Beaches + Islands
Everybody knows that "aloha" means both hello and goodbye, and that the Hawaiian pizza wasn't actually invented there (Ontario, duh), but did you know that Hawaii is pretty much responsible for your precious pog collection? Or that Tom Selleck's mustache is considered a state treasure?!? Ok, not really. But it should be, right?
Yes, the 50th state in the Union is more than just a beautiful island destination where folks go to shred the gnar and private investigators never run out of cases; here are a few more things you should absolutely know about it.
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Photo by Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson
We can all agree that after months of polar vortexes and a Winter that refused to quit, the idea of hitting the beach sounds pretty terrific, right? Well, we're almost there. And to help get the ball rolling, we rounded up our favorite 25 beaches in the world.
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Photo by Nicolas Vollmer
Biarritz is the classic European beach vacation, newly reinvented as a laid-back, surfer-bohemian hot spot.
I met a lot of people from Paris in Biarritz, and they all said the same thing. They were refugees. They were here because life in Paris was relentless, all business, too fast. But here was the ocean, and surfing, a resort town, a community. And yes, that could be said of many places but this one was different. This was not the Côte d’Azur. There were no mega-yachts floating in the harbor here, and there were no private beach clubs or trendy nightclubs or Lamborghinis stuck in traffic like you see in Cannes and St.-Tropez. This stretch of the Atlantic coast in the southwest of France—La Côte Basque—was a less polished place, a little wild, a little young. The landscape was stunning and the ocean was vast and powerful (hence all the surfers) and the general attitude was low-key bohemian.
Outside of Miami and L.A., there are few places in the world where fake is better than real. Germany's Tropical Islands Resort, the planets's largest indoor water park in Krausnick, is definitely one of them.
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Photo courtesy of Thrillist
4:07 p.m.: It’s the colors that strike you first. Above your rattan lounge chair on Tiger Blue, a wooden schooner sailing through Indonesia’s West Papua province, blood-red sails billow against the sky. Luminous green forests seem to glow on shore. All around, the water glistens azure, turquoise, and, in the shallows, a pale crystalline aquamarine. You’ve already hiked island slopes and snorkeled with sea turtles and manta rays, so perhaps it’s time for a nap in a shaded hammock? This evening, you’ll moor alongside a sheltered beach for a lobster barbecue; later, though there are four spacious cabins aboard, you might sleep on linen-covered cushions under the stars. And why not? Other than the crew, there’s no one to disturb you for miles.
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Photo by Chris Caldicott
Whether you're looking for the best beaches, cultural experiences, or must-eat foods in Mexico, insiders always know best. We asked panelists from a recent Twitter chat to share their expert advice.
Winter break has a way of sneaking up on parents anyway, but a couple of snow days spent shooing kids away from computer screens makes the spectre of another long stretch of empty days at home unthinkable.
Arriving on the scene like a spandex-clad superhero is Cape Cod’s Sea Crest Beach Hotel. The recently renovated low-rise beachfront property ticks all the boxes for a winter family stay:
Distract yourself from this dreary winter's day with a gaze at these beautiful blue waters, from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to stunning Halong Bay in Vietnam, courtesy of our good friends at Beach Tomato.
This week, the Center for Disease Control reissued its Travel Watch to St. Martin, urging US citizens to take precautions against mosquitos in the Caribbean, responding to a viral disease currently spreading in several islands.
As of January 2nd, 122 cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in St. Martin (98 cases), St. Maarten (1), Martinique (13), Guadeloupe (3), and St. Bart's (7). According to the CDC, chikungunya's symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, and muscle and joint pains. Though rarely fatal, infected individuals can suffer from joint pain for months after the initial sickness.
Sharks in Western Australia will now be making their way from the sea to your social news feed. Over 300 great whites, whaler sharks, and tiger sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters by government researchers, says NPR, which monitor exactly where the animals are swimming.
Once any of the 338 sharks come within a half-mile of the beach, its tag automatically sends out a tweet from the Surf Life Saving Western Australia (@SLSWA) Twitter account. Included in the alert is the shark’s size, breed, and approximate location—really giving away any attack plans for poor Jaws. While this is a truly innovative way to protect the area’s surfers and sunbathers, not every shark out there is tagged. Just because you don’t see it on Twitter, doesn’t mean a great white isn’t lurking close to shore. Our advice? Look both ways (and below) before diving in.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
Photo credit: Macduff Everton/Corbis