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.

Photos

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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

Diane Diederich, iStock  

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

EQRoy, Shutterstock  

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

ironrodart, iStock  

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

Michael Treloar, 7Michael, iStock  

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

i_see_u, iStock  

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

Hawaii Tourism Authority, Tor Johnson  

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

Hawaii Tourism Authority, Tor Johnson  

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

Hawaii Tourism Authority, Ron Garnett  

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. 960 1280

Hawaii Tourism Authority, Tor Johnson  

Wingaersheek Beach - Massachusetts

Wingaersheek Beach - Massachusetts

Wingaersheek (pronounced Wing-er-sheek) Beach near Gloucester, Massachusetts, is great for families because the sea here is like one giant bathtub. The ocean at Wingaersheek is largely protected by the Ipswitch peninsula, so it's usually calm and warm, creating perfect swimming conditions for the little ones. At low tide, sand flats seem to stretch forever (or at least to the Annisquam River). 960 1280

Garry Black / Getty Images  

Wingaersheek Beach - Massachusetts

Wingaersheek Beach - Massachusetts

Another benefit: glorious tide pools, which are perfect places for inquisitive tykes to get up-close-and-personal with snails, hermit crabs, sea stars and other critters. Perhaps the only downside to this natural treasure is parking; since beach access is smack in the middle of a residential area, daily fees can be steep. 960 1280

Garry Black / Getty Images  

Bean Hollow State Beach - California

Bean Hollow State Beach - California

Pocket beaches are plentiful along the San Mateo County Coast south of San Francisco, but Bean Hollow offers something different: privacy. Bookended by wind- and water-carved bluffs, the beach has a number of natural nooks and crannies that are perfect for family picnics--and Frisbee, book-reading or some serious sunbathing. 960 1280

A K Potts Photography / Getty Images  

Bean Hollow State Beach - California

Bean Hollow State Beach - California

There's also a self-guided nature trail that winds atop the bluffs, offering a great vantage point from which to see passing grey whales (in the winter and spring). Three miles up the road, in the sleepy town of Pescadero, be sure to bring the family on a tour of Harley Farms Goat Dairy, where kids can feed, pet and even milk a bunch of alpine goats. 960 1280

Mark Miller Photos / Getty Images  

Robert Moses State Park - New York

Robert Moses State Park - New York

When most New Yorkers seek ocean waves, they flock to Jones Beach, one of the oldest and most famous stretches of shore on the Eastern Seaboard. Farther east along the Fire Island National Seashore, however, is another beach that sees far less tourist traffic: Robert Moses State Park. Kids will love wake-boarding and wave-jumping in the lively surf; parents will appreciate that the beach isn't crawling with humans. 960 1280

Stephen O'Byrne / Getty Images  

Robert Moses State Park - New York

Robert Moses State Park - New York

Toward the eastern end of the beach, past Field 5, the circa-1891, black-and-white ringed Fire Island Lighthouse, is a living window into the past, offering tours and historical photos of yesteryear. Be warned: just beyond the lighthouse is a nude beach. 960 1280

rickberk / Getty Images  

Kure Beach - North Carolina

Kure Beach - North Carolina

This tiny seaside community sits at the southern tip of North Carolina's Pleasure Island--a strip of barrier beaches that front the Atlantic--and while some of its northern neighbors are teeming with tourists in the summer, Kure remains fairly empty. That's good news for vacationing families, who usually have most of the town's attractions to themselves. 960 1280

Gary Tognoni / Getty Images  

Kure Beach - North Carolina

Kure Beach - North Carolina

On the list of must-sees: the fishing pier, which is the oldest on the Atlantic Coast; and the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center, which spotlights shipwrecks and dive sites nearby. The ocean beaches are breathtaking; for a more off-beat experience, hike the trail at sound-side Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and look for native plants and animals along the way. 960 1280

Gary Tognoni / Getty Images  

Ebey's Landing - Washington

Ebey's Landing - Washington

Technically speaking, Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve contains 17,500 acres, 18 farms, 400 historical structures, two state parks and the second-oldest town in the state of Washington (Coupeville). We, however, love its beach best. On a clear day, the rocky, driftwood-strewn shoreline serves up too-amazing-to-believe views of the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier off in the distance. 960 1280

Randall J Hodges / Getty Images  

Ebey's Landing - Washington

Ebey's Landing - Washington

A three-mile bluff trail provides even more perspective on these sites, and some good (read: protected from the elements) picnic spots for the family to spend an hour. For children who appreciate wildlife, nearby saltwater lagoons and wetland marshes are teeming with birds; with the right pair of binoculars, it's like going to the zoo, only free. 960 1280

nik wheeler / Getty Images  

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