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The 12 Best Beach Vacation Destinations

11 months ago / by Ahad Sanwari
beach vacation
Image credits: Shutterstock

The sun, the sand, and the azure waters are the highlights of idyllic beach vacations. From the sunny shores of the United States to exotic coastal destinations scattered across the world, there are plenty of beaches to choose from. It’s only a question of how far from home do you want to go in search of the perfect beach vacation.

Here are some of the most inviting beach vacation spots for your next getaway.

  1. The Maldives

The first name that comes to mind when there is any mention of the best beach getaways in the world is the Maldivian archipelago. It has over a thousand islands, offering a pick of sandy beaches and crystal clear waters suitable for scuba-diving and snorkeling. The island nation is home to some of the priciest and swankiest resorts that offer villas set over the pristine water. You will also find accommodation options for all budgets and all kinds of beach vacations. Promising the ultimate in relaxation with indulgent spas and massage treatments, there are ample reasons why the Maldives features on almost every list of the best beach vacation spots!

  1. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Closer home, these barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina hold promise of exciting beach vacations. The area is home to thousands of shipwreck diving sites that are a marine enthusiast’s dream come true! With a smattering of secluded beaches to choose from, you’ll be able to have your fill of the sun and sand in peace. When you need a change of scenery, set off to explore the region’s history at its old lighthouses, museums, and historic sites. The Outer Banks is where Orville and Wilbur Wright set off on their first flight and legendary pirate Blackbeard fought his last battle. Mini golf courses and the aquarium on Roanoke Island complete the picture.

  1. Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

The beaches of Hawaii unfailingly find a spot on every list of best beach getaways. Hanauma Bay Beach sits within a protected nature reserve, and the clear waters are perfect for snorkeling. The reef is home to hundreds of exotic marine species including green turtles and spinner dolphins. Here, you could also enjoy the unique experience of sunning yourself by one of the monk seals that inhabit the shores! The crescent moon-shaped beach is situated at the bottom of a volcanic crater and the lava rocks in the water act as a natural barrier protecting the fish from predators. Only a limited number of visitors are permitted to the beach each day and you might want to get there early to avoid disappointment!

  1. Egremni Beach, Lefkada, Greece

The white sand fringed by the startlingly blue water of the Ionian Sea and dramatic limestone cliffs at Egremni Beach are what epitomize idyllic beach vacations. One of the most beautiful in beaches in Greece and the world, it is a favorite with sun bathers and swimmers alike. Following the earthquake of 2015, this beach is only accessible from the water. The scenic island is also home to historic monuments such as the Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni that sits on a hilltop offering stunning views of the sandy shores below. Porto Katsiki, Mikros Gialos, and Milos Beach are good choices if you wish to go beach-hopping while in Lefkada.

  1. Cambria, California

One of the lesser known gems along the scenic California Highway 1 Route, this laidback seaside village has everything to make it one of the best beach vacation spots. Moonstone Beach and San Simeon Creek Beach are two of its notable stretches of coastline. There are plenty of rentals and hotels close by for you to choose from. Set midway between the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Cambria is perfect for quick beach getaways from either city. Historic Hearst Castle, wineries, art galleries, and Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery are some other attractions in the vicinity. If quirky landmarks are your cup of tea, then don’t miss the Nitt Witt Ridge!

  1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The lengthy sandy coastline extending for 60 miles, welcomes you to this city by the Atlantic Ocean. This means that there’s plenty of beaches for everyone without the need for crowding. You can make the most of this stretch of coastline with water sports such as surfing, fishing, boating, scuba diving, and windsurfing. The best thing here is you never have to wander too far from the sand for other entertainment! The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is where you will find restaurants, arcades, and souvenir stores. Annual events, concerts, and festivals all take place along the waterfront promenade and there’s usually something fun happening here every day!

  1. Palawan Island, Philippines

Palawan Island in the Philippines archipelago has its share of stunning sandy beaches bordered by azure water. Nacpan Beach is a typical tourist spot with a good number of visitors on most days. It is close to bars, restaurants, and backpacker accommodations. If you want to catch the gorgeous sunset, then head to Las Cabanas Beach. There is also a zip line from the main beach to a small island if you’d like to get an adrenaline rush. You could choose to go island-hopping for more opportunities to have fun in the sun and surf. Ziplining, caving, and underground river kayaking are some of the activities available if you’d like to get your adrenaline up. Of course, you could simply choose to lay back and soak in the sun’s rays before cooling off with a dip in the pristine water!

  1. Sayulita, Mexico

The charming town of Sayulita has the most spectacular spots for beach vacations along the Riviera Nayarit. The main beach of Playa Sayulita is where all the action and the people are. It is where you will find the strong waves that are perfect for surfing. If solitude and tranquility are what you need, then you could try one of the other beaches in town. Playa de Los Muertos is quiet in the early hours of the morning but its calm waters attract a lot of people later in the day. Playa Norte is the spot to catch the gorgeous sunsets and also sees some surf waves. Swimming is possible here at low tide, but may not be suitable for young children. There are plenty more beaches to explore and when you need a change of scene, enjoy leisurely meals at quaint eateries or browse the galleries for souvenirs.

  1. Patong, Thailand

The scenic, crescent-shaped beach of Patong beckons travelers who want to have a good time without having to spend a good deal! An affordable destination on Phuket Island, known for having some of the best beaches in the world, the town also has a happening nightlife. Parasailing and jet skiing are available aplenty here as also massages on the beach. The sea here is calm and perfect for water sports during the months from November to April. When the sun sets, you could catch a show at one of the cabarets or shop at the street markets. With beer bars and nightclubs also lining the streets of town, there is something for all tastes and all types of beach vacations!

  1. Tybee Island, Georgia

This barrier island is a mere twenty minute drive from the city of Savannah. It offers quite a few beaches for you to choose from depending on what you enjoy doing on your beach vacations. One thing in common at all the beaches are warm waters and gentle waves. If you want to combine beach fun with a dose of history, then head to North Beach that is home to historical attractions in addition to the sandy shores. South Beach is located in the downtown area and you could pop into iconic local eateries when hunger strikes. Mid Beach is conveniently located, equidistant from all local attractions. After a day of fun in the sun and sand, dine on fresh seafood specialties at its quaint waterfront restaurants. For dolphin-watching and splendid sunset views, head to Back River Beach.

  1. Destin, Florida

From its past as a sleepy fishing village, Destin has turned into one of the popular beach vacation spots in the Florida Panhandle. The waters off the town are a magnet for deep sea fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving enthusiasts. Miramar Beach is a favorite with adrenaline junkies in search of parasailing and jet ski adventures. Henderson Beach State Park is perfect for hikes along the water and dolphin-watching in addition to relaxing on the sand. For picnic areas, shaded pavilions, and people-watching while you sunbathe, head to James Lee Beach. The shallow waters make it a great choice for families with kids and inexperienced swimmers on their first beach vacations. Crab Island and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park offer more beaches and activities like boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding. When you need a break from the sun and surf, check out the many splendid golf courses that dot the area.

  1. Maui, Hawaii

All the Hawaiian Islands are known for some of the best beaches in the world and Maui is no exception. Enjoy the pleasant weather, dive in for leisurely swims, and relax on the sand at Wailea Beach. There are plenty of restaurants around if you want to grab a bite to eat or step into the cool comfort of an air conditioned room for a teeny bit. Kaanapali Beach is for whale watching and zip line fun, close to the resorts that the area is known for. The shallow waters are a snorkeler’s paradise and two golf courses add to the fun quotient. Maui has its share of natural beauty that is best experienced with a drive to the black sand beach of Hana. Catch the sunrise at the world’s largest dormant volcano of Mount Haleakala and wind up your day with a traditional luau.

Travel Guide for Beach Vacation Spots

When you sign up for beach vacations, make sure you know what to expect when you get there. It is easy to get carried away by the stunning photographs of shimmering sand bordered by crystal clear waters and swaying palm trees.

For instance, a lot of the gorgeous beaches are located in remote spots, far from the heart of town. So, if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the quiet so much and loves being close to urban attractions you might want to look for a beach that is not so secluded.

When it comes to planning beach vacations, you should make up your mind on accommodation – whether you would prefer conventional resorts, vacation rentals, or sustainable properties. Besides these, here are some tips that can help you plan well and ensure you have one of the best beach getaways of your life!

  • Check the time of the year – When you decide to head out on one of your beach vacations, ensure that you plan it at the right time of year. If you are holidaying during summer, there will be no dearth of destinations close to home. However, if you are able to get away only during winter or autumn, then you might have to look for destinations further away. Beach destinations in Australia, the Fiji Islands, and Asian countries such as Thailand and India might be at the top of your list.
  • Pack right – When you are headed out on beach vacations, it is important to pack everything you need. This includes everything from sunscreen to necessary medications including first aid. It is better to be prepared rather than be caught unawares when you have too much sun exposure or insect bites. Of course, it goes without saying that swimsuits, diving gear, and other water sports-related equipment needs to be packed.
  • Choose stuff for fun in the sun – If you’re an avid reader, you might want to bring along books or an e-reader so you can catch up with favorite authors while you lounge on sandy beaches. A tablet or smart phone loaded with apps to help you get up to speed with your favorite OTT or TV shows is another must-have.
  • Don’t forget your camera – You might think this a redundant tip given the fact that every smartphone comes equipped with hi-tech cameras nowadays. But a camera, especially DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, are what you need for those gorgeous sunset shots and picture postcard images to make your beach vacations memorable. A beach holiday is also the perfect time for photography aficionados to brush up on their skills and pick up new techniques.
  • Check the social calendar – If you would like to experience the local culture while on holiday, find out what events are held during the year. You could then plan your beach vacations to coincide with these days. However, if you would rather avoid the rush that is bound to be seen at your holiday destination when there are special events, book your tickets avoiding these days. Either way, check the social calendar of all the beach vacation destinations on your shortlist!
  • Follow the rules – While beaches are a lot of fun and relaxation, they can also prove dangerous if you do not heed the weather conditions and instructions of local authorities. Watch out for flags on beaches that are used to denote tide levels and the intensity of currents. If you are in doubt at any time, find an information booth or check with the locals. Do not go swimming where it is prohibited as this is usually done for a good reason! Doing this will ensure you have the best beach vacations every single time!
  • Do not litter – Make it a point to take your trash with you when you leave the beach. If you leave behind things such as plastic, bottles, and other such stuff they can prove hazardous to the local marine species as well as barefoot humans. That is not something you want to be doing on beach vacations or any other vacation!

FAQs

What is the most affordable beach vacation?

The definition of ‘affordable’ will likely vary from person to person depending on individual financial standing and other considerations. Being flexible with your travel dates can help you get good rates on flight tickets as well as accommodations. Traveling during the off season months is one way of doing this. Opting for rentals on beach vacations, especially if you plan on staying for a longer duration, can also help cut down costs. With a rental, you can also save on meals by cooking them yourselves or ordering takeaway instead of dining at restaurants all the time. If you’re traveling with a friend or another family, then sharing costs can make it a more affordable vacation. Using these tips can help you book yourself the most affordable beach vacation of all!

What is the best beach vacation?

The destination is not the only thing that makes for excellent beach vacations. Planning ahead can help you ensure that you get what you want from your holiday by the water. Make sure you have a list of all the items that you might need on your vacation. While it may be possible to buy things that you have forgotten to pack at your destination that would just translate into detours and disappointment if you don’t find what you are looking for. Research the destination and chart out the things that you want to see and experience- even if all you want to do is lounge on the sand and enjoy the local food and drink. You can look up the gastronomical specialties of the region and decide what to try or not to.

Where should I go for a three-day vacation?

Beach vacations are best enjoyed when you have about a week to spare. However, if you have only three days, you can still enjoy a great beachside getaway by planning right. Choose a destination close to your residence. The travel time should be under four hours if you are traveling by road and not more than an hour’s flight ride away. If you want to fit in some sightseeing then opting for a guided tour of the place can help you see the highlights without the hassle of commuting around town. Try to finish up the sightseeing or visits on the first day of your holiday and spend the next day out all day enjoying the beach.

What is the nicest beach in the United States?

There is no dearth of beaches in the US and each one has its own charm. The beaches of Destin in the sunshine state of Florida, and the sandy shores of Maui in Hawaii, are just a couple of those at the top of the list.

What beach has the bluest water?

Blue is a color that makes transmits tranquil vibes and leaves you feeling refreshed. Egremni Beach in Greece and the Maldives archipelago are known to have some of the bluest water in the world. Con Son in Vietnam, Ambergris Caye in Belize, and Havelock Island in India are some other destinations known for the gorgeous, aquamarine water.