Tropical getaways are what dream vacations are made of. Exotic locations, great weather, crystal-clear water. They check all the boxes.
And since you’re going to spend a lot of time at the beach, we’ve highlighted a few of the best spots for sun and surf. Fortunately, some of these aren’t all that far away.
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Located on the south shore of Honolulu, Waikiki is arguably Hawaii’s most famous beach. As opposed to the north side of the island, Waikiki’s waves are mostly gentle, perfect for a host of activities such as swimming, surfing, canoeing, snorkeling and boogie boarding. When you need a break from the sun and surf, Waikiki’s bustling tourist district is filled with resorts, restaurants and shops. Waikiki may not be where you go to escape the crowds, but it offers something for everyone.
Makena Beach, Maui
Makena, also known as Big Beach, is a 1.5-mile stretch of sand on Maui’s southwest coast. If it’s privacy you’re after, this golden gem will be your new paradise. There’s plenty of room to set up on the beach or take a dip in the warm Pacific. There is a large shore break, however, so the water can be a little rough – but ideal for surfers.
Poipu Beach, Kauai
Three crescent sand formations make up Poipu Beach. It’s the perfect spot for most ocean activities. With its ideal scenery and surf, it’s becoming a hit not just with humans, but animals as well. It’s not uncommon to spot sea turtles or monk seals make a visit.
Standout Hotel: Hilton Waikoloa Village, Island of Hawaii
This massive oceanfront property can be navigated by tram or canal, which is all part of the fun of staying here. This one-stop relaxation destination has two restaurants, a spa, three pools, a beach and an ocean-fed lagoon for snorkeling and swimming. Experience the dolphin encounter of a lifetime at the resort’s sea sanctuary by day and enjoy a traditional luau by night.
Tulum, known as a luxurious yet low-key destination, has become a fan-favorite for guests. Revelers enjoy the miles of white-sand beaches, crystal blue waters and lush jungle. Above, ancient Mayan ruins overlook the coastal scene.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen’s beaches are some of the most popular on the Yucatan Peninsula. If you manage to get tired of the pillowy soft beaches, the city’s endless beach bars and hotel rooftops provide a constant source of excitement.
Isla Holbox is a beach island onto itself, one of several Mexican isles floating in the Caribbean Sea. This car-free island is only reachable by boat, so you won’t be bombarded with crowds. So you’ll be free to roam the island’s stretch of beaches, aqua-blue waters and nature preserve.
Standout Hotel: Grand Hyatt Playa Del Carmen Resort
Take advantage of the all-inclusive experience at this stunning beachfront property and enjoy unlimited food and drinks and select resort activities (yoga, cooking lessons, bicycles and more!) with your stay. The fun continues outside of the resort with shopping and nightlife along la Quinta Avenida, Playa Del Carmen’s main street, located just a block away. Go on an adventures and swim in a cenote – natural sinkholes that the Mayans believed to be sacred – or chill out at the Cenote Spa.
Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands
Located on Grand Cayman – the largest of the three Cayman Islands – Seven Mile Beach itself stretches past luxury resorts and past residential areas, so it’s accessible to anyone. The clear waters and coral sands you’ll encounter have made it a fan favorite.
Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos
The 40 islands of Turks and Caicos are filled with splendid beaches, but Grace Bay may just be the best, with its clear blue waters, white beaches and luxury hotels. It’s also renowned for its scuba diving, since the area is home to one of the largest reef systems in the world.
Maracas Beach, Trinidad and Tobago
The popular Maracas Beach is on the island of Trinidad. And you’ve probably never been to a beach quite like this. The island is known for its lush flora. The dense tropical jungle stretches right up to the beach, which is also lined with palm trees.
Standout Hotel: Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
Perched high above the beach, all Jade Mountain rooms come with just three walls, as the fourth is removed in order to best enjoy the unparalleled views of the Caribbean Sea and the Piton Mountains. Most rooms also come with an infinity pool allowing you to float above the ground as you seamlessly transition from your room into the great outdoors. An adults-only resort (15+).
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