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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.
St. Barts
St. Barts

St. Barts

This 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
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Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

One 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
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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Before 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
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St. Tropez, France

St. Tropez, France

This 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
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Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach, Sydney

With 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
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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Just 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
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Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

Of 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
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Anguilla

Anguilla

One look at Anguilla’s cerulean waters is all it takes to see why stars like Uma Thurman, Paul McCartney, Michael Jordan, Michael J. Fox and Liam Neeson picked this sunny spot in the Caribbean to unwind.
A-List Accommodations: Viceroy Anguilla, Cap Juluca
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South Beach, Miami

South Beach, Miami

She 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
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Necker Island

Necker Island

Richard 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.
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Turtle Island, Fiji

Turtle Island, Fiji

What 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
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Turtle Island  

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Brad 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
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Hotel Santa Caterina  

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The 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
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Malibu, Los Angeles

Malibu, Los Angeles

Of 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
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Maldives

Maldives

A gorgeous island in the Indian Ocean near Sri Lanka, this exotic locale has lured stars like Eva Longoria, Penelope Cruz, Kate Moss and Jude Law to indulge in its warm waters and pristine white sands.
A-List Accommodations: Velassaru Maldives, Kanuhura
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Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach

Just 5 minutes from San Diego, this family-friendly beach boasts wide stretches of sand, mostly calm surf and ideal whale watching (January through March). The lifeguards on staff, nearby public facilities and free parking along Ocean Boulevard add to its convenience -- and popularity. Couples can take a romantic walk to the luxury beachfront Hotel del Coronado and sip cocktails on its patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

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Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, founded by the Chumash Indian Tribe, is located in central California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Whichever direction you travel from, there’s plenty of activities to keep you here: fishing on the 1,200-foot-long pier, strolling through the Monarch Butterfly Grove, horseback riding along private trails, and exploring tide pools and caves, to name just a few. 960 1280

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La Jolla

La Jolla

You’ll have to leave the surfboards and boogie boards behind, but trust us it will be worth it. La Jolla Cove is the most desired area for swimming, snorkeling and diving; it is ecologically protected, making it a safe home for the bright orange Garibaldi fish (among others species) in the crescent-shaped cove. Called “the jewel” of San Diego, this beach is small, but you’ll find more room to stretch out on the mile-long La Jolla Shores to the north. 960 1280

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Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast State Beach comprises 13 miles of coastline, stretching from Blind Beach to Bodega Head. It’s dotted with nothing save hidden beaches tucked between the rocky coves and tall bluffs. Follow the Sonoma Coast Trail to visit these secret beaches and take postcard-worthy pictures, #nofilter necessary. 960 1280

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Main Beach in Santa Cruz

Main Beach in Santa Cruz

For most beachgoers in Santa Cruz, Main Beach is where the action is -- complete with restaurants, shops, surfing spots, beach volleyball courts and, of course, a scenic boardwalk and bandstand. If you ask us, it’s just the right amount of Americana. 960 1280

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Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Pier

With a location at the end of Main Street and a nickname like “Surf City, USA,” Huntington Beach evokes a time gone by. The pier (one of the longest on the West Coast), the year-round surf (thanks to ocean swells around Catalina Island) and Ruby’s Diner (the milkshakes are a must) will continue to draw crowds here for years to come. 
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Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Our resident beach expert, Marianela Pereyra, can attest to its weirdness, but there’s a reason Venice Beach is world famous. It may bring to mind visions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muscle Beach of the ’70s, but let us assure you that the 1 1/2-mile-long boardwalk is still the perfect storm for people watching, street performers and souvenir shopping. 960 1280

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Baker Beach

Baker Beach

To the west of the Golden Gate Bridge lies the rocky serpentine shoreline of Baker Beach. Rip currents make swimming unsafe, but you’re here for the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge … and maybe to picnic. Just don’t venture too far north unless you’re looking for another kind of scene: the northernmost end of Baker Beach, which attracts clothing-optional sunbathers. 960 1280

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Malibu Surfrider Beach

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Formerly known as Surfrider Beach, Malibu Lagoon State Beach’s famous right point breaks have made it the most-surfed spot in Los Angeles since the ’60s. Arrive early to find a parking spot and pick a point -- some of the perfect swells due to Surfrider Beach will give you a ride all the way to the pier (a couple hundred feet away). And for non-surfers, the historic wooden Malibu Pier offers excellent saltwater fishing, bird-watching and picnicking. 960 1280

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Dockweiler State Beach

Dockweiler State Beach

Located just west of the LAX runway, Dockweiler Beach is where people come to relax and party. That’s because the 3-mile-long shoreline is the only Los Angeles beach that has an RV park and allows bonfires. S’mores, anyone? 960 1280

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Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao, Thailand

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

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Positano, Italy

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

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Goa, India

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

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The North Shore, Oahu

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

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Capri, Italy

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

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Praia Mole, Brazil

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

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

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Nantucket, MA

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

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Huntington Beach, CA

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

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Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Crowds swarm Martha's Vineyard during the summer months, but respite can be found in the Vineyard's far eastern reaches "up-island," as it's known locally, at Moshup Beach. Tucked beneath the infamous Gay Head Cliffs, Moshup Beach is accessible by a 10-minute walking trail, making it an isolated paradise (and unofficial clothing-optional destination.) 960 1280

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East Hampton, NY

East Hampton, NY

It’s easy to see why the picturesque town of East Hampton is a beloved vacation destination for New Yorkers. A-listers settle into sprawling mansions along Lily Pond Lane, but anyone seeking out white sands and scrumptious lobster rolls will find them on Main Beach (just beyond Main Street). Find out more about our recommendations for East Coast beaches to visit. 960 1280

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Cape May, NJ

Cape May, NJ

Cape May, the crown jewel and southernmost point of the Jersey Shore, is dotted with gingerbread Victorian houses and colorful bed and breakfasts. Founded in 1620, this town -- the nation’s oldest seashore resort -- is one of few places where the sun both rises and sets over the water. 960 1280

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Nantucket, MA

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket’s community of weathered grey-shingled houses, surrounded by wild roses, is postcard perfect. Thirty miles south of Cape Cod, the former whaling community grew rich in the 19th century and still attracts well-heeled vacationers from New York and Boston. 960 1280

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Duck, NC

Duck, NC

Stretching for 130 miles along the Atlantic coast, North Carolina’s Outer Banks are a skinny strip of barrier islands whose hallmark high, sandy dunes front frothy surf on one side and gentle sound on the other. Visitors looking for an old-school family vacation should check out Duck, an upscale residential rental community along the northern reaches of the Outer Banks. This town has no high-rise hotels, but it has rental homes. 960 1280

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Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach

As the largest resort town along South Carolina’s 60-mile Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach has silky white sands that draw vacationers from up and down the East Coast. Its plethora of restaurants, live entertainment, amusement parks and water parks — plus more than 90 golf courses — make it a beacon for spring breakers, families and retirees alike. 960 1280

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Provincetown, MA

Provincetown, MA

Located on the northernmost tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is known for being the first landing place of the Mayflower Pilgrims in the New World. Since then it has become a distinguished art colony with a gay-friendly vibe and miles of galleries, shops and old mansions. 960 1280

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Southampton, NY

Southampton, NY

A charming village center, high-end shops and exquisite dining have made Southhampton a perfect blend of sprawling beaches, private estates and just enough places to “be seen” to satisfy the upper crust. Visitors looking to escape to the Atlantic are drawn to its 7-plus miles of unspoiled shoreline, windswept dunes and waving grasses. 960 1280

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Hyannis, MA

Hyannis, MA

Hyannis in Cape Cod is best known as home to the famous Kennedy family compound -- and more recently Taylor Swift. However, less-famous visitors are also drawn to Hyannis’ laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere and Kalmus Beach’s superior windsurfing. 960 1280

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Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island, SC

Located just 15 miles south of Charleston, SC, Kiawah Island is a coastal island and golf resort loaded with 10 miles of pristine beaches, approximately 10,000 acres of natural woodlands and every amenity to meet the needs of the entire family. 960 1280

Bill Sutton  

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