Top 10 Family Beach Resorts on the Southeast Coast

Jocelyn Murray June 14, 2011 No Comments

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The beautiful Southeast Coast of the United States has a fantastic array of beach resorts. 10 top resorts are listed here (alphabetically), each possessing the local charm of its region, making these exclusive resorts a haven of relaxation and excitement for the whole family. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are included in this list. From idyllic locations with spectacular vistas, to the well-appointed accommodations and amenities, dining, and recreation to suit every age and mood, these resorts are among the very best for families on the Southeast Coast.

Casa Marina Resort, Key West, Florida

Casa Marina Water Walk Facing Ocean

Casa Marina Water Walk Facing Ocean

Designed by the same architects as New York’s opulent Metropolitan Opera House, Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, was considered Key West’s most glamorous destination when it first opened in 1920. With its blend of classic and modern ambience amid stunning ocean views, the understated old-world elegance of this laid back resort is a lovely tropical retreat for families.

Located on the southern edge of Key West, this resort offers over 1,100 feet of private secluded beach property. Parents can relax with peace of mind, and watch their children play in this sheltered oasis. A wide variety of activities will delight every age including swimming in the 2 outdoor oceanfront pools, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, boating, windsurfing, scuba diving, golfing, lounging under the swaying palm trees, and much more. There are lots of equipment rentals including waverunners, sports gear, scooters, bicycles and electric cars. The Dolphin Encounter trip is an unforgettable way to get up-close and personal with these graceful creatures in the beautiful backcountry reefs.

Casa Marina Pier Sunset

Casa Marina Pier Sunset

This vibrant resort is just minutes from the lively attractions of Duval Street and historic Old Town, with plenty of dining and shopping. The nearby Key West Aquarium will enthrall children and parents alike with its fascinating indigenous sea-creatures. Only three miles from Key West International Airport, Casa Marina offers paid shuttle service as well as plenty of paid parking (self and valet). There are three onsite restaurants with a delicious range of cuisines to please every palate, including children’s menus. Room service is also available.

Casa Marina Water Walk Entrance

Casa Marina Water Walk Entrance

The luxurious modern accommodations include private balconies with stunning views, wireless high-speed internet access, LCD televisions (with on-command movie services), iHome docking stations, espresso machines, in-room safes, and more. The resort also offers business services, a massage studio, fitness center, laundry/valet services, and pool concierge. Even pets are welcome with a non-refundable deposit. And for parents who wish to enjoy a night out on their own, babysitting services are available. Cribs and high chairs can also be conveniently obtained.

With its private secluded beach, stunning location, lovely accommodations, numerous activities and more, the Casa Marina Resort is a fantastic beach resort for the whole family on the South Atlantic Coast.

Cheeca Lodge and Spa, Islamorada, Florida Keys

Cheeca Lodge and Spa Fishing Pier

Cheeca Lodge and Spa Fishing Pier

Located in one of the most beautiful and secluded private beaches in Florida, Cheeca Lodge and Spa is an exciting tropical playground for the entire family. It has delighted guests since 1946 with its welcoming hospitality, outstanding accommodations, numerous amenities and recreational activities spread throughout 27 acres of lush grounds alive with cascading waterfalls and sparkling pools. This sumptuous oceanfront haven exudes a warmth and charm that is unique to the lovely Florida Keys.

Cheeca Lodge and Spa Private Beach

Cheeca Lodge and Spa Private Beach

With world-class fishing, six lighted tennis courts, a Jack Nicklaus designed 9-hole par 3 golf course, a lavish Spa, fitness studio, heated swimming pool and countless other family recreational activities – some of which include snorkeling, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing, and bicycling – days and nights at Cheeca will be spent in utter bliss. There are four fantastic restaurants to choose from, with a variety of foods to suit every taste. From fresh seafood at the award winning Atlantic’s Edge, to the Tuscan inspired cuisine of Limoncello, to fantastic sushi at Nikai Sushi, and more, there is no need to leave the resort in search of great dining with inspiring views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cheeca Lodge and Spa Luxury Suites

Cheeca Lodge and Spa Luxury Suites

Parents love the Camp Cheeca program for children ages 5-12. Here children enjoy numerous activities such as arts and crafts, swimming and snorkeling in the saltwater lagoon, scavenger hunts, nature walks, fishing off Cheeca’s pier, and more. Cheeca even features a “Kids Night Out” program for children ages 4 and up that includes dinner, movies, games, and other activities from 6-10 p.m. Babysitting is also offered through the resort’s concierge.

The West-Indies inspired accommodations at Cheeca are all luxuriously appointed and boast private screened balconies/porches with breathtaking views, dark mahogany furnishings, elegant tropical artwork, opulent bathrooms with over-sized soaking tubs, wireless Internet access, large plasma screen televisions, DVD & CD players (DVD movie rentals for in-room viewing are available), an in-room safe and more.

With everything it has to offer, Cheeca Lodge and Spa is an oceanfront sanctuary that will delight the entire family time and again, making it one of our top 10 beach resorts on the Southeast Coast.

Coral Beach Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Coral Beach Resort Exterior Myrtle Beach

Coral Beach Resort Exterior Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach in South Carolina’s Atlantic coast is a popular US vacation destination, and Coral Beach Resort & Suites effortlessly captures the energy and natural beauty of this family hot spot. With its endless on site amenities and entertainment, fitness center, spacious accommodations and proximity to the fantastic array of Myrtle Beach attractions, families will enjoy every moment at this fabulous resort.

Myrtle Beach Resort Indoor Pool

Myrtle Beach Resort Indoor Pool

Coral Beach Resort & Suites accommodations are spacious with breathtaking views of the ocean from their balconies. There is free wireless internet service, expanded cable TV, safes and coffee service in every room. The suites also include a full size refrigerator, range/oven, toaster, cookware and dinnerware for 4-6 people, which is great when traveling with children who seem to need an endless supply of snacks on hand.

Family entertainment and recreation are a priority at Coral Beach and feature several outdoor pools for kids of all ages, an indoor pool, his/her saunas, fitness center, water slides and lazy rivers, an on-site 8 AMF lane bowling alley, recreation facility with video arcade, games and pool tables, a children’s activity center with play structures, daily live entertainment on the pool deck, and of course the beach just steps away with water sports galore.

Coral Beach Resort Waterpark Kids Area

Coral Beach Resort Waterpark Kids Area

There are lots of nearby attractions for those who like to venture out further. Family Kingdom seaside amusement park is one, and features over 30 rides. Wild Water and Wheels in Surfside Beach south of the Coral Beach Resort is another great choice for families. There are also historical sites and theatres for those inclined on sightseeing. Dining and shopping abound within walking distance as well.

Seemingly endless miles of soft sandy beaches, lively entertainment, diverse recreation, dining and more, make Coral Beach Resort a top choice among many on the Southeast Coast for families.

Hilton Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Oceanfront Resort, Pool View

Hilton Oceanfront Resort, Pool View

Situated on world-renowned Hilton Head Island just off the coast of South Carolina, Hilton Oceanfront Resort & Spa is a tropical paradise for the whole family. World-class dining (at XO Lounge and HH Prime), large guest rooms, endless recreation, posh amenities and exciting activities for adults and children, all with warm Southern hospitality make this resort an unforgettable experience.

The expansive accommodations feature elegant décor and private balconies opening onto breathtaking views. A full mini-kitchen with microwave and refrigerator, coffee maker, separate dining and living areas, high speed paid internet access, dual telephones with data ports, TV with on command movies, and an in-room safe come with the guest rooms. The Inn Suites offer separate bedroom and living room areas, each opening out onto a balcony overlooking lush lagoons or courtyards. For the best ocean views on the island, the Oceanfront Suites boast sumptuous 1,000-square-feet, each with a separate bedroom, living and dining areas and an extra-large balcony for entertaining, dining, or simply enjoying the views.

Hilton Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head Island

Hilton Oceanfront Resort Aerial View

Recreation opportunities abound at the Hilton Oceanfront Resort & Spa. There are adult, family and wading pools, oceanfront hot tubs, a private white-sand beach, world-class tennis and championship golf, paddle tennis, basketball court, sand volleyball court, a fully-equipped fitness center (offering classes and personal training), the Ocean Tides Spa for revitalizing treatments, kids’ playground, and Seaside Adventures Kids’ Club which will delight children for hours.

For those who wish to explore the island’s cultural history and natural beauty, there are museums, art galleries, theatres, shopping, fishing, sailing, water sports, wildlife exploration adventures (at Sea Pines Forest Preserve, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Audubon-Newhall Island Preserve), kayaking or canoeing at the Palmetto Dunes 10-mile lagoon system, miles of moss-draped covered bike trails to explore (on-site bike rentals are available), and lots of amusement centers and activities for children.

A premier resort destination for the whole family, Hilton Oceanfront Resort & Spa is a unique barrier island resort providing an ultimate vacation experience.

Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa, Key West, Florida

Hyatt Key West Resort Pool and Ocean View

Hyatt Key West Resort Pool and Ocean View

The Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa in Key West, Florida captures the balmy tranquility of this island paradise. With its spacious accommodations, many amenities, diverse recreation, fine dining (at SHOR—American seafood grill or the Blue Mojito Pool Bar and Grill), and its prime location and proximity to Key West’s fantastic array of historical, cultural and sports activities, this resort offers a fantastic getaway for the whole family.

All the luxurious accommodations at the Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa include the Hyatt Grand Bed™, T-Mobile® HotSpot® high-speed Internet access, voice mail, telephone with computer data port, television with cable movie channels, in-room pay movies, full bath amenities, refrigerator, iron with ironing board, clock and more. The spacious rooms have an open airy feel that inspire tranquility and renew the spirit.

Hyatt Key West Resort Parasailing

Hyatt Key West Resort Parasailing

On-site recreation offers jet skis, boats, scooters, electric cars, bicycles, snorkeling, sunset cruises, fishing, and scuba diving. Guests can also work out at the Hyatt Stay Fit gym, or indulge in a soothing spa treatment at the Jala Spa. The heated outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool are only steps away from the lovely beach. There is also beach access to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, tennis courts and golf nearby (the resort is four miles from the 18-hole championship Key West Golf Club).

Hyatt Key West Resort Ocean Front Room

Hyatt Key West Resort Ocean Front Room

Off-site activities include parasailing, kayaking and snorkeling through the mangroves over the abundant gardens of the living coral reef, glass bottom boat tours, and dolphin encounters. There are many nearby points of interest and museums including Mel Fisher’s Maritime (treasure) Museum, Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the popular Key West Aquarium, Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, and the historic boardwalk with its boutiques, restaurants and lively port.

The Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa will entertain and rejuvenate the whole family, while creating memorable times to be cherished.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Pool and Ocean

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Pool and Ocean

Just a few miles from historic Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah Island Golf Resort sits on the beautiful barrier island, and is home to an intriguing and diverse variety of wildlife. Famous for its championship golf and first class tennis, this resort offers a myriad of activities and recreation that make the most of the island’s natural beauty and unique ecosystem. From kayaking, boating tours, nature tours, walking adventures, fishing, bicycling to beach fun and more, there is something for everyone in the family at this gem of a resort.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Beach

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Beach

Children will love Kamp Kiawah (for ages 3-11), and parents will feel great about the safe and positive environment. The staff is comprised of energetic and committed counselors who are dedicated to making the children’s experience happy and memorable. Arts and crafts, games, swimming, scavenger hunts, sports and outdoor adventures are a few of the fun events that captivate the children’s imaginations while they make new friends, and take home wonderful memories and keepsakes they made themselves.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Pool Area

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Pool Area

The outstanding accommodations feature a choice from The Sanctuary Hotel (with spacious rooms and suites, indoor/outdoor swimming pools, fitness center, spa and more), the Resort Villas (offering condos up to 4 bedrooms, several swimming pools, complimentary door-to-door transportation service throughout Kiawah’s 10-mile island, spa and more), and the Premier and Private Homes with weekly rates. There is also plenty of dining to suit every palate and mood, including The Ocean Room, the resort’s premier steakhouse, The Atlantic Room at The Ocean Course for fantastic seafood, and Tomasso at Turtle Point with its fine Italian food, plus many other restaurant options throughout the island.

With its gracious hospitality and service, fantastic recreational activities, lush natural environment, and unparalleled facilities, this premier resort is sure to please the whole family.

Little St. Simons Island Resort, Georgia

Little St. Simon Island Resort

Little St. Simon Island Resort

10,000 acres of marshlands and forests virtually untouched by time and civilization offer a secluded natural sanctuary on the private barrier island off the Georgia coast in Little St. Simons Island Resort. This wooded retreat is teeming with over 200 species of birds and countless wildlife who find refuge among the cypress, live oak, pines, seven miles of shell-speckled beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Little St. Simons Island Resort is an exclusive retreat in so many ways. Up to 32 overnight guests can stay here, making it quite removed from the hustle and bustle of crowds. Accessible only by boat, this haven of natural beauty will delight families with its many outdoor activities. There are deep island guided explorations by the experienced staff of naturalists, biking or walking along the island’s sandy roads, winding trails and tidal creeks, paddling, kayaking, fishing, swimming, or just reconnecting to the natural world by absorbing the serene beauty of this hideaway. The beach pavilion provides towels, chairs, lotions, umbrellas and floats, making days by the shore carefree and idyllic.

Little St. Simons Island Alligator

Little St. Simons Island Alligator

The accommodations on Little St. Simons Island Resort possess a rustic charm that accentuates the untouched feel of the island. Several lodges, bungalows and cottages nestle amid the flora cozily. There is the Hunting Lodge – at the heart of the island and where guests gather for meals, Helen House – by the island’s riverfront compound, River Lodge and Cedar House – sitting at river’s edge, Michael Cottage, and Tom House.

Little St. Simon Island Ocean at Sunset

Little St. Simon Island Ocean at Sunset

Three daily meals and all beverages are included in all guest rates, where local cuisine by accomplished chefs is served. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the Hunting Lodge dining room. On most Saturdays (weather permitting) lunch is offered seaside. Picnic lunches are available as well for those who wish to take their meals on their nature adventures. There is a cocktail reception prior to dinner every evening, as well as seasonal weekend oyster roasts on the lodge grounds.

The gracious hospitality of Little St. Simons Island Resort is just one of the many ingredients that make this wooded-island paradise an extraordinary experience where families can create memorable times together exploring this natural sanctuary.

Sanderling Resort and Spa, Duck, North Carolina

Sanderling Resort and Spa Exterior View

Sanderling Resort and Spa Exterior View

Located on the Outer Banks near Duck, North Carolina, the Sanderling Resort and Spa is tucked between the Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean just North of Kitty Hawk. Its walking proximity to the beach and the serene waters of the Sound, its varied recreational amenities including ocean sports, bike paths, miles of secluded water trails for kayaking, tennis and golf (via access to the Pine Island Racquet & Fitness Club), fitness center, deluxe spa, swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and its Eco-Center (open in warm weather months) that aids guests in their explorations of the lush Outer Banks, make this oasis a glorious retreat for the entire family.

Sanderling Ocean View Room

Sanderling Stunning Ocean View Room

The three inns that encompass The Sanderling Resort (The Main Inn, The North Inn and The South Inn), provide elegantly styled spacious accommodations with private porches – most facing the Atlantic Ocean or the Currituck Sound, and are equipped with refrigerators and coffee makers. The Sanderling Resort also has five luxurious vacation homes on the grounds that are great for larger families or a small group. These come with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens. Additionally, The Sanderling Resort offers free wireless high-speed internet in all rooms and public areas.

The delicious dining options at The Sanderling include The Lifesaving Station Restaurant – for casual dining on the Outer Banks, Swan Bar and Lounge – a relaxed atmosphere for drinks, appetizers and sandwiches, The Left Bank – The Sanderling’s AAA 4 Diamond rated fine dining restaurant with panoramic views of the Currituck Sound, and The Sand Bar – a favorite of guests for quick lunch items to take out to the beach.

Sanderling Resort and Spa Indoor Pool

Sanderling Resort and Spa Indoor Pool

There is something to please everyone in the local attractions, from shopping, to dining, to delving into the historical and natural treasures of the Outer Banks. Some of the popular venues include lighthouses, the lovely Elizabethan Gardens, the Bodie Island marshlands, and the North Carolina Wildlife Education Center – offering family friendly programs that include bird watching, beach walks, kayak trips, archery and fishing. The many popular kayaking tours through the intricate marshlands include the Maritime Forest & Marsh tour (a relaxed, easy-going nature tour ideal for children and beginning kayakers), and the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, (the most popular tour) where winding creeks lead to pristine lakes with alligators sunning themselves along the grass fields. The nearby Pledger Palace Child Development and Educational Center offers childcare and activities for children ages 3 – 12, making it easy for parents to plan daily family schedules. There are also babysitting services in the hotel room with advanced reservations.

The Sanderling Resort and Spa is a top choice family vacation destination in the beautiful wildlife sanctuary of the Outer Banks of the Southeast Coast.

Sea Island Resort (Cloister & Lodge), Sea Island, Georgia

Sea Island Resort Lobby, Georgia

Sea Island Resort Lobby

Situated along the beautiful Southeastern Atlantic coast of Georgia, the Sea Island Resort properties (The Cloister at Sea Island and The Lodge at Sea Island) have welcomed families by providing an extraordinary vacation experience with renowned Southern hospitality since 1928. The immaculate accommodations offer unsurpassed elegance with a rich welcoming feel of plush comfort designed to sooth the mind and body. The guest rooms, spacious suites, and private cottages feature a variety of amenities such as large LCD HD televisions, high-speed wireless and wired Internet access, spacious deep-soaking tubs and more. From the award-winning Cloister and Lodge, to the many beautifully furnished and fully-equipped cottages, to fine dining, shopping, and countless recreational activities, families are certain to have a memorable time.

Sea Island Resort Georgia

Sea Island Resort Georgia

Sea Island Resort features a lively array of recreation and activities for the entire family. There is championship golf, tennis, 5 secluded miles of pristine coastal beach waters, horseback riding, fishing and boating, bicycling, water sports, numerous nature tours (including marsh kayaking and boat tours), shooting school (traditional clay target shooting), swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, indulging in the Forbes Five-Star Cloister Spa and Fitness Center, shopping and more.

Sea Island Resort Indoor Pool

Sea Island Resort Indoor Pool

There are many kid-friendly programs certain to keep children entertained while making new friends. The Camp Cloister for children ages 3-8 (fee includes lunch) offers daily themed recreation that stimulates children’s imaginations through arts and crafts, games and fun activities. Club Sea Island – for children 9-12 – features exciting experiences such as scavenger hunts, games and bike rides during spring break and summertime visits. The Sea Island Junior Staff motivates children with their enthusiasm and creativity, while planning enriching age-appropriate activities to delight children. Babysitting services are also available by request.

With something to entertain everyone, the beautiful Sea Island Resort in Georgia beckons families to unwind, reconnect, and forge lasting family bonds.

Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Wild Dunes Resort Inn, Isle of Palms

Wild Dunes Resort Inn, Isle of Palms

The oceanfront paradise of Wild Dunes Resort occupies 1,600 private acres on the northern tip of the lovely palm-speckled barrier island Isle of Palms in South Carolina. This idyllic getaway is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, and less than 30 minutes from historic Charleston. With year-round golf, tennis, beach activities, swimming pools, spa and fitness center, bike and walking paths, several dining options and more, families will discover a haven of fun and relaxation.

Wild Dunes Resort Pool and Kids Play Area

Wild Dunes Resort Pool and Kids Play Area

Children will be delighted with the countless recreational activities designed just for kids. The Wild Adventure Club for ages 5-12 features a variety of exciting programs with weekly themes such as beach and nature activities (including bird watching, shell hunting, wildlife observation, beach games and contests), sports and games, water fun, and arts and crafts (the T-shirt tie dying is popular). The Barrier Island Marine Bio-Camp for ages 5-12 is a hands-on experience where children can see, touch and learn about the fascinating creatures living along the shores. Activities include dolphin watching, throwing a cast net, crabbing, fishing, collecting shells, swimming and more.

Wild Dunes Resort Waterway South Carolina

Wild Dunes Resort Waterway

Visitors at Wild Dunes Resort can select between rooms with 4 Diamond amenities in the Inn and Village as well as spacious 1 – 4 bedroom villas and homes with kitchens, washers/dryers, and porches. The Inn and Village rooms and suites are comfortable and inviting with amenities that include daily housekeeping, wireless internet access, in-room safes, flat screen televisions, deluxe bath amenities and more. The suites also include washers and dryers, balconies and fully-equipped kitchens. The Villas feature private balconies, fully furnished kitchens (including a microwave, blender, coffee maker, pots, pans, dishes, and utensils), washer/dryer, television with cable and VCR, and a starter supply of soaps and toiletries.

The on-site restaurants are all family-friendly, most providing children’s menus as well. The regional cuisine is served in a relaxed ambience with signature Southern hospitality. From the Sea Island Grill, The Lettered Olive, to the take-out Dunes Deli, to the Grand Pavilion Cafe and Bar, there is something to please every palate. In-room dining is also available and includes disposable utensils and condiments.

Wild Dunes Resort is certain to charm the entire family with its wide range of activities, dining and lovely accommodations set in the picturesque island of Isle of Palms in South Carolina.

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avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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