So, like I probably mentioned in an earlier post, I love the beach. It is my ultimate happy place, and the destination I think about when someone asks me “where do you want to go?” Nothing beats the beach. Sand, surf, sun, and fresh seafood. For me, the beach is synonymous with r&r. Here are of my top 3 favorite places around the world:
Venezuela: I might be biased, but these are the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to in my life… hands down. The sand is snow white. The water is crystal clear and just the right temperature. There’s tons of tiny little untouched islands everywhere off the coast, and you can pay a fisherman to take you out to them for the day. These islands are bare and theres nothing but just you and nature. These beaches are my kind of heaven. Most of my childhood memories from Venezuela are from the beach and our beach house in Higuerote. Margarita Island is also fun and a little more commercial and full of hotels. Chichiriviche is also a great destination. Also, Los Roques is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. These are the best kinds of beaches for someone that just needs to get away and unwind.
Maui: You just can’t go wrong with Hawaii. I preferred Maui to Honolulu because it’s less commercial and more laid back. We stayed at the Marriott Maui Ocean Club, and our accommodations were amazing. The pool is nice but just forget it because a sandy paradise is just a couple more steps from your room. The only reason I went to the pool was to get a plate of fresh pineapple for breakfast at the pool restaurant every morning (heaven!). I remember the chef at the hotel being fantastic as well. We went snorkeling at Molokini Island, and it was one of the best snorkel trips I’ve ever taken. We saw tons of sea life in these reefs and even some sea turtles. Lahaina was the biggest town close by and its packed with great stores and restaurants and also offers a front row to the best sunset in Maui. I also suggest going on the roadtrip to see the waterfalls on the way to Hana. While the road is windy and at times scary the sights are worth it: Beautiful jungles and waterfalls and also you can go to some black sand beaches that will take your breath away. Watchout though: some of these beaches have extremely strong currents and undertow and can be dangerous. My only gripe is that Pacific beaches are at times a little too cold for my taste, but they’re beautiful nonetheless.
French Riviera: I studied abroad in Nice for 4 weeks one summer and fell in love with the Riviera. Again, these tend to be somewhat colder beaches unless you go in August. In Nice, the beaches are also stone beaches so I recommend buying padded beach pads or beach chairs. The cities of the French Riviera are not only beach destinations but fun sightseeing cities as well. Vieux Nice is the older part of town and is inhabited by lovely boutiques and enticing and delicious gelaterias. Two of my favorite museums I’ve ever visited were in Nice: the Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) (where I fell in love with Yves Klein) and Musee Matisse De Nice (he’s one of my favorite artists so I probably spent a good 3 hours here). One of my favorite things to do in Nice was to walk the Promenade Des Angles along the beach and then climb the stairs up to the viewing deck and then continue to the park . Another great thing about the Riviera is that the other towns are 20 minutes away or less by train or bus. Each has its own character and beautiful beaches. I recommend Antibes, Cannes (in late May you can see the town set up for the festival…very fun), St. Tropez (furthest away, takes about 2 hours, have to take a train then a bus), Villefranche Sur Mer, and Monaco. All these other beahes are sand beaches, and you can walk around the towns and see everything in a day pretty much. Monaco is a great day trip but a little harder to get around by foot so I recommend buying a pass on those tours that you can jump on and off. If you make it to Montecarlo, you must see the palace, go to the Jacques Cousteau Museum and go inside the Montecarlo Casion. You’ll need some identification to show you are over 18 and they let you right in during the day. I forget if you have to pay a fee at all but even if you do… YOU MUST GO INSIDE. It is best to go during the day because at night they enforce a black tie dress code.
These are my top three, but I also recommend anywhere on the Caribbean (love the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), Cancun, Florida (Destin, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami), and Martha’s Vineyard (cold but beautiful).