A 15-minute drive from Palma takes you to a series of idyllic coves with soft sand and crystal clear water. The best of these, particularly for kids, is Cala Comtessa. There is a car park above the beach, and steps lead down to a small cove with turquoise water that wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean. The clear water is great for the little ones as it stays shallow for quite a long way out and is perfect for playing in – older kids will enjoy leaping off the low rocks into the sea or doing a spot of snorkelling. The beach itself is not large, but there are a few sun-beds and umbrellas for hire and there is shade from the trees at the back. A big bonus is the small cafe overlooking the beach, which serves a cracking Angus burger, among other things.
The setting of the beach at Formentor is spectacular. Located in the far northeast of the island, this beach is a dramatic half-hour drive from Puerto Pollensa, or you can catch a ferry in high season. If you’re driving, it’s well worth stopping off at the Mirador Colomer viewing point halfway there for some stunning cliff-top views. At the beach, the long strip of sand is backed by pine trees and looks out on the mountains and cliffs curving around the bay. The water is beautifully clear and safe for kids, and the facilities are fantastic, with plenty of showers and toilets, a couple of cafes and a gift shop selling buckets and spades.
An urban beach within easy reach of Palma, Ciudad Jardí is fantastic for kids and very popular with local families. Not only is the sand soft and the water clear and safe, but at the back of the beach there is a wide promenade where kids can play, as well as a large and excellent play park and cafe. A bit further back towards Palma, there are also a couple of smaller stretches of sand with particularly shallow water – perfect for babies and toddlers. Parking is fairly easy here, and the beach is also on the flat and family-friendly cycle route that runs along the coast from Palma towards S’Arenal.
If you’re looking for a beach that’s not part of a resort and has a wilder, more rugged, feel, then Platja des Trenc is the one to visit. With stunning turquoise water and a long stretch of white sand backed by dunes, it’s easy to see why this beach gets a lot of press. Stretching for miles, there’s plenty of space for little ones to run around, and with beautiful water for splashing and swimming in, it makes a great day out for families. It does get very busy in peak season. Platja des Trenc is also a nice place to visit in the winter, and you will often see people horse-riding on the beach in the cooler months. Despite its relative remoteness, there are still pretty good facilities in high season, with lifeguards, toilets and nearby restaurants. You may encounter the odd nudist here, so if you’re averse to your kids catching a glimpse of bare bodies, go elsewhere.
Puerto Pollensa is very much a family resort, and the picturesque bay with its wide stretch of sand is very popular with families with young kids. The beach itself is a decent size and very clean, and the water is shallow and generally calm. A highlight is the play park on the beach, and there are cafes, sun-beds and umbrellas, as well as shops selling inflatables and toys just across the road. The family-friendly vibe means you don’t need to worry about rowdy, drunken holidaymakers, plus you’re less likely to get complaints if your children are making a racket. All in all, it’s a pleasant and relaxed beach area with stunning views and plenty to keep the little ones amused.
Wide and long with shallow water, Playa de Muro is an excellent choice if you are staying on the east of the island and have young kids. This stretch of sand is very close to the resort of Alcúdia, but is generally a bit quieter than the main beach there. With sun-beds and umbrellas for hire, toilets, restaurants, and lifeguards on duty, there is everything you need for a family day at the beach. The water is great for small children as it stays relatively shallow until quite far out, but on windy days the waves can pick up. Older kids and parents can also enjoy the water sports on offer.