1. Narragansett, RI
Travel time: 4 hrs by car
Rhode Island's popular seaside town is a go-to for all vacationers on the east coast looking to hit the beach—or three, to be exact. Bring surfboards and boogie boards to the well-known Scarborough State Beach (note that these waves are probably more suitable for the older kids in your clan) and venture to the less intense Roger Wheeler State Beach with tiny tots who will gravitate toward the playground and the calmer waters. Salty Brine State Beach has gentler waters, too. Naturally, no beach town would be complete without a lighthouse. Although Point Judith doesn't welcome visitors inside, families are able to head to the grounds and take scenic photos off the coast. What kids can and will access is a ride on the Flying Horse Carousel, and understandably so. Rumor has it that this is the only surviving flying horse carousel left in the U.S. When hunger strikes, adults will opt for seafood dishes (including amazing lobster rolls) and seaside views at Coast Guard House but those craving comfort food will find something desirable at Eddie's BBQ. Regardless of what's on the menu, all suppers should conclude with a visit to the nearby ice cream shop, Brickley's.
Stay: The family-run Anchor Motel, located right across from Scarborough Beach