If you're looking for free family fun, with plenty of fresh air, Herne Bay Coastal Park is the place to be.
With miles of coastline, from wild and untamed cliffs to perfectly manicured seafront gardens, there is something for the whole family to enjoy - including the dog.
You can relive your childhood, whatever your age, and rediscover the simple pleasures of seaside seasons, where life really is a beach.

Small boy throwing stones at Herne Bay beach
Throwing stones is fun for any age

How do you skim a stone?

Skimming Stones
Here are some tips...
First, pick your pebble. You want one that is flat, palm sized, smooth and round. It should be as light as possible.

Experts are divided about the surface of the stone, but some say it needs to be as smooth as possible, but others think lots of small pits on the surface will reduce water drag.

Hold it in your thumb and forefinger and throw it with as much force as possible, as low to the ground as you can and horizontally rather than up.

You are aiming to spin the stone across the top of the water - first make sure there are no swimmers, seagulls or anything else that might get hurt.

Practice makes perfect...the world record is 51 bounces.

The National Trust has some more tips here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356393409859/
The perfect skimming stone

On the beach...

Stones, sand or shallows - Herne Bay Coastal Park can offer it all.

Most of our coast is shingle, making it perfect for seeking out interesting shells or perfecting that stone-skimming technique.

But if you know where to look, you can also find sand so make sure you bring your bucket and spade too. Once a year, the existing sand is extended and enhanced so the beach can host the annual children's sandcastle competition as part of the Herne Bay Festival.

A butterfly-themed sand sculpture created as part of Herne Bay Festival's sandcastle competition
A butterfly-themed sand sculpture created as part of Herne Bay Festival's sandcastle competition

At low tide, the receding sea uncovers a large expanse of mud that conceals fossils and a range of sea life, from whelks and mussels to crabs. But if you're exploring, be careful and look out for safety signs - some parts are very soft and people have been known to get stuck.

The gently sloping beach means Herne Bay Coastal Park is a great spot for paddling, and even swimming for those who are not daunted by the chill. If you fancy something a bit more exciting, a range of water sports is on offer, from sailing and kayaking to jet skiing or kite-surfing.

A crab on Herne Bay beach
A crab on Herne Bay beach
Pier hut village
The huts on Herne Bay pier are fun to browse
2p machines in an arcade
The arcades can provide hours of fun for the whole family

Off the beach...

The Great British weather can spoil even the best-laid plans, but there's plenty to do in Herne Bay Coastal Park even in the rain.

If you're the hardy type, grab your waterproofs and take a wander along the pier to browse the wares on offer in the beach hut businesses, and warm up with a hot drink or snack from the food court area.

But if staying dry is a priority, just across the road from the beach you'll find traditional arcades with plenty to keep the whole family busy. The 2p machines can provide hours of entertainment for very little cost, or if you're feeling flush try out the slot machines, racing simulaters or shoot 'em up games.

You can even play air hockey or get your eyes down for a full house with a round of bingo.

No trip to the seaside would be complete without fish and chips and there is plenty of choice, including venues where you can tuck in inside, using plates rather than paper.

For a spot of culture, head east to the Kings Hall to see the latest exhibition in the gallery there, while admiring the building's architecture over a cup of tea from the cafe.

And if the weather clears for long enough, keep going until you reach Reculver and pop into the visitor centre to learn about the historic towers of St Mary's Church and the ultra modern green technology now in operation there.

Must-do activities during a visit to Herne Bay Coastal Park:

Throw stones in the sea - see our guide above to take it one step further and skim your way to success.

Go crabbing, whether it's off the pier with a line and bait or under it, see what you can catch.

Play the penny machines in the arcades - no seaside visit is complete without whiling away an hour or two among the bright lights and clattering coins.

Save a few of those coins for the Telly-go-round - a Herne Bay exclusive that is perfect for kids of all agess.

A few steps away from the Telly-go-round are the children's amusements, open every weekend plus school holidays during the peak season. You'll find a teacup roundabout, bouncy slide and trampolines - perfect for active youngsters.

Build a sandcastle. We may not have much of it, but there are sandy stretches so it's possible to get creative and create your own castle, animal or anything else that takes your fancy.

Go for a walk. Long, short, or something in between, the coastal park is perfect for a family stroll.

Try some food and drink - whether you want fish and chips and an ice cream, a cream tea or a three-course meal, there's no shortage of eateries in Herne Bay for every taste and budget. We've even got the UK's first restaurant accredited by the Neapolitan Pizza Association in A Casa Mia.

Play - what else do you need for family fun? We've got playgrounds at Hampton, near the bandstand and in the town centre, just a few minutes walk from the seafront. Plus a bench shaped like an aeroplane, mini golf, and acres and acres of unspoiled open space.

Get on your bike - there are cycle routes galore including the wide flat prom, and you can even hire a bike if you haven't got your own. Wheely good fun!


Geocaching in the coastal park...

A geocache
Geocaching is a fun family activity


Geocaching is a 21st century version of treasure hunting, and Herne Bay Coastal Park is the perfect place to do it.

All you need is a GPS device, such as a mobile phone with the location access turned on, a free membership of the website that allows you to find out the location of the hidden items, or caches, and a good pair of eyes.

At the time of writing, there are several caches hidden in the coastal park and many of them contain items that are perfect for young hunters. The idea is that you sign the logbook contained within the cache with your geocaching ID and the date, and log your find on the website. You can also swap items in the cache - but make sure you put it back exactly where you found it!

Geocaching is obviously a lot nicer in warm sunny weather but it's a great year-round activity - just make sure you wear sturdy shoes that can cope with mud!

For more information or to create an account and get started, visit www.geocaching.com/play