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.

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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  


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