Where do you want to go on vacation this year? What about that tropical island with palm trees you’ve always wanted to see? Or maybe you’d go somewhere closer to home, like your backyard?
The beaches of Costa Rica are some of the best in the world. This small country has over 500 miles of coastline and offers something for every type of traveler.
If you’re looking to escape the cold and enjoy some time on the beach with your family, the beaches in Costa Rica will fulfill all of these wishes and more!
Given Costa Rica’s natural beauty and the importance of family vacations, it’s no surprise that travelers want to know where they can spend quality time on the beach with their family members.
Whether searching for a quiet beach where you can enjoy the natural beauty or one with exciting water activities like surfing and paddle boarding, there is a perfect beach for your family.
Here are 15 of the best beaches in Costa Rica for families, so pack up your bags and book your trip today!
#1: Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal beach is a popular destination, and it’s easy to see why. The water is calm, the waves are perfect for surfing lessons, and there are sea turtles that can be seen swimming near the shore.
It has become a popular destination for families with its Caribbean coast location and palm trees, making it feel like you’re on vacation in some exotic location.
This is our favorite in this region, primarily because of the blue water and sand. An additional distinguishing characteristic is that you can snorkel right off the shore. There are all kinds of fish there, including pufferfish, eels, snappers, and much other colorful fish.
Playa Conchal is a bit more isolated and challenging to reach. For example, if you are staying at the Westin Playa Conchal or another resort that is located on the beach, you will already be there. If not, it will be a 10-minute walk from the town of Brasilito.
#2: Punta Uva
Punta Uva is a famous beach on the Caribbean coast. It is easy to get to, clean and has calm waters, perfect for families with small children. Punta Uva also features many seashells, corals, and beautiful palm trees.
If you are in Costa Rica, be sure to take a look at Punta Uva, which has what a family-friendly beach would need: warm water, safe beaches, beautiful golden sand, shade provided by palm trees, etc.
There is also a robust population of ex-pats and tons of marine life thanks to its proximity to Marino Ballena National Park. Some bonus fun would be checking out horseback riding, birdwatching, and other notable activities offered in the area.
#3: Tamarindo Beach
Tamarindo Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica. It’s located in the Nicoya Peninsula and is known for its white sand, calm waters, and nearby coral reefs. The beach offers something for everyone: surf lessons, horseback riding, scuba diving, and tours at Marino Ballena National Park.
Fishing, kayaking, and sailing are popular. Surfing in Tamarindo because of the constant wind and waves makes it ideal for those who wish to learn this sport.
The waves need to be more significant for experts, but that’s rarely the focus of family vacations. You can find large fish in some of the sportfishing spots. If you’d prefer to stay at the beach, you can walk down to the sand and enjoy the view.
On our visit to Costa Rica beaches, we visited Tamarindo beach, a few locations, and accommodations on our 8-day road trip with babies.
Tamarindo, despite the advancing commercial development, the interior area has plenty of restaurants, easy access to national parks, and hotels at all price ranges. If you fly into Tamarindo’s local airport, it’s pretty accessible.
If you fly into Daniel Oduber International Airport or San Jose International Airport, you’ll have to drive to the city. You can expect to spend about four hours on the road if you’re driving through San Jose or one hour if you’re driving from Daniel Oduber.
#4: Playa Flamingo
Playa Flamingo is a popular destination for families to explore and enjoy the calm waters, beautiful beaches, and pristine coral reefs. Some popular activities are horseback riding, surfing lessons, and scuba diving.
Playa Flamingo is situated a bit north of Tamarindo, on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica. This area is frequented by many visitors and has plenty of activities to partake in, like the recreational marina, where you rent excursions. There are a few types of fishing available: Scuba diving, swimming, surfing, and sailing.
There’s excellent fishing with catches like tuna, mahi-mahi, and snapper. If you enjoy golf, Playa Flamingo is close to the 18-hole Hacienda Pinilla championship course. The hotels in the area also offer other attractions like Palo Verde reserve and Santa Rosa National Park.
#5: Jaco Beach
Jaco is a beach town on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Jacó has a long stretch of beautiful beaches lined with palm trees and backed by calm waters.
The white sand beaches are pristine, and there are also many popular tourist attractions like horseback riding, surf lessons, and scuba diving. You can also explore the coral reef with sea turtles and other marine life at low tide.
While many might not consider Jaco a family-friendly destination, I beg to differ. The south end of Jaco has small, gentle waves and fantastic lodgings. While dining and the early nightlife are fun for the family, we are typically in bed before the craziness starts up on the north end of the beach.
This estuary is the perfect spot for children to enjoy water-based fun in a more relaxing setting. Our favorite crocodile is only minutes away. One downside of but vendors with umbrellas rent chairs all over the area. Whenever we visit, we stay at Las Palmas and Crocs next door.
#6: Playa Espadilla
Playa Espadilla is an excellent option for beautiful beaches and calm waters. A popular destination for family vacations, it’s home to numerous hotels and resorts and many activities, including sea turtle watching, scuba diving, and surfing lessons.
Located on the Caribbean coast, Playa Espadilla has coral reefs nearby and offers access to some of the country’s best surfing opportunities. It also features one of the few options for horseback riding in all of Costa Rica.
It’s just a few minutes from Quepos, one of Costa Rica’s most popular fishing towns, but Playa Espadilla provides more than relaxation; it offers a great place to cool off and relax with family and friends.
The beach does have large waves, but it’s still great for wading, and surf lessons are available for those looking to ride the waves safely. There are also activities for non-surfers, such as parasailing, jet skiing, and watching wildlife in the park.
#7: Parque Nacional Marino Ballena
Marino Ballena National Park is famous for scuba diving, sea turtle spotting, and horseback riding. With crystal clear waters and calm surf, it’s easy to see why this beach is a favorite among families with kids.
Whether you’re looking to book your next family vacation or just looking for a great place to spend the day by the water, Marino Ballena National Park has something for everyone.
While Parque Nacional Marino Ballena is also one of the country’s most popular destinations for surfing lessons, many visitors come here precisely to spot sea turtles from shore or from kayaks that are specially outfitted for these purposes.
As if that wasn’t enough, Marino Ballena National Park is located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast – meaning palm trees and pristine white sand beaches as far as the eye can see. Several travelers agree that Marino Ballena National Park is the best place in the world to take their children because of its cleanliness and beauty.
#8: Playa Carrillo
Carrillo Beach is an idyllic and family-friendly beach with calm waters and a beautiful coral reef. It’s one of the best places to snorkel and swim with sea turtles. This beach also offers horseback riding, surf lessons, scuba diving, Marino Ballena national park, and more.
Carrillo Beach is located about 40 minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park on the Caribbean Coast of Central America. The water here ranges from 75 to 90 degrees a year, making it a popular destination for all seasons.
With its low waves and weak tide, this beach is ideal for young families. Children can swim and play on the sandbar, then relax on the soft, warm sand. There are plenty of trees and shade on the crescent-shaped beach. You’ll find no restaurants on the beach, so it’s best to pack a picnic.
It’s the perfect beach for older kids to learn basic surfing skills from local instructors. A macaw breeding center is a great place to take your kids. You can also take them on a turtle-watching tour in a boat or kayak if they enjoy learning about animals.
#9: Montezuma Beach
Montezuma is a popular destination on the Pacific Ocean, where families can enjoy calm waters and beautiful beaches. Playa Samara, located about two hours south of Montezuma, is well-known for its surfing lessons.
The beach also offers coral reef dives, horseback riding, Caribbean coast sunsets, and sea turtles. The beach is another great family spot with warm water, clear visibility, and gentle waves, perfect for children.
Montezuma is a town in Costa Rica. Montezuma Waterfall features cascades and natural pools. It’s in the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s known for its long white-sand beach, Playa Montezuma.
Off the shore in the northeast is the trail through jungle and cove to Playa Grande, a famous surfing beach. Behind the beach are Romelia Wildlife Reserve, a turtle sanctuary, and a hatchery.
#10: Playa Guiones
Playa Guiones, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, is a beach with calm waters and idyllic palm trees. It’s also popular among surfing enthusiasts. Horseback riding tours are available, as well as surf lessons and scuba diving expeditions are available.
The Guiones beach is perfect for surfers, as the vast amount of surf schools in the area will allow anyone, regardless of how much surfing experience they have, to stand on a board and become immersed in the beautiful sport. In addition, the water is shallow and not as crowded, providing the perfect spot for newcomers and all their family members, no matter their age, to get their feet wet in the surfing game.
Once you tire of catching waves on your surfboard, explore the beach and bask in the tidal pools to your heart’s content. It is essential to set aside some time to view some of the most famous turtle nesting sites, Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, which is located just 30 minutes from your vacation spot.
Ostional is a beautiful beach on the Pacific Ocean. It is famous for its sea turtles and calm waters, making it a popular destination to go surfing or take a scuba diving lesson.
The coral reef found here offers opportunities for swimming with sea turtles. Many palm trees provide shade during the hot Costa Rican days, and Caribbean coastlines offer fun waves for surf lessons.
The scenery for a seldom-seen natural spectacle, in the rainy season the week before the new moon, the beach of Ostional attracts hundreds and sometimes hundreds of thousands of sea turtles. Turtles nest all year, but the wet season is prime nesting time because that’s when arribadas happen most frequently.
From August to December, tens of thousands of nesting turtles are born, whereas, in the dry season, the number is typically in the tens of thousands. Usually, the arribadas occur on nights a few days before the new moon, usually between the hours of 8 and 4 am, when most turtles show up.
#12: Playa Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa is also a beautiful beach on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Here you will find calm waters, beautiful palm trees, and a coral reef off the shore. It’s a popular destination for surfing lessons and scuba diving.
Surfing here is unbeatable, with high waves and plenty of curls, and everyone in this small area is either an artist or a surfer. You can enjoy sunbathing, beach walks, horseback riding, watching stunning sunsets, and surfing on the beautiful white sand.
After a long day out on the waves, relax and sip on the many different kinds of beers available at the local bars and restaurants. An excursion to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve nearby will be highly worthwhile if you prefer to see some wildlife.
#13: Manuel Antonio Beach
It holds so many beautiful things to be found by you and your family; this beach is located in the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica. Spend time at the beach after walking through Manuel Antonio National Park.
Its flawless beaches make it a great place to swim after exploring the rainforest; you will find the lush jungle filled with beautiful animals.
When you’re here, you can enjoy such attractions as ziplining, hiking, waterfall rappelling, white-water rafting, boat excursions, kayak trips, surfing lessons, night tours, etc.
In and around the town, you’ll see three types of monkeys, sloths, deer, lizards, and iguanas, and birds like toucans, trogons, and hummingbirds. The place also has many great restaurant options and many things to do with kids.
#14: Playa Negra
Playa Negra is a beautiful beach on the Caribbean coast with a large coral reef. It’s a popular destination for surfers and sea turtles, and it has calm waters perfect for families who want to explore the ocean.
The sand is a lovely white color, and palm trees provide shade when you need it. It’s also near Manuel Antonio National Park, which offers impressive views of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and many opportunities for family fun.
This small beach community offers more than just surfing breaks. Playa Negra has everything from world-class hotels, resorts, and budget lodges to world-famous cafes and local delicacies. Here you can get away from the hustle of other surf-centric communities on the Pacific Coast and enjoy a laid-back Tico lifestyle.
#15: Playa Tortuguero
Playa Tortuguero is a rare opportunity to spend time with sea turtles if what you desire for your ideal family vacation is to do just that. If you take a guide with you, Tortuguero National Park is an excellent family destination where you can see sea turtles emerge from the sea and make their nests on shore.
If you go snorkeling, the gorgeous black sands will offer a peaceful respite for hawksbill, leatherback turtles, and green sea turtles who nest between July and October. In addition, sharks can be found in abundance in the deep ocean when you go scuba diving.
Alas, this is not a safe spot for swimming because of heavy currents. But there are other options for you, like walking along the beach, observing toucans, and exploring the wondrous Tortuguero National Park.
Costa Rica offers many beautiful beaches perfect for families to enjoy, including playa Hermosa, the pacific ocean, and Puerto Viejo. These beaches boast calm waters, coral reefs, palm trees, and Caribbean coastlines.
With a fantastic array of activities, including horseback riding, surf lessons, and scuba diving, you cannot run out of fun activities. So regardless of your preference, Costa Rica has the beach for that. We hope you enjoy your vacation here.