Best Beaches in Thailand for Families

Author: Celine Brewer

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We have traveled to many amazing beach destinations with our kids, yet we always want to come back to Thailand. We love our family trips to Thailand for so many reasons. The people are warm & friendly, the food is amazing, and the countryside is beautiful. But, without question the main reason we love coming back is the amazing beaches in Thailand for families.

Thailand is blessed with an incredible amount of tropical coastline, and one day we hope to see all the best beaches in Thailand. We have been to most of the family-friendly destinations in Thailand, including Phuket, Ao Nang/Railay and Koh Lanta. Based on our real-life trips to Thailand with kids, we are happy to share our list of the best beaches in Thailand for families.

A tall pam tree casts a shadow on a near empty Pai Plong Beach near Ao Nang.

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Family-Friendly Ao Nang Beaches

Even though Phuket gets all the attention as Thailand’s best beach destination, we actually think that the beaches around Ao Nang are even better. We loved visiting Ao Nang with kids so much that we came back on our second trip to Thailand with kids.

We’ve been to most of the beaches in Ao Nang for families. Here are our favorites:

Pai Plong Beach

Not only is Pai Plong Beach our favorite family-friendly beach in Ao Nang, it’s also the most fun to get to! The adventure begins with a beautiful walk along Ao Nang Beach to the Monkey Trail. This fun hiking trail through the dense jungle features wooden steps, boardwalks and often monkeys.

the kids from the Family Can Travel blog climb wooden stairs on the Monkey Trail on their way to Pai Plong Beach, near Ao Nang, Thailand.
The Monkey Trail was a ton of fun!

Pai Plong Beach is a much smaller beach than most of the Ao Nang beaches, but it packs in a ton of scenery. Framed by limestone cliffs and a striking island, the views from Pai Plong Beach are equal to or better than the views Railay Beach is so famous for.

More reasons we think that Pai Plong Beach is one of the best beaches in Thailand for families are the soft sand, clear water, and no sea urchins.

Two kids play in the waves at the beautiful Pai Plong Beach near Ao Nang, Thailand.
Pai Plong Beach is stunning!

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Phra Nang Cave Beach

On our first family trip to Thailand, we thought that Railay Beach was the nicest beach in the Ao Nang area. We were wrong… Phra Nang Cave Beach shines as one of the best beaches in Thailand for families.

You reach Phra Nang Cave Beach via a scenic longboat trip from Ao Nang to Railay, followed by a beautiful 20-minute walk. The walk leads you through a quaint village, than alongside a majestic limestone mountain. We were lucky enough to spot monitor lizards and monkeys along the way.

an 8-year old boy walks in the crystal clear water on Phra Nang Cave Beach near Railay Beach, Thailand.
The water is so clear at Phra Nang Cave Beach.

Phra Nang Cave Beach itself is a paradise with water crystal-clear enough that we could easily spot fish. There’s plenty of fun things for kids at Phra Nang Cave Beach including watching rock climbers, and a walk along a shallow sandbar to a nearby island is a must-try.

Celine Brewer, walks along the sandbar to the island off the shores of Phra Nang Cave Beach.
The walk along a sandbar to a nearby island was very popular.

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Noppharat Thara Beach

Noppharat Thara Beach is stunning with a long stretch of golden brown sand bookended by karst limestone mountains on either end. We love that this beach is very clean with hardly any garbage and your kids will love collecting their favorites from the thousands of seashells along the sand.

thousands of beautiful seashells on the sand at Noppharat Thara Beach in Ao Nang, Krabi.

The water at Noppharat Thara Beach stays extremely shallow for a very long time and had very small waves (which we understand is typical in the ‘dry’ season). This Ao Nang beach shows good signs of being healthy with thousands of tiny little (harmless) crabs and snails calling it home. It’s rare to see this kind of life on a tourist beach and it was really welcome to see.

a toddler runs through the water at Noppharat Thara Beach in Ao Nang, Thailand.
Our 3-year old loved running through the shallow water at Noppharat Thara Beach.

Noppharat Thara Beach is considered the ‘other’ beach in Ao Nang as it is not along the main tourist strip of town. As a result of its location, it’s less popular than Ao Nang Beach, but in our opinion, that’s a good thing. It’s a short tuk-tuk ride from the main strip or a 20-30 minute walk.

a beautiful sunset over Noppharat Thara Beach in Ao Nang, Thailand.
Can’t beat those Thailand beach sunsets!

Hong Island

Ko Hong is a great family day trip from Ao Nang. You can easily reach Hong Island on a day tour from Ao Nang or by taking a longtail boats from the collective on the north end of Ao Nang Beach.

a 5-year old girl plays on the beach in Hong Island, Thailand.

A visit to the hidden lagoon is included on most day trips to Hong Island.It’s a very special place and is worth the time away from your beach day. As you slowly enter the lagoon through a very narrow passage, the water gets quite shallow and turns and incredible shade of turquoise. Completing the idyllic setting is the tall, lush green hills all around.

The long-tail boats cannot park at the main beach, so they drop you off on a dock of a long, floating pier. Be sure to note your boat number and agree with your captain what time he will pick you up at. There are National Park employees at the dock who collect your 300 baht (~$10USD)payment for admission into the park (small kids are free).

After paying, you walk along a long, floating pathway from the dock to the beach. This walk can be quite a challenge if the waves are big (as they were when we visited) as the pathway will rise and fall along with the waves. There are ropes on either side to help you balance, but watch your kids closely!

Family Friendly Hong Island Beach Thailand

There is a stretch of sand immediately north of the floating pathway where you can swim, but most people walk to the very north end of the beach where a small lagoon resides. This area is nicely protected from the open ocean and has calm water.

Swimmers are encouraged via signs and (somewhat annoying) loudspeakers to wear their lifejackets while in the water, although no explanation is given why. There is a decent amount of bleached coral chunks and seashells in the shallow water, so bring water shoes.

At first, we thought Railay Beach was one of the most beautiful beaches we’d ever seen, but Hong Island gives it a run for its money. The beach at Ko Hong has true white sand, which produces a beautiful turquoise blue water in the lagoon when the sun is out (Railay’s sand is nice, but it’s golden, not white).

The sand here is so soft, it’s like talcum powder (although it sticks to you like crazy). Both beaches have towering limestone mountains around them, but Hong Island’s are closer and feel more imposing.

Ko Hong is a popular stop on snorkeling tours. Be sure to take 15 minutes to you can enjoy the island’s nature trail. There are a lot of good English interpretive signs along the trail, including some interesting (and chilling) ones about what happened on the island after the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the water monitor lizards who call this place home. They are so large, they are often confused with Komodo Dragons!

Hong Island with kids in Thailand

Recommended Tour

We took a longtail boat to Hong Island. These days the fastest way to get there is on a speed boat tour to Hong Island.

Railay Beach

Railay Beach is famous for being one of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches. Railay Beach is a truly beautiful beach, with towering limestone mountains on all sides, in and out of the water. In fact, these mountains cut Railay Beach off from the mainland and are the reason it can only be reached by boat.

Railay Beach is a family-friendly beach in Thailand.
Beautiful scenery at Railay Beach, Thailand.

The sand at Railay Beach is soft and golden, but due to its popularity, there is very few of seashells, etc. left for little kids to collect. Given we were there on a sunny day in high-season, it was busy with lots of people, but to be honest, I had expected worse.

The ocean at Railay Beach stays shallow for a very long time, but there are a quite a few rocks on the seafloor, so we recommend water shoes. The water was very tranquil with the only real waves coming from the non-stop flow of longtail boats.

Dan Brewer, of Family Can Travel, takes a long tail boat to Railay Beach with his kids on a family trip to Thailand.

The reason we don’t list Railay beach as one of the best beaches in Ao Nang for families is the longtail boats. They dock just offshore in a big cluster in the center of the beach.

Beachgoers who wish to have a stretch of sand without the long-tail boats in front of them can go to either end of the beach where there are large areas roped off to protect people from the boats. The longtail boats are loud and really disrupt the peaceful vibe people want on a beach day.

Long tail boats on Railay Beach Thailand.

There are plenty of activities at Railay Beach, ranging from kayaking, snorkeling to rock climbing. We rented a 3-person kayak and had a great time gliding through the tranquil water and seeing the amazing limestone karst islands up close.

Kayaking with Kids at Railay Beach Thailand.

Although Railay Beach is one of Thailand’s most scenic beaches, we encourage you to walk the extra 20 minutes to Phra Nang Cave Beach. It’s a pretty big upgrade.

Ao Nang Beach

It only took us a few moments on the sand at Ao Nang Beach to realize that we didn’t like it nearly as much as the other area beaches. It was lined up with a lengthy row of longtail boats, ready to take tourists to nicer beaches further afield.

The spot where we were standing smelled really bad due to the large sewer pipe draining right on to the beach and there was a noticeable amount of garbage (beer bottle caps, etc) in the sand.

longtail boats lined up at Ao Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand.

We quickly abandoned our plans to spend time on this beach and hopped into a long-tail boat and set sail for Railay Beach.

a 10-year old girl on a family trip to Thailand, enjoys the amazing scenery on a longboat trip to famous Railay Beach.

Tours from Ao Nang Beach

While we didn’t love Ao Nang Beach, it is the launching point for many great tours of the surrounding islands. Visit Ko Phi Phi, Ko Hong and many more!

Phuket Beaches for Families

Kamala Beach

With soft golden sand, Kamala Beach is a very likable Phuket beach. The ocean floor is also nice and soft with little in the way of seashells or rocks, so your kids can probably get by without water shoes here. It’s not a very long beach though, which makes it feel more crowded.

two kids play in the sand at Kamala Beach Phuket Thailand.

If you are lucky enough to be there as the tide is going out or before the hordes of jet skis arrive, the water can be quite tranquil, but the water sports activities such as jet skies and parasailing mean that there will be large waves coming unexpectedly; some of them can be large enough to knock over small children who may be unaware, so watch your kids closely at all times.

Kamala Beach is busy with sun worshipers during Christmas week in Phuket Thailand.

Bang Tao Beach

Bang Tao Beach is one of the best beaches in Phuket due to its 8 km long stretch of unbroken beach. We had read that the southern half of Bang Thao Beach is the busiest as that’s where the most of the resorts are.

We had also read that many of these resorts own an elephant and bring it into the water to play with guests. We like to avoid crowds when possible and we would never support cruelty to animals, so we looked at satellite shots on Google Maps and found a nice place north of all the development.

two small kids play in the sand at Bang Tao Beach in Phuket Thailand.

This part of the beach had a bunch of local Thai food stands with pigs and chickens running wild. This looked like our kind of place, so we decided to simply go where fate wanted us to go and it turned out to be a very nice stretch of the beach.

Just north of here is a deep manmade ditch in the sand which connects the resort lagoons to the ocean. At first I thought it was ugly, but what our kids saw were two super-cool 10-foot tall walls of sand and it didn’t take them long to start running up and sliding down them.

We quickly saw the charm in this and made ourselves little butt seats in the sand and watched the kids play happily for a long time at this unique sand formation.

visiting Bang Tao Beach Phuket Thailand with Kids.

The ocean got deep very quickly and the waves were larger than we felt comfortable with, so we always went into the water with the kids. The waves were crashing in the shallow water, so we just held the kids in the deeper water and jumped in time with the wave bumps as they went past.

Although this was fun, the kids really prefer to play themselves in the shallow water; it just wasn’t safe enough to do here with our small kids.

Bang Tao Beach Phuket Thailand with Kids

Bang Thao is a very beautiful beach with turquoise water and super soft, golden sand. It’s so long that it can absorb a ton of people and it doesn’t feel as busy as it is. The ocean floor was very smooth, with no sign of rocks.

Bang Tao Beach Phuket Thailand with Kids

Phuket Family Photoshoot

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Koh Lanta Beaches for Families

Khlong Dao Beach

We spent New Years on a family trip to Koh Lanta. We were fortunate that our Koh Lanta hotel was right on Khlong Dao Beach, because we loved it. In fact, it’s one of our favorite family-friendly beaches in Thailand.

two kids play in small waves on Khlong Dao Beach, Thailand.

Stretching about 2 km, Khlong Dao Beach boasts soft, white sand and gentle waves, perfect for kid-friendly bodysurfing without a worry. What sets it apart is its super soft sand, both onshore and underwater, meaning no need for water shoes.

Khlong Dao Beach is also a great spot for family beach walks, offering a treasure trove of seashells and marine life to discover. Plus, with no motorized sports or beach vendors, it guarantees a peaceful family day out. Our stay included magical sunset walks every night, adding to the unforgettable family moments.

We hope that our post on the best Thailand beaches for families helps you plan your trip. We return to Thailand with kids again and again as it is such a family-friendly destination. We hope your family trip to Thailand is the best it can be!

Don't miss these incredible Thailand beaches. This is a list of family-friendly beaches to visit in Thailand with kids. #thailand #thailandbeaches #railaybeach #phuket #hongisland
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Celine Brewer is a dedicated family travel blogger with a profound passion for helping families create unforgettable adventures together. Her blog blends captivating travel narratives with practical tips for family-friendly destinations and enjoying active travel with kids. As a mother of two, she understands the unique challenges of traveling with children and offers valuable insights to empower parents.

When Celine isn't traveling with her husband and two kids, she's either working on one of her three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Baby Can Travel and Travel Banff Canada) or out enjoying the majestic Canadian Rockies her family calls home.