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> a perfect place to melt away a day. That’s what we’re looking for, dreaming of beaches where the summer season and the island vibe meet in lazy harmony. We found it on hundreds of beaches, but none that seem to capture it better than Hawaii’s Waimanalo Beach, on the southeast shore of Oahu. Miles of soft-white sand for relaxing, a gentle slope into the water for swimming (with lifeguards), a quiet waterfront park of ironwood trees for strolling — it’s all iconically perfect. But the sleepy neighborhood next door bubbles Waimanalo to the top. From the beach down a grassy public right of way and up three blocks is the red-cottage restaurant of sweet Home Waimanalo, next door to the waimanalo naturally Hawaiian art Gallery. Order a slow- beach, oahu cooked barbecue lunch and acai bowl wrapped up for a beach picnic. across the street, the Honolulu Polo Club hosts matches on sunday summer afternoons at what club president allen Hoe calls “the foot of the magnificent Koolau Range in the woodsy, salt-kissed flavor of Hawaii’s countryside.” The day ends a one-minute walk from the beach at Hale nalo, a three-suite rental home with the new Zen Treehouse loft. “Guests often have the beach all to themselves,” says Hale nalo owner Herlinda lopez. “They always mention this while deliriously happy.” Rates from $165. halenalo.com
> islands ranked summer beaches based on recommendations from our
editors and contributors as well as local experts and readers with firsthand insight. We sought relaxing beaches within relatively easy reach in scenic locations favored by locals with authentic restaurants and accommodations nearby. Accessibility led to Caribbean and Hawaii choices for this list; see 60 top beach picks from around the world at islands.com/best.
Sunrise isn’t the only time Waimanalo Beach on Oahu’s southeast shore is serenely inviting.
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D e c e m b e r 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . c om
Simply relax on Anguilla’s meads Bay (left), or ride on the Bahamas’ pink Sands Beach (below). either way can be a perfect day.
“i like to walk the length of the beach, play in the surf, go for a horseback ride. have your privacy if you want.”
Hotel & spa on a bluff over the beach. Retire to a hotel suite upstairs and watch the sunset from a private terrace. From there you can take in an expansive view of the wonderfulness Meads bay, anguilla that is Meads Bay. so cool. sum> Bays scooped from the shore- mer rates from $430. malliouhana.com line like ice cream, sand as soft and bright as fresh snow. That Pink sands beach, bahamas is the cool vibe of anguilla’s celebrat> For a famous beach that’s aced beaches. On any Caribbean sumtually pink — thanks to tiny bits mer day, the island’s 33 beaches — all of red shell in the white sand — public — are can’t-go-wrong choices. there’s room to relax and roam. “in the But this summer, Meads Bay may be summer, a crowd is 20 people,” says Robthe place to be. With the same amount ert arthur, who runs myharbourisland of sand but fewer visitors than famous .com and arthur’s Bakery on Harbour shoal Bay East, the smooth crescent of island. “i like to walk the entire threeMeads Bay has the recent additions of mile length of the beach, play in the the open-air Jacala restaurant and new surf, go for a horseback ride. Have your Malakh day spa on the beach. “if you privacy if you want, or end up having want a blend of good hotels, five-star lunch with folks you meet on the beach.” Caribbean-fusion restaurants and a speaking of which, Robert’s lunch pick pure stretch of sand so fine that you’ll is a lobster sandwich, wrapped up for even notice the smallest pebble under- a beach picnic, from the Blue Bar at foot, Meads Bay is the perfect choice,” Pink sands Resort. That resort is the says nori Evoy, who covers the island largest one on this barely-wider-thanfor anguilla-beaches.com. the-beach island. nearly everything is For the perfect day here, this lo- within walking distance, including the cal expert recommends breakfast at historic village of dunmore Town, once straw Hat (try the anguillan crayfish the capital of the Bahamas. The coloomelet), kayaking off the beach, lunch nial homes and pineapple trees fit nicely at Jacala (chilled local cucumber soup), alongside Pink sands’ 25 cottages. and lounging on the beach, and dinner our resort contact promises us, “The at Michel Rostang (with a choice of beach is never, ever crowded.” sum25,000 bottles of wine) in Malliouhana mer rates from $600. pinksandsresort.com
f r O m t O p : jA m e S S C H WA B e l / A l A m y; e l l e n r O O n e y / f O t O t e C A 9 x 1 2
Islands the way they used to be.
the st. Regis Princeville Resort on the bayfront bluff next to Hanalei p. 70) put this two-mile cres- Beach Park and a quiet nook of sand. cent of sandy perfection on the Rates from $365. stregisprinceville.com very top of his 2009 Top 10 beaches, island or otherwise. The peaks, the cane Garden bay, bVi palms, the pier — all frame Hanalei Bay > Honestly, the British Virgin as the Hawaii of timeless daydreams. islands could have had their “The clear emerald waters are perfect for own “Best summer Beaches” swimming during the tranquil summer list. so our experts helped narrow the months,” dr. Beach notes in his ranking. search down to Tortola for its small “The laid-back little village is a good beachfront communities with just place for refreshments.” in Hanalei enough going on in the summer — but Town, try the coconut ice cream at the not too much. locals love the golden new Pink’s Creamery. Or next door beach and spectacular snorkeling of at Kauai nut Roasters, get a bag of Brewers Bay and the picnic parties on coconut Kona coffee pecans for munch- Beef island’s long Bay across the bridge. ing while strolling along the Hanalei Yet islands reader Traci O’dea sent Pier, built in 1892 and featured in South us one of the best beach descriptions Pacific. The bay is also the ideal spot to we’ve read: “i love Cane Garden Bay in try paddle boarding, where the calm the summer because, unlike the winter Hanalei river rolls gently to the small months when Cane boasts the biggest waves by the pier. Move west down surf in the BVi, the sea is as calm as a along the beach for bigger surfing or swimming pool. i’ll spend the day in up-river for bigger kayaking — what- the water, swimming from one end of ever the summer day brings. the bay to the other or just limin’ with sleeping near the beach, though, a nutmeg-sprinkled rum punch from takes some advance planning. Out- one of the beachside bars. summer side of rentals, there’s the Hanalei sunsets over Jost Van dyke color the inn in town, plus an islands favorite, sky with taffy pastels and cotton-candy
hanalei bay, kauai
> The famous dr. Beach (see
EXOTIC CAYE BEACH RESORT
Your relaxation destination when in Belize. Our one or two bedroom suites are equipped with kitchen, living and dining areas, cable TV and wireless internet. All are beachfront and complete with balconies. Swimming pool. Cafe. Beach Bar. Restaurant. PADI Dive Centre. Fitness center. Tennis courts. Tel: (501) 226-2870 www.exoticcaye.com email@example.com Cane garden Bay, Bvi
clouds. it’s perfect. That’s why i live here.” Feel like you live here too when you rent the three-bedroom Cane Garden Bay Beach House. summer weekly rates from $3,200. tortolabeach.com
Specialists in the overlooked islands of the Western Caribbean since 1981. Let our Belize travel specialist’s design the vacation that is right for you. Free tour catalog features scuba diving, jungle lodges, rafting, cave tubing, fishing, Mayan ruins and more. Lowest airfares, group incentives, travel agents welcome. Tel: 800-282-8932 firstname.lastname@example.org www.roatan.com
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
The pristine beauty of Bora Bora remains untouched by time.
beach barbecues, beach races and beach concerts. The little town of Paia on this little beach blossoms with the annual Paia Fest, set for June 27 this year. it’s a naturally happy place already. “The sand is yellow and impossibly soft, and the waves roll in with typical north shore perfection,” says islands editor adrienne Egolf. “Then with sandy feet, you walk across the street to the Paia Fish Market for an ahi sandwich and Maui Brewing Bikini Blonde lager, followed by a papaya sorbetto from Ono Gelato. For someone who loves Hawaii and the beach, this is perfection.” and so much really is just a summer stroll away from this beach. Walk to 15 boutiques and galleries on Paia or, if you want extra sand, the twomile-long Baldwin Beach Park next door. But make sure to end your day with one of those summer beach barbecues, with live jazz, at the Paia inn Hotel. it’s right on the beach, of course, and could be your happiest place on earth. Rates from $189. paiainn.com
Paia beach, maui
> Cue the summer montage of
RADISSON FORT GEORGE HOTEL & MARINA
Premier hotel offers fine dining, two restaurants, Le Petit Cafe, two pools, fitness room, conference facilities and full-service marina. Daily tours to the reef, rainforest and archaeological sites. Tel: 800-333-3333 Fax: 011-501-227-3820 email@example.com www.radisson.com/belizecitybz
g r e g vAu g H n ; O p p O S i t e : e l l e n r O O n e y / g e t t y i m Ag e S
XANADU ISLAND RESORT
If you’re looking for an Island getaway that will rejuvenate your mind, body and soul, then look no further. Xanadu Island Resort lies hidden on an inviting palm lined beach, overlooking the Caribbean and the Barrier Reef. Tel: 011-501-226-2814 firstname.lastname@example.org www.xanaduresort-belize.com
TahitiTourism.com 1~877~GO ~TAH ITI
T R AV E L A D V I S O R Y B OA R D
e x c l u s i v e l y V i r t u o s o
Our intrepid board members routinely cover the globe to bring you the most fascinating and rewarding travel experiences… RUTH TURPIN
Cruised down the Amalfi Coast on the opulent Crystal Serenity. First-class service through Portofino, Sorrento and the Isle of Capri proved the perfect getaway.
a beach bar and watch the sunset’s green flash with a few new friends. isn’t that what summer is all about?” The Pigeon Point Heritage Park ensures the natural atmosphere and helps with the stellar snorkeling at Buccoo Reef. Just south of Pigeon Point, the Coco Reef Resort offers even more amenities, though you may be already too relaxed for the spa. summer rates from $326. cocoreef.com
Fly Free from Nassau to the Bahama Out Islands*
*minimum stay and restrictions apply
Indulged in paradise at Le Taha’a Private Island & Spa on the secluded island of Raiatea near Bora Bora. Impeccable service made this exclusive retreat feel like heaven on earth.
Sun Bay Beach, vieques
îlet Pinel, st. martin
Valentines Resort, Marina and Beach Club HARBOUR ISLAND
Unparalleled suite accommodations, state of the art marina, ﬁne dining & spectacular white powder sand beaches make Valentines the most memorable of all getaways! Mention Promo Code: ISLANDS
Treasure Cay Hotel Resort & Marina ABACO
Known for its powdery 3½ mile beach & un-crowded, laidback atmosphere. It’s the ideal base for island hopping, ﬁshing, boat rentals, scuba diving, snorkeling & water-sports.
TOM DE ROSE
Enjoyed quiet beaches at the ultra-private Capella Pedregal Residences in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico before setting sail for adventure and beauty in the Sea of Cortez aboard Cruise West.
BETTY JO CURRIE
Found Tiamo, a thatchedroof paradise at the southern end of Andros Island in the Bahamas ideal for those who love barefoot luxury, kayaking and bonefishing.
Watched spinner dolphins frolic, snoozed on sandy white beaches, tackled the famous Koloiki Ridge hike and mastered the links on Hawaii’s beautiful island of Lanai.
Discovered the perfect blend of understated luxury, gourmet meals, idyllic beaches, world-class diving and rugged mountain terrain on Lizard Island in northern Queensland, Australia.
island that’s all about spending a sum> lose yourself in the beach mer day with locals and expats, rent a car photo above. Really, just imag- and head up to Rum Point, which still ine if you could close your eyes has about six miles of beach. This north right now, make a wish, then open them sound outpost, which first showed up on and see yourself on sun Bay Beach. it’s a a map in 1773, does steer closer to the old Puerto Rican gem, hiding in plain sight Caribbean vibe. Picnic tables and hamon the southern shore mocks dot the beach of Vieques, a glowing outside the Wreck Bar beacon for beach lov& Grill, where visitors ers everywhere. That sip frozen mudslides includes islands reader and fork up conch fritMasha Jakubiak, who ters. Or taste some rum celebrated her 47th on a weekend evening birthday there. “We in Kaibo’s Upstairs reswere instantly in awe taurant, which serves of the beauty,” she says. “We swam in the rum-and-pepper braised oxtail and warm water and saw several wild horses 30 Caribbean rums. live like an expat running along the beach.” That natural with a house rental from Cayman Kai. scenery is practically uninterrupted by summer rates from $295. caymankai.com civilization, except for a few facilities. But the town of Esperanza is less than PiGeon Point, tobago a mile west, with accommodations in> if you’ve ever seen a Tobago cluding the Villa Coral guest house. brochure, you’ve likely seen Rates from $85. villacoralguesthouse.com Pigeon Point. Yet this beach still seems undiscovered. “a coconut planruM Point, grand cayman tation serves as a lush backdrop, with > seven Mile Beach certainly a few thatched-roof restaurants lining deserves the notoriety — and the sand,” says islands editor Eddy the luxury resorts, spas and Patricelli. “Walking the beach means restaurants. But for a Grand Cayman passing through a quaint little town. sit at
sun bay beach, Vieques
“Watch the sunset with a few new friends. isn’t that what summer is all about?”
set aside a day to wile away on this northeastern miniisland. The ferry takes you to the Karibuni and Yellow Beach restaurants on the main beach; your feet can take you away from the day-trippers to quieter beaches on the far side of Pinel. “it’s blissful, especially in the late afternoon with golden sunlight spilling over st. Martin’s rolling hills,” says islands photographer Zach stovall. “Order a lobster pulled freshly from a pot in the sea. The sand is supple, and the snorkeling good.” You will have to leave at some point, if only to sleep. Try Captain Oliver’s Resort, down the coast on the French-dutch border. But there’s always tomorrow. summer rates from $120. captainolivers.com islands.coM/best
> On any trip to st. Martin,
www.ValentinesResort.com • 800-848-4073
www.TreasureCay.com • 800-327-1584
Stella Maris Resort Club LONG ISLAND
Superb beaches and water sports; beautiful rooms-cottagesbungalows; attentive services and old fashioned hospitality; on tranquil Long Island, in the mid-southern Bahamas.
Staniel Cay Yacht Club THE EXUMAS
Soothe your body, mind and soul with small island charm. Your balcony will literally overhang the clearest waters in the world. Come experience the Exumas.
www.stellamarisresort.com • 800-426-0466
www.stanielcay.com • 954-467-8920
Small Hope Bay Lodge ANDROS ISLAND
Totally All-Inclusive! Celebrating 50 years! 21 Beachfront Cottages. Diving, Snorkeling, Fishing, Nature Tours & More... Packages Available.
Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina ABACO
Unspoiled, powder soft, white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, relaxing atmosphere, luxury accommodations, world class cuisine and modern amenities.
www.SmallHope.com • 800-223-6961
www.greenturtleclub.com • 1-866-528-0539
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas LONG ISLAND
Untouched…undiscovered…barefoot elegance in a Caribbean paradise. Enjoy luxurious beachfront accommodation, sumptuous cuisine, ocean adventures and mile after mile of silky sand beach.
Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club ELEUTHERA
Nestled on a private 4300-acre beach preserve with the Bahamas largest watersports program. Pristine beaches, luxury oceanview townhomes & dive center. Ranked #2 of all 373 Bahamas Hotels.
pA r AS O l A . n e t / A l A m y; O p p O S i t e : f r i D m A r DA m m
www.capesantamaria.com • 1-800-663-7090
www.capeeleuthera.com • 888-270-9642
Fernandez Bay Village CAT ISLAND BAHAMAS
Discover the breath taking beauty and relaxed atmosphere of Fernandez Bay Village. 12 beachfront cottages on a mile of sugary white sand, outdoor dining, tiki-bar, water sports.
Pigeon Cay CAT ISLAND BAHAMAS
A remote piece of paradise, the cottages offer the ultimate in seclusion and breathtaking views. Located steps from a private 3-mile stretch of white, powdery sand beach.
www.fernandezbayvillage.com 1-800-940-1905 or 1-954-474-4821
pigeon point, tobago
Find a specialist • Book a trip Expand your horizons
www.MyOutIslands.com/FlyFree Call 866-689-5505
4/5/10 4:46 PM
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