Dust off the swimsuits and pack the snorkels. Away from the clichéd destinations, these four gorgeous beaches in Asia-Pacific make a family summer on the sand even more special.
A tranquil beachfront in Qingdao, China. Credit: MirageC / Getty Images
There's an old man sitting in the sea at Old Stone Man Beach – also known as Shilaoren Beach. At least, the kids will have fun looking for him before you point out he's actually a rock formation. As one of Qingdao’s biggest and cleanest beaches, the waters here are calm and perfect for the little ones to swim in.
Alternatively, check out the pretty Golden Sand Beach, which calls out for a family kite-flying session.
If it's seafood, water sports or just a sandy stretch closer to the city you're after, Qingdao’s No. 1 Bathing Beach has it all. Kick back with a Tsingtao Beer – you've earned it.
Parasailing in Penang, Malaysia. Credit: Photo by Eugene Yong / CC BY-SA 2.0
Some of the most popular beaches in Malaysia stretch across the northernmost parts of Penang, where tranquil waters tempt families and spectacular sunsets keep them on the sand until evening. Tanjung Bungah is a well-known hub for water-based activities, just 30 minutes from Georgetown. Give the kids their first shot on a jet ski or amaze them with your parasailing skills before settling back at one of the beachside restaurants.
The Penang Toy Museum and Floating Mosque are also great fun, so make sure to check them out while you are in Penang. A well-known gastronomic destination, there is almost no place in Penang where you can’t find great food, whether it is at the innumerable food stalls, or the well-loved restaurants and cafes.
Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Dolphins at the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Credit: Steve Clancy Photography / Getty Images
The beaches of New Zealand are family-friendly stretches of paradise, and the Bay of Islands come complete with dolphins if you hire one of the guides to take you out on a boat. With 144 beaches to its name, there are lots to do.
Walking trails provide family-bonding opportunities, as do jaw-dropping views from craggy cliff tops. Paihia's main beach is calm for swimming and popular for picnics. Te Tii Bay has a kid's playground, while the Far North beaches of Rarawa and Taupo Bay are better for surfing.
New Plymouth, New Zealand
A view of the magnificent Mount Taranaki. Credit: Linda Mckie / Getty Images
The Taranaki beaches of New Plymouth are safe for swimming. With more than 50 surfing spots to choose from, there should be no cries of boredom if the waves at one prove too small. Admire also how the volcanic blasts from the past have created sands of intriguing colours along the coast.
The 49ha of native forest in Pukekura Park make walking in nature a must-do activity around Mount Taranaki. In summer, look out for the TSB Bank Festival of Lights, lighting up everything that moves and turning the botanical gardens into a magical fairyland. Or get the kids to count the sculptures along the award-winning coastal walkway and fish for crabs in the shallow rock pools as day turns into dusk.