We’ve compiled the best local beach and lake destinations for families, based on recommendations from our Mamas.

This information dates from 2021. Please check zwemwater.nl for the latest information.

A summer’s 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

Diemerpark If you’re looking for a small and cozy stretch of sand, Diemerpark is the place to go. Diemerpark is to the southeast of Centrum, east of Diemen. 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. map

Amsterdam Roest Beach

Gaasperplas This beach in the south-east is equipped with toilets and showers, and has apparatus in the water for the children to play on.map

Hoge Dijk This town beach is located in the south-east of the city. map

Pllek This riverfront location, at NDSM in Noord, is an up-and-coming hangout with fabulous street art, galleries and cafes. It is also home to the popular monthly IjHallen giant flea market. An easy, free 20 min ferry ride from Centraal. While this is a sand beach, swimming is not allowed. map

Sloterplas A large, quiet beach in Nieuw-West. Tram 13 stops minutes away from the beachfront. map

Sloterplas Beach

Strandzuid This popular city beach lies between Beatrix Park and RAI Centre. map

Lakes, North of Amsterdam

Twiske Easy to reach by bike from 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. map

Loosdrecht 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. map

Hemmeland  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. map

Lakes, South of Amsterdam

Ouderkerkerplas 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. map

Vinkeveenseplassen 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. map

Gaasperplas 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. map

West Coast Beaches, from North to South

Texel 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. map

Hargen aan Zee Recommended for being quiet, clean, and beautiful. map

Bergen aan Zee This family-friendly beach is just 9 km north of Alkmaar and popular with surfers. map

Egmond aan Zee 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. map

Wijk aan Zee This is another local beach worth visiting, a kitesurfing paradise with a good choice of cafés. map

IJmuiden Belonging to the small town of IJmuiden, this beach is on the quieter side and popular with kite fliers. map

Canoeing and kite surfing at Ijmuiden

Parnassia aan Zee This is a peaceful beach in the lovely National Park de Zuid-Kennermerduinen. It features a self-service bio restaurant. map

Bloemendaal 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. map

Zandvoort 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. It is also surrounded by the National Park de Zuid-Kennermerland. map

Noordwijk Further down the coast from Zandvoort, Noordwijk is a family-friendly beach with a beach shuttle (so you can park for free outside Noordwijk) and a favourite with kite-surfers. map

Duindamseslag & Langevelderslag 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.

Scheveningen 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 pavilions and terraces. map

Kijkduin South of Scheveningen, a little quieter and includes a children’s carousel (June-September) and Atlantis play boat. map

Photo credit:
Main banner image, Diemerpark Mini beach © Marjolijn Pokorny, amsterdam&partners, all rights reserved.
Ijmuiden beach © Cris Toala Olivares, amsterdam&partners, all rights reserved.
Sloterplas beach © Maarten Brante, amsterdam&partners, all rights reserved.
Diemerpark Mini beach © Sara Cardona Garcia, amsterdam&partners, all rights reserved.
Roest beach © Amsterdam Roest, amsterdam&partners, all rights reserved.

Catarina Queiroz

Catarina Queiroz is writer living in the beautiful city of The Hague with her husband and daughter. She was born in Portugal, but spent her childhood in Africa, an experience that has shaped her life and interests. She has a B.A. in Philosophy and is also a trained teacher. Traveling, for leisure and cultural enrichment, and reading, especially crime and historical novels, are her passions. You can read what she has to say on parenting and expat life, plus get your hands on one of her delicious recipes, on her blog craftiemum.com.

Lisa Benoist