haveseen / Getty Images
haveseen / Getty Images

Fun in the Sun on Sandy Shores

Imagine sugar-white sands and shimmering turquoise waves lapping at your toes. Sound divine? Whether you choose to frolic in the brilliant green sea along Florida's Emerald Coast or prefer to unwind in an exotic island locale such as Thailand or the Philippines, read on for beach vacation inspiration.

Get Inspired

JAWZ Fish Tacos
JAWZ Fish Tacos

JAWZ Fish Tacos

JAWZ Fish Tacos in Hawaii started as a beachside food truck, but has since grown into a restaurant on Kihei Beach. 960 1280

  

The Coyote Grill

The Coyote Grill

The Coyote Grill in trendy Laguna Beach, CA, is an unpretentious locals’ spot. 960 1280

  

The Coyote Grill

The Coyote Grill

The Coyote Grill has been serving Baja-style Mexican breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1989. 960 1280

  

The Montauk Beach House

The Montauk Beach House

In the heart of downtown Montauk, the Montauk Beach House is a bustling hotel which prides itself on its lively environment. 960 1280

  

Schooner or Later

Schooner or Later

Visitors to Schooner or Later in Long Beach, CA, come from all over for their hearty breakfast. 960 1280

  

Long Beach, CA

Long Beach, CA

A view of the marina at Long Beach, CA. 960 1280

  

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

You can find lobster rolls, French fries, tuna steaks and more on the menu at the Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY. 960 1280

  

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

The fresh seafood available at the Clam Bar not only keeps diners coming back, but also adds to the beachy atmosphere. 960 1280

  

Kihei Beach

Kihei Beach

A view of Kihei Beach in Maui. 960 1280

  

"The Mess" at Schooner or Later

"The Mess" at Schooner or Later

"The Mess" at Schooner or Later is an infamous breakfast plate -- with all of your favorite breakfast foods chopped up and served as one dish. 960 1280

  

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ, is a throwback to the ice cream parlors of the 1950s. 960 1280

  

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Go back in time with a classic chocolate malt at Cool Scoops. 960 1280

  

The ribs platter at Aloha Mixed Plate

The ribs platter at Aloha Mixed Plate

The ribs platter at Aloha Mixed Plate is just one of the many “mixed plates” available that combines the flavors of different Asian cultures for one delicious meal. 960 1280

  

Schulzies Bread Pudding Shop in Venice, CA

Schulzies Bread Pudding Shop in Venice, CA

Schulzies Bread Pudding Shop in Venice, CA, offers an alternative to the traditional boardwalk snack with their gourmet bread pudding selection. 960 1280

  

The road to Hana is long and winding, with interesting stops along the way. Four miles into your trip will bring you to the colorful town of Paia where you can get a fish burger at the popular Paia Fishmarket, then head to Hookipa Beach, also known as the windsurfing capital of the world. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Located on the mid-slope of Maui's Haleakala volcano, Makawao has one foot in its plantation past and another in its thriving arts community. It's also the biggest little town in the area known as Upcountry Maui and is famous for its Hawaiian cowboys, known as paniolo. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

From the air, the Hana Highway looks like a zigzag line drawn by a three year old. It twists and turns for 52 miles and takes anywhere from two to four hours to traverse depending on how many cars you meet on the one-way bridges. In fact, there are 54 bridges and 600 curves to make sure you're paying attention. And please do, because in addition to the traffic, the flowing waterfalls, plunging pools, scenic rainforests and the town of Hana are well worth the drive. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

There are rewards in life that are all the sweeter because of the effort it took to get there. Hana is such a place. Separated from the rest of Maui, you'll feel as if you stumbled upon the land that time forgot. Spend a few nights in Hana and soon you'll have trouble remembering where you came from and wondering why you'd ever go back. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Take a farm-to-table culinary journey at Oo Farms in Upcountry Maui. Located along the slope of Haleakala, the fertile soil of Upcountry is home to some of Maui's finest farmland. Oo Farms is owned and maintained by I'O and Pacific'O restaurants in Lahaina, so their perfect peppers, hearty greens and even local asparagus go straight from harvest to your favorite dish. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Every evening on the northernmost cliffs of Maui's Kaanapali Beach, a cliff diver lights the torches then dives off Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. This dramatic show is a reenactment of a feat performed by Maui's revered King Kahekili. Surrounded by restaurants, the ceremony also takes on a modern twist, signaling the end of the day and the start of your own private celebration. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Maui has always been a magnet for those who love the sea, from Hawaiian voyagers to whaling ships and modern-day catamarans that glide upon the water. Complete your Maui vacation with a few hours offshore, tacking up and down the coastline with the West Maui Mountains in your view. Add a splash of champagne or a frosty mai tai and there's nothing else like it. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

It doesn't matter how old you are'when you walk 'through an ocean,' the little kid in you comes out to play. Fantasy mixes with reality as you come nose to nose with wide-eyed tuna and white-tip reef sharks. Yellow butterfly fishes flutter like leaves around coral, while slick stingrays glide by without a care in the world. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Molokini is a small, crescent moon-shaped atoll off the coast of Maui. It's in a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District, which means fishing is prohibited, so it's teeming with life. Take a snorkel or scuba tour and you'll be treated to a kaleidoscope of over 250 colorful varieties of tropical fish. Tours are available out of Maalaea Harbor and Lahaina. Insider tip: Early morning is best because the water is clear. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Maui might be for lovers, but it's also for golfers. And if you love golf, that's even better still. There are 14 courses on Maui, with several ranked at or near the top of the 'world's best' list. The PGA TOUR's Hyundai's Tournament of Champions is held here each year, so you never know who you might see on the course. This particular breathtaking beauty is the Makena North Course. Now that's a view that'll challenge your concentration. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

What's more picturesque than one of the 7 natural wonders of the world? Victoria Falls in Zambia is the world's biggest waterfall, and its mist served as the perfect backdrop for the stunning models. 960 1280

Getty  

Less than 2 miles from the falls, models lounged by the infinity pool at Stanley Safari Lodge and took in the spectacular views. 960 1280

Stanley Safari Lodge  

Sports Illustrated set sail in Apalachicola on the Florida Panhandle. The quaint town is a far cry from spring break-staple Panama City located 60 miles up the Gulf Coast. 960 1280

Apalachicola Bay Chamber  

SI says Coombs House Inn is the place to stay in Apalachicola -- and it's easy to see why. Its historic Victorian mansions boast 4-poster beds, private verandas and afternoon teas, making it one of the most luxurious bed and breakfasts in the US. 960 1280

Coombs House Inn  

San Blas are remote islands along the Caribbean coast of Panama home to the Kuna Indians. The SI crew stayed aboard an ocean liner to capture the islands' crystal clear waters. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

While in the Bocas del Toro province of Panama, models relaxed in the scenic Playa Tortuga Hotel. 960 1280

Playa Tortuga Hotel, a member of Summit Hotels & Resorts  

Models frolicked on the rocks and white sands of Narrabeen Beach, in northern Sydney. 960 1280

Pavel Sigarteu, flickr  

SI says no other hotel in Sydney "can match the panoramic view you will take in with a drink in your hand, after a glorious day at Bondi Beach, from the Blue Bar on the Shangi-La's 36th floor." 960 1280

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts  

Finally SI made it to Desroches Island in the Seychelles, a stunning stretch of sand less than 1 square mile. 960 1280

Karl Blackwell  

When members of the SI team weren't being catered to by butlers and private chefs in their sprawling villas at the Desroches Island Resort, they could be found relaxing in the open-air Escape Spa. Where would you want to escape to? 960 1280

Michael Lewis  

exterior of hotel on beach at sunset
Sandpearl Resort (Clearwater Beach)

Sandpearl Resort (Clearwater Beach)

The Sandpearl has all the usual beauty of a beachfront hotel but adds 2 distinctive amenities. First, it boasts the only AAA 4-diamond restaurant in Clearwater, Caretta on the Gulf, which serves up seasonal dishes and ocean views. Second, it features huge beach fire pits, the perfect perch for watching the sunset over the gulf. 960 1280

Sandpearl Resort  

Sanibel Siesta on the Beach (Sanibel Island)

Sanibel Siesta on the Beach (Sanibel Island)

All the extravagances of a luxury resort with all the comforts of home. That’s what guests get at Sanibel Siesta on the Beach, which offers 56 rental condos with full kitchens and space to sleep 6. What you probably don't have at home is a private beach, heated outdoor pool, bike paths and tennis courts. 960 1280

Sanibel Siesta  

The Breakers (Palm Beach)

The Breakers (Palm Beach)

Established in 1896, the Breakers resort is a veritable playground for vacationers of all ages. Consider that it features a half-mile private beach, 4 pools, 8 restaurants, 10 shops, 2 golf courses, 10 tennis courts, 5 whirlpools and much more. It even has its own reef for snorkeling and scuba diving.  960 1280

Steve Sanacore / The Breakers  

Southernmost Beach Resort (Key West)

Southernmost Beach Resort (Key West)

Southernmost Beach Resort is everything you want in a Key West getaway, with classic island design and myriad amenities. Sunbathe on the private pier, grab a cocktail from the beachfront bars, or recharge during aqua yoga classes in the pool. To top it all off, Southernmost is close to the action of Duval Street — but not too close. 960 1280

Southernmost Resorts  

Hyatt Siesta Key Beach, A Hyatt Residence Club (Siesta Key)

Hyatt Siesta Key Beach, A Hyatt Residence Club (Siesta Key)

Don’t lift a finger during your stay at the Hyatt Siesta Key Beach. Get groceries delivered to your rental condo. Order a drink from your poolside cabana. Venture down to the beach to soak up some sun. Call on one of the chefs-in-residence to cook a family meal in your room. And if you happen to get ambitious, go explore the joys of nearby Sarasota, FL. 960 1280

Hyatt  

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort (Naples)

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort (Naples)

It may be on the pricey side, but a stay at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort is definitely worth it. There’s nothing you can’t do here, from spa treatments to beachside dining to golf to water sports. And with a kids’ camp and babysitting services on-site, it’s a win-win for everyone in the family. 960 1280

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort  

South Seas Island Resort (Captiva Island)

South Seas Island Resort (Captiva Island)

Get a little wild on your Florida vacation at this resort village and 330-acre wildlife preserve, where natural allure meets luxurious elegance. In addition to lounging on 2 1/2 miles of white-sand beach, guests can go exploring on sailing and fishing excursions or go searching around the island for 230 species of birds and more than 250 types of seashells. 960 1280

South Sea Island Resort  

Vintro Hotel South Beach (Miami Beach)

Vintro Hotel South Beach (Miami Beach)

Can’t decide between a relaxing beach getaway and an exciting South Beach party? Thanks to Vintro Hotel, you can have both. This adults-only spot provides intimacy in spades, including a cozy courtyard and a rooftop pool. But its location in the center of the city’s cultural district means it’s close to all the action. 960 1280

Vintro Hotel  

The Seagate Hotel & Spa (Delray Beach)

The Seagate Hotel & Spa (Delray Beach)

When you stay at the Seagate Hotel & Spa, you aren’t just a guest — you’re an elite beach club member. Less than a mile from the hotel itself (reached via a walk along the shore or a free shuttle), the Seagate Beach Club offers a waterfront pool, additional dining options and private beach access, including towels, chairs and umbrellas.  960 1280

The Seagate Hotel & Spa  

One Ocean Resort & Spa (Atlantic Beach)

One Ocean Resort & Spa (Atlantic Beach)

The beauty of One Ocean Resort & Spa near Jacksonville, FL, is surpassed only by the service it provides its guests. Each visit is customized based on your individual preferences, which are collected during a pre-stay phone call. After arrival, personal docents cater to your every need, from unpacking to booking spa treatments to offering insider recommendations. 960 1280

One Ocean Resort & Spa  

surfers in Biarritz, France
Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

With friendly locals, groovy cafes and far more enthusiasm about wave reports than Parisian fashion, Biarritz has been called “the California of France” more than once. And now, in a special program funded by the regional Olympic committee, Biarritz doctors are prescribing surfing and other ocean sports as remedies for health problems. The 12-week surfing program is luring more and more people to the waves to heal what ails them.  960 1280

John Harper  

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

With this healthy respect for the surfing life, Biarritz is a great choice for newbie surfers. Try Surf Training school; the ultra-experienced surf coach Philippe Beudin will have you catching waves right in to the soft sands of the Cote des Basques beach in no time. 960 1280

Guillaume CHANSON  

Nosara, Costa Rica

Nosara, Costa Rica

Thanks to its warm and consistent waves, the dusty surfing outpost of Nosara is a dreamy locale for beginners to first feel the thrill of riding a wave. With a friendly scene, top-rated surf instructors and rental shops aplenty, Nosara sets you up to succeed. Check out the Safari Surf School; with both day lessons and longer camps, it is a favorite in town. After hours in the water, work out your paddle-weary muscles at one of the many yoga schools in town and sip a smoothie at the boho Harmony Hotel. Wind down your day with a cold Imperial beer on Playa Pelada, the perfect place to watch the sun sink into the ocean. 960 1280

Matteo Colombo  

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s beaches, generally less populated than Costa Rica’s, are the latest surf hangouts of Central America. San Juan del Sur, a village on the Pacific coast, is surrounded by remote beaches with waves workable for all levels; Remansa, which means “extra calm” in Spanish, is the perfect spot for beginners. Just ask Javier Baldovinos, former coach of the Nicaragua Surf Team, veteran instructor and one of the most respected coaches in town; he’ll hook you up with a board and teach you the basics in one day. Or opt for an awesome all-inclusive surf camp, like Nicaragua Surf Report; here you sleep, eat, and surf with your surf gang for days. The women-only Chica Brava surf camp offers yoga, healthy food and an epic surf adventure. 960 1280

Matthew Micah Wright  

Encinitas, California

Encinitas, California

Encinitas is the dream So-Cal surf town, brah; it’s mellow and friendly, with a lot less of the “locals only” attitude you might find up or down the coast. While you can marvel at the pros out carving on the hardcore beaches like Swamis or Seaside Reef, there are quieter spots further afield for beginners, like the north end of Moonlight Beach. 960 1280

Gabe LHeureux  

Encinitas, California

Encinitas, California

For a thoroughly uplifting first surf experience, check in with Jason Weber at Encinitas Surf Lessons. Weber is a believer in the healing power of the surf, and his Surfing for Empowerment classes are designed to help everyone get in touch with their inner flow. 960 1280

Ashok Sinha  

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

Just because Hawaii is home to killer big waves like the Pipeline doesn’t mean beginners should shy away from the Aloha state. With its warm electric blue waters (no wetsuit needed!), Maui has waves enough for every level. 960 1280

tropicalpix  

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

Although some beaches may have a locals-first rap, that’s no deterrent – you just need an in-the-know resident surfer to lead the way. Zack Howard, a 25-year-veteran of the sport, runs one of the most respected surf schools in Maui and is also a guide to the secret spots that most visitors would miss. 960 1280

Vacclav  

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

The long established Maui Surf Girls, with both daily lessons and camps, is not just for girls; they empower everyone – men, children, grandparents and even dogs included – to get up and feel the power of the wave. 960 1280

Ron Dahlquist  

South Padre, Texas

South Padre, Texas

Texas doesn’t have a reputation for great surf, but there is one place where almost everyone can catch a wave. Down in South Padre, just on the tip of the Texas Coast near Mexico, husband and wife team Rachel and Gene Gore run the South Padre Surf Company where the motto is: “It’s not about how good you are; it’s about how much fun you have.” In a jetty-side beach protected from unpredictable Gulf winds, they teach first timers on foam-topped boards that make everyone feel steady and safe. Standing beside you in the water, they push you out into the wave at just the right moment, and, voila, next thing you know you are floating on water. Exhilarating.  960 1280

Wade Dunkin  

Bakio, Spain

Bakio, Spain

If you want to surf in Spain, set your compass north to the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country. Mundaka, 23 miles northeast of Bilbao, may be regarded as a surf capital of Spain, but beginners may want try their luck at the lesser known nearby town of Bakio. With few tourists and only a handful of laid-back hotels and restaurants, Bakio has the low-key vibe and regular waves that make the beginner feel welcome. You will want to check out Lokal Surf School, where the fun-loving instructors can teach in Spanish, English or Basque. When you are out in the cool blue water catching your first wave, you’ll be happy beyond words, no matter which language you speak.  960 1280

Mimadeo  

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.