Family Travel

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20 Best Beaches in Mexico for Families (Kid-Friendly, Adult-Approved)

Explore the top 20 family-friendly beaches in Mexico! From Cancun's crystal waters to Tulum's historic shores, find perfect spots for kids and adults alike.

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
20 Best Beaches in Mexico for Families (Kid-Friendly, Adult-Approved)

Mexico is home to some of the most remarkable beaches on the planet. From world-class cities to quaint coastal towns, the options are truly endless. The white-sand beaches and crystalline waters certainly are a draw. The country also offers plenty of attractions for families.

Certain destinations in Mexico may raise a red flag for families due to crime or nightlife. Yet in a nation as large and diverse as Mexico, there is so much more to offer. The country has hundreds of beaches that are completely safe and welcoming to young families. It is impossible to be bored in this fascinating country.

Beyond pristine beaches, the towns dotting the coast introduce mesmerizing culture, ancient architecture, and indulgent seafood cooked with traditional methods. Plenty of coastal locations across the country are also near national parks, jungles, and even rainforests to explore.

From bustling tourist hubs like Cancun to secluded islands like Isla Holbox, Mexico can suit the vacation needs of any family.

1. Cancun

Credit: ingimage

The barrier island of Cancun tends to rank among the best beaches in Mexico for families. It makes sense why this destination has such a draw. Cancun has stunning beaches, kid-friendly resorts, and unique expeditions.

Cancun Beach is a 14-mile stretch of white sandy shores and transparent sea. Swimming is popular here, and the nearby coral reefs also make for gorgeous snorkeling and diving adventures. You can rent a kayak, paddleboard, or a jet ski from seaside vendors.

Need a break from the waves? Check out the nearby Mayan ruins to learn about the history of one of our world’s most ancient civilizations.

If you’re trying to escape the crowds of Cancun Beach, neighboring Playa Chac Mool in Cancun may just be the perfect destination. You can still find shops, restaurants, and bars. However, Playa Chac Mool tends to drive in far fewer tourists.

One of the best resorts for families in Cancun is the Renaissance Cancun Resort and Marina. The Renaissance is perfect for families looking for a mix of relaxing beach time and spending time in town. The Villa Del Palmar is an all-inclusive resort fun for kids and their parents. They even have a kid’s club!

2. Puerto Vallarta

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Puerto Vallarta is on the West Coast of Mexico. It borders the tranquil waters of the Pacific Ocean and is basked in the shadow of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

This mix of mountains and ocean makes this beach town the perfect place to get your fill of wildlife. Check out the rainforest, chase some waterfalls, and visit the stunning botanical gardens.

The town of Puerto Vallarta is known for its vibrant culture, quaint shops, and traditional dining options. This region is home to some of the oldest culinary traditions in Mexico, making it a fantastic foodie destination.

Puerto Vallarta has plenty of beaches to check out. One of the best is Playa Esmeralda. Playa Esmeralda is tucked into a snug alcove and is often free of crowds. The waters are calm and rest above soft sand, creating a safe place for kids to swim.

One destination with slightly more visitors yet just as much beauty is Playa Palmares. Playa Palmares is more accessible and has plenty of nearby shopping and dining options. Vendors also tend to stroll the shore.

Playa Punta Negra is another family-friendly option in Puerto Vallarta. It is considered one of the more “local” beaches and offers some of the best sunsets over the Pacific.

Related Read: The 17 Best All-Inclusive Mexico Resorts for Families

3. Tulum

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Nestled in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Tulum is the perfect destination for history and luxury. The town is surrounded by ancient walls and brimming with historic architecture.

Today, the city in its entirety is noted by history buffs as one of the best-preserved Mayan artifacts. The surrounding nature and beaches of Tulum makes it one of the most gorgeous destinations in Mexico.

The ancient architecture is juxtaposed with picturesque forests and beaches to explore. The city is also a two-hour drive from the ancient Mayan temple Chichen Itza if you have not satiated your history fix quite yet.

The most stunning beach in Tulum is Playa Paraíso. Playa Paraíso is popular, but because of how large it is, the destination is never crowded. You can find plenty of shops and dining lining the sandy shores. The water tends to stay calm. You can also find limestone pools near the shore for young children to splash around.

Tulum is home to a handful of grand resorts to choose from. One of the best is the Kimpton- Aluna Tulum. This resort is known for its world-class service without breaking the budget.

4. Huatulco

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Huatulco has a cluster of over 30 beaches to check out among 20 miles of Pacific coastline. Beyond the coast, Huatulco also has 9 different inland bays to check out.

This destination doesn’t typically draw in too many tourists. If you are looking for a more authentic, local experience, it is a great place to immerse yourself in Mexican culture while still experiencing a tranquil shoreline.

With the wide variety of beaches at Huatulco, you’re sure to find one that suits your family’s interests. Playa La Entrega is known for being a tranquil, easily accessible spot. It is a great place to take young families without too much hassle.

Cacaluta, on the other hand, is perfect for more adventurous families with older kids. This beach can only be reached by boat or bike. Both of these modes of transportation can be rented or chartered.

Huatulco is home to plenty of exciting activities on both water and land. Try your hand at snorkeling, sailing, or even scuba diving while you visit.

Related Read: Do You Tip at All-Inclusive Resorts?

5. Playa de Akumal

Credit: Giulio Minoja / Flickr

Playa de Akumal is nestled in the stunning Riviera Maya just south of Cancun. Riviera Maya is an appealing destination for families as it is away from the nightlife of Cancun yet still has just as many luxurious resorts.

Playa de Akumal is one of the oldest seaside towns in the Yucatan Peninsula, making it a well-established vacation spot. It is ranked among the best places for swimming in Mexico due to its calm waters, colorful aquatic life, and famously green sea turtles that visitors can swim alongside.

In town, there is no shortage of dining, lodging, and shopping options to enjoy. The beach resort UNICO 20N 87W is one of the most popular resorts in the area, just steps away from Kantenah Beach. It is also close to Xpu Ha Beach.

Playa de Akumal is close to the adventure park Xcaret. Xcaret has underground rivers, stunning wildlife, and a unique marriage of Mexican and Caribbean cultures. Swim with dolphins, check out the aquarium or butterfly house and experience Mayan ruins up close.

6. Isla Holbox

Credit: Anne-Xander van der Stel / Flickr

Isla Holbox is anything but its English translation of “black hole”. Located between the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, the island is a gorgeous beach escape without motor vehicles or crowds.

Both bodies of water are known for warm tides and calm waters, making Isla Holbox an idyllic swimming destination. Reaching Isla Holbox is a 26-mile journey by boat. If you are looking for one of the most tranquil places in Mexico, this is a small price to pay.

Isla Holbox is known for a culture that leans more towards Caribbean roots than Mexico. However, this makes it a unique melting pot for those looking to get a taste of both worlds.

The island has some of the whitest sand in all of Mexico and is truly a tranquil place to enjoy the sea and check out estuary wildlife. Isla Holbox is home to pelicans, herons, and even flamingoes. Tired of the beach? Head inland through the jungle to swim in the lagoon.

7. Puerto Escondido

Credit: Richard Jack / Flickr

Puerto Escondido is yet another destination with a cluster of phenomenal beaches. With stronger currents and rougher waves, Puerto Escondido may not be fit for young families. However, older kids are sure to find adventure here.

Puerto Escondido is home to some of the strongest surf in Mexico due to giant waves that flow in from the Pacific. The best beach to catch these waves is Playa Zicatela. Older kids can catch waves that swell up to 20 feet. After the adrenaline rush, grab a bite to eat at one of the beach bars and restaurants lining the shore.

Not all of Puerto Escondido has as strong tides as Playa Zicatela. La Punta is known for being quieter and has more beginner waves to try your hand at.

This beach is less crowded and still has the laid-back vibes offered in Playa Zicatela. Enjoy the world-famous sunset over the Pacific before heading into one of the rustic restaurants for Mexican fare.

Related Read: Do You Need A Passport To Go To Cancun?

8. La Paz

Credit: Arael Delgado / Flickr

La Paz is a gorgeous destination on its own, but much of the draw comes from Playa Balandra. Playa Balandra is an excellent place for families with young children due to its soft sands and calm waters.

There isn’t much to do in Playa Balandra besides relaxing on the shore and playing in the surf. It is one of Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas, meaning that further beach development is prohibited. You can still find umbrella rentals and food vendors, but anything more than that can be found elsewhere in La Paz.

La Paz is the capital city of Baja California Sur. There is plenty to do in town from enjoying international cuisine to browsing local art galleries. The promenade along La Paz stretches beside the Sea of Cortez, one of Mexico’s most stunning bodies of water.

Outside the city, La Paz is the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts. You can watch sea lion colonies and gray whales swimming in the waters of Magdalena Bay. Sierra La Laguna is also a popular beach to camp on. Lay out underneath the stars at night for a pristine view of the Milky Way.

One of the best luxury resorts in La Paz is Casa al Mar. Casa al Mar is a 4-star resort perfect for any family looking for a luxurious stay. Some suites overlook the ocean, making your hotel room one of the best places to enjoy the sunset.

9. Sayulita

Credit: ingimage

Sayulita is a quaint coastal village with famously big waves and world-class beaches. Internationally renowned surfers call Sayulita home but don’t be intimidated by the professionals. Beginners can sign up for surf schools all over the village to try their hand at catching waves.

When you’re tired of riding the intense surf, head into town for a bite of Mexican cuisine at one of the oceanside restaurants. Laid back perfectly defines this quaint beach village. It escapes the hustle and bustle of the many cities of Mexico while still bringing plenty to the table.

Sayulita can occupy an entire vacation, but it is more highly recommended for a day trip or overnight. The town has a unique vibe, but nearby resort towns tend to be more popular home bases.

Sayulita avoids hordes of tourists and tends to bring in a more local atmosphere. It is great if you are searching for a friendly, authentic place to experience coastal Mexican culture.

10. Parque Fundadores

Credit: Ruben Alejandro1 / Flickr

Parque Fundadores is the most popular beach in Playa Del Carmen (which has a section on its own!). The waters lining Parque Fundadores are perfectly turquoise.

They are a wonderful place to swim in the ocean or try your hand at aquatic sports. Vendors along the coast sell and rent gear for snorkeling, diving, and paddle boarding.

The town of Parque Fundadores offers plenty to do from shopping to dining. Culture surrounds you here. Plenty of street performers perform pop-up shows at all hours of the day.

Family-friendly shows can also be found in town and on the beach, making it a great place to find some kid-friendly nightlife.

Fifth Avenue in Parque Fundadores is a popular place for boutique shopping. Plenty of vendors come around as well as some unique art and sculptures.

Looking for a day trip from Parque Fundadores? A ferry from town can take visitors to the popular tourist destination Cozumel in under an hour.

11. Playa Del Carmen

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Playa Del Carmen offers plenty to do beyond the exciting town of Parque Fundadores. It is possibly one of the most culturally unique locations to see on this list.

Before Playa Del Carmen became the destination that it is today, it was a bustling place on the Mayan trading route. In ancient times, it was known as Xaman Ha.

The aquatic and land trade cultivated by Xaman Ha made it an important location for exchanging global goods. It became a melting pot while also serving as a religious mecca.

Remnants of the past can be found all over Playa Del Carmen. Statues and architecture from Mayan towns are located above ground and below sea level.

Grab a snorkel or try your hand at scuba diving to see some of the prolific sculptures lost to the sea. Stone figures preserved in salt water and sea moss are just one of the unique sites to behold on a dive.

Much like Parque Fundadores, Playa Del Carmen is home to plenty of kid-friendly cultural shows. In town, you can check out Mayan dancers, recreations of rituals, acrobats, and more. Try the local cuisine and immerse yourself in this vibrant destination.

One of the best family friendly resorts in Playa Del Carmen is the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort. The Grand Hyatt is a beachfront resort with so much to do that you may not want to leave your accommodation.

Many rooms overlook the stunning ocean with private balconies. Certain suites even have private plunge pools. If you’re looking to venture off property in a group, the hotel has you covered with excursions.

Some of the featured ones include trips to swimming holes, bike rides around town, and more. Enjoy the on-site restaurant during your stay to experience authentic local cuisine.

12. Cozumel

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Cozumel is away from mainland Mexico on an island in the Caribbean sea. This island is often ranked among the best destinations in Mexico and is one of the most peaceful tourist hubs.

Cozumel is distanced from the party scene that can often crowd major towns and cities. If you don’t mind the travel it can take to get to an island, Cozumel is the ideal Mexican getaway.

The beach has clear waters and powdery white sand. Unlike other nearby islands, Cozumel offers plenty to do beyond the beach, so check out some of the island’s attractions while you’re visiting. This destination also offers world-class dining options and luxurious beachfront resorts.

For all nature lovers, Cozumel is home to one of Mexico’s most breathtaking national parks. Chankanaab National Park is a short trip from many Cozumel resorts, making it an easily accessible way to spend the day.

One of the best places to stay in Cozumel is the Grand Park Royal Cozumel. The name serves this resort as it is truly a grandiose place. It is all-inclusive and only steps from the turquoise Caribbean waters. The resort is also close to Cozumel’s marine park - a unique destination to check out some of the aquatic life on the island.

13. Lover’s Beach in Cabo San Lucas

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The name speaks for itself - Lovers Beach is a romantic destination with gorgeous beaches. One thing that makes this beach unique is that it is a massive rock formation off the coast jutting into the sea.

You can reach Lover’s Beach by water taxi from the mainland. All taxis will also give patrons a brief tour of the waters and point out diving locations.

Lovers Beach lies at the point where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. Your water taxi will drop you off on the side of the rock formation that is safe for swimming and enjoying the beach.

From there, you can see truly breathtaking views of the mainland. Swimming is prohibited on the opposite side of the formation due to powerful ocean currents.

Lover’s Beach is secluded. There aren’t accommodations or dining on the island, so come prepared for a picnic and stay on the mainland in Los Cabos.

Although man-made attractions are nowhere on site, nothing but the natural beauty of the island is necessary. Explore the rock formations, take some aesthetic pictures, and enjoy the calm side of the island for swimming.

Related Read: Best Time To Go To Cabo

14. Playa Norte

Credit: Ramon Bacas / Flickr

Playa Norte is a stunning beach located on Isla Mujeres. The beach can be reached by way of a ferry. The ride only takes around 30 minutes from Cancun. The water here is famously shallow, making it an excellent place for young children to swim.

Vendors along Playa Norte rent snorkel and diving gear for patrons to get a better view of the marine life off the coast. Grab a spot on the beach early before too many tourists appear for perfect views of the calm waters.

There are plenty of shops and restaurants to check out in Playa Norte. Unlike other islands on this list, they also have hotels and resorts to stay in if you are trying to spend your entire vacation in town.

If you choose to stay at an accommodation in town, rest assured that there is plenty to do. The sea is gorgeous, and the cultural aspects provide a lovely glimpse into Mexican heritage.

15. Isla Mujeres

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Isla Mujeres is an island off the coast of Mexico located directly where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet. The confluence of these two aquatic bodies created many stunning islands that made this list. One of the best is Isla Mujeres.

Even though the island is a short ride from Cancun, bustling city life doesn’t follow you on the boat. Isla Mujeres is a calm destination perfect for families looking to leave of the city.

Beyond the pristine white sand beaches, Isla Mujeres has quite a lot to offer. Much like neighboring Cancun, the island has unique Mayan architecture to check out and outstanding seafood. The locals are also incredibly welcoming.

Isla Mujeres is one of the best places in Mexico to get up close to sea life. Off the coast, there are aquatic animals ranging from friendly nurse sharks to not-so-friendly whale sharks. Playa Tiburon is also known for its magnitude of dolphin sightings.

16. Medano Beach

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Medano Beach is one of the most gorgeous destinations in Cabo San Lucas. Beyond the attractions offered here, Medano Beach is an excellent place to take families.

One of the reasons for this is the beach’s safety. Although Cabo San Lucas can often offer questionable security, Medano is consistently a secure place for people of all ages.

Medano Beach is a gem among the many stellar beaches of Cabo San Lucas. The calm shoreline is dotted with great dining and shopping options and a wealth of accommodations.

By day, Medano Beach is a calm place to enjoy the waves and bask in the sunshine. By night, the beach comes alive with plenty of fun nightlife.

Parents and older kids can enjoy the outstanding scene that is the beach and surrounding town by night. Parts of the sandy coast even stay lit up for safe entertainment through the evening.

17. Costa Maya

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Costa Maya is known for its crystalline waters and bungalows perched above the sea. The beach itself used to be deserted, however, tourists recently discovered the destination and came to love this unique beach town.

Costa Maya got its name from Mayan ruins and culture that can be found in town to this day. Visitors are often greeted by locals adorned in traditional Mayan dress.

Three diverse Mayan ruins can be found above ground in this destination; Dzibanch, Kinich-Na, and Kohunlich. All three can be viewed and explored on foot. Costa Maya is also world-renowned for its ruins below sea level.

Costa Maya is a diver’s paradise as undersea explorers can find the UNESCO World Heritage site Banco Chinchorro right below sea level. Banco Chinchorro is an undersea aquatic park where divers can explore ancient Mayan ruins preserved in their saltwater resting place. Not ready to go diving? Snorkelers can also view the ruins from the water’s edge.

Beyond the water and ruins, Costa Maya is a popular destination for world-class shopping and dining. It is an especially great place to sample Mayan cuisine and note its resemblance to typical Mexican fare. If you find the time, check out one of the many beach clubs dotting the shore.

18. Punta Mita

Credit: Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Punta Mita is a lavish vacation destination. Stunning beaches aside, you can also find a heavy concentration of five-star hotels in town. The town of Punta Mita is a more residential destination compared to others on this list. It is similar in geography and vibe to Sayulita.

If your family prefers vacation rentals, Punta Mita is an idyllic location to grab an oceanfront property for a week or two. More pop up each year and tend to be pristinely maintained to keep up with the growing competition in town.

With indulgent properties comes even more indulgent beaches. Punta Mita is home to some of the most well-maintained and safe beaches on this list.

Of course, featuring white sands and turquoise waters found across the entire country. Try out aquatic sports such as kayaking, surfing, or sailing while in town.

On land, you can also find a bird sanctuary. It is a lovely place to check out if you need a break from the sun and want to see some of the wildlife native to this part of Mexico.

Live the life of luxury in Punta Mita. Stay at the indulgent, five-star Four Seasons Hotel. Don’t quite have the budget for the Four Seasons? The nearby W Punta de Mita is half the cost with close to the same level of luxury and service.

19. Playa La Ropa

Credit: Ted McGrath / Flickr

Playa La Ropa is a safe and gentle place for little kids to swim with a unique twist - crocodiles! Rest assured, the crocs stay away from the main swimming areas. The gorgeous beaches are reptile free and as typical in Mexico, glazed in white sand.

If you are trying to see some crocodiles, head past the La Ropa Estuary towards the mouth of the nearby river. The crocodiles hang out in the brackish water leading out to the sea. Locals mention that as long as you don’t bother the crocodiles (and stay out of the water on this side of the beach!) They won’t bother you.

La Ropa is a bay, so the water is always calm and relatively shallow. While you’re here, try out some of the many watersports offered. Some favorites include water skiing and parasailing.

La Ropa is a relaxing destination. Be sure to take in the clear waters while here and enjoy some time spent basking in the warm Mexican sunshine.

20. Playa Las Animas

Credit: Wally Gobetz / Flickr

Playa Las Animas is a popular beach located in Jalisco. It tends to be the perfect mix of locals and tourists. Getting to the beach is part of the fun. You must take a small boat from the mainland, but the ride is cheap and only takes about 15 minutes.

Playa Las Animas is a stunning destination with hills against the soft coastline and turquoise waters. Some small restaurants and shops dot the coastline, but lying beyond that is untarnished nature to explore.

The water at Playa Las Animas isn’t too rough, but you can expect some waves while here. It is perfect for children with a growing interest in the tides while still providing a barrier of safety from the 20-foot swells at other destinations in Mexico. While visiting Playa Las Animas, try some water sports like parasailing and jet skiing.

When you’ve had your fill of white sand beaches and aquatic adventure, head into town to try out some of the local cuisine. It is hard to go wrong in any Mexican beach town, but the restaurants in Playa Las Animas are particularly remarkable. It is hard to find one not offering some flavorful dish featuring authentically cooked seafood.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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