We've compiled the best local beach and lake destinations for families, based on recommendations from the mamas.
A Summer day at the beach is the best activity for families with kids, don’t you think? The sun, the water and sand make the perfect setting for hours of fun for the children and parents.
Luckily in the Netherlands, you are never far from the sea or a lakeside beach, many with picnic areas, playgrounds, and options for water sports. There are plenty of options for your family to enjoy.
Amsterdam City Beaches
Located on IJburg, Blijburg offers a funky location both day and night during the summer season. During the day, there are plenty of kids making sandcastles and paddling, whilst nightlife includes DJs and musicians.
If you’re looking for a small and cozy stretch of sand, Diemerpark is the place to go. This quiet and beautiful natural park, twice as large as the Vondelpark, has a small beach (35 meters wide and 100 meters long) ideal for families with small children.
This beach in the south-east is equipped with toilets and showers, and has apparatus in the water for the children to play on.
This town beach is located in the south-east of the city.
Trendy urban hangout with beach, at NDSM in Noord.
Located north-east of the centre, not far from the Funenpark, this is where urban chic meets beach.
Large beach in Nieuw-West.
This popular city beach lies between Beatrix Park and RAI Centre.
Lakes, heading North
Easy to reach by bike by Amsterdam Centrum, this 650 acre recreational area is located between Zaandam and Purmerend. There are 5 beaches, and plenty to do: swimming, diving, canoeing, fishing, sailing, and other water sports. There is also a water playground, a children’s farm, and picnic areas.
This village in the municipality of Wijdemeren is known for its beautiful lakes. Besides enjoying the beach, you can rent a canoe or rowboat, have a nice meal at one of the waterfront restaurants, go bowling, play golf, or visit the castle museum.
The Hemmeland area, about half an hour from Amsterdam by car or public transport, has three beautiful beaches appropriate for recreational swimming. This is a quiet spot with lots of space, so interesting for those who want to enjoy the beach whilst avoiding the crowds.
Lakes, heading South
This recreational lake in Groengebied Amstelland near Amsterdam is a haven for bird watchers. The lake has two beaches, a playground, and facilities for various water sports. You can also bike, hike, or go horseback riding.
The Vinkeveenseplassen is a natural and water sports area located northwest of Utrecht, where you can find 12 sand islands, four of which are accessible by the mainland. The beaches on the islands are well equipped for recreation, so you can swim and sunbathe to your delight, have a picnic at the picnic benches, buy a snack and let your kids enjoy the playground facilities.
This artificial lake created for recreational purposes south-east of Amsterdam has a beach with a great water playground and barbeque facilities nearby. You can choose between a variety of water sports, go for a hike or a bike ride on the woodland trails or just relax in the sun. There is also lots of room for parking and dogs are allowed.
West Coast, from North to South
This is the biggest and most populated of Frisian Islands, around 2 hours from Amsterdam by car or public transport, but well worth the trip. Besides the gorgeous beaches and dunes, a major tourist attraction is EcoMare, the seal sanctuary where you can witness the feeding of the seals, porpoises and fish. There are plenty of other interesting things for families with children to do in Texel, like swimming in the heated outdoor pool, riding ponies and visiting the local ice cream farm.
Recommended for being quiet, clean, and beautiful.
This family-friendly beach is just 9 km north of Alkmaar and popular with surfers.
This historical fishing village has wonderful beaches and dunes, plus a lot to explore for families that love history and art: several museums, an art gallery, a medieval chapel, the foundations of a castle, and the Jan van Spiejk lighthouse.
This is another local beach worth visiting, a Kitesurfing paradise with a good choice of cafés.
Belonging to the small town of IJmuiden, this beach is on the quieter side and popular with kite fliers.
This is a peaceful beach in the lovely National Park de Zuid-Kennermerduinen. It features a self-service bio restaurant.
A popular beach location close to Amsterdam. The surrounding sand dunes are great for active kids and there’s a good selection of trendy cafés to choose from.
There are regular buses from Centraal Station to Zandvoort, or if you prefer the train, its just a 30-minute train ride away. This beach is extremely popular and there’s a good selection of cafés and restaurants here and is also surrounded by the National Park de Zuid-Kennermerland.
Further down the coast from Zaandvoort, Noordwijk is a family-friendly beach with a beach shuttle (so you can park for free outside Noordwijk) and a favourite with kite-surfers.
These are two unique beaches in Noordwijk aan Zee, an area that has been awarded the European Quality Coast mark. The Duindamseslag beach can only be reached by bike or on foot, whilst the The Langevelderslag beach has a large parking lot, shops and a restaurant. Along the beautiful dunes you can see foxes and deer, and there are paths for taking nice long walks. Both beaches have optional nude areas, sign posted.
This is one of two beachside resorts in The Hague. Scheveningen is a lively resort with a long boulevard, which is home to Sea Life aquarium, museum ship Hr. MS Mercuur and the Scheveningen Museum (with lighthouse). There are also plenty of pavillions and terraces.
South of Scheveningen, a little quieter and includes a children’s carousel (June-September) and Atlantis play boat.
Compiled by: Catarina Queiroz and Lisa Benoist
photo credit: Flickr