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Archive for the ‘Top Ten Beaches’ Category

Brazil’s Best Beaches

Posted by alainaflute on May 29, 2012

Brazil’s Best Beaches. Has there ever been a better alliteration? Not if you love fun, sun, and sandy beaches! One thing to remember: Brazil is a large country with thousands of beaches (there’s much more to Brazil than Rio)!

Map of States and Great Regions in Brazil (Marco Aurelio P. Marsitch/Wikimedia Commons)

UK news source, The Guardian, recruited experts to compile their list of Brazil’s top 10 beaches. Here we go:

10. Lagoinha do Leste, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina (Caio Capela, Tucano House owner)

Florianópolis Island has beaches a plenty! With over 42 to choose from, Lagoinha do Leste takes the bikini… the cake, rather. On the south side of this island, an hour’s hike will bring you to this beautiful, deserted beach.

“It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, and backed by Atlantic rainforest, with dunes, sandbanks, a lake and rocky coastline. Perfect for camping (no campsite, pitch anywhere) or for a day trip.”

Florianopolis, Avenida Beira Mar, Santa Catarina, Brazil (Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/Wikimedia Commons)

9. Bonete, São Paulo State (Ariel Kostman, Metro Newspaper, São Paulo)

This is a beach that you’ll walk to, but sometimes it’s the 15km journey and not the destination. Nah, it’s the destination. However, there is plenty to enjoy along the way – waterfalls and Brazilian forest.

“Half an hour before the end of the 15km walk you’ll see the beach at Bonete: this is what Brazil must have looked like to the Portuguese when they first arrived over 500 years ago: just blue sea, golden sand and dense green forest. Finally, the beach: a half-mile strip of sand next to a river estuary, with good waves for surfing.”

8. Praia da Fazenda, São Paulo State (Simon Heyes, Latin American Travel Association)

Simon’s words are so pretty – I won’t even try to compete:  “Halfway between two of Latin America’s biggest cities, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but truly a world apart, lies one of Brazil’s great natural jewels, where protected, heavily forested coastal mountains drop vertiginously into beaches and azure sea. Praia da Fazenda arcs effortlessly across the wide bay from the small, traditional fishing village of Picinguaba. Wade across the river – catch a flash of kingfisher green among the mangroves – and two miles of deserted beach lie ahead. To your right uninterrupted forest and mountains; on your left the bay, scattered palm topped islands and fish jumping. Things I love about this place: running at dawn you feel like the only person for a hundred miles; the cool, delicious natural spring at the far end; the gentle rise and shelter that provides a perfect spot for longboard surfing; and watching a school of dolphins from a kayak, and once even a whale!”

Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien (Claus Bunks/Wikimedia Commons)

7. Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Rio State (Nadia Nightingale, Rio resident)

White sand and a crystal blue ocean – that’s what you’ll find on Big Island (Ilha Grande), home to Lopes Mendes. Far from any building, you’ll have to find shade under a palm tree instead. It’s also a rather complicated trip, and I’m not sure a GPS can help you find the way. Here is how it goes: “Getting there involves a three-hour bus journey from Rio to Angra dos Reis then a hop on the ferry to Ilha Grande. A scenic 40-minute boat trip takes you to Abraão, the island’s only town. Once in Abraão take a small taxi-boat to Manges beach, the last boat stop before Lopes Mendes. Landing on the beach, walk up over a hill and then down through a small forest to the beach. As you walk out of the forest, the beach is right in front of you in all its glory.”

6. Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro (Gavin McOwan, Guardian Travel)

The best beach might not be in “Rio,” but no Brazilian Beach list would be complete without one of its busy beaches. Arpoador is a continuation of Ipanema Beach, ending with a “tall rocky headline, an easy 60m climb, offering stunning views of the whole length of Ipanema, Leblon and the famous Dois Irmãos mountain.” A favorite for locals, you can surf or just splash around off of the sandy beach. It also has lighting at night, so you can even take a dip after the sun has gone down.

Arpoador Beach, Rio de Janeiro (Anna Carol/Wikimedia Commons)

5. Caraiva, Bahia (Steven Chew, contributing editor Conde Nast Traveller)

This vastly expansive beach (spanning more than a day’s walk in either direction) has no access for motorized transportation.

“There’s an adage with remote Brazilian beaches: first go the hippies, then the yachties, then the French … Caraiva is still at the happy-hippy stage of discovery and even then only for a brief period in the summer.”

“Golden sands lead down to the water where a firm surf pushes relentlessly against the shore and provides the soundtrack to the handful of idyllic beach bars. And then, of course, there are the goalposts that remind you that you are in Brazil.”

4. Taipus de Fora, Maraú Peninsula, Bahia (Conor O’Sullivan, founder of Tatur travel agency)

The state of Bahia has 1,100km of coastline. Taipus de Flora is home to a lovely long beach walk: “The long sweep of beach ends at a headland where beautiful reef pools are exposed by the receding tide, revealing a huge naturally sheltered pool, offering wonderful snorkelling and tropical fish. South, past the headland, the sandy beach goes on and on, and I walk on and on, stopping off for a refreshing dip.”

Taipus de Fora, Maraú, Bahia (FlaviaC/Wikimedia Commons)

3. Praia do Toque, Alagoas  (Ricardo Freire, author of 100 Praias Que Valem a Viagem100 Beaches You Must Visit)

Some of the best beaches are off the beaten path. If you take the main coastal road inland, you might miss the delights of the villages and warm sea in the other direction. “Set up base at Praia do Toque and walk the sands nearby. Twenty minutes north is Tatuamunha river, a sanctuary for manatees. Forty minutes south are two picture-perfect crescents: São Miguel and Praia do Riacho. At low tide hire a jangadeiro (a small traditional fishing boat) and head to the tidal pools.”

2. Fernando de Noronha (Douglas Vieira, São Paulo journalist)

Nothing says paradise like an archipelago. 350km off of the north-east coast of Brazil, Fernando de Noronha makes finding a nice beach easy. The three must-visit beaches are: Praia do Sancho, Baía dos Porcos (Pig’s Bay), and Atalaia. “All have translucent waters, and because tourist numbers to the islands are strictly monitored, it is easy to spot turtles, octopuses, a plethora of fish and even sharks. The food chain in Noronha is well preserved, so sharks are less dangerous here there than elsewhere.”

1. Alter do Chao, Pará (Tom Phillips, The Guardian’s Brazil correspondent)

Number one is a real surprise, mostly because this beach isn’t a dot on the expansive Brazilian coast. Actually, it’s on a river in the heart of the Amazon. “After a week holed up in the jungle, Alter do Chao is the perfect place to relax: you can lounge on the river beaches in the morning, gorge yourself on a local grilled fish in the afternoon and retreat to one of the area’s many charming pousadas by night.” This place is your perfect escape from the “green inferno” of the famous Brazilian rainforest.

Alter do Chao, Santarem, Para (Mélété/Wikimedia Commons)

To read more about Brazilian beaches and find suggested accommodations, check out ‘s original article, “Top 10 beaches in Brazil.”

One last insight for the road: according to this lovely article, the Brazilian equivalent of the British expression “Just my cup of tea” is ‘That’s my beach” (é minha praia).

A trip to beautiful Brazil? That’s my beach!

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Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beaches of South America, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Top Ten Beach Destinations in the World

Posted by E.G.D. on May 15, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer: Angie Feathers

Angie offers us her choices for the best beach destinations in the world! After perusing Angie’s picks, why not share your own choices in the comment block below?  Enjoy! -E.G.D.

Beaches offer a serene mecca for all those beach lovers who find water, sand and sun irresistible. Next time you’re planning a vacation, choose one of these destinations in order to indulge in some beautiful beach activities, bask in the sun, and explore underwater treasures. However, the options at your disposal can vary from one beach to another. Are you planning an international beach vacation this summer? If so, here are the top destinations for you, and what you need to know about them.

Mahé Island, Seychelles (Photo: Hansueli Krapf/Wikipedia)

1. Mahe Island, Seychelles (Indian Ocean)
Seychelles has some of the most photographed beaches in the world. In contrast to white, sandy beaches, the beaches in Seychelles boast pale pink sands. The sparkling waters with the pink sands as a backdrop offer a fantastic view of the coastline. Furthermore, activities including swimming, water skiing, and snorkeling are easily accessible in the turquoise water of Seychelles.

2. The Republic of Maldives (Indian Ocean)
Whether your dream is to enjoy loads of marine activities or spend days exploring the dry wonders in a beautiful palm-fringed haze, Maldives is the place for you. This pristine Asian island beach destination, with an extensive coastline and myriad of activities, offers a memorable experience to each guest.

Matira beach and lagoon, Bora Bora (Photo: Scott Williams/Wikipedia)

3. Bora Bora, Society Islands (French Polynesia)
Bora Bora may not be considered the most sophisticated of beach destinations, but it is truly a magical island. Explore the island’s renowned lagoons, snorkel and explore the wonderful undersea treasure, or set out for a sightseeing or culinary tour, as there is much to see and do on this romantic island.

4. Phi Phi Island, Thailand
The remote and pristine beaches of Phi Phi Island are perfect for those looking for a serene setting to spend time with their loved ones. Come explore this paradise that not only offers a series of breathtaking scenic spots, but also a number of urban establishments, including reggae bars and local restaurants.

Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Florida (Photo: Jsarasota/Wikipedia Commons)

5. Siesta Beach, Florida (U.S.A.)
Dazzling beaches, a vast range of fun activities, and a wealth of urban pleasures make Florida’s most-visited beach a delight. Visit the Siesta Beach near Sarasota to check out this world-famous beach, boasting turquoise blue water. Activities  range from a the usual beach activities (e.g. swimming and sun bathing) to sightseeing tours.

6. Hanalei Bay, Hawaii (U.S.A.)
Hawaii, the 50th and most exotic state in the USA, is one of the best beach destinations in the world. Out of the six major islands of Hawaii, the town of Hanalei on Kauai Island is regarded as having the most pristine beach in the state of Hawaii. The small township of Hanalei combines the spectacular natural wonders with a buzzing urban scene.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island (Damien Dempsey/Wikimedia)

7. Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Whitehaven Beach is the best beach that Australia has to offer. Located on the famous Whitsunday Island, this sparkling beach boasts pure white sands and reef dunes that are actually formed by the dead coral that came from the Great Barrier Reef. The lush forested areas bordering the beach also offer a number of activities for all guests.

8. Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas
As the name suggests, this uniquely pink beach in the Bahamas is perfect for those who want to enjoy an intimate vacation with their loved ones. Come here for a private getaway and indulge in a serene setting.

Clifton Beach, Cape Town, South Africa (Photo: Lettkow/Wikimedia Commons)

9. Clifton Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa’s Clifton Beach is one of those popular beaches where many tourists often flock to tan and play in the sun. The crystal-clear Atlantic waters and the scenic cliffs of this Cape Town Beach boast a stunning view. Aside from the beach activities in Cape Town, you will have plenty of man made attractions to explore, including a wonderful nightlife.

10. Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Regarded as one of the most romantic beaches in the world, the Nungwi Beach in Tanzania is a popular honeymoon spot. Bring your loved ones for a week-long vacation at the Nungwi Beach and enjoy a romantic, yet exciting, holiday while staying at an upscale seaside villa within the awe-inspiring setting of Zanzibar.

About the Featured Writer: Angie Feathers likes to write and travel!

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Featured Guest Writer, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Top Ten Florida Beaches for Seashells

Posted by Jody on February 28, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer: Laura Hoot from HomeAway!

Top 10 Florida Beaches for Seashells

Look no further than Florida for some of the best seashell collecting in the country. Throughout the Sunshine State there are beaches with lovely shells and sea glass that are worth planning a trip around. Some travelers will prefer beaches with oceanfront vacation rentals, while others might prefer lesser-known beaches or protected state parks for a serene experience. Whatever type of beach you crave, you’ll find a match in Florida.

1. Sanibel Island

Located near Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is one of the best places in Florida for collecting seashells. On this barrier island, shells cover the beaches. The island is also appealing for its wildlife, great restaurants, and low-key development. Here you can expect a quiet, leisurely trip full of good walks on the beach.

Sanibel Island Beach Treasures

2. Caladesi Island State Park

If you’re looking for protected state beaches, plan a trip to the Caladesi Island State Park in the Tampa Bay Area. You can’t reach this beach by car — only by boat — leaving the quiet beach yours to explore. There are great shells here and it is a popular spot for swimming and picnics too.

3. Captiva Island

Often considered one of the very best places in the whole state for collecting shells, many people return to Captiva year after year looking for the next great find.

4. Cedar Key

Another option on the Gulf Coast is Cedar Key.  This beach is especially great at low tide when you can explore all the tidal pools for shells. The fact that you need a boat to reach this small island also means fewer crowds on the beautiful beach.

5. Panama City Beach

There is also some great shelling at the panhandle at places such as the aptly named Shell Island off of Panama City Beach. Access the island with one of the many shuttles or tour boats for about $20 a person.

6. Venice Beach

If you’re on the hunt for shark’s teeth, check out Venice Beach south of Sarasota. If you have any kids that are big shark fans, this is the place to be.

Vecice Beach Treasures

7. Little Talbot Island State Park

One great option on the Atlantic Coast is Little Talbot Island State Park, located north of Jacksonville. This beach is known for being the home to dozens of shell varieties. While many visitors congregate around the boardwalks looking for shells, you will have a more serene experience if you venture north to the long stretches of empty beaches.

8. Honeymoon Island

Another beach near Tampa for shelling is Honeymoon Island. Here you and your kids can hunt for sand dollars and other interesting shells. The clear waters on the Gulf Coast make it possible to look for shells not just on the beach, but within the first few feet of where the water meets the beach as well.

Sunrise from the boardwalk. Let’s go! (Photo by Jay Malone/Wikimedia Commons)

9. Jupiter Island

Located north of West Palm Beach on the Atlantic side, Jupiter Island also has a large variety of shells. Coral Cove State Park is on Jupiter Island and over 200 varieties of shells have reportedly been found here. By paying the entry fee you are also ensuring the beach will be preserved for future generations.

10. Fernandina Beach

Fernandina Beach is located on Amelia Island. This is another beach popular for shark’s teeth. Many visitors are surprised at the sheer number of shells here. Expect to sort through piles of shells to find unbroken, colorful, or other special shells that appeal to you.

From the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast, from busy beaches to hidden coves, Florida is full of great options for shelling. Get your bucket and head to the beach!

About the Author

Laura Hoot has been writing professionally since 2004 and currently manages HomeAway’s Travel Ideas site.  She also manages a household of three dogs, a cat, two chickens and a baby boy with her husband. She’s written for USA Today’s travel site, GirlsGetaway.com , Cheapo Air, Travels.com, Trails.com, eFilmCritic.com, The Budget Fashionista, Travellogged.com and many more sites.

Thank you, Laura!  You’ve given us some wonderful choices  for our next visit to the Sunshine State! ~ Happy beachcombing ~ Jody

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Seashells, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , | 88 Comments »

Travel Channel 2012 Best Beaches

Posted by E.G.D. on January 16, 2012

Zlatni Rat, Travel Channel's "Best Scenic Beach" 2012 (Photo by Kelovy on Wikimedia Commons)

As many of you already know, this past weekend was the Travel Channel’s big Best Beaches weekend!  I know, it’s sometimes hard to steer your mind into gear with regard to beaches in the dead of winter, but in a twisted sort of way, it’s really nice to curl up with a blanket and a cup of tea in the living room and let the Travel Channel do the beachy-thinking for you.  And hey, where some of these beaches are, it’s not winter at all!

So, without further ado, here’s the rundown of the top ones (and if you’d like to see the runners up, they’re on the website linked here: Travel Channel’s Best Beach Awards 2012):

Best Party Beach: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Best Family Beach: Cape May, New Jersey

Best Romance Beach: Lahaina Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Sexiest Beach: South Beach, Miami, Florida

Best Beach Bar: Rick’s Cafe, Negril, Jamaica

Best Beach You Haven’t Heard of… Yet: Llandudno Beach, South Africa

Best Beach for Adventure: Surfing in Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Best Exotic Beach: Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles

Best Scenic Beach: Zlatni Rat, Bol, Brac Island, Croatia

Best Boardwalk: Santa Cruz, California

Tada!  That’s the short of it, and the long is on the website and on the TV.  Here’s the kicker, though:  the viewers’ choice award for the best beach is still taking votes!  If you have strong opinions about whether Siesta Key, St. Lucia, Lahaina, or Cabo San Lucas is the best beach, you should definitely wander over to their website and vote.  Alternately, let us know in the comment box just under this post.  What do YOU think is the very best beach in the world?  We’d love to hear your opinion.  Happy beach dreaming! -E.G.D.

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Monday Miscellaneous, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Best Beaches in Africa

Posted by Jody on December 6, 2011

Today’s Featured Writer: Alaina Diehl

When you think Africa, you might think “really, really, really, big.” Perhaps you already know that this massive continent covers 11,677,239 square miles (30,244,049 square km) with 22,921 mi (36,888 km) of coastline. Our best bet on narrowing down a beach to visit is to take a tip from someone who has already been there. Fortunately for us, readers of The Guardian dish on their favorite African beach destinations in “Readers’ tips:  the best beaches in Africa.”

Beaches are a girl’s best friend, but Sierra Leone (located on the west coast of Africa above the equator) is better known for its diamonds.  Two Atlantic beaches from this country make this list:

River No. 2 Beach, Freetown: If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Freetown, River Number Two Beach is a no-frills tranquil getaway. Take in the white sand and palm tree landscape while enjoying the fresh coconut you bought nearby. Bring handy wipes – the restroom is a latrine in a shed.

River No. 2 Village Beach, Sierra Leone (Annabel Symington/Wikimedia Commons)

Sussex Beach, Freetown: Because there’s no way I can describe it better, here is what Pauline Hughes has to say about this beach: “Along the peninsula south of Freetown, this quiet, sandy beach faces the Atlantic with an opening onto a salt lagoon with mangrove trees, on the edge of which is Florence’s guesthouse.” You might want to check out Florence’s Guesthouse or read more about Sierra Leone.

Next, this mini African beach adventure takes us to Morocco.

Essaouira Beach (notice that sometimes “y” is the only vowel missing) is a beautiful place to soak up the sun or hit the surf. Remember the pictures of camels on the beach from Beaches of Morocco: “Beaches for Every Taste”? Better than a camel ride at the zoo, I’d say. There is also activity and food to entice you in the nearby Unesco heritage town.

Uganda (US CIA/Wikimedia Commons)

The next beach experience is in the middle of Africa (say what?) Landlocked Uganda hugs the rather large Lake Victoria. Reader Josie89 has recommended Banda Island, Lake Victoria. This privately owned island (one of the Ssese Islands) belongs to an “eccentric” British Kenyan named Dominic. You can all about it at the website that the article provided: Travel Uganda.

Tanzania is home to the another one of the Best Beaches in Africa. On the beautiful waters of the Indian Ocean, Kendwa Beach is an “idyllic stretch of white sand” that sounds (and looks) absolutely magical.

A Beautiful Beach at Kendwa Breezes Beach Resort (Kibabe/Wikimedia Commons)

Malawi is another landlocked African country that sports beachfront, this time on Lake Malawi. The Guardian reader jennylondoner describes the atmosphere of Cape Maclear as “chilled,” in the relaxed sense. This enclave has many secluded beaches where you can enjoy just about any of your favorite beach activities.

Monoxylon Beach, Lake Malawi (Stefan Kraft/Wikipedia)

Mozambique (CIA World Factbook/ Wikimedia Commons)

If your idea of fun is swimming with whale sharks and gigantic manta rays,  then Mozambique’s Tofo Beach, Inhambane is your Indian Ocean beach destination.  Yikes. Don’t worry, whale sharks are filter feeders. If you prefer to stay on dry sand, the eateries and wicker bungalows can be your happy place.

Bazaruto Archipelago, Vilanculos is the next location in Mozambique that makes the article’s cut. Although the beaches of Vilanculos itself are described as “dirty,” a short boat ride takes you to the picturesque Bazaruto Archipelago Nature Reserve. You can rent your own skipper for the day to enjoy exploring the deserted beaches, snorkeling with tropical fish, and aimless wandering. Maybe you’ll want to check out Sailaway Dhow Safaris, as the article suggests.

Finally we get two exciting beaches of South Africa. Who doesn’t love penguins? So, no matter who you are, you’ll love Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town. Boulders is within walking distance of Simon’s Town. This beach is home to the, I kid you not, African “jackass” Penguin. The nickname doesn’t come from cutting you off in heavy traffic. These penguins have a donkey-like bray. Named for boulders, not penguins, this beach is a fun spot to climb and jump into the warm ocean waves. Bring a picnic, build a sandcastle, and snap a photo or two!

African Penguin, Bristol Zoo, Bristol, England (Adrian Pingstone/Wikipedia)

The last but not least Best African Beach destination, Sodwana Bay is nestled in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Whales, dolphins, and leatherback turtles! Oh, my! This marine reserve and world heritage site is a paradise for nature, by nature.

Africa is a huge continent with 50-ish countries and endless adventures. Where will your next beach adventure take you?

Check out  The Readers’ Tips at The Guardian for more photos, insights and information on the Best Beaches in Africa.

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beaches of Africa, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thavorn Beach Village & Spa Presents: “Our Top 10 Best Phuket Beaches”

Posted by Jody on November 29, 2011

Family Post by Alaina Diehl

I’ve never been to Thailand, but I did eat delicious Thai curry yesterday. I guess that doesn’t make me much of a Thai beach authority, so we’ll have to depend on the advice of the Thavorn Beach Village & Spa to know where to go to hit the fun and sun at the beaches of Phuket.

Phuket Province, Thailand (NordNordWest/Wikipedia)

Phuket, located approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok, is Thailand’s largest island, and it sports some of Thailand’s loveliest beaches.

1. Bangtao Beach is easy to get to by motor bike or car. There are plenty of tourist facilities and luxury resorts around this relaxing beach that was once used for tin mining.  Swimming is great during the dry season (November to April).

2. Patong Beach is considered the party capital of Phuket. During the day you can hit the sun beds and at night you can hit the bars and clubs. Crowded during the high season, you can escape to the north end of the bay or enjoy a Thai message on the beach. There are plenty water sports and activities to experience as well.

Patong Beach (Neitram/Wikimedia Commons)

3. Karon Beach is the second largest Phuket beach. Although it is only a few steps away from luxury resort hotels, this beach isn’t as crowded as Patong Beach. This beach is kid friendly with places to snorkel and get your game on (Dino Park Mini Golf).

4. Surin Beach is known for its clear waters. Golfing, swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and parasailing are a few activities that you can enjoy here… not to mention eating! This beach has many nearby restaurants.

5. Curving, white sand Kata Beach is pretty popular, so you will have to get there early to get a sun bed. Kids can spot fish at the south end of the beach, while adults and big kids can enjoy water activities of all kinds.

6. Freedom Beach means freedom from noise (no water sports allowed on this beach). Relax on a sun bed under a palm tree or sink your feet into the clean, white sand.

7. Paradise Beach: Soft, white sand, beautiful greenery, and clear water—enough said.

Paradise Beach (Lofor/Wikimedia Commons)

8. Kata Noi Beach is less developed than Kata Beach to the north. From this beach, you can spot the evergreen Poo Island. High waves from May to October make it dangerous for swimming, but the surfers dig it.

9. Kamala Beach has more of a family beach atmosphere.  The northern side of the beach is good for taking a dip in the tropical water.

10. Nakalay Beach belongs to the Thavorn Beach Village Resort, so, of course they recommend it! I like a good private beach, myself. This looks like a nice spot to swim, tan, and relax.

Last but not least, a safety tip: the rainy season (May to October) brings unpredictable conditions for the water. It is a good idea to heed the flag warnings on the beaches. Stay out of the water on a red flag day!

Check out more travel tips, links, and pictures at http://www.thavornbeachvillage.com/phuket-travel/.

Thailand is definitely on my Asian beach to-do list. Amazing images of lush green foliage against the white sands and beautifully blue ocean definitely fit my idea of paradise.

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beaches of Asia, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Top Ten Beaches in New England

Posted by Jody on November 1, 2011

When I found the Top Ten Beaches in New England I wondered: Just exactly what is a “Honky-Tonk” beach? I can’t remember a time when I’ve heard someone describe a beach in those terms! But, if you ask Stephen Jermanok of Yankee Magazine he’ll tell you exactly where you can enjoy the “Best Honky-Tonk”  beach along with nine other Best Beaches in New England!

The 10 Best Beaches in New England” will help you find the Best Surfing, Best Sand, Best Freshwater Beach, and yes – the Best Honky-Tonk beach in the region!

Charles Island from Silver Sands State Park, Milford, Connecticut (Photo by RJFerret/Wikimedia Commons)

According to the Yankee Magazine article, the Warmest Water beach in New England is the remote Silver Sands State Park in Milford, Connecticut.  (It probably doesn’t hurt that Milford, Connecticut is pretty far south on the map of New England! ;-)) Silver Sands State Park comes complete with a legend!  According to CT.gov:  “The early history of Silver Sands focuses on Charles Island. The Island is connected to the mainland by a sand/gravel bar (tombolo) that is submerged at high tide. Captain Kidd is reputed to have buried his treasure on the island in 1699.”

Block Island South East Light and Mohegan Bluffs (Photo by Swampyank/Wikipedia)

The Best Bird-Watching on a New England beach can be found at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire. Odiorne Point State Park is perfect for year-round recreation. Here, in addition to birding, you can enjoy picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking, nature walks,  and cross country skiing along the largest stretch of undeveloped shoreline on New Hampshire’s 18-mile coast.

The beach that is Best for Solitude? Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island, Rhode Island. “Block Island features 17 miles of pristine beaches, protected by lighthouses and spectacular bluffs, and surrounded by rolling roads and winding paths….  Admission to all beaches, as well as parking, is free.” (BlockIslandInfo.com) The scenic route to the Mohegan Bluffs, on the southern shore of Block Island, includes an hour long ferry ride from New London, Connecticut, a three-mile bike ride and a trek down stairs to the beach “dotted with driftwood and sea glass.”

And, of course, the Best Honky-Tonk beach in New England: Old Orchard Beach, Maine. “It’s almost impossible not to have fun at Old Orchard Beach. The low surf makes this a favorite spot for swimming, sunbathing, and making new friends. …Catering to tourists and families is a way of life in Old Orchard Beach.” The beach, arcades, amusement rides, nightly entertainment, auto races and harness racing are highlights of the Old Orchard Beach area. “Old Orchard’s Pier is the center of the recreational activities. Extending nearly 500 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, the Pier features shops, fast food, and games of skill. During the summer many special events are planned to entertain and mesmerize everyone in the family festivals, fairs, free concerts, street dances, and fireworks most Thursday nights.” (OldOrchardBeachMaine.com) So that’s a “Honkey-Tonk” beach!

The New England States (USGS Map/Wikipedia)

Rounding out the Top Ten Beaches in New England:

Best Southern Maine Beach for Avoiding Crowds – Footbridge Beach, Ogunquit

Best Sand – Coast Guard Beach, Eastham Massachusetts (Coast Guard Beach seems to pop up on a lot of “Best Beaches” lists!)

Most Scenic – Aquinnah Public Beach, Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts

Best Freshwater Beach – Lake Willoughby, Westmore, Vermont

Best Walk – Napatree Point, Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Best Surfing – Narragansett Town Beach, Narragansett, Rhode Island

Check out the details and links to the 10 Best Beaches in New England in the article from Yankee Magazine! & Have a great day at the beach!

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Atlantic Coast Beaches, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

“The 10 Best Beaches for Families: 2011″ by Parents®

Posted by Jody on October 25, 2011

Family Post by Alaina Diehl

Parents® has taken exceptional measures to spot out the best 10 family beaches with 10 runners-up. They “combed through water-quality reports, closings, and advisories for more than 1,000 U.S. beaches,” nixing those with “persistent problems and ones where the water isn’t tested.” After that, they evaluated three more “deal breakers” that families must consider—restrooms, calm surf, and lifeguards. Finally, beaches with nature trails and other perks made the cut. Kids or no kids, these beaches look like real treasure troves of beach and beachside activities. All we need to do is pack our swimsuits and enjoy the calm, clean waters of  “The 10 Best Beaches for Families.”

North Beach at Fort De Soto Park (Photo by Christopher Hollis/Wikimedia Commons)

1. North Beach at Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida

This beach is a perfect spot for the kiddos. The water is clear and clean, and this county park beach area features nature activities, a shallow and large lagoon, a playground with a pretend pirate ship, and the nearby Gulf Pier—a good spot for dolphin spotting! Fun and American history meet at the fort, where the family can explore remnants of the Spanish-American War.

2. Coligny Beach Park, Hilton Head, South Carolina

Parents® picked this spot for its calm, shallow waters. Kids can peer into the tidal pools at low tide (look, but don’t touch!) and collect treasures off of the beach. The sand is also ideal for building sand castles and cycling.

3. Kama’ole Beach Park III, Maui, Hawaii

They got me at “Maui.” This beach, nicknamed Kam 3, is one of three beaches in the Kama’ole Beach Park. This is a fun nature spot with clear water and small waves—kids may be able to spot fish, puffer fish, and sea turtles. If you want a closer look, nearby vendors rent snorkeling equipment that can help make it happen. More family fun can be had in the grassy area behind the beach where visitors can enjoy games, fly kites, or eat shaved ice (a stand won’t be too far away!).

4. Coronado Central Beach, San Diego

Hotel del Coronado (Photo by Binksternet/Wikipedia)

A treasured memory from my childhood, this beach is a special stretch of sand. Great weather, pristine sands, and warm waters make this a great place to spend the day. Downsand from the famous Hotel del Coronado, you may find tide pools filled with sea creatures. As an extra added bonus, California beaches are smoke-free.

5. West Beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Porter

This beach sounds like a blast. If your family likes the hands-on educational program approach to vacationing, then this beach with a Junior Ranger program will be right up your alley. Kids can complete a list of activities to receive a “beachcomber badge.” If you’re looking to run the kids down for naptime, there are several nearby nature trails to enjoy…and burn off about 1 ½ miles of energy to boot.

6. Mayflower Beach, Dennis, Massachusetts

This beautiful Cape Cod beach has an annual sand sculpture contest! You don’t have to be a kid to like digging sand into buckets. There are categories for kids ages 3-6 and 7-11, as well as family teams.

7. Coquina Beach Park, Bradenton, Florida

The “coquinas” (mini colorful shells) make this beach a popular treasure collecting spot. Other fun activities include walking the paved nature trail, enjoying the warm water, and kayaking – lucky kayakers will spot sea life favorites, such as the manatee (this beach is located in Manatee County), dolphin, or stingray!

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon (Photo by Postdlf/Wikimedia Commons)

8. Cannon Beach, Oregon

This lovely beach has the beach critters and the gorgeous views beach vacationers crave. The state-protected tidal pools are filled with colorful starfish and other creatures. Bring a camera to get snapshots of picturesque Haystack Rock, just off the beach. Even in the summer, the water stays cold enough to deter swimmers from diving right in. If you want to get in past your toes, you’ll want a wetsuit—fortunately for the kiddos, the Cannon Beach Surf Shop rents out toddler-sized suits.

9. Main Beach, East Hampton, New York

Are the people on this beach judging me for my department store swimsuit? According to Parents®, even though this white sand beach is overlooked by mansions, it retains a “down-to-earth” atmosphere. The real downside? Parking is by permit only on weekends. It’s a good idea to bike in or stay at a hotel that will drop you off.

10. North Beach, Racine, Wisconsin

If the beach isn’t enough to keep your kids busy, this Lake Michigan beach sports one of the state’s largest playgrounds. The zoo isn’t too far away, either.

Last but not least, you may want to check out one of the 10 runners-up: Siesta Key Public Beach, Siesta Key, Florida; South Beach, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oaho, Hawaii; South Beach, Tybee Island, Georgia; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, Rhode Island; Hapuna Beach Park, Big Island, Hawaii; Cape May Point Beach, Cape May, New Jersey, Aliso Beach Park, South Laguna Beach, California; and Gulf State Park Beach, Gulf Shores, Alabama.

So many beaches, so little time!

Everyone will enjoy “The 10 best beaches for families!

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Tallies & Tips, Tide Pools, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Top Ten Beaches in Kent, England

Posted by Jody on October 11, 2011

Kent, known as “The Garden of England”, has an absolutely stunning coastline. The County of Kent, located in the South East corner of England is home to the dramatic White Cliffs of Dover.  Kent’s delightful shores offer everything from wide sandy beaches to rock pools in secluded coves. According to the Kent County Council: “Kent has one of the longest and most varied coastlines in England.”

Quite impressively, the beaches of Kent have recently been certified with nine Blue Flag Awards by the non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). These international certifications are not easy to come by!  “Beaches are awarded the Blue Flag based on compliance with 32 criteria covering the following: 1) Environmental Education and Information 2) Water Quality 3) Environmental Management 4) Safety and Services. All Blue Flags are awarded for one season at a time. If the criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag may be withdrawn.”

Who better to choose the Top Ten Beaches in Kent than the “Visit Kent” official website?  Here is a sampling of the best beaches in Kent:

Botany Bay, Kent, England (Photo by Le Deluge/Wikimedia Commons)

Botany Bay, Broadstairs (#1): “Botany Bay, one of Broadstairs’ quieter and more secluded sandy bays, can leave you feeling a million miles from anywhere – absolute bliss when you want to laze around and recharge your batteries! Nearby Joss Bay (#4) is more rural than Botany and offers great surfing opportunities.

Whitstable (#2): “Choose to swim, stroll or sit and enjoy the stunning sunsets on this popular beach. Looking out to sea from Whitstable, the vista feeds the imagination and takes visitors back to another age. And fresh breezes and a taste of
salt in the air whet the appetite for more of the town’s magic.”

Dymchurch, Kent, England (Photo by Ian Dunster/Wikimedia Commons)

Dymchurch (#6): “The sandy beach is the jewel in the Dymchurch crown. Stretching for miles toward Dungeness to the west and Folkestone to the east it is washed completely by the tide twice daily to leave a magnificent gently sloping strip of sand almost a 1/4 mile wide at low tide. This expanse of sand is home to Donkey Rides, Kite Surfers, Sandcastle Builders and those who like to relax.”

Rounding out the Top Ten Beaches in Kent are Deal, Main Sands (Margate), Folkstone, St Margaret’s Bay, Tankerton Slopes (Herne Bay), and Dungeness.

*Find out about Kent’s Coastal Week 2011: “The programme will run from 22 to 30 October and will focus on “Creative Coast” There are up to one hundred free or subsidised events ranging from creative workshops, beach art and boat trips to shingle sculptures and storytelling. There is something for all ages and interests.”*

VisitKent.co.uk has everything you’ll need to plan your days at the Top Ten Beaches in Kent! Cheers!

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beaches of Great Britain and Ireland, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Top Ten Beaches in Massachusetts

Posted by Jody on October 4, 2011

Massachusetts is nicknamed “The Bay State” because of the large bays that shape its breathtaking coast. With 1500 miles of coastline to choose from, Boston.com (The Boston Globe) was able to select the Top 10 Beaches in Massachusetts for 2011.  Judging by the article’s photos of these spectacular strands of sand, I’d guess that it wasn’t very easy to pick the Top Ten Beaches in Massachusetts!  Someone probably had to visit each beach and check out the sand, surf, and coastal vistas from every angle.  Yup, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it! ;-)  (Where do I sign up?)

Of the Top Ten Beaches in Massachusetts, three are located on Cape Cod, two are on Martha’s Vinyard, and two are on Nantucket Island. The remaining three beaches are within a 60 mile drive from Boston.

#6 - July Sunset, Race Point Beach, Provincetown, Massachusetts (Photo by SeduisantRedux/Wikimedia Commons)

10) Menemsha Beach, Martha’s Vinyard – Known for its calmer waves and famous sunsets.

9)   Madaket Beach, Nantucket –  A more remote beach with fabulous Nantucket sunsets.

8)  Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Westport (60 miles S of Boston) – A 600 acre barrier beach, perfect for windsurfing  and beach birding.

7)  Katama (South) Beach, Edgartown, Martha’s Vinyard (aka: South Beach) – A three mile barrier beach with good surf on one side and a protected salt pond on the other.

6)  Race Point Beach, Provincetown (Cape Cod) – Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Race Point Beach has a vast sandy shoreline.

5)  Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea (24 miles NE of Boston) – Singing Beach, with its rocky coastline, has stunning views and pristine sand.

4)  Cisco Beach, Nantucket – A long sandy beach on Nantucket’s south shore, well-known for its heavy surf. 

3)  Coast Guard Beach, Eastham (Cape Cod) – A prime summer swimming beach. Part of Cape Cod National Seashore, this beach made “Dr. Beach’s” top 10 list.

2)  Cahoon Hollow, Wellfleet (Cape Cod) – It’s all about the sand cliffs and amazing views.

Crane Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts (Photo by Jrpvald/Wikimedia Commons)

#1 - Crane Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts (Photo by Jrpvald/Wikimedia Commons)

1) Crane Beach, Ipswich (28 miles NE of Boston) – This beach does appear to have it all!  Crane Beach is managed for both conservation and recreation.  This year-round destination boasts 4 miles of  clean, white sandy beachfront and 5½ miles of hiking trails. Crane Beach parking fees are steep on peak season weekends and holidays.

Many of the Top Ten Beaches in Massachusetts have parking and/or entry fees.  You’ll want to check out individual beach websites for additional info, parking situations and most importantly, their swimming conditions.

Check out the entire Boston.com article (with website links) on the Top 10 Beaches in Massachusetts 2011.

Have a great day at the beach!

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Atlantic Coast Beaches, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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