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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

Esperanza, hotel, outdoor dining, Los Cabos, Mexico
Esperanza (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Esperanza (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Esperanza, an award-winning luxury resort in Los Cabos, has a beautiful location overlooking the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean.
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Esperanza, An Auberge Resort  

Esperanza (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Esperanza (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

All the rooms at Esperanza have ocean views. The hotel is located at the tip of Punta Ballena ("Whale Point”), and in the winter months you might spot the migrating humpback whales from your private veranda.
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Esperanza, An Auberge Resort  

Nizuc Resort and Spa (Cancun, Mexico)

Nizuc Resort and Spa (Cancun, Mexico)

With a prime location at the gateway to the Riviera Maya, the Nizuc Resort and Spa has unique Mayan-inspired therapies and private white-sand beaches make it a tranquil haven.
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Nizuc Resort & Spa  

One & Only Palmilla (Los Cabos, Mexico)

One & Only Palmilla (Los Cabos, Mexico)

This oasis on the tip of the Baja Peninsula was built in the 1950s as a 15-room luxury hideaway for the jet-set crowd. Now it’s expanded to over 115 rooms, but the One & Only Palmilla still feels glamorous and secluded.
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One&Only   

One & Only Palmilla Sanctuary (Los Cabos, Mexico)

One & Only Palmilla Sanctuary (Los Cabos, Mexico)

You will be treated like a celebrity at this beachfront sanctuary. The exceptional service includes personal butlers, luggage unpacking and a pillow and aromatherapy turndown menu.
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One&Only   

Fairmont Acapulco Princess (Acapulco, Mexico)

Fairmont Acapulco Princess (Acapulco, Mexico)

Tucked away in Acapulco's tropical oasis, the Fairmont Princess, a 15-story Aztec-pyramid-shaped hotel, is surrounded by lush gardens, a saltwater lagoon, a golf course and more.
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Leonardo Worldwide Corporation  

Fairmont Acapulco Princess (Acapulco, Mexico)

Fairmont Acapulco Princess (Acapulco, Mexico)

There's not a bad table at the resort’s Beach Club, an open-air bar and restaurant located right on the beach.
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Leonardo Worldwide Corporation  

Fairmont Princess, outdoor pool, Acapulco, Mexico

Fairmont Princess, outdoor pool, Acapulco, Mexico

Soak up the picture-perfect weather by one of the resort’s undulating outdoor pools.
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Leonardo Worldwide Corporation  

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach (Cancun, Mexico)

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach (Cancun, Mexico)

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach is located on a private beach but is still close to Cancun’s lively dining and nightlife. 960 1280

Grand Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts  

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach (Cancun, Mexico)

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach (Cancun, Mexico)

This all-suite hotel features breathtaking ocean views.
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Grand Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts  

Melia Cabo Real (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Melia Cabo Real (Los Cabos, Mexico)

The Melia Cabo Real, an all-inclusive beach and golf resort, is nestled on a sandy cove along Los Cabos' stunning sapphire coast. 960 1280

Melia Hotels International  

Melia Cabo Real (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Melia Cabo Real (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Enjoy a meal or a cocktail right on the beach under one of the largest thatched-roof structures in Los Cabos. 960 1280

Melia Hotels International  

The Westin Resort & Spa (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

The Westin Resort & Spa (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

The Westin Resort & Spa is a tropical paradise with a prime beachfront location in Puerto Vallarta.
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  

The Westin Resort & Spa (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

The Westin Resort & Spa (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

Take a refreshing dip in one of the pools that flow through the property. Visit the swim-up bar or relax in a private shaded area. 
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  

The Westin Resort & Spa (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

The Westin Resort & Spa (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

There’s something for everyone at the Westin, whether it’s enjoying perfect-weather golfing, relaxing at the spa or just taking in the ocean views.
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  

Hyatt Zilara (Cancun, Mexico)

Hyatt Zilara (Cancun, Mexico)

Located on the area’s widest stretch of beach, the all-suite Hyatt Zilara is an adults-only haven. The all-inclusive resort boasts Cancun’s only ocean-view spa, as well as wine and spirit tastings, gourmet restaurants, and pool- and beachside butler service, making this the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a weekend escape with your friends. 960 1280

Hyatt Corporation  

Hyatt Zilara (Cancun, Mexico)

Hyatt Zilara (Cancun, Mexico)

Spend the afternoons at the oceanfront infinity pool, complete with swim-up bar, or hit the town for endless entertainment options and Cancun’s renowned nightlife. 960 1280

Hyatt Corporation  

Las Ventanas al Paraíso Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Las Ventanas al Paraíso Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)

With a never-ending view of the Sea of Cortez from the shorefront pool, "infinity" seems like an understatement. 960 1280

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts  

Las Ventanas al Paraíso Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Las Ventanas al Paraíso Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)

The edges of the pool melt into the sea, meaning you can bask, rinse, and repeat in more than one body of water at a time. What flow will you go with? 960 1280

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts  

The Resort at Pedregal (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

The Resort at Pedregal (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Carved into a cliff on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula lies the remarkable Resort at Pedregal. Guests can stay in beachside villas and are pampered with luxe amenities such as private plunge pools and rain showers. 960 1280

The Resort at Pedregal  

Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Latin American sculptures and paintings greet you upon arrival at the posh Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa. Artistic inspiration may strike you as well while you admire the surrounding nature, where desert mountains meet the Sea of Cortez. 960 1280

The Leading Hotels Of The World  

Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Out back, 3 infinity pools offer sweeping views of the water, which is frequented by dolphins and water-sport aficionados alike. 960 1280

The Leading Hotels Of The World  

Mahekal Beach Resort (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)

Mahekal Beach Resort (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)

Tucked amid the tropical Riviera Maya jungle and Playa del Carmen’s longest stretch of beach, Mahekal Beach Resort offers a chic, bohemian take on beach life. 960 1280

Mahekal Beach Resort  

Mahekal Beach Resort (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)

Mahekal Beach Resort (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)

Among the thatched-roof cottages are accommodations offering lush garden views or beautiful ocean views, spacious terraces with hammocks and plunge pools. 960 1280

Mahekal Beach Resort  

Amansala (Tulum, Mexico)

Amansala (Tulum, Mexico)

ncorporating East Asian design with tropical accents, Amansala is an eco-chic resort located on the Caribbean side of Mexico in Tulum. Famed for the area’s white beaches and Mayan ruins, the resort celebrates the land’s natural beauty with its simple yet elegant oceanfront, thatched-roof cabanas. 960 1280

Amansala Resort & Retreat  

Amansala (Tulum, Mexico)

Amansala (Tulum, Mexico)

Unplug in rustic luxury and de-stress by embarking on one of the seasonal yoga retreats, going on a beach jog with your friends, or reconnecting with your partner on a romantic beach getaway. 960 1280

Amansala Resort & Retreat  

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Neatly placed on a stretch of beach in Cabo San Lucas, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort is the perfect place for a beach getaway. 960 1280

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa
The Beaches beachfront, located in Negril, Jamaica, is perhaps the most family-friendly, with room to spare for walkers, sunbathers, and water-sports enthusiasts without feeling crowded.
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Oyster.com  

Couples Swept Away Negril
On Negril's Seven-Mile Beach, Couples Swept Away resort -- for adults- and couples-only -- has guest rooms, restaurants and bars that line the beach. Vendors and musicians stroll down the beach with guitars and bamboo scrapers, playing reggae music requests for small tips.
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Oyster.com  

Couples Swept Away Negril
Ample non-motorized water sports are available on the beach, free of charge.
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Oyster.com  

Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa
The Dreams Punta Cana's cerulean blue waters, misty waves, and clean, soft, sandy shore are about as picturesque as it gets in the Caribbean. The steep drop-off and somewhat vigorous waves make it less than ideal for swimming.
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Oyster.com  

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana
The soft, wet sandbars make for perfect walking conditions.
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Oyster.com  

Beaches Sandy Bay
In Negril, Jamaica, Beaches has 2 large swimming areas surrounded by buoys, which are meant to protect guests from the occasional Jet Ski or motorboat. The water is shallow, calm, and excellent for young children to swim. Like anywhere on Seven-Mile Beach, there are people in the water at all hours, but the beach itself never feels crowded.
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Oyster.com  

Breezes Runaway Bay Resort
In Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Breezes Resort not only has enough space for lounge chairs, but it also has enough space for multiple trapeze sets and volleyball nets, but all this fun is exclusive to adults and teens. All guests of Breezes must be over the age of 14.
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Oyster.com  

Breezes Runaway Bay Resort
The beach here is extraordinarily active, and the hotel's entertainment staff tries to encourage guests to join in the games. You can still sip a cocktail in the nearby pools overlooking the ocean if you're looking for a more relaxing beach experience.
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Oyster.com  

Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica
The Gran Bahia, located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, has 3 beaches -- a main swimming beach, a nude beach, and a snorkeling beach (pictured here).
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Oyster.com  

Iberostar Rose Hall Ranch
Montego Bay's closed, private beaches aren't as picturesque as Negril's, but the well-groomed sands at the Iberostar are better than at most beaches nearby. Low-lying palm shades create the exotic environment, and there's full drink service by the water.
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Oyster.com  

Riu Paradise Island - All Inclusive
The Riu Paradise Island has a prime location on Cabbage Beach in the Bahamas. The water is so clear, you can spy schools of fish swimming around your ankles, and the big waves make for great body surfing. This is one of the best beaches in the vicinity of Nassau, but hoards of cruise ship passengers head here as soon as their ships dock.
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Oyster.com  

Secrets Sanctuary Cap
The Sanctuary is in an indisputably beautiful location with a beautiful white-sand beach. It's located in on top of a cliff and in the middle of acres and acres of soon-to-be-developed land in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
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Oyster.com  

Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach
There are no local peddlers or vendors on the Wyndham's beach in La Romana, Dominican Republic. They're sticklers about this rule. It's a huge plus compared to many other beaches where guests are bombarded by people hawking cheap wares.
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Oyster.com  

point arena lighthouse
point arena lighthouse

point arena lighthouse

Marianela gets the 411 on the historic Point Arena Lighthouse from expert William Brown. 960 1280

  

Mendocino County

Mendocino County

Point Arena Lighthouse is located in Mendocino County, CA, 2 miles north of Point Arena. 960 1280

  

fresnel lens

fresnel lens

Marianela checks out the first-order Fresnel lens, worth over 3.5 million and made from over 600 hand-ground glass prisms. 960 1280

  

lighthouse musuem

lighthouse musuem

Some items in the museum have been kept since the lighthouse’s reconstruction in the 1906. 960 1280

  

original lighthouse

original lighthouse

The original lighthouse, constructed in 1870, was destroyed when a devastating earthquake struck the Light Station. 960 1280

  

lighthouse top

lighthouse top

Marianela can’t wait to reach the top of the lighthouse. 960 1280

  

musuem gift shop

musuem gift shop

These unique handmade mirrors are available for sale in the museum gift shop. 960 1280

  

100 stairs

100 stairs

Only 100 more stairs to the top! 960 1280

  

postcard

postcard

Point Area Light looks like it appeared straight out of a postcard. 960 1280

  

california coast

california coast

Marianela and William check out the spectacular view of the California coast. 960 1280

  

symbol of hope

symbol of hope

Many view the majestic lighthouse as a symbol of hope. 960 1280

  

lighthouse keepers

lighthouse keepers

“These (lighthouse) Keepers must’ve really been in shape,” says Marianela. 960 1280

  

tallest lighthouse

tallest lighthouse

The Point Arena Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast. 960 1280

  

rocky coast

rocky coast

The lighthouse was built to help ships navigate their way through the rocky coast. 960 1280

  

Bahamas
Bahamas

Bahamas

White sands, crystal-clear water and nonstop entertainment provided by mega-resorts like Atlantis make the Bahamas a must. 960 1280

Derek Key, flickr  

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

The Las Vegas scene may not be tropical, but it's certainly college. During Spring Break, every day is a good day to party poolside at the MGM Grand's newly renovated Wet Republic. 960 1280

Oyster.com  

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is overflowing with pristine beaches, all-inclusive accommodations and bustling nightlife to keep the party going all week long. 960 1280

tiger_barb/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Miami

Miami

LMFAO's "I'm in Miami Trick" could be your spring break soundtrack in South Beach. Plus, the posh nightlife and pricey drinks are more than made up for by the hot spot's accessibility. 960 1280

Meinzahn/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

For those craving a Mexican getaway on a budget, Puerto Vallarta's bars, beach parties and hidden coves are your best bet. 960 1280

Philip and Karen Smith/ The Image Bank/ Getty Images  

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach

While spring break in Daytona Beach may seem dated, its bikini contests, cheap rooms and miles of beaches you can drive on make it the classic road trip destination. 960 1280

gamiziuk, flickr  

South Padre Island

South Padre Island

South Padre Island, TX, usually attracts families, but during the month of March its party scene is better suited for coeds and Girls Gone Wild. 960 1280

Witold Skrypczak/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach

In years past, Panama City Beach, FL, has called on celebs such as the Jersey Shore cast, Sean Kingston and Kenny Chesney to lend their party scene some cred. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Jamaica

Jamaica

Negril, Jamaica, is known for its laid-back party vibe where you can enjoy water activities (and drinks) day and night. 960 1280

Travelstock44/ Look/ Getty Images  

Cancun

Cancun

Tequila shots, wild dance parties and wet T-shirt contests may be cliché, but they still make Cancun the perennial favorite spring break party. 960 1280

Medioimages/ Photodisc/ Thinkstock  

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas

Spring break in Cabo San Lucas will set you back a pretty penny, but the Mexican resort town is party central for West Coasters. 960 1280

Holger Leue/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images)  

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco's all-inclusive resorts, cliff divers and party scene attract students every spring break. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

"El Arco" -- @lilych19 960 1280

  

Lagos, Portugal

Lagos, Portugal

"I just want to go back #lagos #beach #portugal" -- @berger_king3 960 1280

  

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

"Beach life. dromana/gunnamatta/safetybeach/mccrae" -- @_factorygirl 960 1280

  

St. John, US Virgin Islands

St. John, US Virgin Islands

"#ww #receptionsite #stjohn #destinationwedding #islandstyleweddings" -- @islandstyleweddings 960 1280

  

Miami Beach, Miami, FL

Miami Beach, Miami, FL

"#sitetours #gimmethatcookie #hilton #sunnyisles #miami #hotels #workflow" -- @j_wusinich 960 1280

  

Tybee Island, GA

Tybee Island, GA

"Bird watching #tybeeisland #tybeesunset #visitsavannah #savannahbeach #savannahgeorgia #exploregeorgia #georgiaonmymind #cocos #backriver #eastcoast #pelicans #birds #boats #dusk #ilovetybee #tybeelove #lwynnephoto" -- @lwynne 960 1280

  

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

"#beachgang #sunset #nopantsdance" -- @eatthespider 960 1280

  

Menorca, Balearic Islands

Menorca, Balearic Islands

"how i missed you Menorca! #beach #sun #paradise #picoftheday #travels #blue #holidays #menorca" -- @lipstickvoice 960 1280

  

The Maldives

The Maldives

"Maldives 2012." -- @mbeatrizleitao 960 1280

  

Big Sur, CA

Big Sur, CA

"Bixby Bridge #california #highwayon" -- @fredrikafrojdh 960 1280

  

Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

"Waikiki beach helicopter ride #travel #beach #view #paradise" -- @hale_nani_villa 960 1280

  

Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA

Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA

"#bakerbeach #sanfrancisco #beach #goldengatebridge #bridge #twilight #clouds #cloudporn #reflection #nature #landscape #california" -- @bobaumgartner 960 1280

  

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

"Enjoying the #naturalbeauty of #whitehavenbeach on our #whitsundaycruise #lovethewhitsundays #whitsundayisland #sand #sea #sun #seeaustralia #thisisqueensland" -- @thelittlejess 960 1280

  

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

"Cabo San Lucas Mexico" -- @ccnashphotography 960 1280

  

Big Sur, CA

Big Sur, CA

"The Big Sur in Cali on a road trip down the PCH in 2012. #BigSur #California #travel" -- @jtrovato_ontheroad 960 1280

  

Lanikai Beach, Oahu, HI

Lanikai Beach, Oahu, HI

"My beautiful mother in a moment of zen. Happy Birthday little flower. Xo" -- @marinaleclair 960 1280

  

Oahu, HI

Oahu, HI

"Last night was one of the hardest nights I've had in a long time emotionally ... Caring for a young 19 year old with cancer who's even more enthusiastic about life and it's endless possibilities than I am made me realized whatever my troubles are it's just a small hump in the road. This beautiful life shouldn't be wasted on being sad about something you cannot change but being happy and appreciative of what you've got and how you can use that to help others who are much less fortunate. That little boy gave me so much more than what I could have given him last night." -- @nhamaste 960 1280

  

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

"I miss Hawaii #ilovehawaii #islands #roadtohana #cliffjumping #ocean #water #blueskies #blue #memories #amazing #maui #hawaii #usa #waves #takemeback #beach #bikini #iphone5" -- @missamy6 960 1280

  

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

"A little slice of #heaven. #borabora" -- @tiffaneyw 960 1280

  

Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

"Look right.." -- @pgsilver 960 1280

  

Laguna Beach, CA

Laguna Beach, CA

"Have been going to Laguna since I was a little kid and the views still amaze me. Always beautiful! #orangecounty #laguna #lagunabeach" -- @paulajohns 960 1280

  

Cornwall, UK

Cornwall, UK

"#cornwall #cornwalluk #cliffs #ilovecornwall #sea #surf #travel #coastalpath #beach #beauty #england #uk #europe #travel" -- @jamiemacm1978 960 1280

  

Saint Martin

Saint Martin

"One of my favorite beaches in the world. #mahobay #stmaarten Can't wait to discover Spain's Canary Islands this weekend! #tcbeachweek" -- @ericaconnolly91 960 1280

  

Dana Point, CA

Dana Point, CA

"Saturday swoop down the coast. Amazing!" -- @mydanapoint 960 1280

  

Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania

"My beautiful view poolside and ocean front at Essque Zalu Zanzibar." -- @hautetravelgirl 960 1280

  

Eden Rock, St. Barts

Eden Rock, St. Barts

"Just chilling at Eden Rock." -- @jbrochu 960 1280

  

Tobacco Bay, St. George, Bermuda

Tobacco Bay, St. George, Bermuda

"No filter needed #nofilter #tobaccobay #saintgeorges #ocean #sea #adventure #travel #trip #bermuda #beach" -- @petit_chat_photos 960 1280

  

Lagos, Portugal

Lagos, Portugal

"#Lagos #Portugal #beautiful #beach" -- @allicyn1 960 1280

  

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