Archive for the ‘Beaches’ Category

French Riviera Beaches

The Côte d’Azur, known in English as the French Riviera, is a stretch of coastline that runs along the southeastern corner of France. It starts at Menton near the Italian border in the east, and carries on up to Hyères or Cassis in the west.

French Riviera beaches have developed into one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. It first evolved as a winter health resort for tourists from cold countries searching for balmy warm climes at the end of the 18th century. By the mid-19th century, it was patronized by British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria, and King Edward VII while he was Prince of Wales. As its popularity grew, it drew artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham, Aldous Huxley, as well as other wealthy people from all over the world. In the latter part of the 20th century, it was promoted as a destination for mass tourism through trade fairs, exhibitions, and business conventions. While it still remains the playground of the rich and famous, and celebrity sightings are common here, it has not remained exclusive to them.

Contrary to the burgeoning popularity of these French beaches, many have pebbles rather than sand, are often small or narrow, and located near busy roads or highways. The beaches turn into seas of humanity in the height of summer, and visitors often find that they have to pay for a stretch of sand to lie on, as many of the beaches are privately owned. For those who want to get away from the crowd and commercialization, there still exist pristine stretches of sand that allow for a relaxed peaceful holiday experience.

Plage de La Paloma, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

East of Nice, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is where the truly affluent live in their palatial villas that dot the rocky peninsula. However, the Plage de La Paloma still has stretches that are open to the public. So find yourself a spot on this crowded beach, put down your towel, and park yourself there. The steep steps that lead down to the plage open up to a view of yachts and sailboats, the resort of Beaulieu, the cliffs at Eze, and Cap d’Ail. The bay is shallow with soft sand and clear water. A swim out to about 100 meters in the ocean gives you a view of the magnificent mansions above the beach.

The opulent crowd that visits include Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, and Shane Warne, who were spotted here at James Packer’s pre-wedding party last year.

Plage de Notre-Dame, Porquerolles

Porquerolles is one of the islands of The Golden Isles, located off the south coast. It is a beautiful Mediterranean island, teeming with vineyards, forests, fruit groves, and fragrant eucalyptus and pine trees. As cars are not allowed here, exploring has to be done on foot or by bike, which adds to the experience. The outdoor restaurants serve flavorful locally caught fish.

The Plage de Notre-Dame is a stunning beach on the north-east coast of Porquerolles. It is a bay, and offers an enchanting seascape of ships floating in and out of view on turquoise waters. As it is in the south of France, you are likely to find people bathing au naturel. If it is activity you seek, the beach offers the opportunity for swimming and snorkeling. However, it is the perfect place for quiet contemplation too. Remember to pack a snack, for the beach has no snack bar.

Côte Vermeille

At the southernmost tip of France is the département of Les Pyrénées Orientales, often referred to as French Catalonia in the region of Languedoc Roussillon. The beaches of Côte Vermeille here are relatively secluded and dotted with rocky coves. The stretches of flat sandy beaches of Côte Radieuse are a good option too. The best beaches on this stretch are La Franqui and Leucate near Narbonne, and Portiragnes and Sérignan near Béziers. A wonderful view of the Pyrénées can be enjoyed from the northern end of Argelès-sur-Mer beach. As the Côte Vermeille is close to Spain, the area has some Spanish flavor and thus a different feel to it. The closest cities are Perpignan and Montpellier.

Mala Plage, Cap d’Ail

This beach is at the small town of Cap d’Ail, west of Monaco. For reasons unknown, this posh French Riviera beach is uncrowded, even in the summers. This could be because of the tricky 10-minute downhill road from Avenue Princesse Grace that needs to be taken to get here. One can enjoy Mala Plage’s extensive public areas, by sunbathing on the beach or kayaking or snorkeling in the coves under the cliffs to the west. This beach is about a ten minute walk from the Cap d’Ail train station.

The French Riviera has always been perceived as a holiday destination for the wealthy. While its high glamor beaches and hotels are best known, it also contains secluded pristine beaches and affordable living options.

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Beach vacations are always rejuvenating and recreational. The United States is known to have some beautiful beaches on the east coast for families, which are mainly frequented during the summer time. Even a weekend getaway at the beach could distract your mind and bring mental peace. Nowadays, many beaches come with interesting water activities and even comfortable lodgings, to make the beach vacation pleasurable and enjoyable. Also making sand castles, swimming in the blue sea, or just walking along the shore is equally revitalizing and fun.

Best Atlantic Coast Beaches in US

The United States displays some of the best east coast vacation spots, which mainly exposes its visitors to beautiful beaches accompanied by soft rich sand and sea oats. Following is the list of east coast beaches which are best suited for family vacations.

Sandbridge Beach, Virginia
Virginia holds some of the most beautiful clear water beaches, which are suitable for family getaways. Among them, Sandbridge Beach is frequently visited by many tourists. The seashore is covered by rich golden sand, blanketed by sea oats. Beautiful beach houses and cottages make for a good and a comfortable stay for families who want to visit Sandbridge Beach. The area around the Sandbridge Beach offers some interesting shops, giving you a chance to indulge into some shopping. Arrangement of certain activities such as kayaking, surfing and dolphin tours keep the tourists engrossed into their vacation. After plunging into the activities of your choice, you can enjoy a nice sunset dinner at the beach with your family.

Maryland Beaches
Ocean City is a popular beach here. It is heavily packed by many tourists and has many amazing activities to offer to its tourists. Due to its good climatic conditions, people around the world love chilling at the Ocean City Beach of Maryland. It is one of the most crowded beaches, and the seashore has soft light brown sand accompanied by crystal clear water. Being one of the commercialized beaches, Ocean City has a number of hotels and restaurants that provide all sorts of accommodation, as per the requirement of the family. Occasionally, Ocean City arranges for live concerts and many more amusing activities that people take pleasure in participating.

Sandy Hook Beach, New Jersey
Sandy Hook beach stretches up to 6 miles and is located towards the eastern coast of New Jersey. Throughout the year, Sandy Hook Beach plays host to many families, couples and youngsters who visit the beach for recreational purposes. The beach is equipped with life guards for the protection of the visitors, rest rooms and little shacks that provide excellent food for its visitors. The nearby accommodations available around the Sandy Hook Beach are Sandy Hook Cottage, Seascape Manor, Grand Lady and Nauvoo. Restaurants such as Sea Gulls’ Nest Deck, Landmark Bahr’s Landing, Something Fishy and Moby’s are great options for dining purposes.

Sea Island, Georgia
Sea Island is more calm, quiet and a little isolated from the city life. These reasons pull many people to visit the Sea Island beach in Georgia. It has some great spas and also has a variety of activities in store for its visitors. While the women rejuvenate themselves in spas, children and men can engross themselves in different activities such as tennis and horse riding. Cloister is among the well-known resorts of Sea Island that offers luxurious suites and can comfortably accommodate families. If you want to wake up to the early morning sea, then this beach has beautiful beach cottages in store for you. Summers is the best time to visit the Sea Island beach.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Located in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach has a many motels, resorts, condos and beach houses where families can settle in. Children enjoy spending time at the water and amusement parks set up at Myrtle Beach. Flea markets, malls and boutiques offer some great shopping too. Myrtle Beach is a suitable place for family vacations and weekend getaways.

These are some of the beaches, which could be opted for just weekend getaways or even for a few a days of vacation.

Best Beaches in Phuket You Should Not Miss

If there’s one place which epitomizes the quote mentioned above, it’s got to be Phuket. Yes, I do know what you’re thinking―it’s too crowded and it’s rather uncouth. In pockets, it definitely is. But then again, we’re talking about a world-class destination, favored by the rich and famous for its luxurious living and fine dining.

Being abundantly blessed by Nature, the island’s USP lies in its wonderful beaches. Well, at least in some of them, if not all. The tourism boost has been a boon and a bane to the island; while the economy’s been smiling, the place is turning into a crime magnet at the same time.

But we’re not getting into all that at the moment. This piece is about Phuket’s best beaches, and that’s precisely what follows. However, keep in mind that Phuket’s nastiness in the form of pesky vendors and rogue taxi drivers may tag along as well.

Patong Beach
Patong Beach
Patong, located on the west coast, is synonymous with everything Phuket stands for―and we’re talking both, carnal and surreal. The area is abuzz with the ‘mai pen rai’ or ‘take it easy’ attitude, for when you’re in Patong, everything, and we mean everything, is easy to get. From a Pad Thai breakfast off the street, to a Thai cabaret show to round off the night, nothing is impossible when you’re here.

But amidst the neon lights, the souvenir shops, the sleazy ladyboy bars lies Patong’s super-popular beach. Stretching 3 km, the beach holds quite a reputation for its nightlife. Which doesn’t mean that families refrain from coming here. There are endless activities to indulge in, including jet-skiing, parasailing, swimming, or simply lazing on those inviting lounge chairs―you may even get a Thai massage, if you please.

If the main beach in Patong is too overwhelming for you, head to Freedom Beach, a white sand haven dotted with granite rocks and surrounded by hills covered by thick cover of green. The beach can only be accessed by boat, which means, you’ll find relatively fewer crowds here. On the agenda here is soccer, volleyball, snorkeling, and sunbathing; all of which you indulge in complete peace and quiet.

Paradise Beach is another gem in the vicinity of Patong, which stands true to its name. The beach itself is tiny and rocky, with the clearest waters that are perfect for a spot of snorkeling. You can hire a boat from Patong to get here, provided the tides aren’t too choppy. People take the effort to sail down here to simply view the gorgeous corals, and spend a relaxed day here―mind you, there aren’t any vendors here. Yay!

Surin Beach
Surin Beach
Surin Beach, again, is on the west coat of Phuket, and is around 15 km away from Patong. The beach is small, but makes up in terms of scenic beauty. Like other beaches, Surin is commercialized as well―you’ll find endless rows of loungers here. The atmosphere, though, is much less charged, which is a pleasant change indeed.

The tiny resort town of Surin also goes by the name of Millionaire’s Row, owing to the many famous names that come here to vacation and/or own some spanking, sea-facing property here. You’ll find some excellent grub for cheap over here, along with some high-end restaurants as well, and you can particularly enjoy a leisurely dinner here, as you watch the sun go down―truly, one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Surin is not exactly a place for those into water sports. The sea here is a little too rocky for novice surfers, and you’ll hardly find any speedboats over here. Kayaking is one activity which does find some takers, with excursions going to the Laem Singh Beach which is close by.

Karon Beach
Karon Beach
Karon Beach is favored by families, and you won’t spot a lot of the singles crowd here. It’s across the street from Hilton Phuket, so many of the hotel’s guest often do the hop-skip-and-jump to get here. The beach is long and clean, and more importantly, not as crowded, which makes it perfect for long walks. If you’re looking for a spot of isolation, head to the northern end of the beach, which tends to be practically deserted all the time. The nighttime markets are also a great place for some unusual finds and souvenirs to take home.

Water sports operators make their vociferous presence felt at all times on Karon. So, from parasailing and jet skiing to windsurfing and wakeboarding, you’ll find plenty of exciting options here. The beach is a great spot for snorkeling as well. A favorite way to pass the evening here, according to the locals, is to play a game of volleyball, and everyone is invited to play or watch.

Karon Beach suffered a lot of damage in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but has made quite a recovery ever since, and is now one of the most remarkable beaches in Phuket.

Kata Beach
Kata Beach
Kata Beach is located further south from Karon, and is a gem of a spot in the shape of a cove. The street that lines the beach is lined with trees―a refreshing splash of green in searing hot Phuket. It has all the beach essentials―loungers under humongous umbrellas, water sports like surfing, parasailing, and jet skiing. You’ll also find the beach staple of food carts and shacks selling some delicious Thai food here.

With all the white sand and turquoise water loveliness around you, it’s really hard to be wanting anything more. But even so, snorkeling is one activity that must be enjoyed here on Kata Beach, for the water is perfectly clear, shallow, and warm. Windsurfers and Hobie Cats can be rented by the hour. The southern end of the beach is predominantly a surfer’s zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, the waves here are not as fierce, and you can even avail surfing lessons.

Kamala Beach
Kamala Beach
An erstwhile fishing village, Kamala has undergone a complete facelift in recent years. A stone’s throw away from Padong, Kamala Beach is the antithesis of its more famous neighbor. So, if you’re coming here (and you should), expect a more laid back scene, with families and couples having a relaxed day on the beach. Also, you won’t be too hassled by vendors when you’re here, which in Phuket, is a major plus.

The relative solitude here at Kamala Beach is a treasured quality for the locals, mostly comprising retirees and long-term holiday makers. As far as activities are concerned, this beach is quite good for scuba diving, although you need to get in touch with any of the local schools here to arrange a trip for you. Surfers usually head to the northern end of the beach which has beach break with stable sandbanks, owing to the presence of reefs. Besides, you’ll also find the seaside regulars like parasailing and jet skiing.

A bit about the overall beach-scene in Phuket

– Being an island, you’re never too far away from a beach when you’re in Phuket. But yes, we all have our reasons for coming here, so you need to chalk out a purpose before you hit the beach.
– Padong, by a long shot is the clear winner if you’re looking for action and excitement, be it water sports or nightlife.
– There are calmer spots in Phuket too, like the Freedom Beach or Paradise, depending upon your activity of choice.
– Most beaches on the island are accessible by car or motorbike. You may have to even take a ferry to reach a few beaches.

Phuket may have gained a bit of notoriety over the years, but rest assured, it isn’t as bad as you’d imagined it to be. Unless, of course, you choose to go looking out for trouble, wanting to live your version of The Hangover movie.

7 Best Beaches in Mexico

Mexico is blessed with a coastline of 10,000 km along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. As a result, it houses countless beach destinations that offer a variety of activities for tourists.

Mexico has gained a bit of a reputation as a vacation for the affluent, due to the rise of glitzy resorts such as Cancún and Acapulco. However, though that may well have been the case in the past, it is now accessible to tourists on every budget.

Here are Mexico’s best coastal resorts, the best of the gems that this wonderful country has to offer.

Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, is the ideal gateway into Mexico for most international travelers. Cities such as Mexico City, Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, and Playa del Carmen have hundreds of Couchsurfing and Airbnb hosts for budget travelers. For those on a more ‘vacation budget’, there is a wealth of countless seaside resorts in each of these coastal destinations.

Cancún
Cancun
Getting There: Various American cities, including major hubs such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, are connected to Cancún by air. It is a major city in Mexico, and is connected to all other major Mexican cities.
➙ Starting off with the most Westernized, and consequently popular, of all of Mexico’s beach destinations, Cancún is one of the best beach vacation spots in the world. It has huge sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, which have kept it high in the tourism lists for so many years. Being a tourism-centered city, it offers a variety of restaurants, resorts, and shopping centers for the typical tourist, and some of the best nightlife in Mexico.

➙ Apart from the seaside entertainment, it has two notable museums: the Museo Subacuático de Arte, an eccentric underwater museum consisting of 403 life-size sculptures, and the Museo Maya de Cancún, which houses one of the best collections of Maya artifacts in Mexico.

➙ A day trip to Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan complex, is also a highly recommended and usually selected option.

Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres
Getting There: This island is situated very close to Cancún, and can be accessed via regular ferries.
➙ Isla Mujeres, situated about 9 miles off the coast of Cancún, is a complete contrast to the most touristy city in Mexico. It is ideal for relaxation, and is the perfect place for someone who gets bored and frustrated in the commercialized environs of Cancún. There are a few rocky caves to explore, but the USP of Isla Mujeres is its contrast with Cancún: relaxing environs, relatively uncrowded beaches, and fresh, home-cooked seafood in the thatched palapa restaurants by the beach.

➙ The inexpensive and homely inns found here are complemented by a few boutique resorts, and together provide accommodation in every price range.

➙ Biking or driving a golf cart around this tranquil island is the best way to roam it (or just walk, if you want!).

Mayan Riviera
Playa del carmen Beach
Getting There: It is quite close to Cancún, and all the destinations on the Mayan Riviera can easily be reached from there by bus.
➙ The Riviera Maya, or the Mayan Riviera, is a tourism-centric region along the Caribbean coastline of Quintana Roo, a Mexican state. It consists of several Caribbean beaches, such as Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel, as well as the Mayan ruins of Tulum.

➙ Playa del Carmen, in particular, is being developed massively in order to be more attractive to tourists and to serve as a center of the region.

➙ The primary attractions in this region are snorkeling and scuba diving in the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second longest barrier reef system in the world, and the archeological finds of Tulum and the more inland Coba. Swimming with dolphins is also a major draw in this region.

Los Cabos
Los Cabos
Getting There: Los Cabos is connected by air to Mexico City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Ontario, among other cities.
➙ Of all the seaside destinations in Mexico, Los Cabos offers the best of both worlds. It is made up of two cities: San Jose del Cabo, which has retained the persona of a traditional, quaint Mexican town, and Cabo San Lucas, which is the black sheep of the two and has become renowned for its nightlife.

➙ Located in Baja California, it is highly convenient for US tourists, and has consequently molded itself to attract more Americans. The region between the two cities, particularly, has become famous for its championship golf courses, an activity pursued in the US with almost religious fervor.

➙ El Arco, or The Arch, is a famous and distinctive landmark in Los Cabos, and is a frequent gathering point for sea lions. Whale watching is also a worthwhile activity in the winter; whales migrate here for the warmer waters. Due to the variety of activities available in this twin resort, Los Cabos is arguably the best of Mexico’s top seaside vacation spots.

Mazatlán
Mazatlán
Getting There: It is connected by air to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.
➙ Like Los Cabos, Mazatlán presents two destinations in one: the touristy seaside resorts and shopping areas, and the preserved old city, which provides a fascinating glimpse into life in Mexico.

➙ The pueblo viejo (old town) has been renovated in several places, and the renaissance that turned Mazatlán from a Cancún-esque resort to one of the most lovable seaside destinations in North America is still underway. A guided tour of 3-4 hours for short groups, which can be arranged at most hotels for approx. USD 30, is a great way of getting to know the new and the old of this city.

➙ Whale watching (winter) and dolphin watching (year-round) tours, conducted by marine ecologist Oscar Guzon, are also famous.

➙ Mazatlán also contains a few options for the heritage tourist, such as the Museo de Arte and the Teatro Angela Peralta.

Acapulco
Acapulco
Getting There: It is connected by air to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Los Angeles, Atalanta, Dallas, Chicago, etc., and by a daily bus to Mexico City.
➙ The original Mexican party center before the rise of Cancún, Acapulco still holds the air of a typical touristy seaside resort rather than an enriching heritage destination.

➙ Being a cosmopolitan destination, it excels in providing all kinds of entertainment, ranging from pristine beaches to thrilling cliff divers. The latter, taking place at La Quebrada, is arguably Acapulco’s most famous tourist attraction; the prime time to catch the show is after 7-8 pm, when the divers hold torches while performing their routine.

➙ Its old town square is a veritable treasure trove of entertainment after evening, when various street performers add to the setting provided by the numerous sidewalk cafés.

Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Getting There: It is connected by air to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Toronto, among others, and by bus to Guadalajara.
➙ Once named as the Friendliest City in the World, Puerto Vallarta still retains that friendly, welcoming air.

➙ It has several unique features among Mexican seaside attractions, such as being the preferred coastal retreat for the domestic Mexican tourist. It is also emerging as a popular retirement spot for Americans and Canadians. It is also known as one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the whole of Latin America.

➙ Apart from its beaches, boardwalks, and entertainment-filled sidewalks, Puerto Vallarta is home to the beautiful Vallarta Botanical Gardens, and the small but interesting pottery museum, Museo de Cuale.

These are some of the best beach destinations Mexico has to offer. Pack your bags, and start imagining yourself on the sun-kissed sands, amid fascinating relics of Mayan history, or stuffing yourself with delicious Mexican food!

Secluded Beaches in Florida

Florida lies in the southeastern region of the United States. A large portion of this state is peninsular, with the Atlantic Ocean to its east and Gulf of Mexico to its west. Florida has a warm, subtropical climate and is covered with large stretches of sand and ocean. Due to its climatic conditions, the state is nicknamed the ‘Sunshine State’. It also has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States. With such a long coastline, the number of beaches is certainly not humble. What is scarce, however, are beaches that are nearly untouched as compared to others. And the best part is that they’re scarce but not impossible to find.

Unlike beaches that remain crowded throughout the year, secluded beaches are isolated and calm. If you wish to spend some time on the beach sans the crowds, these beaches are the ideal spots. If you want solitude, the encompassing emptiness shall give you solace. If you want to travel only for a languid vacation, the beauty of these beaches shall offer you the much-needed respite. Secluded beaches of Florida are destinations for people in search of peace. The vacuum is enchanting, the sand and the soil is soothing, and the view of the ocean merging with the sky won’t allow you to take your gaze away from the horizon.

Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
First on the list is the Dry Tortugas National Park – a national park comprising seven islands, lying approximately 70 miles to the west of Key West (the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys). Few are willing to make the 5-hour return trip, which ensures that these seven islands are secluded throughout the year. The USD 5 you pay as entrance fee, is nothing compared to what you get to see.
Make sure you make a reservation well in advance; the availability of space on the overnight camping grounds is really scarce – another feature that ensures less crowds. Visit Loggerhead Key to see the Dry Tortugas Light and Garden Key to explore the famous Fort Jefferson. Bush Key is closed from April to September as it is a huge rookery for several birds.
You’ll be lucky to see Middle Key, an island that disappears for months sometimes due to seasonal changes. You can reach the Dry Tortugas only by boat or seaplane. Also, there are no credit card facilities at the national park; carry cash.
Grayton Beach State Park

This SP has a lot of reasons to be the most popular State Park in the state of Florida. There is absolutely no activity that you can’t indulge in here. You can swim, canoe, hike, fish, and camp. Camping facilities range from RVs to cabins roughly accommodating a group of 6. Ample trees between the sites give you all the seclusion you want.
Sugary white beaches and a diverse wildlife await tourists here. The scenic 100-acre Western Lake is also a part of this beautiful state park. Massive dunes, beautiful trails, and priced isolation are what you can expect at Grayton Beach.
Bowman’s Beach

Magical sunsets, an abundance of shells, and a plethora of birds are pleasures that await you at Sanibel’s Bowman’s Beach. Maintained in its natural state, this beach has no hotels or houses nearby. It offers a perfect environment for relaxing in the company of calm waters and surreal backdrops. You need to take a walk from the parking area to reach the beach. There may be a crowd during seasons, but compared to other beaches in Sanibel, Bowman is still what you’d call an “isolated” escape.
Lovers Key State Park

Lovers Key is the perfect place for beachcombers. With lots of opportunity for shelling, you will also have a 2.5-mile unspoiled, pristine beach. The wildlife viewing in this park will show you dolphins, tortoises, and manatees. Birdwatching enthusiasts aren’t disappointed as all the four islands that make up this state park are alive with diverse species of birds.
While you can just relax on the white sands, also available is another option – hiking; the park boasts of 5 miles of trails, including 2.5 miles of the Black Island Trail. You can also rent bicycles, canoes, and kayaks. Earlier, this island was famous as a romantic paradise; today, it welcomes families and student groups, but the seclusion stays, as promised.
Caladesi Island State Park
An hourly ferry leaves from Honeymoon Island State Park to take tourists to the Caladesi Island State Park. All passengers are allowed to stay on the island for four hours. However, what’s interesting is that if you get your private boat, you can stay at this park in your boat overnight! Imagine yourself alone, with an entire island to yourself.
Earlier, Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island were together part of a large barrier island that split in 1921 as the result of a hurricane. You can hike, go on a mangrove-covered kayak trail, and fish on this beautiful island. Other activities include swimming, snorkeling, birding, and canoeing.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Clean sands, majestic dunes, and a peaceful environment is what you’ll get while unpacking at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. The sands stretch for more than 3 miles, offering tourists ample space to relax and bask in the sun. Furnished bungalows at the park allow you to stay for a couple of days to enjoy this mesmerizing jewel in northwestern Florida. You can fish, swim, hike, bird-watch, and sunbathe.
Playalinda Beach

Meaning beautiful beach in Spanish, the Playalinda Beach is just as nature intended it to be. Located on the east coast, it is divided into 13 lots. Part of the Canaveral National Seashore, it is considered a great surfing location. It is open all year round from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. There are hardly any amenities on the beach; go well-prepared. Activities include swimming, windsurfing, and fishing. No shops, no condos, absolutely no sign of commercialization.

Costa Rica Beaches

Costa Rica beaches
Costa Rica literally means ‘Pure Life’ (pura vida)
Costa Rica has over 800 miles (1,200km) of shoreline on its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. But what sets the beaches of Costa Rica apart is the presence of rainforests, mountains and exotic wildlife in its surroundings. Costa Rica is one of the greenest countries in the world. Approximately 25% of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. With nearly two-thirds of Costa Rica’s borders being coastline, there are many beaches to explore. You can certainly find an abundance of nature and marine life. Costa Rica is a beach lover’s dream, whether you love to collect seashells, go surfing, or just relax, the beaches here will never disappoint you.
Montezuma
Also known as the ‘backpacker’s paradise’, Montezuma is located at the southern end of the Nicoya peninsula. This laid-back beach town is a favorite among youths, surfers, and nature-lovers. Montezuma is a relatively untouched area of Costa Rica, and is filled with alternative thinkers. In fact, the whole town screams creativity, right from the local arts and crafts stalls to the artistic beach restaurants.
The beach also has rainforest in the vicinity which you can explore. Other attractions include yoga and massages on the beach, for the adventurous types, there are many activities like kayaking, snorkeling and zip-lining. However, this beach is mainly famous for its chilled-out atmosphere and vibrant nightlife. With its lively beach, forest waterfalls in the vicinity and the sensational waves, Playa Montezuma is undoubtedly one of the coolest beaches in Central America.
Manuel Antonio
Located in the Manuel Antonio National Park, Manuel Antonio is unique in its location, where the beach meets the lush rainforests and mountains of Costa Rica. Here, you can discover tropical wildlife like iguanas, sloths, crabs and squirrel monkeys in their natural habitat. This combined with white beaches and coral reefs make the beach serene and magical. Adventure activities include, surfing, kayaking, rafting, zip-lining, and hiking.
The crystal-clear water is also ideal for snorkeling. Manuel Antonio has something for everyone and is a one-stop destination with its active nightlife, abundance of water sports, exotic wildlife, and the serenity of the Pacific Ocean.
Playa Dominical
Dominical is a city in the province of Puntarenas in southern Costa Rica. It is known for its lively beaches, beautiful views and breathtaking scenery. However, it is best known for its spectacular and sensational surfing waves. Playa Domical is one of the best surf destinations across the globe. Dominical also claims to have the most consistent wave in Costa Rica.
Although it sounds like a surfers-only type of beach, you will be happy to know that this beach also offers lots of other fun activities such as hiking to nearby waterfalls, zip-lining, and snorkeling. Dominical also boasts an active night life with vibrant clubs and bars. Other activities include whale watching and paddle surfing. Whales are seen along the shoreline 9 months of the year, with humpbacks being the most common ones. This beach can also be a retreat for a romantic vacation, as it boasts of dramatic sunrises and peaceful sunsets.
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste
There are two beaches named Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. One is located in the province of Puntarenas, while the other lies in Guanacaste. While the one in Puntarenas is a great surfing destination, Guanacaste’s Playa Hermosa, situated between Playa del Coco and Playa Panama, is known for its calm surf and untouched beaches. Hermosa, which means “beautiful” in Spanish, is an apt name for the beach considering the calm water, gray sand and its lush surroundings.
This beach is also the winner of ‘Bandera Azul’ or ‘Blue Flag’, a prize given to beaches that practice high environmental standards. It is seldom crowded, and is a fabulous getaway for those who wish to just lay back and enjoy the sun. The calm water is perfect for swimming, scuba diving and, snorkeling. Other activities include, kayaking, sailboarding and windsurfing. With warm water temperatures and ideal weather conditions all year-long, Playa Hermosa is the perfect haven for those seeking quality relaxation.
Tamarindo
Located in Guanacaste, Tamarindo is one of the most developed towns in Costa Rica. The breathtaking scenery and white beach sand contribute to its popularity, making it an ideal destination for honeymoons and beach weddings. While some areas of the beach can be serene and quiet, other areas provide non-stop entertainment which include, fishing, sailing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, ATV tours, mountain biking, horseback riding, sun bathing and much more.
Other beaches in Costa Rica
• Playa Esterillos
• Playa Jaco
• Boca Barranca
• Puntarenas
• Mal Pais
• Playa Conchal
• Playa de Coco
• Playa Junquillal
• Playa Puerto Viejo
Costa Rica has nearly 300 beaches along its stunning Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. Every beach is unique in its own way. Some are ideal for swimming, and others are fantastic for surfing. Some beaches have soft, fluffy sand, while others have shells and rocks in them. Such diversity can only be found in Costa Rica, and it is no surprise that its beaches are ranked among the best in the world.
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