It’s raining again here in Wine Country. It’s been raining a lot lately. So much so that talk of drought has given way to discussions of full reservoirs and we’ve been wondering if our next vehicle should really be an ark. So it seems like the perfect day to stay indoors, drink a little hot chocolate, and dream of warmer, brighter days spent on sun drenched beaches.
Which leads us to:
Top Ten Beaches (aka Where We’d Rather Be Right Now):
1. Dominica seems like a forgotten corner of the Caribbean. The occasional cruise ship that pulls into port in the capital of Rosseau finds itself the tallest thing there. There are no glitzy clubs, no nightlife to speak of, and shopping mostly consists of grocery stores and the farmers’ market. Picard Beach is in Portsmouth; itself far removed from the capital, and even quieter. Look familiar? Hollywood chose this spectacular backdrop for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 - 'Dead Man's Chest', and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – ‘At World's End’.
2. Martinique is a former French colony, leaving this beautiful island feeling like a little slice of France in a sun drenched, beach blessed Caribbean getaway. Les Salines is a wonderfully long, wide beach, perfect for those romantic “strolls on the beach”. It’s delightfully free of development, but still has helpful infrastructure (tastefully tucked away from view) like bathrooms and showers. With soft sand, warm water and palm trees, you may never want to leave – we certainly didn’t! So what do you do to cap off your day at Les Salines? Go for an aperatif before dinner, of course!
3. The atolls of the Maldives stretch out as far as the eye can see as you fly in the the airport in Mali, the capital. The country is made up of a series of small islands – the airport itself has its own. Each resort has an island to itself, making your trip to paradise remarkably tranquil and private. As beautiful as the Maldives are, hiding beneath the sparkling turquoise waters are some of the world’s best snorkeling and diving spots. So when you’ve soaked up enough sun, hop on in – the water’s warm and there are spectacular underwater sights to explore!
4. Costa Rica has preserved over 25% of its land. This impressive accomplishment means there are an amazing number of fabulous natural wonders to explore. It’s while we were hiking in Corcovado National Park that we discovered this fantastic beach. With no development, there were no high rise hotels, no beach vendors, no jet skis – heck – there were no other people to interrupt the amazing beauty and serenity of this long, warm stretch of sand. While others might make a compelling argument for the stunning beaches of Manuel Antonio, or Tamarindo, our vote is for this completely empty slice of natural paradise.
5. We went to Puerto Rico over 15 years ago, to escape from the Canadian winter. We were hoping for warm weather and a few days relaxing on the beach. We found that, and so much more in this beautiful Caribbean island. Should you tire of the seemingly endless array of white sandy beaches fringed with swaying palm trees and sparkling turquoise waters, there are Taino Indian ruins, forts from the Spanish-American War, the stunning Camuy Caverns, the Arecibo Observatory and even a El Yunque - a rainforest to keep you busy!
6. The water’s warm, the sand’s soft and a bustling, world class city is just steps away – so head on over to Israel’s Yerushalayim Beach, Tel Aviv. No, it’s not an unspoiled natural paradise, but it is a beautiful beach with all the benefits of a modern city. Should you tire of the gentle rolling waves or the hot sun on the golden sand, you can always head inland for a bit and go explore! We particularly enjoyed shopping at the outdoor Nahalat Binyamin Crafts Market where you’ll find all different types of handicrafts and meet the people who created them. If you get hungry, there are plenty of cafes nearby with outdoor seating so you can take advantage of Tel Aviv’s amazing climate.
7. Moorea is quite possibly the most beautiful place on Earth. Lush forested peaks tower above impossibly blue waters which teem with marine life. There are excellent whale watching opportunities, and you will undoubtedly see dolphins, too. Hike, drive or better yet, go on horseback to reach spectacular views of dark green mountains which plunge into the crystal clear warm waters of the South Pacific. When you’re done soaking up the beautiful views, head to one of the many tucked away little beaches we discovered on our driving tour of Moorea for a relaxing picnic or a quick dip.
8. Ready to get away from it all? In Aitutaki, Cook Islands you won’t find any glitzy nightlife, or even a full sized supermarket. You will, however, be surrounded by beautiful beaches, a stunningly turquoise lagoon whose shallow waters stretch to the horizon and warm, friendly people who will make you feel right at home. Head out for a glass bottom lagoon tour to go snorkeling for the day, rent a bicycle and tour the island, or just relax on the beach – the choice is yours! We happened to be there while they were filming Survivor: Cook Islands. This had left the island with a serious hotel room, Diet Coke and even fish shortage!
9. The hottest we’ve ever been was in Aqaba, Jordan, which sounds just about perfect right now! The scorching heat (it was over 50C or 122F) made the cool waters of the Gulf of Aqaba delightful. You could easily spend your time relaxing on the sandy beach and enjoying the beautiful views out over the Red Sea toward Sharm-el-Sheik, and Egypt’s Sinai coast with its stark mountains. Of course, if you tire of the beach, Aqaba is only a hop, skip and a camel ride from the stunning Lawrence of Arabia scenery of Wadi Rum and the Wonder of the World, Petra.
10. Naturally we’ve saved the best for last. Our sentimental favorite? Club Med Columbus Isle, on San Salvador, Bahamas. (It’s where we honeymooned, oh so long ago!) With it’s 3.5 miles of private beach, the soft sand, warm sun and turquoise Caribbean waters will have you relaxed and deliciously lazy in no time at all. Of course, it’s Club Med, so, should you feel the need to burn off some of that delicious chocolate bread you’ve been starting your day with, or the all-you-can-eat lobster you’ve been having for dinner, you’ll be happy to know that you can also go snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, take dancing lessons or (try to) learn to windsurf.
Need tips for escaping to the beach with baby? Our sister site has you covered! Where do you dream of being on a cold, rainy day? We need ideas of where we should sail that ark…