The Best of the Best:Beaches
We had so much fun with our skiing-related Best of the Best-of Lists last month that we decided to make it a semi-regular feature. This month, we chose a warmer topic to help shake-off the winter blues—beaches.
Most Beautiful Beach in the World
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
– Condé Nast Readers’ Choice
El Nido is made up of 45 small island and islets that feature limestone cliffs, forests, lagoons and the real superstars—a total of 50 gorgeous beaches. The region is the part of the Phillipines largest marine sanctuary and also includes a turtle sanctuary.
Best Snorkeling Destination
Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
– CNN Travel
A part of the Coral Triangle, which stretches northwest from Papua New Guinea to the Phillipines then south to Indonesia, the Raja Ampat archipelago sits among 600 species of reef-building coral and more than 2,000 species of reef fish. If checking out the amazing diversity of the oceans is your thing, this is the place to do it.
The World’s Best Private Island
Cousine Island, Seychelles
– The Telegraph
Four luxury villas feature views of the Indian Ocean and private infinity pools, while the Presidential Villa has that and more, including accommodations for an au pair, chamber lady and butler. The resort bills itself as the “first exclusive eco-luxury private island in the world” and encourages its guests to participate in conservation efforts by helping onsite ecologists plant indigenous trees or monitor endangered marine turtles and birds.
Top Caribbean Resort for Families
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
– Parents Magazine
- Two kids-only swimming areas, plus nine more for all ages, staffed by lifeguards
- A waterpark with attractions ranging from a lazy river to giant water slides
- An underground maze that simulates the ‘lost continent of Atlantis’
- A pottery studio
- A free movie theater showing three new releases daily with complimentary popcorn
- Puppet and magic shows
- A huge aquarium with 250 species of marine life
It’d be hard to imagine that you’ll hear “I’m bored!” on this trip.
Best Beach City
– National Geographic Traveler
Three miles of beaches, paella and tapas, the Sagrada Família church designed by Antoni Gaudí, soccer matches, the Gothic Quarter, the city’s proximity to the rest of Europe…what’s not to love?
Best Beach Party in the World
Full Moon Party – Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
No kids? Still hear a bit of your youth calling? The Full Moon Party, an all-night affair that starts on the eve of every full moon, draws partiers from around the world who like to get loose and dance to psychedelic trance, reggae and house music. Go soon…noise complaints from the locals are drawing more attention and regulation from the local authorities every year.
– USA Today
If you want an all-natural psychedelic experience, head to Vaadhoo. Located in the Maldives, the island chain southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the nighttime water off Vaadhoo’s beach is known as The Sea of Stars. This is due to tiny bioluminescent phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, which glow a silvery blue.
Top U.S. Beach
Hulopo’e Beach, Manele Bay, Hawaii
– The Travel Channel
Closer to home, this beach is at the foot of the Four Seasons Resort on Lana’I, Hawaii’s least-developed island. Only 30 miles of roads exist, so opportunities for exploration are limited—a great excuse to kick back with a book, a cool drink and your toes in the sand.
Top Shelling Beach
Sanibel Island, Florida
– Coastal Living
Sanibel Island lies just south of Fort Meyers off the Florida mainland. While most islands run north-south, Sanibel is oriented east-west, which means it ‘catches’ more of the shells that get churned up by the Gulf of Mexico. So many visitors come for the shelling, the term for gathering seashells, that the typical hunched stance of the hunters even has a name—the Sanibel Stoop.
Best Surf Spot in the World
– Men’s Journal
Aileen’s isn’t a beach and it isn’t a town, it’s a wave. The Cliffs of Moher line the western coast of Ireland’s Clare County; sometimes when an easterly wind kicks up and the conditions are a bit stormy, the water forms what some think is the perfect wave. Check out the video of Aileen’s Wave below, which can grow as high as 40 feet.