Category California

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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10 Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA | U.S. News Travel

IMG_0884Taking the family to the beach can create lifelong memories, as long as every member of the family is satisfied. To help you choose your next family beach vacation, U.S. News considered factors like safe waters, kid-friendly attractions, dining options, spacious accommodations, multi-generational appeal and overall accessibility. The list below features destinations across the country that are most ideal for family getaways, according to travel experts and our readers. Weigh in by voting below, then use this list to plan your upcoming travels.

Source: 10 Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA | U.S. News Travel

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Siesta Beach does it again: Named America’s best beach


TripAdvisor traveler photo

TripAdvisor traveler photo

BeachManiacBlogWithText_150pxThis kind of attention is nothing new for Siesta Beach, with its pristine, sugary white sand and wide expanse, but this Florida Gulf Coast slice of paradise has been named the best beach in America by the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.

“I was totally blown away by how fine, soft, clean and uncrowded the beach was. My feet were in heaven,” wrote on recent traveler.

And while the sand is the main attraction at Siesta Beach, the island that serves as its home is also a big draw. The beaches of Siesta Key, just south of Sarasota, are lined with condos and hotels, but the island nonetheless has retained a quiet get-away atmosphere. You won’t find a lot of restaurants and bars on the beaches of Siesta Key, but that keeps it quiet and family-fun oriented.

The other top 10 American beaches in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, in order, are:

The Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

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Beaches to avoid this spring if you are over 24

south-padre_party_610pxIf you are in your early twenties, there is nothing like Spring Break. Crowded beaches, loud music, splashing beer, bikini clad women and buff men. Parties early, parties late and parties in between. beach_maniac_blog_100pxBut if you’re a little older and looking for a quieter spring break vacation, or maybe a family vacation, that scene may be one you desperately want to avoid. Fortunately, you have a lot of choices when it comes to finding a beach vacation without leaving the United States. But in March and April, be careful which beach you choose, or you may end up in the middle of a wild Spring Break Blowout. This article from the ABC Good Morning America website lists beaches you will want to avoid if the wild college-age Spring Break frenzy is not on your agenda. Note that some of the beaches are on both the list of beaches to avoid and the list of family-oriented beaches, so don’t just pick a beach, find out where on that beach the party never ends and where it never begins.

Beaches to Avoid This Month if You’re Older Than 24

The Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

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Ditch The Flip Flops: Best Places to Go Barefoot

We all have our favorite places to go barefoot, but thanks to Huffington Post we now have a list of the best of the best places to massage your toes in the sand. … Over winter and ready to hit the beach? Us too. As a coping mechanism, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to beat the heat. Here are a few spots where shirts and shoes are definitely not required. Destinations include Seven Mile Beach, Negril , Jamaica (photo above by Michael McCarthy via Flickr); Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California; Matira Beach, Bora Bora, Tahiti; and Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Beach Maniac‘s insight:
What’s your favorite place to go barefoot?

See on – Beach Maniac See on

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7 sunny places to go this winter


Hate cold weather? Marco Island, Florida (above), Hawaii and Puerto Rico are three of the sunny places AARP recommends visiting during the wintertime. Florida Images / Alamy via AARP.

Beach Maniac‘s insight:

If you have the time and the money, Kauai and San Juan are probably your best bets for getting warm weather among these seven. But there’s a good chance Marco Island, Florida, will be nice and warm, and it’s easier and less expensive to get to if you live in the East Coast or Midwest.

See on – Beach Maniac
See on

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Sheraton Waikiki among Sunset Magazine’s Top 20 Beach Hotels in the West

Sunset magazine has come up with a list of the Top 20 Beach Hotels in the West, and it includes many of our favorite beach destinations in Hawaii, California and Mexico. The first on the list is the Sheraton Waikiki, which the magazine says “stands midway along the 2-mile-long beach, and while its high-rise architecture shouts 1970s, a $187 million renovation has given it 21st-century polish.” As far as I can tell, the magazine actually only lists 18 more, but who’s counting? Below are the rest of the magazine’s “Top 20” Beach Hotels in the West. We link to TripAdvisor reviews of each, which you might want to check out because not all of them get as good of a review from TripAdvisor travelers as they do from Sunset Magazine:

La Jolla Shores Hotel, La Jolla, California

Ocean Park Motel, San Francisco, California

Hotel La Casa del Camino, Laguna Beach, California

Venice Beach Eco Cottages, Venice, California

Hotel Shangri-La, Santa Monica, California

El Colibri Boutique Hotel, Cambria, California

Hotel Encanto, Acapulco, Mexico

St. Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

The Andiron’s, Little River, California

Point-No-Point Resort,  Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Petit Hotel Hafa, Sayulita, Mexico

Lakedale Resort, San Juan Island, Washington

Puakea Ranch, Big Island, Hawaii

Pacific Edge Hotel , Laguna Beach, California

Cottages at Camp Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Tu Tu’ Tun, Gold Beach, Oregon

Westport Hotel, Westport, California

China Beach Retreat, Ilwaco, Was...

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Penguin plays with iPad at Long Beach aquarium

Photo by Hugh Ryono, Aquarium of the Pacific

Life as a captive penguin in an aquarium just got a whole lot more interesting. Penguins at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, are being entertained by the latest technology- iPads!

This is how the aquarium reports it on its website:

Take an old obsolete iPad. Load up a cat game app. Place in front of a couple of young curious penguins and you have the recipe for a fun time for these aquatic birds and a pretty neat video.

With the coming of spring a mature penguin’s thoughts turn to finding a mate. The pairing of birds has already started in the June Keyes Penguin Exhibit. But what of the young penguins like Newsom and Jeremy. Still too young to think about mating and with most of the other penguins busy trying to impress the opposite sex these young birds are feeling a bit left out of all the excitement.

As an enrichment for these youngsters aviculturalist Sara told me about her idea of using an iPad game made for cats as penguin entertainment. Just like cats penguins are very curious and the idea of these birds following a virtual mouse on a screen was just too appealing to me not to try out. Dusting off my old iPad 1 and loading Game for Cats app on it we set up a penguin video arcade in the exhibit last week.

Sure enough when Jeremy and Newsom noticed the iPad in the exhibit they both waddled on over. Jeremy was the first to try it out but Newsom was the one that really got into it...

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Travel Channel’s ‘Best Beaches’ is a list of dream vacations

Hanauma Bay, Oahu. Beach Maniac photo.

The Travel Channel’s 2013 list of the Best Beaches includes a few I have been fortunate enough to visit already, and a few that are high on my bucket list. Among those I have already visited, my favorite on this list is Hanauma Bay on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, which was named the Best Beach for Adventure. On the far side of Diamond Head volcano from Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, this tranquil bay has amazing coral reefs just offshore, allowing for incredible snorkeling right off the beach. To protect the coral, all visitors are taken through an instructional tour before being allowed onto the beach. What I liked best is you can snorkel for a while, climb up on shore and rest and then go right back in whenever you want.

Another spot I have been fortunate enough to experience is Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Jamaica, named the Best Beach Bar. I only visited for an hour or so as I swam to the bar from a catamaran docked just offshore as part of a snorkeling trip but it was an experience I will never forget. No, I did not take the adventurous (and dangerous) 30-foot dive off the rocks into the sea, but I sure enjoyed watching others do it as I relaxed with a cool one.

Then there is the Best Beach Boardwalk, Venice Beach, California. If you have not yet visited this iconic beach, be sure to add it to your to-do list...

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Kaanapali Beach on Maui named this year’s Top Beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor travelers

Kaanapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Kaanapali Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui is this year’s top beach in the United States, according to TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. Siesta Key Beach in Florida came in second. In its annual Travelers’ Choice Beaches Awards, the travel site listed these as the Top 10 Beaches in the U.S.:

Siesta Key Beach, Florida

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

  1. Ka’anapali Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii
  2. Siesta Key Public Beach, Sarasota, Florida
  3. Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola, Florida
  4. Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida
  5. Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii
  6. Wailea Beach, Wailea, Hawaii
  7. Assateague Beach, Assateague Island, Virginia
  8. La Jolla Cove, La Jolla, California
  9. Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, California
  10. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Honolulu, Hawaii

Top 10 Beaches in the World:

  1. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Italy
  2. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
  3. Whitehaven Beach, Airlie Beach, Australia
  4. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
  5. Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico
  6. Playa de las Catedrales, Ribadeo, Spain
  7. Lopes Mendes Beach, Ilha Grande, Brazil
  8. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Southampton Parish, Bermuda
  9. Eagle Beach, Aruba
  10. Rhossili Bay, Swansea, Wales

The 2013 rankings are based entirely on feedback from millions of TripAdvisor travelers. TripAdvisor said 276 winning beaches were named around the world. Dedicated lists highlight travelers’ favorite beaches in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Middle East, the U...

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