The world is full of beautiful beaches, but some places are better than others to spend your vacation. Think about what you really want to do on that trip before deciding where to go. You will find more to do than lying by the ocean at the best beach destinations.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Perfect blue water, white sand and beach beds (not just chairs) everywhere. It’s hard to match Punta Cana. There are many places to stay, but check out Paradisus Palma Real, which is the only hotel on the island to be part of the Leading Hotels of the World. The service and food are first class and the all-inclusive plan includes Tango lessons and sushi-making classes. The resort also has a huge kids club that even takes infants.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
This island remains fairly unspoiled with clear waters and warm temperatures out of the hurricane belt. If it’s a family trip, there’s no place like Beaches. Kids of all ages will like the wide array of international restaurants and free diving. For a more intimate experience, Parrot Cay – a long time choice of celebrities – has 1000 acres of relaxation along the Caribbean Sea. Accommodations include private beach houses for the perfect vacation.
A half hour from Cancun airport, the world gets a little more luxurious, the resorts gets spread out a bit more and the Caribbean Sea gets even more beautiful. Riviera Maya is full of resorts. Families will love the Kids’ Club at Grand Velas, which also has a Grand Class for adults only) with activities like Piñata making, or Dreams Riviera Cancun, where there’s an ocean trampoline and treasure hunts. For the ultimate couples experience, the all-suites Secrets Maroma has rooms with private pools.
Montauk, New York
It’s been called “the end” because it truly is the end of the U.S. as the east coast peaks at the lighthouse on Long Island’s Montauk. On the way there, you will pass the Atlantic Ocean on each side through the Hamptons and into the town of Montauk, where you can surf in the summer and whale watch in the winter. You will find plenty of hotels, motels and inns, but the most famous place to stay out here is Gurney’s Inn Resort & Spa.
Kangaroo Island, Australia
Southern Ocean Lodge has miles of property just so the hotel could over look the ocean it’s named after. This boutique property is a luxury all-inclusive with breathtaking views from every room (there are only 21), every lounge chair and every seat in the restaurant. If you’d like to get back to nature at night, stay at the Kangaroo Wilderness Lodge and dine with the wallabies (or on them, if you prefer) and visit one of the island’s 50 beaches during the day.
Part Italian, part Croatian and very European, Pula is the center point of the Istria Coast and just a ferry ride away from Venice. It shares food and culture from both countries. Dive in the crystal clear waters on the beach, which also views architectural finds like the ancient Roman Amphitheater. Most of the accommodations here are small and quaint, but Verudela Beach & Villa Resort has 174 rooms and three swimming pools.
Hawaii remains a great place for a beach vacation and Waikiki Beach on Oahu represents it all. This stretch of the Pacific Ocean in Honolulu offers activities, resorts and sunsets that hard to match. The Waikiki Beach Walk has made this even more inviting with an abundance of stores and restaurants, or stay at the resort that is practically its own city, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, which even has a five acre water lagoon if you ever tire of the ocean.
St. Augustine, Florida
The St. Francis Inn is the oldest in (in the oldest city) in the United States. You can stay downtown and walk everywhere, or stay in their beach house and enjoy your own slice of heaven on the Atlantic Ocean or the Intercoastal (the two meet in St. Augustine). Be prepared for a vacation that can include anything and everything from history to ghost tours, and don’t forget to visit San Sebastian Winery.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Don’t go to Atlantic City for a quiet beach vacation, but it’s hard to find a place in the world with a beach and so much action. Stay down at the Boardwalk where you will find plenty of shopping and foods stops along the ocean. Caesars is one of the largest complexes, across from The Pier Shops and behind the Atlantic City Outlets. If you are looking for something less active, check on the Chelsea at the end of the strip.
Catalina Island, CaliforniaCatalina is a ferry ride away from Long Beach, but you will think you’ve landed on a Caribbean island. It’s a great walking island and there’s plenty to see on the top of the mountain on a zip line or and the bottom of the ocean on a dive. Check out the small hotels that line the streets, and be sure to stop at the Avalon Grille for great food and terrific people watching.