If you’re traveling with kids 12-18 years old to Phuket Island, you’ll want to know where the top Phuket beaches for families are and what there is for them to do. It makes your job a lot easier in planning your vacation if there is something for the kids to do – we know! Read over the features of these 4 top Phuket family beaches to see if you can find that one thing that’s most important for you and your family.
Criteria – Top Phuket Beaches for Families with Kids Ages 12-18
- Not so crowded – easy to keep track of everyone
- Clean, soft sand for throwing Frisbee (discs), kicking a ball
- Gentle waves during high season (November through April)
- Snorkeling or other water activities!
- Shade trees
- Sandy bottom (under water), infrequent rocks or coral
- Low probability of stingrays
That last one is a rather important consideration. Though not very common at Phuket’s beaches, stingrays are sometimes seen. They rest just under a thin layer of sand, and when stepped on they swing their tail, lashing legs or feet with their venomous barbs. It’s not a pleasant experience – we know from experience! So, we’ve chosen beaches on the west side of the island to lessen the chance that any stingrays are encountered.
Quick First Aid Tip for Jellyfish or Stingray Stings – See any lifeguard present and apply vinegar and heating packs (40°C) to help counteract the venom. Then go quickly to a hospital for bad stings, and in any case when there is difficulty breathing, racing heart, or other serious symptoms.
It’s no secret, that for decades, Phuket’s beaches were made for adults coming from every country in the world. Only recently has Thailand’s Tourist Authority decided to target families and other quality tourists. This is great news for families with children, who in the past didn’t have many options. Today there are a handful of great beaches to choose from. Read our recommendations below and see if you can find the perfect beaches for your stay.
Best Beaches for Families with Kids 12-18 years old
If you’re really looking for seclusion and peace and quiet – Nai Yang Beach on Phuket’s west coast is one destination you should consider. You can find Nai Yang just south of the airport (HKT) going about three kilometers down to and past, Sirinat National Park.
Nai Yang is an excellent spot to stay if you’re looking for a beach with a very natural setting. Filled with tall ironwood trees resembling fir trees, this is a great place for exploring the forest or sandy beach. If you go north, you can reach Mai Khao Beach, we also cover that beach in this article (last). There are boats waiting on the beach to take you to Nai Thon or Banana beach if you feel like going on a short boat ride.
If you’re looking for a little bit of shopping – there is some at the south end of the beach that are worth trying for a snack or main meal.
At the north end of Nai Yang is a very small Thailand National Park area named Sirinat. Cleaned up after the tsunami, Sirinat National Park has a very natural looking setting with birds, lizards, and lots of fish in the water near the reef and small island.
The beach is lined with hardy ironwood trees (from the Casuarina genus), providing a lot of shade if you’d like to stay out of the strong tropical sunshine. Nai Yang Beach is rated one of the top beaches in Phuket for its natural beauty and fun things to do.
Nai Yang is perfect for a family with kids in the 12 to 18-year age range! If you’re already thinking about where to stay, we cover that below.
Why is Nai Yang Beach Great for Kids 12-18?
Sometimes. Usually there are lifeguards at this beach – but not always – so if it’s important to you, have a look before you settle in here.
The snorkeling at Nai Yang is really excellent at either end of the beach. Bring your snorkel, mask, and fins! If you’re here in November to February, you may get lucky enough to see the female sea turtles lay eggs, and the young emerge from their cracked shells.
3. Camping on the Beach!
Sirinat National Park allows camping on the beach and back under the trees in the park, and it’s something fun to do for kids (and adults) of all ages. Rent a tent or bring your own – up to you! Very reasonable rental prices per night and per tent. Of course, they have restrooms and shower facilities for campers.
4. Bodyboarding or Surfing!
The waves can get big on Nai Yang since it’s a west-facing beach, but usually there are small waves coming in that anyone can ride with a bodyboard. A bodyboard is a foam rectangle that you lay belly-down on. Fun for all ages! When the waves are bigger, a couple hundred-meter swim out to reach them is required. Surfboard rentals and even lessons are available from Saltwater Dreaming Surf Shop at Bang Tao Beach, a short drive to the south.
Kiteboarding Asia Phuket (Kite-surfing) is located at the southern end of Nai Yang. If the wind isn’t too strong (or weak) your teenager might want to give it a try. Instruction available.
Where to Stay near Nai Yang Beach?
1. Bismarck’s Paradise!
The home of Luxury Villas Phuket – this private pool villa estate is recently built and always kept up to date with the most modern conveniences. It is found on a hill located between Nai Yang and Nai Thon beaches because they’re just the style of beaches many people prefer for relaxation while on vacation. These villas are perfect for families with children of any age. Stay here if you’re concerned about your privacy and want to eat amazing authentic local food. You will enjoy the highest standards of service, high online review-site ratings, and reasonable rates.
2. Marriott Resort Phuket – Nai Yang Beach
If a very large resort is more your style, the Marriott receives good ratings and occupies a nice spot at the southernmost end of the beach. As you might expect, this resort has clean grounds and it is relatively quiet. The beach can be a far walk – 500 meters – during low tide. Rates around 5,000 THB to start. More info about the Marriott Resort Phuket
A medium-sized, west facing beach, Nai Thon Beach gets exceptional ratings from online sites, and certainly gets a good recommendation from us. The vibe here is really laid back, and there are not often many people on the beach, even during the sunniest days. The water is clear turquoise blue, and the sand very light and deep. It’s an ideal place to fall asleep to the sound of lapping waves on the shore.
Why is Nai Thon Beach Great for Kids 12-18?
Though the beach has some rocks on it, and the ends of the beach have underwater coral and rocks, there is a lot of space in the middle where you can swim or wade without fear of stepping on something hard. The bottom is sandy along much of the beach here.
Nai Thon is great for snorkeling, so definitely bring your gear. Most of sea bottom is covered with coral reef and rocks, so there is a lot of different sea life present. This is one of the best places for snorkeling on Phuket Island.
3. Surfing and Bodyboarding!
During November, as the main big-wave season is winding down in Phuket, there can still be a number of days which have small or large waves that are great for riding on a board. Surfboards are available for rent right here at the beach. Lifeguards are sometimes present, and the water is generally safe unless the waves are a meter or bigger, then a dangerous undertow can form. Pay attention to the lifeguard flags.
4. Perfect Picnic Spot!
On a beach mat under the trees or under your umbrella on your rental chair, Nai Thon is a scenic spot to watch the waves slowly roll in as you stuff your face with Thai food found along the beach. Grilled foods, fruits, fruit-shakes, and other cold drinks are available.
Where to Stay near Nai Thong Beach?
1. Bismarck’s Luxury Villas!
This property is set in the hills between Nai Thon and Nai Yang beaches. Every consideration has been put into making this the ideal luxury villa for you and your family. Bismarck’s has a strong focus on privacy. Eco-friendly saltwater swimming pool and updated furnishings and amenities, make this accommodation the ultimate choice in Phuket vacation villas. Nestled between two beaches, and with easy access to Patong Beach’s action, you’ll love staying at Bismarck’s Paradise. Book a room today, or just head over to see more information on their Luxury Villas Phuket website.
2. Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach
Pullman Phuket is at the top of Nai Thon Beach, even just beyond the sand of the beach, set on the small hill above a rocky section, and with access to the sandy beach. Rooms are priced around 5,000 THB and the property and services get good reviews. More info about the Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach
Bang Tao is a very long beach stretching about 7 kilometers from top to bottom. This lovely beach is located near (just north of) Surin Beach on Phuket’s west coast, north of Patong Beach and west of Phuket Town.
Because Bang Tao Beach is so big, you won’t feel like it’s too crowded like Patong Beach may feel to you. There can be many people at this beach, but it’s more spread out. There is a lot of commerce at this beach, and you’ll be able to buy just about anything you’d want or need for your beach activities including great food and a variety of alcohol. There are beach chairs with umbrellas, and massage available up and down the beach. Bang Tao Beach has plenty of shade trees, so you can get out of the sun when you’ve had too much.
The sandy area of Bang Tao Beach is perfect for kids and families, picnics, running, and other sports. The sand doesn’t drop off sharply at the water’s edge, it has a very gradual slope in most places. This is great for anyone interested in walking through the shallow water, and you can see the bottom, so cutting your feet on shells or coral isn’t likely.
Why is Bang Tao Beach Great for Kids 12-18?
1. The The Gently Sloping Beach is ideal for walking, running, ball sports, badminton, Frisbee throwing, Frisbee golf, and other sports and activities. The ocean is very shallow for a long way out, so again, it’s great for kids and adults who want to walk slowly through the shallows, or just plop right down in the water and fall asleep. Assuming no waves, of course!
2. Learn Surfing, Bodyboarding, or Paddle boarding – depending on the waves. There is a surf shop called Saltwater Dreaming on the south end of the beach where you can choose one of the sports mentioned and spend a couple hours getting some exercise in. Bodyboarding can be done in as little as 1-meter high waves at the shore break. Surfing requires waves which build further out, and usually these swells occur during April to November each year. Paddle boarding is ideal when the water is flat – which is almost all the time during December to March/April.
On the south end of Bang Tao is a spot with rocks piled up, and all over the sand are scattered rocks with barnacles. There are many fish in this area, and it’s great for snorkeling. If there’s more than one of you in the water, have a contest to see who can count more different species of fish.
4. Jet skis, Sailing, and Parasailing can be enjoyed at Bang Tao. There aren’t that many jet skis, but the noise can be loud at times. They are supposed to stay far out away from swimming areas, but still, you’ll hear them. If your kids are old enough to ride a jet ski (Waverunner) safely, this is a much better place to go than Patong Beach where there are more people, and it’s rather chaotic and more dangerous.
Where to Stay near Bang Tao Beach?
1. Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket
An exclusive 5-star resort on the beach at Bang Tao, with vast amounts of land including lagoon frontage. You’ll find sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach. There are a few swimming pools and restaurants. The location is right in the middle of Bang Tao Beach. Virtually empty beach in front of the resort. Rates beginning at 7,600 THB. More info about the Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket
2. Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket
Noted for great hospitality and clean rooms in the reviews found online, the Dusit Thani is a world-class resort that won’t leave you wanting for much. Sailing, kayaks, and windsurfing boards available for use on the lagoon. Rooms begin around 5,000 THB. More info about the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket
Way up above Phuket’s international airport (HKT) on the northwest side of the island is this very long beach, stretching about 13 kilometers from end to end. Mai Khao Beach is the biggest beach on Phuket Island. It’s actually more than one-fifth the length of Phuket!
If you’re looking for a spot where you can walk, run, or kayak for hours, this is your beach. Though the sun can be burning-hot in Phuket, there are many shade trees lining Mai Khao, and you won’t have any trouble finding a private spot to relax under the shady ironwood trees, or rental umbrellas.
Sunsets can be dramatic, with unparalleled views because there is nothing blocking the view to the west over the Andaman Sea. So, stick around for dinner!
Mai Khao is known as the beach where families go to vacation on Phuket Island, and that will be evident as you search through a high number of family friendly resorts located here.
Picture-perfect beach vistas… soft sand… and privacy if you want it, Mai Khao has a great laid-back vacation atmosphere for those not wishing to hear music pounding and jet skis screaming down the beach.
Why is Mai Khao Beach Great for Kids 12-18?
1. Soft Ocean Bottom!
The sand under the water is mostly free of rocks and coral, and sharp shells. This is an ideal beach for wading, swimming, or even running through the surf as a workout. The water is usually clear and clean! Note – there is no real snorkeling here, but of course you can bring your gear and explore the sandy bottom anyway.
2. Expansive Beach!
Perfect for exploring. If you’re motivated, you could walk over 10 kilometers on the beach and never leave Mai Khao. Great for kids who want to put some distance on the parents or younger siblings, and it is safe enough to do so. The shallow water goes out for quite some ways, and the sandy shore slopes gently. It’s ideal for kicking a ball or throwing a disc or ball back and forth with a friend. If there is no wind, buy a cheap badminton set and do that for some exercise – Thai style!
3. Proximity to Fun Stuff!
Sirinat National Park is to the south, just a short drive past the airport. Though not all teens are into it, there is a large water park – the biggest one in the south – “Splash Jungle Water Park” just minutes away.
Bang Pae Waterfall is a short drive away. Once there, you’ll hike through tropical rainforest and finish with a swim in the cool freshwater stream. You can eat lunch here, so it makes a great half-day trip.
4. Water Activities!
Some resorts along the beach offer paddle board rentals and kayaking. You may have to walk quite a distance to see a rental stand, but it could be worth it.
From April to November you could luck-into some bigger waves that could be just right for teens learning to surf. During the other months of the year when you’re likely to be visiting Mai Khao, there can be days where riding a bodyboard in the shore-break can be fun enough for an hour or two. If the waves are a meter or higher, you should look into renting a bodyboard at the Saltwater Dreaming Surf Shop in Bangtao Beach.
Where to Stay near Mai Khao Beach?
1. Sala Phuket Resort & Spa
Close to Thepkrasattri Road, this 5-star resort has everything a family could need including beachfront access, multiple swimming pools, a restaurant on the roof with great view of sunset, and the usual spa and beauty services. Small villas are available starting around 7,000 THB. Sala Phuket receives fantastic reviews from past guests. More info about the Sala Phuket Resort & Spa
2. Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club
Another family-focused resort, Marriott’s Phuket is 5-star resort with plenty of space to walk around and things to keep you busy. Bicycles, gym, tennis courts, and direct access to the beach make this a resort to consider for active families. Rates for one-bedrooms starting at 11,000 THB. More info about the Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club