Mexico is world-renowned for its beaches—in fact, many people visit for this sole reason, and spend their entire trip alternating between hotel pools and the white sand shores. The country is sandwiched by the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, and you’ll find starkly different beaches on the two sides.
The beaches on the East Coast are similar to the Caribbean, particularly in the Riviera Maya where resorts abound. But there are certainly quiet spots to be found, especially for those willing to take a short boat ride to the islands off the coast. The airport to fly into is Cancun (which is a four-hour flight from JFK, and there are plenty of daily flights). Cancun has, of course, gained a reputation for attracting rowdy spring break crowds, but most travelers now fly in and take a car to the more peaceful resorts along Playa del Carmen and Tulum, where there’s something for every type of trip—honeymoon spots, great all-inclusive resorts, and family-friendly hotels. And no trip to this area is complete without a visit to Xcaret, an outdoor adventure park where you can snorkel, float down a lazy river, or swim with dolphins; or a visit to the well-preserved Mayan ruins in Tulum.
The best-known spot on the Pacific Coast is Los Cabos, a three-hour flight from San Francisco. Cabo’s beaches are unparalleled, and ideal for any type of trip. There are plenty of fantastic resorts, from the One&Only Palmilla to the Esperanza, for a fly-and-flop trip. And for those who like action, there are endless possibilities for snorkeling and even whale watching.
Regardless of where you end up in Mexico, there are endless fantastic beaches. The only problem? Picking which ones to go to. Here, our list of the best places to get a dose of Vitamin D and relax with a great book.