Editors' Picks: Favorite Beaches
Where are our favorite beaches in the world? From Nantucket, MA, to Koh Tao, Thailand, see where our editors like to bask in the sun when they're not working.
Koh Tao, Thailand"Less famous than beautiful Phi Phi Islands and less touristy than nearby Koh Samui, Koh Tao won me over. This tiny island (less than 10 square miles) is easily navigated on motorbike or by foot. Despite its lack of high-rise resorts (for the time being), there's no shortage of scenic restaurants or a late-night bar scene. It's where I caught the diving bug, and nearly everyone has it here with more than 50 dive shops catering to those souls who long to be submerged in the clear turquoise waters for a glimpse of a stingray or sea turtle (or in my case, an unfortunately close call with the aggressive trigger fish)." -- Sara Gilliam, Senior Interactive Producer 960 1280
Positano, Italy“My favorite beach is Marina Grande in Positano, Italy on the Amalfi Coast. Nestled at the bottom of Positano's rocky village, Marina Grande is lively in the height of the summer months with locals and tourists sunbathing, dining at local restaurants – right off the beach – and visiting nearby boutique shops. And the views are immaculate!” – Rani Robinson-Kiganda, Managing Producer 960 1280
Goa, India“The western Indian state of Goa is heralded for its beaches and for good reason. The former Portuguese colony boasts more than 6o miles of coastline, home to everything from secluded beach towns like Mandrem to lively hot spots like Baga, where beach parties and endless nightlife mix with wind-surfing fun and dolphin cruises.” – Lisa Singh, Interactive Producer 960 1280
The North Shore, Oahu“It’s only an hour’s drive from Honolulu, but Oahu’s North Shore is a world away from the developed and crowded Waikiki Beach. North Shore’s Pipeline Beach is known as a surf capital of the world, but there is so much more here than monster waves. The little surf town Haleiwa is dotted with cute surf shops, healthy-minded restaurants and cozy art galleries. During the summer when the waves are smaller, go for a swim or a snorkel in the clear blue Waimea Bay. ” – Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer 960 1280
Capri, Italy“Warm your body and your soul on the small rocky beach of Marina Piccola on the island of Capri, Italy off the Gulf of Napoli. Surrounded by bronzed Italian locals, you'll feel like you've found paradise on earth as you gaze out into the aquamarine waters and monumental Faraglioni rock stacks. After drenching yourself in sun, take 2 steps and refuel at Da Gioia Restaurant right on the beach. What to have for lunch? Their tuna fish salad. It was so fresh and delicious I had it everyday I was there!” – Elizabeth Fraser, Photo Editor 960 1280
Praia Mole, Brazil“Florianopolis, a small island off the southern coast of Brazil, is a popular beach destination for tourists and Brazilians alike. Praia Mole (Mole Beach) is by far one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever visited. Aside from its white sand and world-class waves, this beach attracts surfers, para-gliders and backpackers. I’d recommend taking a hike north of the beach to experience the best spot for nude sunbathing. Don’t miss happy hour at one of the nearby beach restaurants or bars like LGBT-favorite Bar do Deca, where you can grab a bite to eat, sip on a caipirinha and mingle with friendly locals and tourists.” -- Kwin Mosby, Managing Producer 960 1280
Bald Head Island, NC“Take the ferry from Southport, NC, and hop aboard a golf cart to explore the live oak-lined, winding roads of Bald Head Island. After catching some rays on any one of the island's 14 miles of beaches, climb to the top of Old Baldy, the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina. If golf is your game, look no further than the Bald Head Island Club's world-class golf course -- just watch out for the occasional gator that may cross your path. Finally, drop by the Club's Pelicatessen to cool off with one of North Carolina's own Nye's Cream Sandwiches.” – Amanda DiGiondomenico, Interactive Producer 960 1280
Nantucket, MA“Grab a sandwich at Something Natural (be advised: their “half” is your typical “whole”) and head to the beach on the beautiful and ever-so-quaint island of Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts. My favorite sandy spots? Steps beach for a beautiful view and calm waters, and Madequecham, Ladies or Fisherman’s for heavier surf but more privacy than some of the better-known beaches. When you’ve had your fill of sun and sand, a trip to Cisco Brewery is a must. “ Allee Sangiolo, Interactive Producer 960 1280
Huntington Beach, CA“If I'm looking for the best beach culture in the United States, the first place that comes to mind is definitely Huntington Beach, CA, a.k.a "Surf City USA." From a vibrant art community to a lively shopping district with tasty eats on every corner -- including Ruby’s Diner -- Huntington Beach offers a variety of fun activities for everyone. And humans aren't the only ones hangin' 10 at this beach. Don't miss out on the always-entertaining dog surfing competitions throughout the summer, culminating with the 6th annual Surf City Surf Dog in September.” -- Ben Breslerman, Interactive Producer 960 1280
Rio de Janeiro, BrazilBefore the excitement of the upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics, celebrities like Madonna, Gerard Butler, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have long flocked to Rio's Ipanema Beach for a piece of tropical paradise (and perhaps a few caipirinhas at Carnival).
A-List Accommodations: Fasano Hotel, Copacabana Palace 960 1280
St. BartsThis glamorous Caribbean island boasts glitzy nightlife and glamorous sunbathing at St. Jean beach where you can rub elbows with celebrities like Jay-Z and Beyonce or Jessica Alba, who dock their yachts at the glistening port.
A-List Accommodations: Eden Rock, Hotel Saint Barth Isle De France 960 1280
St. Tropez, FranceThis Cote d'Azur seaport continues to attract celebrities including Cindy Crawford, Tom Cruise, Rihanna, P. Diddy, Jack Nicholson and Catherine Zeta-Jones to its over-the-top beach clubs like Club 55, first made famous by French beauty Brigitte Bardot.
A-List Accommodations: Intercontinental Carlton Cannes, Villa Romana Club & Restaurant 960 1280
Bondi Beach, SydneyWith its world-famous surfing and sailing under the Harbour Bridge to Coogee's cliff tops, Bondi Beach attracts celebrities like Nicole Richie, Hugh Jackman, Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio when they are looking for a little adventure Down Under.
A-List Accommodations: The Park Hyatt in the Rocks, InterContinental Hotel 960 1280
Cabo San Lucas, MexicoJust a 2-hour flight from Los Angeles, it's no wonder this Mexican resort city has become a mainstay for stars like Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Ryan Seacrest and Julia Roberts looking for a little rest, relaxation and … margaritas.
A-List Accommodations: Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Esperanza, One&Only Palmilla 960 1280
Maui, HawaiiOf Hawaii's many islands, Maui seems to attract the most star power, whether it’s Paris Hilton vacationing with her flavor of the week or Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox tying the knot on its romantic coast. Who are the other stars giving Hawaii a resurgence of star power? Owen Wilson, Oprah, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, to name a few.
A-List Accommodations: Four Seasons Resort Maui, Grand Wailea 960 1280
Lake Como, ItalyOne name -- George Clooney -- comes to mind when you conjure up images of Lake Como. Can't you just see yourself relaxing at his oceanfront 18th-century villa alongside Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and half a dozen of his other famous pals? Well, one can daydream.
A-List Accommodations: Villa D’Este, Grand Hotel Tremezzo 960 1280
South Beach, MiamiShe may still be "Jenny From the Block," but it's no secret that Jennifer Lopez has spent plenty of time in sexy South Beach. Miami's bustling nightlife and Art Deco charms have also convinced stars like the Kardashians and Shakira to vacation stateside.
A-List Accommodations: Fonatinebleau, The Delano 960 1280
Necker IslandRichard Branson's 74-acre private island estate has been rebuilt after a tragic fire in 2011 (when Kate Winslet heroically carried his mother to safety). We're sure it will continue to host the very rich and very famous, such as Oprah, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg, for years to come.
A-List Accommodations: You have to join the ranks of these gazillionaires to afford to rent out this private estate. 960 1280
Turtle Island, FijiWhat superstar doesn't value their privacy? This super-secluded resort has nearly 100 staffers on hand to cater to a maximum of 28 guests at a time. Both Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears have honeymooned here (with their now exes).
A-List Accommodations: Turtle Island 960 1280
Amalfi Coast, ItalyBrad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's mutual attraction is rumored to have been sparked at the picturesque cliff-side Hotel Santa Caterina while filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith -- and with vistas like that, who could blame them?
A-List Accommodations: Hotel Santa Caterina 960 1280
Bora Bora, French PolynesiaThe privacy that these over-the-water bungalows provide (not to mention the romance) have attracted stars like the Kardashians, Nicole Kidman, Eva Longoria, Rob Lowe, Sharon Stone and Charlize Theron.
A-List Accommodations: Four Seasons Bora Bora, Bora Bora Nui Resort 960 1280
Malibu, Los AngelesOf course, the No. 1 beach for celebrity-spotting would be right in their own backyard. Here, David Beckham catches a wave with sons Cruz, Brooklyn and Romeo in Malibu.
A-List Accommodations: Malibu Beach Inn, Four Seasons Los Angeles, Chateau Marmont 960 1280