The 5 best beaches in Phuket for family – 2023 Thailand guide

The best beaches in Phuket for family

If you are looking for the best beaches in Phuket for family in 2023, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many beaches in Phuket. Some Phuket beaches are not great for family. Some beaches can be dirty, with unclean water. You may also be confronted with big waves and strong rip currents. Really selling it to you aren’t we? 

Don’t worry there are also some AMAZING beaches in Phuket. Phuket also boasts many clean golden sand beaches with calm clear water. In this guide we help you find the best beaches in Phuket for family. We will also tell you which beaches you might want to avoid as well. After all no one wants to waste their valuable travel time in Phuket.

We have travelled Phuket as solo travellers, as a couple and now we are travelling Phuket as a family. We have worked our way around almost all of the beach spots around the coast to find the best beaches in Phuket for family.

Love unique accommodation – check out our FULL guide on the BEST Phuket hotels with private swimming pools.

If you’re travelling to Phuket with kids – don’t miss our FULL guide on THE BEST things to do in Phuket with kids. AND if you’re looking for family friendly resorts don’t miss our guide on AMAZING Phuket Resorts for families.

AND if you are planning a perfect Phuket holiday definitely check out our detailed One Week Phuket Holiday itinerary

Overview Phuket beaches

Before we share the best beaches in Phuket for family we wanted to give you a general feel for the types of beaches you can find in Phuket. 

As a rough rule the beaches along the west coast of Phuket (Kata, Karon, Patong, Kamala and Bang Tao) have bigger waves and stronger ocean currents. These beaches tend to be staffed by lifeguards and you can often find surf rental and water sports on these beaches. The tide is more likely to wash up deboris and sometimes rubbish on the west beaches. The beach towns along the west tend to be better set up for tourism with hotels, resorts, guest houses and restaurants catering to westerners. For amazing sunsets visit the beaches along the west coast around 6-7pm.

The beaches along the East coast tend to be quite small (i.e. not a long distance between the beachfront and the tideline). The water along the east coast tends to be calmer with less ocean currents. In areas the water can be a little murky along the east coast beaches and some areas are quite polluted. However you can find some absolute gems too. 

If you want to know how to get around Phuket check out our guide on Transportation in Thailand. We have also designed a guide to show you how to get the best taxi prices using the Grab App. You’re welcome 🙂

Which beaches should you avoid in Phuket?

The most polluted beach in Phuket is probably Rawai beach – or at least the East Side of Rawai beach near the fish market. This area is very polluted with rubbish (including some glass) and the water is unclean too. Fishing boats are also often anchored here making it hard to swim.

We also recommend taking car in the water along some of the beaches on the West coast – especially during stormy season. Karon Bay is particularly hazardous with large waves and strong currents.

On the East coast, the beaches in the Chalong area are quite nice but can be tricky to access due to private homes and resorts. Furthermore, the beaches in the Chalong area are not very big – when the tide is out there is a muddy seabed exposed. When the tide is in there is little space between the beachfront and the tide line.

What makes a good family beach?

Phuket has a hot tropical climate. The best beaches in Phuket for family should have the following features:

  • Shaded areas (normally trees)
  • Beach swings or play parks
  • Access to amenities such as toilets, cafes and restaurants
  • Clean water and clean golden sand
  • Not too many rocks in the water near the tide line
  • Good access to public transport or taxis in the area
  • A beach that is close to the nearest road
  • Relatively safe – not too many strong currents or big waves
  • Relaxed vives – not too crowded or intense 

What are the best beaches in Phuket for family? 

Here are our top 5 best beaches in Phuket for family. Each beach has something different to offer and each beach has its own pros and cons. 

Ao Yon beach – clean, quiet and beautiful water

Ao Yon beach Phuket holiday itinerary

Ao Yon beach is one of the best beaches in Phuket for family because of the clean sand and crystal clear calm water. Ao Yon beach is located on the south east corner of Phuket. It can be a little tricky to get to. If you are not staying in Panwa it is likely to be a long expensive taxi ride, or a long drive in a rental car. We love the flamingo cafe located on the beachfront (part of the Bandera hotel). Although the prices are a little high for Phuket – the ambiance and service are excellent and the food is genuinely amazing. Nearby you can also find the Phuket aquarium – a great spot for kids to connect with the ocean. 

Pros of Ao Yon beach: Clean sands and clean calm water. Quiet and relaxed. Nice cafes nearby. 

Cons of Ao Yon beach: Long way to access due to its location on the Panwa cape. No shade on the beach itself. 

Looking for somewhere to stay near Ao Yon beach? Check out The Cape Panwa Hotel with its amazing restaurants and private beach access

Nai Harn Beach (also called Nai Han) – clean, good amenities and nice hippy vibes

Nai Harn beach is a clean and beautiful beach located on the south tip of Phuket. It has good amenities including toilets, cafes, and deck chair rental. The beach is also staffed by lifeguards. Nai Harn beach itself is nice and clean and the water is pretty clean too. The waves can be pretty big in this area but perhaps not as big as the waves on the west coast. Many expats, digital nomads and long term travellers hang out in this area giving the beach a nice atmosphere. When we visited we saw many other families and even made some new friends. The beach also has some palm trees giving it some nice natural shade – great to get out of the heat and rest. There are lots of coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and guest houses located in the Nai Harn area. Nai Harn beach is also very well connected with other areas of Phuket by buses and taxis. Nearby you can visit Prothep Cape, trek at Black rock and visit Karon viewpoint. All in all this is one of the best beaches in Phuket for family. 

Pros of Nai Harn beach: Easy to access with great amenities and natural shade. Great place to meet lovely people. 

Cons of Nai Harn beach: The waves can get pretty big on Nai Harn beach.  If you’re looking for a super quiet beach this may not be the one for you. 

Looking for somewhere to stay near Nai Harn beach? Check out The Nai Harn – a stunning luxurious beach front resort

Kata beach – good activities, great location and nice sunsets

We absolutely love Kata beach. For a west coast beach it is relatively clean and the water can be a little calmer than some of the beaches further up the west coast. The reason we picked Kata as one of the best beaches in Phuket for family, is because of the activities on the beach and in the area. This beach is a great spot for surfing with some of the cheapest surfboard rental and lessons that we found. You can also find other watersports such as parasailing and banana boats operating in the area. Kata beach is also a great spot for stunning sunsets. The area is very well set up for tourism with hotels, cafes and restaurants in the area. There are great amenities in the area: At the south end of Kata beach you will find toilets, street food stalls and a kids play park. One frustration with Kata is the town layout. There are no roads or paths running between the beach road and the main town for around 2km. This makes beach access from the town difficult. Nearby you can visit Karon view point, Black rock – a great spot for trekking, and the Big Buddha. 

Pros of Kata beach: Excellent location, great amenities, pretty clean and great activities

Cons of Kata beach: Waves and currents can be strong on some days (especially in the rainy season). 

Looking for somewhere to stay near Kata beach? The Ozo Phuket is the perfect hotel for families – they have tailor made family holiday packages and they even have a waterslide in one of their pools

Patong beach – great amenities, good buzz and very accessible

OK Patong is one of the best known beaches in Phuket. It almost seems too obvious to recommend Patong beach in an article on Phuket beaches. But when it comes to the best Phuket beaches for family – Patong really is worth a mention. Being the most popular tourist beach in Phuket means that Patong beach is also very accessible and well connected. You can easily meet other families in the area and expect to find lots of restaurants serving western food (great for kids who need a bite of home comfort). There is an abundance of resorts, hotels and guest houses in the area. Along the beachfront you can find plenty of places to buy food and drinks and amenities like toilets. There are also lots of lovely beach swings too. There is also a route over the hills giving Patong convenient access to Kathu and Phuket town. 

Pros of Patong beach: Great for meeting people. Lots of amenities. Very accessible.

Cons of Patong beach: Prices are higher in the area. Can be noisy and intense at times. Big waves and strong currents – especially in rainy season. 

Looking for somewhere to stay near Patong beach? Check out The Double Tree by Hilton – excellently located on the main beach strip combining comfort, luxury and style this is a great pick for families

Banana beach – quiet, beautiful clean jungle beach

Finally we need to mention Banana beach. It’s not just the name that we love. Banana beach is a secluded jungle beach on the north west coast of Phuket. We have included this in our best Phuket beaches for families list because it is a clean, quiet and beautiful beach. Being on the west coast the waves and currents can be strong so take care in the water. There are also a few rocks near the tide line – again be careful. Banana beach really is a charming beach. There are trees that provide plenty of natural shade. There is a small cafe based on the beach itself – they serve a range of hot food and drinks. The downsides of Banana beach are the secluded location makes it hard to access. There is a single toilet block but it is rough and ready and not clean. There is a short walk from the road down to the beach (and back up again later). This steep jungle path would not be possible with a pram or pushchair. Young kids should be fine to do this walk with supervision as it is not too far. From the sheer beauty we have to include this amongst the best Phuket beaches for family.  Love a good unique spot? Don’t miss our guide on the Best hidden gems in Phuket.

Pros of Banana beach:

Looking for somewhere to stay near Banana beach? This one is absolute top end luxury – check out the TriSara resort Spa and Villas – even if you don’t book its worth a look out of sheer curiosity!

An honourable mention

We wanted to take our hats off to Kamala beach and Karon beach for their play parks located right next to the beach. Sadly these guys didn’t quite make the list of the best Phuket beaches for family. Unfortunately Kamala and Karon are not as clean as the other beaches we have featured in this article – and the waves and currents can be very strong. However, Kamala and Karon beach are still pretty good locations for families.

We also want to mention Freedom Beach. This is one of the most quiet and secluded beaches in Phuket. We didn’t include it on the best beaches for families because the trek to the beach is pretty challenging (around 500m steep jungle hill). Also Freedom beach can have quite large waves, strong currents and it is not staffed by a life guard. So although Freedom Beach is a great spot to visit – we haven’t recommended it as one of the best for famlies. If you’re interested don’t miss our FULL guide on how to get to Freedom Beach Phuket.

Are phuket beaches safe? What are the risks and how do you minimise them?

Nothing is without some risk. It is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to minimise risk. Here are some risks to be aware of when your and your family are visiting Phuket beaches:


This is a pretty scary one! There are some deadly jellyfish in the waters around Thailand. Although this is genuinely terrifying – it’s worth keeping it in perspective. Thousands and thousands of people enjoy paddling and swimming in the water around Phuket every week without any problems. The chance of encountering a jellyfish is pretty low. Here are a few things that you can do to stay safe: 

  • Keep an eye on local signs and warnings – check with resorts or hotels near the beach
  • Don’t go too deep – swim close to lifeguard stations
  • Wear wetsuits or rash guards in the water
  • If you see jellyfish on the beach stay out of the water
  • Be season aware – wet season is slightly more risky for jellyfish
  • Treat jellyfish stings with vinegar as soon as possible and get emergency help

Waves and currents

The waves and currents on the beaches on the west coast can be very strong – especially in the rainy season. Be aware of rip currents – these are strong currents that can pull you out into deep water away from the beach. Also be aware that some beaches have sudden drop offs and you can find yourself out of your depth very quickly. 

  • Stay shallow. Don’t swim out of your depth. 
  • Keep your eye out for red flags and don’t swim when you see them. Lifeguards will often use yellow flags to designate safe swimming areas. 
  • If you get pulled out by a rip current do not try and swim against it. Instead swim at 90 degrees to the rip current (swimming parallel with the beach). This is the best way to get out of the rip current. 


In general there is not a lot of theft in Thailand. But it does happen – and its important to take precautions to protect your belongings when you are enjoying the beaches. One of the big challenges of beaches is what to do with your valuables. You can’t take them in the water and you can’t leave them in the beach. Saldy you do hear reports of people stealing bags that are left on the beaches in Phuket so this is one to take seriously. Here are a few tips to help you protect your belongings: 

  • Really minimise what you actually take to the beach. Try to leave your valuables locked in a safe or in secure storage at your hotel. It is fine to take a copy of your passport in Thailand so definitely don’t leave a bag with passports on the beach. 
  • If you are travelling in a group or couple try to leave one person with valuables on the beach.
  • If you do not have someone to look after your valuables whilst you take a dip, consider using a dry sack. This one’s not ideal and if you’re putting expensive tech into the dry sack you need to really trust it. But on balance this could be better than leaving your valuables on the beach. 
  • If you are using a rental car – it would be safer to leave valuables in the car (out of sight) rather than leaving them
  • unattended on the beach.

A disclaimer

Trying to decide on the best Phuket beaches for family is of course a little subjective. After all it depends on what you are looking for from your beach experiences. We are all about the variety – so being centrally located and visiting lots of different beaches is very much our style. Our review of each of these beaches will of course depend on the specific conditions at the time you visit. Things change – so a beach that we found to be clean with crystal clear waters could well be dirty with cloudy waters when you visit. Having visited most of these beaches several times (and in some cases years apart) we are drawing on as much experience as we can to give you the best advice we can. Afterall, we want you to have an AMAZING experience of Phuket’s beautiful beaches with your family.

AND FINALLY… Don’t miss our COMPLETE guide Reopening Phuket

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