Category Beaches

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, tops Dr. Beach’s list of Top Beaches for 2016

Hanauma Bay is the number one beach in the 26th annual Top 10 Beach List, complied by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, professor at Florida International University. Below are Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches of 2016, including his photos and description of each:

1. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu, Hawaii. Hanauma Bay Beach Park is located on the eastern end of Oahu. There is limited parking so the best way is to reach this stunning white sand coral beach enclosed in a breached volcano is to take the Waikiki Beach Shuttle. The marine protected area, which has the best accessible snorkeling in Hawaii, is closed on Tuesdays to give the fish a chance to rest. In fact, this became the first no-smoking beach in Hawaii because of the necessity to protect the thousands of beautifully-colored tropical fish which span the rainbow. There are lifeguards along this crescent-shaped beach along with full amenities.


2. Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida. According to Dr. Beach: “With some of the finest, whitest sand in the world, this beach attracts sand collectors from all over. Siesta Beach has clear, warm waters ideal for swimming. The beach is hundreds of yards wide in the shape of a crescent, due to anchoring of onshore rocks to the south. This beach is great for volleyball and other types of recreational fitness.”


3. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii...

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Beach of the Week: Hollywood Beach, Florida

BeachManiacBlogWithText3_150pxBustling. It’s the perfect word to describe Hollywood Beach, Florida. With the addition last fall of the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Beach Resort and the Margaritaville Entertainment District – complete with an outdoor beachside music and entertainment stage and FlowRider Double waterslide – added life has been breathed into this already vibrant destination. Put on your beach shirt, shorts and sandals and stroll two and a half miles up and down the palm-tree lined promenade past dozens of outdoor dining and drinking venues on one side with the umbrella-decorated sand and bubbling surf on the other. Or rent a bike – we recommend Skip Rogers and the good people at The Bike Shack – and soak it all in while gliding past the crowd. I visited Hollywood Beach recently and took the video above and the pictures below.

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Hollywood Beach Weather:

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High 80° / Low 61°
Partly Cloudy
12/16/2017 10%
High 78° / Low 70°
Mostly Cloudy
12/17/2017 20%
High 78° / Low 71°
Partly Cloudy
12/18/2017 20%
High 79° / Low 70°
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Beach of the Week: Poipu Beach, Kauai


On the balcony of a Sheraton Kauai room overlooking Poipu Beach.

BeachManiacBlogWithText3_150pxPoipu Beach, on the sun-drenched South Shore of Kaui, is widely recognized as one of the best beaches in the world. It is actually made up of three crescents of golden sand that – when combined with reef formations – provide the perfect environment for swimming, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, boogie boarding, or just wading in the clear, turquoise waters. The abundant sunshine on the South Coast draws sun-bathing tourists to the resorts and parks along the shore but it never feels crowded on Poipu.

At the heart of Poipu Beach is the Sheraton Kauai Resort, where you can relax amid swaying palm trees or answer the call of the ocean. Don’t be surprised if you spot a seal or two relaxing on the sand, or in season (winter and early spring) see humpback whales splashing across the top of the open waters.

Poipu Beach is great destination for families, with a lot to offer kids of any age. At Poipu Beach Park, you’ll find a lifeguard on duty to help watch over the kids. The park also offers showers, restrooms and picnic areas.

Poipu Beach has often been named one of the world’s top beaches, including being dubbed America’s Best Beach by The Travel Channel. Dr. Beach, a noted authority who ranks beaches annually, also has ranked Poipu Beach number one in the United States.

Explore the many great hotels and resorts along and near Poipu Beach.

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Beach of the Week: Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas

Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas. Photo by Mike's Birds via Flickr

Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas. Photo by Mike’s Birds via Flickr

BeachManiacBlogWithText3_150pxYes, Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas has exactly what its name suggests – beautiful soft sand with a pinkish glimmer – but there are a lot of other reasons as well to love this three-mile stretch of paradise. The clear, gentle turquoise waters are protected from the Atlantic waves by a coral reef, making for great swimming and snorkeling.  The food choices include everything from fine restaurants to more casual bayside cuisine, and the lodging ranges from comfortable and charming to luxurious.

This recent review on TripAdvisor says it all:

“Having seen this on the list of the 10 most outstanding beaches in the world, I had to check it out for myself…..

“It hit all the right spots for a perfect beach for me. Gorgeous pink sand that shimmers in the sunlight and changes hue with the light from the sun or with the water crashing against it. Turquoise clear waters with nary a large wave but smooth as silk sometimes and wonderful to swim, jump and just generally play in. What makes this spot even better is that the beach stretches for more than 2 miles I think with very little to distract from the wonder of the beach itself, there is never a large crowd making noise or causing a ruckus and one can feel completely at peace and isolated from all that could be wrong in the world.”

Find out more about Pink Sands Beach and explore lodging options.

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Beach of the Week: Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

Stingray City, Cayman Islands. Photo Credit: Don McDougall, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Stingray City, Cayman Islands. Photo Credit: Don McDougall, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

BeachManiacBlogWithText3_150pxThe most famous beach in the Cayman Islands is Seven Mile Beach, a beach that repeatedly makes lists of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Seven Mile Beach is home to many luxury resorts and condominiums, restaurants and beach activities, including wonderful snorkeling. Despite its name, the beach is actually only 5.5 miles long but there is plenty of space for walking and people-watching, along with a wealth of water activities. Seven Mile Beach is near the capital of George Town.

One of the unique attractions in the Cayman Islands is Stingray City, where visitors can wade through the shallow waters and pet the stingrays. The stingrays began gathering in the area decades ago when fisherman used to clean fish on the shallow sand bars. The stingrays would forget their normally shy dispositions and feast on the guts of the cleaned fish. Soon the stingrays began to associate the sound of a boat motor with food. In the late 1980s, divers started feeding squid to the stingrays, which is one of their favorite dishes. Today, the stingrays casually swim with people in the shallow waters of Grand Cayman. As visitors enter the crystal clear turquoise waters and the graceful southern stingrays glide tranquilly past in their natural habitat as people touch and feed them. It’s also a great spot for snorkeling among magnificent coral reefs and colorful tropical fish...

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Beach of the Week: Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

BeachManiacBlogWithText3_150pxClearwater Beach, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is one of the Sunshine State’s real gems. With a great location near Tampa and sporting some the widest most beautiful white sand beaches in the continental United States, Clearwater Beach has become an attraction for beach lovers throughout the world. At Clearwater Beach, it’s all about the fine-grained white quartz sand, which provides the perfect backdrop for lounging and sand-castle making. Kids love Clearwater Beach because they can play in the sand before jumping into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Or they can see a dophin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and then join the family for the nightly sunset festival on Pier 60, where the music fills the air and performers keeps smiles on the kids faces. As you cross the bridge into  Clearwater Beach, you can feel yourself entering another realm. Great hotels to choose from, a nice assortment of restaurants and shops, and multiple attractions make this a well-rounded vacation spot. Tampa attractions – Busch Gardens and spring training baseball games among them – are nearby, and Orlando is just about a two-hour drive. Read more about Clearwater and its great resort hotels.

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Beach of the Week: Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Black Rock, Kaanapali Beach, Maui - Photo by Bill Hurley, all rights reserved

Black Rock, Kaanapali Beach, Maui – Photo by Bill Hurley, all rights reserved

BeachManiacBlogWithText3_150pxNothing beats feeling the gentle tropical breeze as you walk along the softly lit Kaanapali Beach walkway past beautifully landscaped hotels, refreshing swimming pools and inviting beachside restaurants and bars. The three-mile white-sand Kaanapali Beach is one of the most popular locations on Maui, with a string of resorts connected by the beachside walkway and featuring Black Rock (photo above), where you can snorkel right from the beach in crystal clear waters and watch local cliff-divers celebrate the sunset nightly. GoHawaii says Kaanapali was Hawaii’s first planned resort and has become a model for resorts around the globe. It features the open air Whalers Village shopping complex, with shops, restaurants, a whaling museum and free Hawaiian entertainment. Kaanapali Beach provides the perfect location for a day at the beach or pool or the backdrop for exploring all of Maui. At the end of the day, return to Kaanapali for a luau, a relaxing stroll or dinner overlooking one of the top-rated beaches in the world. Find out more about the resorts along Kaanapali Beach.

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Best beaches near Orlando

Daytona Beach aerial (2)

BeachManiacBlogWithText_150pxFor all the great entertainment the Orlando, Florida, area has to offer, its location in the north-central part of the state leaves it somewhat separated from what we here at feel is Florida’s greatest attraction: its beaches. But the good news is that if you are visiting Orlando, and you can tear yourself away from the amusement parks, you are a short drive from some great beach locations. recently pulled together a list of six nearby beaches on the Atlantic Coast, some of them just a one-hour drive from Disney World. We are not only sharing that list – and linking to TripAdvisor reviews of the beaches – but we are adding a few Gulf Coast beaches as well, since you can get to the Gulf Coast from Disney World in roughly an hour and half.

Atlantic Coast beaches near Orlando:

Gulf Coast beaches near Orlando:

Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

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Magen’s Bay, St. Thomas, named one of Caribbean’s best beaches

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USA Today has just named its Top 10 Beaches in the Caribbean, and one of them is one of my favorites: Magen’s Bay on the Island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I recently had the opportunity to visit Magen’s Bay with my wife, Diane, and we loved the soft sand and clear, calm water.

You won’t find hotels and bars on the shores of Magen’s Bay, which is protected much like a national park and is run by the Magen’s Bay Authority.  There is a small ($4 when I was there) entrance fee, and the authority provides a rustic park-like concession stand. It also rents snorkeling equipment, lounge chairs, kayaks, paddle boats and other non-motorized boats.

The bay is surrounded by an arc of mountains and islands, protecting the waters from the rough waters of the Atlantic and creating a calm respite of beauty and relaxation. Many say Magen’s Bay is more like a salt-water lake than an ocean. Walking from one end of the mile-long white sand beach to the other reveals stunning views of cliffside mansions (one, we’re told, owned by Bill and Hillary Clinton and another by Adam Sandler) scattered on the hills, green and blue hued waters, yachts, sailboats, kayaks and swimmers. Way off to the right of the beach, past the boat rental area, be sure to take a walk along the rocks in the soft shallow sand (but watch your step) for beautiful views of the clear water and the beach behind you. You also might see a sea turtle or ray in this area.

We went sn...

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Atlantic City, Miami Beach top list of East Coast beach destinations for kids

Atlantic City

Atlantic City, New Jersey. Source: Wikipedia

Looking for a great beach location where the kids will be entertained by more than just the shells and the sand, while offering plenty for Mom and Dad too? ABC Travel Guides for Kids has named Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Miami Beach, Florida, the top East Coast beach destinations for 2014. Here is their Top 5 and their rationale:

beach_maniac_blog_100px1. Atlantic City, New Jersey – AC is within a day’s drive of 1/3 of the country’s population.   AC’s unique attractions include a Surf School and the country’s third tallest lighthouse.  Even transportation is unique: Jitneys and Rolling Chairs.  More adventurous? Consider a Helicopter or Parasailing adventure.   But this resort city offers so much more: Joe Holiday’s magic show, Steel Pier, Ripley’s Odditorium, a White House (famous for submarines), Tony’s and Gilchrist for breakfast.  Ready for the original salt water taffy and fudge?  It started here with Steel’s, James and Fralinger’s.  The Caesars Pier water show, Boardwalk Hall light show and the Waterfront Sculpture Walk are hidden treasures.  The AC Sheraton’s location (near the Tanger Outlets) is the perfect launching pad to DO AC.

2. Miami Beach, Florida – We love Miami in the summer because the water is so warm.  Miami is about great food and diverse culture.  Start with a Grace Della food tour to learn about Miami’s culinary history.  The Seaquarium and Jungle Island shows are exceptional, as is the new PAMM...

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