5 Secret Beaches for Families

A beach vacation is a certain win for the whole family. And to be sure, the sun, sand, surf and sight-seeing are all a lot more enjoyable when you and your family members feel like you have it all to yourselves. With this in mind, some families prefer to seek out less-traveled beach towns when summer rolls around. Here are five of our favorites.

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Humpback whale breaching
Humpback whale breaching

Humpback whale breaching

Humpback whales are true acrobatic animals. Here's a little breaching action: A humpback whale leaps out of the water. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

The humpback whale is a baleen whale, with extra long pectoral fins. Here's a close-up of its knobby head. 960 1280

Mark Jennings, Virginia Aquarium Education Dept.  

A humpback whale raises its tail flukes out of the water. The result: a tail-slapping good show. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

Thar she blows! Humpback whale at VA Beach

Thar she blows! Humpback whale at VA Beach

Thar she blows! This humpback whale is just a few yards from a boat. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

Humpback whales find plentiful bait in Virginia Beach waters

Humpback whales find plentiful bait in Virginia Beach waters

Gulp! A warmer-than-usual winter -- plus, more plentiful bait like sandlance -- may explain the larger numbers of humpback whales this year. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

humpback whale fluked tail

humpback whale fluked tail

The humpback whale has a fluked tail. Check out the wavy trailing edges. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

humpback whale pod

humpback whale pod

The humpback whales have typically been spotted in pods of 2. 960 1280

Chris Erney  

humpback whale blowholes

humpback whale blowholes

The humpback has 2 nostrils -- blow and dorsal fin -- at the top of its head. They use these to breathe air at the surface of the water. A double stream of spray is the visual result. 960 1280

Chris Erney  

dolphins at Virginia Beach

dolphins at Virginia Beach

And if you miss the whales, head back in the summer: These guys will be waiting. 960 1280

  

Family Kingdom
Family Kingdom

Family Kingdom

Family Kingdom is an oceanfront amusement and water park in one. Splashes the water park takes the lazy river up a notch and offers water flumes with 100-foot drops. Family Kingdom has just added a Twist-and-Shout steel roller coaster to its fleet of more than 30 rides bumper cars and Go-Kart tracks. 960 1280

MBACVB  

Water Sports

Water Sports

If the kids (and adults) are looking for more than just a day at the beach, take part in a popular water sport. Little ones will have fun clinging to a banana boat, older speed demons can take out jet skis -- or pair off and sail high above the water on a parasailing trip. 960 1280

iStock  

Miniature Golf

Miniature Golf

As you'd expect from the "golf capital of the world" Myrtle's mini-golf courses don't disappoint. Our top pick? Whimsical Captain Hook's Adventure Golf where the whole family can play through 2 different 18-hole courses – complete with a 15-foot smoking skull. 960 1280

Jason Barnette  

Myrtle Waves Water Park

Myrtle Waves Water Park

At South Carolina's largest water park more than 1 million gallons of water pumps through Waves' raft rides wild rapids and slides. Open mid-May to mid-September families will be pleased to find covered picnic areas and certified lifeguards on duty at all times. 960 1280

Myrtle Waves Water Park  

Medieval Times

Medieval Times

Yes it's pure kitsch but your little knight or princess will get a kick out of Medieval Times' dinner show. Expect an entertaining joisting tournament lots of horses and crowd participation. Just don't expect silverware to come with His Majesty's royal feast. 960 1280

MBACVB  

ATV Tour

ATV Tour

Get the family outdoors and off-roading with Caroline Backwoods ATV adventures. No experience is necessary to explore the approximately 2-hour Down n Dirty and High n Dry (ok semi-dry) trails. Kids under the age of 12 can ride on the back of a family member's ATV. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Children's Museum of South Carolina

Children's Museum of South Carolina

The perfect rainy day activity take the kids to explore the Children's Museum of South Carolina. With weekly story and craft times as well as exhibits like the Imagination Playground and Bubble Mania there's plenty to keep your kids happy and entertained. 960 1280

MBACVB  

WonderWorks

WonderWorks

Chances are your kids will be begging to go to WonderWorks once they spot its upside-down building at Broadway at the Beach but the Anti-Gravity Chamber Bed of Nails Lazer Tag and Ropes Course appeal to kids of all ages -- and some adults too. 960 1280

WonderWorks  

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Like no aquarium you've been to before at Ripley's Aquarium you can glide on a 330-foot moving path beneath the dangerous reef through sharks and stingrays visit rainbow rock (the Indo-Pacific coral reef) and more. 960 1280

Ripley's Aquarium  

MagiQuest

MagiQuest

The world's largest live-action role-playing game MagiQuest allows your kids to enter an enchanted fantasy world and choose their adventure -- all with the wave of a wand! Will they befriend a pixie? Slay a dragon? Learn from an ancient wizard? You guess is as good as ours but we're sure you'll hear all about it. 960 1280

MBACVB  

Pier at Garden City

Pier at Garden City

Every night during the summer, enjoy live music or karaoke at The Pier at Garden City, just 8 miles south of Myrtle Beach. Listen to the music, grab a snack at Sam's Corner diner or let the kids play a few rounds at the arcade. 960 1280

MBACVB  

Frank Theatres Cinebowl & Grille

Frank Theatres Cinebowl & Grille

Summer vacation is synonymous with the summer blockbuster. After a day in the sun head to Frank Theatres Cinebowl & Grille in Murrells Inlet for a little bowling and a big screen. 960 1280

MBACVB  

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