Beaches are magical, where sun and sand and sea meet. Beaches can be lively, with luxury hotels, beach bars and boat rentals, or quiet, secluded and sultry. Here are our best beaches for your luxury vacation from the Caribbean to California to Europe.
Bermuda Horseshoe Beach
Yes the sand really is pink in Bermuda. From South Shore Park (the park gates are next to Fairmont Southampton Princess’s Beach Club) with just swimsuits, sunglasses and a camera (a must), explore the satiny sand of Horseshoe Beach, and walk the full two miles along a labyrinth of coral caves amid crashing waves. Its stunning. After you pink beach exploration, get a refreshing tropical cocktail at Fairmont Southampton Beach Ocean Club’s deck restaurant. That’s a perfectly ‘bermudaful day”.
Jost Van Dyke British Virgin Island
This beautiful stretch of white sand on the smallest of the four British Virgin Islands awaits you. Come by boat charter and swim in – you will fully appreciate the name of the Soggy Dollar Bar on the beach. Sip a world-famous Pain Killer cocktail under the cool shade of palm – perfect. Hurricane Irma & Maria update: Jost Van Dyke was severely damaged, but Soggy Dollar is back up and running.
Dillon Beach California
On Bodega Bay, Dillon Beach gets massive waves and intense sunsets. It’s a favorite among local surfers and photographers. At low tide, there’s tide pools to explore. Sometimes dramatic Pacific North West fog rolls in for a wonderfully artistic effect. There are spectacular private beaches just a short walk away, but, well, they’re private. Dillon Beach is a short drive to Sonoma and Napa Valley for wine tasting if you get “thirsty”.
Hilton Head Island Beaches, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island is best known for its golf and tennis resorts, but the beaches are beautiful too. You can ride you bike on the hard pack sand of Coligny Beach on the south eastern shore. Watch for dolphin swimming off shore in the Atlantic waves. Go to Sea Pines Ocean Club for lunch, then head to South Beach and the Salty Dog Café for happy hour.
Miami South Beach
South Beach is no secret, its the cool place for hot sand, luxury beachfront hotels, and hot nightlife. The island of Miami Beach was redubbed South Beach during its revitalization in the 1980’s back to its heyday 20- 30’s glamour. South Beach is a long, often busy, stretch of sand, dotted with bikinis, body builders, and uniquely colored lifeguard shacks. Along the beach strip are swank art deco hotels with gorgeous pools – Delano, Ritz, W, Kimpton, and Fontainbleau to name a few. See our review of Miami’s top luxury hotels.
LOVE A GREAT BEACH
Fort Lauderdale Beach
The southernmost part of Fort Lauderdale Beach is the best, its quieter, with great views out to sea and of cruise ships entering and leaving Port Everglades breakwater. Staying at Lago Mar beach resort gets you 500-feet of private sand with beach umbrellas and chair service on this perfect sandy stretch. You can walk north to the more happening part of Fort Lauderdale Beach, and the high rise hotels, The Sheraton, Hilton, The W, The B Ocean, The Ritz Carlton, The Atlantic, and The Westin.
The most beautiful beaches on the Dalmatian coast can only be reached by boat, like Hvar Island… super-secret with gorgeous sun and sand, and often not another soul around. Charter a boat for the day and explore the caves, coves and beaches. The Elaphiti Islands offer stunning sand beaches as well on the gorgeous Adriatic sea north west of Dubrovnik.
The car-free island of Lopud, a 40-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik, offers a 1 kilometer sand beach on the island’s sunny south coast called Sunj beach. Spectacular, and the seafood restaurants on Lopud are superb too. Check out Obala by the ferry docks and order the Octopus or fresh Fish Stew.
Royal Caribbean has soaked up this beautiful oasis of sand and sea, crystal blue waters and wonderful coves as their private port. Come by cruise ship, reserve a private cabana in Columbus Cove and you are living the beach dream.
While Kennebunkport is famed for its past presidents, and beautiful beaches, the best beach on the southern Maine coast may be Ogunquit. This 3-mile long stretch of perfect talcum sand is two beaches in one – Footbridge Beach, the quieter, and Ogunquit Beach – closer to town and more vibrant. Lay in the sand, walk the Marginal Way – 3 miles to Perkins Cove, or grab a float and ride the river that empties into the sea on this incredibly scenic beach with an ever changing 10-foot tide. After sun and fun, go to Ogunquit’s local bars, The Front Porch is famous and fun for its piano bar, for a cocktail with the real swells. And be “shore” to visit nearby Kennebunkport.
Sand Beach, Acadia, Mount Desert Island, Maine
Sand Beach is a stunning little beach (just 300 yards long) snug between Maine mountains and its rocky coast of Acadia, home to Bar Harbor. Just off Park Loop Road on the south side of Mount Desert Island, the beach is beautiful sand from crushed Atlantic shells in the strong surf. The water temperature is always cold, its Maine, and the beach size varies dramatically with the 11-foot tide surge daily. More on Maine beaches.