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

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  

the Villa Hotel Jasmine
the Villa Hotel Jasmine

the Villa Hotel Jasmine

Located in the gated community of Sunset Island in Miami, the Villa Hotel Jasmine was once owned by Enrique Iglesias. The Moroccan-style mansion has both a home theatre and hookah lounge, and is available for rent for $68,000 per week. 960 1280

  

Villa Hotel Jasmine

Villa Hotel Jasmine

Relax in one of the many outdoor seating areas at the Villa Hotel Jasmine with the Miami skyline in the distance. 960 1280

  

Golden Beach

Golden Beach

Walk across the suspended slate bridge and over the koi pond to enter this modern Miami beach house. Located right on Golden Beach, the 7,700 square-foot home was designed by architect Carlos Zapata. 960 1280

  

Golden Beach

Golden Beach

The 13.5 million dollar house has soaring 20-foot ceilings. 960 1280

  

Arc en Ciel Villa

Arc en Ciel Villa

Built for British royalty, Arc en Ciel Villa in St. Lucia rents for $16,000 per week. Guests can sit by the pool and take in the stunning view of the Pitons, 2 volcanic plugs in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 960 1280

  

Le Bleu Villa

Le Bleu Villa

Le Bleu Villa in Anguilla has 2 private beaches, a tennis court and an Asian water garden. Sleep in one of the 10 bedrooms (9 of which open up to the ocean) for $67,500 per week. 960 1280

  

Sandy Line Villa

Sandy Line Villa

Sandy Line Villa in St. Martin sits on 5 acres of land and has both a tennis court and gym. Go for a swim in the 25-metre lap pool overlooking Plum Bay beach, or relax by the second pool. Guests can rent the villa for 80,000 per week or buy it for $29 million. 960 1280

  

on Sunset Island #2 in Miami

on Sunset Island #2 in Miami

Located on Sunset Island #2 in Miami, this $14.9 million beach house was once owned by Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. 960 1280

  

Sunset Island #2 in Miami

Sunset Island #2 in Miami

The house has an infinity-edge heated pool complete with a cascading waterfall. 960 1280

  

Malibu

Malibu

For $45 million this Malibu beach house could be yours! Built in 1975, the house was designed by architect Ettore Sottsass, who has also designed a number of posh storefronts on Rodeo Drive. 960 1280

  

Malibu

Malibu

The villa and its gardens were modeled after the Alhambra Palace in Spain. 960 1280

  

Malibu

Malibu

The Malibu mansion also has original Catalina tiles (only made from 1927-1937) in every bathroom. The master bath features 2 matching side-by-side tubs. 960 1280

  

Casa Contenta in Miami

Casa Contenta in Miami

The Casa Contenta in Miami rents for $130,900 per week, and its pool has a cascading waterfall, a grotto and a jacuzzi. 960 1280

  

Artist Peggy Hopper is known for her distinctive paintings of island women, with soft tones and gentle shapes that welcome you like a warm embrace. Her gallery is just one of many you will discover on Oahu. The Honolulu Academy of Arts and The Contemporary Museum feature enviable collections from around the world. On the First Friday of every month, the Chinatown district of Honolulu explodes into an urban block party with niche galleries and art shows practically on every corner. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

What's a pink Spanish-Moorish hotel doing in Waikiki? The answer: stealing your breath away. The Royal Hawaiian opened in1927 when the era of luxury travel to Hawaii was just beginning. After a five-day sea voyage, passengers would move into the 'Pink Palace of the Pacific,' bringing with them steamer trunks, servants, and even their Rolls Royce vehicles. In 2008, this classic gem underwent an extensive restoration to become the Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort. Gorgeous. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

A trip to Pearl Harbor will fill you with pride and also humility. The Arizona Memorial is dedicated to the USS Arizona's 1,102 sailors who were killed when Japanese Imperial forces attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Nearby, the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial honors the battleship where Japan's Emperor Hirohito surrendered to end World War II. A bit of trivia: the Missouri's bow is placed to convey that the battleship now watches over the Arizona so that her sailors may rest in peace. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Oahu is a shopaholic's paradise. Where else can you find Hawaiian-style coffee mugs in a big box store, hand-carved tikis made by those who understand the meaning of each groove, the latest designer brands, warehouse outlets with summer styles 365 days a year, plus, swap meets and farmer markets that offer foods and gifts you might not find anywhere else? 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

What's the best place to surf on Waikiki Beach? Just ask the 'Duke.' Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was Waikiki's best known beach boy, the 'Ambassador of Aloha' who introduced surfing to the world, and always, the consummate gentleman. He was also an Olympic champion who won three gold, two silver and one bronze medals. Today, residents and visitors alike drape leis on his statue as a gesture of aloha. And if you're searching for Waikiki's most perfect waves, Duke marks the spot. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

There's an indescribable something special about Waikiki Beach when the sun goes down. It's an energy, an undercurrent of nightlife that's about to unfold. Sophisticated nightspots. Island music scenes. Mai tais with flavors like lychee, li hing and mango. This is Waikiki Beach--the one and only. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

If you can stand on two feet, you can surf. Perhaps not well at first, but that's half the fun. Waikiki beach boys will show you what you how. You'll start with a lesson on the sand followed by a gentle push in the waves, and off you go. If you're serious, start early in the morning before the crowd shows up. After your lesson, you can rent a board and keep practicing. Watch out. It's addicting. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Haleiwa Town on Oahu's North Shore is part country, part chic, and all fun. It started as a beach town on the outskirts of the cane and pineapple fields and has retained its rustic roots. It's a must-stop for shaved ice, shopping, art galleries and crafts, and of course, good eats. It's also the perfect excuse to move a little slower and linger a little longer. Whether you're on your way to Pipeline and Waimea, or heading back to your hotel, Haleiwa is a 'no hurry, no worry' kind of place. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

'One paddle, two paddle, three paddle. Four to take me home.' These famous song lyrics are synonymous with outrigger canoes and paddling on Waikiki Beach. Hop in and you'll feel the thrill as your canoe glides out to sea. The best part of the ride is when you turn back toward shore and ride the waves in. It's like surfing while sitting down. In paddling there are two words you won't want to mix up: 'hui' means to switch paddling to the other side, while 'huli' means to turn over. Fun, but wet. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Ask anyone who lives on Oahu's Windward side where the best beach is located, and they'll say 'Kailua.' It's a thriving beach town where you can wear your pareo (wrap around) into the grocery store and flip flops (we call them 'slippers') are the only locally-approved footwear. And the beach, let's just say that it's the second-most photographed stretch of sand on the island. Kailua has several kayak rental and surf stores. If you're into kite boarding, this is also the beach of choice. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

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