and grizzly in the hot sun. Sandymouth is rated one of the best beaches in the UK, and it welcomes families all year round. You can even bring the dog along! Located in North Cornwall, a county known for its sandy beaches, rocky caves and cliff paths, the beach is easily accessible and offers great parking facilities. The beach itself is perfect for a grand day out, but is also large and spacious enough for you to take your little adventurer out for a stroll, with great coastal walks exiting the beach in both directions.

In terms of accommodation, the beach is about 3 miles north of the town of Bude, a sweet Cornish town which holds any number of holiday cottages. A lovely country location, your visit will be nice and peaceful, with very little external noise – perfect if you’re trying to get the little one to go to sleep. One beautiful cottage to consider is Carpenter’s Cottage, about 4 miles east of Bude. This cottage was once an old carpentry, but is now a spacious and comfortable holiday cottage which offers its guests cream tea on arrival. Cute!

PLAYA LA ROPA • ZIHUATANEJO • MEXICO

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If you’re looking for something a little warmer, try jetting across the Atlantic to Mexico and Playa La Ropa in Zihuatanejo. This beautiful stretch of sand really has the “WOW factor”, surrounded by vast and stunning mountains and peppered with more activities than you could possibly need for one visit. Set in its own natural bay, this white sand beach is often described as the “perfect beach”, and you can’t do much better than that!

For something a little different, check out the fenced estuary at one end of Playa la Ropa for a chance to look at a beautiful array of wildlife. The nearby El Manglar restaurant will serve you up a delicious meal which you can enjoy while spotting birds, iguanas, squirrels and even crocodiles, all from the safety of your table. This is the perfect spot to check out if your tot is interested in animals, and it’s exciting for the adults too!

One of the favourite hotels by the beach is the Hotel Cinco Sentidos, a beautiful three-story building overlooking Zihuatanejo Bay. The hotel’s suites each have a private terrace with a mini-pool, perfect for relaxing after a long day of adventure. Perhaps the most notable feature of this hotel is that it has only five suites – you’re guaranteed a quiet, private visit!

SALEMA • ALGARVE • PORTUGAL

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Flying back over to Europe, one of the best beaches you can visit with the toddler has to be in Salema, Portugal, land of yours truly. This is a beautiful spot which has been protected from being built up and spoiled, a fairly unusual sight today! Salema is a tiny little town dotted with equally tiny whitewashed houses, and is definitely one you’ll want to check out if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and the constant greys of the city.

In the unlikely event that you get bored of Salema’s beautiful beach, there’s plenty to check out in the area away from the shore. Check out the incredible dinosaur tracks in the nearby limestone rocks, watch the fishermen bring in their catch of the day, and just generally enjoy this quaint little town.

Just across the street from the beach, you’ll find the Hotel Residencial Salema, a lovely little hotel which is perfect for your stay. Every room has a view of the beach from their tiny balconies. Around the town, you’ll find loads of wonderful little restaurants with quite possibly the freshest fish you’ll ever eat. It’s certainly somewhere you will need to go before it disappears.

MAKENA BEACH • WAILEA • UNITED STATES

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I don’t know about you, but if you say “beach”, the first place I think of will always be Hawaii – and that’s for a good reason. Take, for example, Makena Beach in Wailea, a typically beautiful Hawaiian beach. Backing onto a luxury golf resort which keeps it bustling all year round, the area surrounding Makena Beach has absolutely everything you could possibly want for your beach holiday.

The beach is a generous 2.4km long and 30m wide, set in front of the golf resort and a lush green national park, perfect for nature lovers. There’s plenty of room for both a calm day of sunbathing or a fun day of water activities. Most importantly for your young travelling companions, the beach is sheltered from the wind, allowing for lovely, safe and calm waters, while the sand is kept cool by the Makena Cloud micro-climate.

Your best bet for accommodation by this beach would be the Makena Beach & Golf Resort, which offers perfect hospitality right by the beach. Rooms in the hotel look over the beautiful gardens (another thing you and your family need to check out) and koi ponds of the resort’s heart. This trip promises to be one to remember!


We hope you found something on our list that caught your eye but if you’re still not happy, feel free to enter your more specific requirements into our 3-step beach matchmaker, and we’ll get some more options to you in a jiffy!