Being housebound these past few months has given us plenty of time to peruse our wanderlust journal. We’ve also added to it, and now that restrictions are lightening up, we’re ready to take off for distant shores. Nothing says summer like a trip to the beach, but with so many great choices out there, it can be hard to decide where to go first. Of course, you should check travel restrictions before booking, but read on for our best picks for the summer of 2020.
Postcard-perfect scenery, gourmet French cuisine and luxurious resorts; who could ask for more? The beach that has stars and glitter tape around it (don’t judge) in our journal is La Plage de Maui. Almost as popular as the beach’s pearl-white sands is the snack bar’s seafood. It’s phenomenally fresh, and a favourite with locals and tourists alike. Soak in the warm, clean waters of the nearby lagoon, then relax with a tropical cocktail.
Up for more adventure? Try a shark and ray snorkel safari. For those who prefer their fun to come with less fish, head to a pearl farm where even the staunchest zero-souvenir traveller might feel tempted to pick up a pearl choker as a memento of their exquisite expedition.
Between its pristine beaches and jaw-dropping terrain, Kauai is a natural treasure trove. With over 50 miles of shimmering sand coastline, you’ll find plenty of places to relax and play. Boat cruises, kayaking and snorkelling expeditions are available around the island. Beaches on the north shore are quiet and offer excellent chances of a sublime sunset shot while Lydgate Beach Park and Lydgate Pond on the east side are shielded from the open ocean by a lava rock wall and offer some of the safest swimming on the island.
In the south, Poipu is a favourite for its easy access and the opportunity to catch a glimpse of monk seals. West side beaches include Kekaha, a popular surfing and fishing spot. Note: Kauai’s surf can be rough. Be sure to obey signage and pay attention to lifeguards.
Located in the Arabian Sea, this nation comprised of some 1,200 islands is like no other place on earth. Dreamy blue waves, pearlescent sands and picture-perfect sunsets await you on this island paradise. When asked to describe the beaches in the Maldives, visitors often find themselves at a loss. So take our word for it – the place is so amazing, the experience borders on spiritual.
As for activities, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking are available at many resorts. Note: Public beaches generally require modest clothing, so either stick to your hotel property or head over to Maafushi or Rasdhoo Beaches where bikinis are welcome.
Small but stunning, the mountainous Amalfi coast stretches along the west side of Italy’s boot, from Naples to Salerno. It is one of the most bewitching settings on earth that includes some of the world’s best beaches. Be sure to visit the Fiordo di Furore, a narrow fjord with its modest-sized beach surrounded by dramatic cliffs. Next, head to Marina Grande Beach in Positano to rub elbows with celebrities as well as locals — and to snap some swoon-worthy pics with the pastel-coloured homes in the background.
If you’d prefer to skip the crowds, you can bliss out on Atrani Beach. The beaches of Maiori and Minori are two more perfect places to rejuvenate body and soul. A visit to the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Cave) is a must. The colour of the water and the effect on the cave walls is simply spectacular, and can only be seen in very few places on earth.
US Virgin Islands
They say there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all vacation, but the Virgin Islands just might prove that theory wrong. The quieter beaches of Solomon and Honeymoon on St. John are perfect for seclusion-seeking couples. Scuba divers and swimmers will find their bliss in St. John’s National Park, also on St. John is Trunk Bay. With its aquamarine water and pearly sands, it is considered by many to be the epitome of all beaches. And despite its popularity, Trunk Bay manages to maintain a serene atmosphere.
The Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge on St. Croix is ideal for those who have an inclination to surf alongside leatherback sea turtles. For those who can never snap enough envy-inducing selfies, head to Magens Bay on St. Thomas for incredible vistas.
The first thing that comes to mind when you mention Bali is its beaches and for good reason. Sugar-soft sands, clear blue water, and magnificent sunsets are all the norm in enchanting Bali. With many of its 5-star resorts offering direct beach access, paradise is truly at your doorstep. But in the event that yours doesn’t or you’re in the mood to explore, head over to Kuta Beach for top-notch surfing that isn’t too rough for beginners.
If relaxation is more your speed, Sanur Beach’s calm waters and chill atmosphere is where you want to be. Bali offers fascinating cultural experiences as well, including temples, dancing and cuisine. And you can hardly miss its fascinating flora and fauna. Bali is home to numerous exotic animals including elephants and jewel-like birds, along with dozens of flowers and plants that are unique to the island.
The island of Phuket off Thailand’s western coast is an absolute must-see. Secluded coves. Non-stop party beaches. Incredible vistas. And every activity imaginable from luxurious massages to long-tail boat rides; it’s all yours for the asking on Phuket. Miles of pristine sand and teal water, abundant luxury resorts and unique cultural offerings make Phuket one of Thailand’s most popular destinations.
The family-friendly Emerald Coast of Florida also ranks among the best beaches in the world. The emerald water is perfect for swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and even a little easy surfing. The sugar-soft sand deserves a mention of its own. It is made of Appalachian quartz that not only stays cool in summer but also imparts the captivating emerald cast to the waters of the north Gulf Coast. Tours abound, including dolphin-spotting, romantic sunset cruises and pirate-themed adventures.
That’s enough scribbling. Get packing!
Bio: Sue enjoys reading, writing, dark chocolate and her kids, although not always in that order. For some reason she lives near Baltimore, where she divides her time between her desk and the kitchen.