Free vibration analysis of laminated composite beams including open transverse cracks is presented by using a shear-deformable thirteen degrees-of-freedom finite element model, which considers extension-twist, bending-twist and bending-extension couplings, and the Poisson's effect. Lagrange's equation is employed to derive the equations of motion. Trial functions are selected as cubic Lagrange polynomials for deflections while quadratic for the others in derivation of element mass and stiffness matrices. Damage is introduced into the beam by reducing stiffness of elements within damaged zone. Comparisons are made with the available literature to show the present element's accuracy. Experimental validation is also performed with through ambient vibration tests on a cantilever laminated composite beam under six damage scenarios. According to the results, the methodology presented in this study provides a simple and quick way in a sufficient accuracy to determine the natural frequencies and mode shapes of laminated composite beams with open transverse non-propagating edge cracks.