Best Beach Destinations in Thailand with Kids

Baby, it’s cold outside! It’s a great time to talk about the beach … and more specifically, family beach destinations in Thailand.

Thailand is known for its beautiful stretches of sand; after all, this is the place where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach. With stunning coastal scenery, world-class customer service and a wide range of luxury hotels, Thailand is a favorite among world travelers looking to take in some vitamin D. The Thai are known for their hospitality and kid-friendly nature, which makes for a welcoming family vacation spot. A fantastic array of activities, from sea kayaking to scuba diving and elephant trekking, will cater to families seeking adventure, while serene beaches and award-winning spas will woo more relaxed travelers.

Krabi by Anthony Coronado

Thailand’s beaches are calling! Photo by Anthony Coronado

Top Beach Vacations in Thailand with Kids

Deciding on a beach destination in Thailand can be overwhelming, given the number of choices, so we’ve narrowed them down. Below are our favorite family-friendly beach destinations throughout the country.

Maya Bay by Fah Rojvithee

Stunning Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Don Island (a speedboat ride away from Phuket)


Phuket, Thailand’s largest and busiest island, is the most popular beach destination for foreign travelers. With glorious beaches, designer boutiques and six-star resorts, there are a number of reasons Phuket tops many travelers’ beach holiday lists. It’s easily accessible from Bangkok (and flights are very affordable), and there are a number of direct flights to Phuket from many countries in Europe and Asia.

The island offers accommodations and attractions for every type of traveler, be it a backpacker on a budget or a family looking for a memorable, luxurious experience. Popular activities on Phuket include snorkeling, diving, sea kayaking, elephant trekking and visiting the cultural sites. While Phuket boasts many stunning beaches of its own, island tours to Koh Phi Phi Don’s Maya Bay (the iconic location where The Beach was filmed) and Phang Na Bay (the setting for some scenes in James Bond’s The Man With The Golden Gun) are popular day trips.

Browse all ideas for family beach vacations

We've got insider tips galore on kid-friendly beaches around the world  >

TIP: Because Phuket is such a heavily trafficked destination, choose your beach carefully. Some are overrun with tourists, and parts of Phuket town are not suitable for a younger audience. Seek out resorts with private beaches, such as those on Mai Khao or Kata Noi, and book your activities through the hotel.

Beach time at the fabulous JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

Beach time at the fabulous JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

Phuket accommodations: Located only 20 minutes from the airport on a beautiful swath of private beach, the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is the ultimate resort for families. With four pools (including a fantastic kids’ pool), a kids’ club boasting numerous activities for young explorers and a number of excellent dining options, the resort caters to families on every level.

Emmy Krabi

Relaxing in picturesque Krabi. Photo by Laura Braunohler


If you’re looking for lighter crowds yet equally stunning beachscapes replete with limestone cliffs and emerald-green water, opt for the coastal town of Krabi. It delivers on the natural beauty factor and has a number of unique adventure activities for families. Home to a diverse collection of marine life, Krabi has excellent diving and snorkeling, and travelers can kayak among the rock outcrops to see cave art from prehistoric times.

Railay beach, Ao Nang beach, and the nearby Phi Phi Islands offer stretches of pristine sand and crystal-clear water. Limestone outcrops off the coast attract rock climbers from all over the globe. Krabi offers a sense of exclusivity and serenity that Phuket cannot, and is ideal for families who seek a slower pace. The town has managed to fly mostly under the radar among the international crowds, but in the last two years, airlines and hotels have been ramping up business in the area.

kayaking the hongs_krabi by lee woods

Kayaking the “hongs” off Krabi. Photo by Lee Woods

TIP: Be sure to plan the timing of your trip to Krabi or Phuket (both along the Andaman Sea coastline) around Thailand’s monsoonal seasons. Avoid trips from April to October, when rainfall is heaviest.

Krabi accommodations: Nothing spells luxury like the Anantara brand, and the Anantara Si Kao is no exception. An hour south of Krabi International Airport, this idyllic waterfront resort is a fantastic choice for families. With a kids’ club that offers a full range of indoor and outdoor experiences, to a children’s turndown service and family pool terrace rooms, this resort has all bases covered.

Logan elephant

Elephant trekking is a popular activity in Koh Samui as well as Phuket and Krabi

Koh Samui

Upscale and relaxed, Koh Samui is the premier gem in the Gulf of Thailand. Roads weren’t built here until the 1970s, and while the island has become increasingly popular with tourists, it has retained a sense of romanticism, adventure and charm.

Koh Samui encompasses nearly 125 miles of white sand beaches, jungle peaks and endless coconut groves. A fun family activity is to go off the beaten path and explore the island by car. Popular stops include waterfalls, where you can splash in the pools, and various viewpoints along the route. Just off the coast is Ang Thong National Marine Park, a group of 40 islands that offer excellent snorkeling and kayaking. Koh Samui also is home to some excellent Thai cooking schools, as well other activities such as elephant-trekking and go-karting.

Koh Samui can be reached via air or sea. The airport services a few international flights, but most arrive from Bangkok. Because Bangkok Airways built and maintains the airport, it holds a monopoly on flights — for that reason, airfare to Koh Samui is more expensive than it is to Phuket or Krabi.

Na Muang 2 Waterfall by Michaël DUCLOUX

The beautiful Na Muang Waterfall on Koh Samui. Photo by Michael Ducloux

TIP: When you visit Koh Samui, be careful to check the weather. The wet season, from September to mid-December, is often marked by heavy rains and tropical storms.

Koh Samui accommodations: Set among the palm trees on the northwest tip of the island, Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui has family villas with private infinity pools and separate sleeping areas for children. The complimentary Kids For All Seasons program offers a number of activities sure to delight children, from a crab hunt and coral collecting to s’mores on the beach.

The bottom line is that no matter which Thai tropical paradise you choose, you’ll have a memorable experience. Thailand offers so much more than sun and sand — it offers hospitality, exotic culture, exquisite cuisine and stunning natural beauty that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Want help booking a family vacation to Thailand?

That's what we do! Our Family Vacation Consulting Team works with you one on one to choose the right destination, book hotels and more. Click to send us a request  >

Relevant Links:

Browse family-friendly hotels and things to do in Thailand on Ciao Bambino

Where luxury meets bucket list at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort

72 hours in Bangkok with kids

Thailand summer adventure for teenagers

Editor’s Note: Photos by Loren Braunohler except where noted.


  1. I have also heard good things about the Ko Lanta area. Have you been with kids and would you recommend?

    • Hi Nicole! I have to say that I have not been to Koh Lanta with kids. It is a difficult destination to get to (fly to Krabi, taxi south down the coast for about 45 minutes, then take a speedboat transfer to Koh Lanta). Because it is far-removed, it is unspoilt, which is the beauty in it. It is more low-key and laid-back. It has fewer hotel options, especially on the luxury end. It depends on what you are looking for. I would say that it is a trip better-suited to families with older children who live in the area than ones who are coming from a long way and/or traveling with young children. If you need any help planning a beach trip to Thailand, we would be happy to assist. Let us know!

  2. Hi there., looking to come to thailand again this year 26th december for new year for about 11 nights, with my 9 year old son. Where would you recommend to go with him? Last year we came over just my partner and We absolutely loved it. We did bangkok for 3 nights, chiang mai for 4 nights and the koh samoui. But i am bringing my son this time so want it to be more family oriented. Look foreard to hearing from you.

    • Hi Tanya: Great to hear that you are headed back to Thailand! I recommend you take your son to Bangkok – you shouldn’t pass through Thailand without seeing the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as the beautiful temples along the river. Then you might want to consider a beach destination like Phuket, which is easy to get to and has some great resort options for families. Let us know if you need any assistance with planning your travel. Our travel planners can help you work out a full itinerary for your trip or accommodation booking only. Happy travels!

  3. I’ve visited a lot of beaches in Thailand with my son (now 3 years old) but the island I keep coming back to is Koh Chang. The water is incredibly calm and the sand is clean. Aside from the bars on Lonely Beach, it is not as much of a party island as places like Koh Phi Phi.

  4. We are landing and departing from Bangkok in March 2017. Family of 5 consisting of kids aged aged 18, 15 and 5. Want to spend 3 nights in Bangkok and then considering Chiang Mai and then Krabi. Want culture, good food, relaxing, elephant rides, possibly snorkelling and waterfalls. Any suggestions would help.

    • Hi Lisa – Thank you for your message. We can help! Our Asia Family Vacation specialist will reach out to you in email to help you create a wonderful kid-friendly itinerary. Best, -Amie

  5. Hello!
    Our family is planning Thailand in mid December for 20 days for the first time. Our kids are 6 and 10. We are on a budget and looking for calm and relatively non-touristy beach destinations with some cultural stuff nearby (or as side trips) as well. Ideally we would get our own little cabin or apartment so we can cook and eat at home sometimes. We are up for a bit of a trek to get to our destination. Any suggestions. I don’t think we are looking for a resort. Thanks!

  6. Hello! We are thinking of coming to Thailand August 2017. Prob fly to Bangkok stay there for 3/4nts, then onto Phuket, my family consists of 2 adults and 4 boys aged 14/11/7/4 years old. Stay in Phuket for approx 3 weeks, maybe 1 week in different locations?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Regards Justine

    • Hi Justine – Thank you so much for your message! We have a few wonderful itinerary options that we like to recommend in Thailand. One of our Family Vacation Advisors will reach out to you in email to get the conversation going. Best, -Amie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *