Bucket List Worthy Beaches
By Zeke Quezada
Do you have a bucket list? No matter what time of the year some of us wanderlust for a nice beach. White sand, warm water and maybe a tropical drink to set the mood. What do your beach fantasies look like?
Do you have your own bucket list beaches? We do. These are the beaches we have to visit over and over.
There is a large segment of the population that correlates relaxation with swaying palms and white sand beaches. It is safe to say that we are no different. Some people prefer the scent of pine needles and the crisp mountain air filling their lungs but ocean people, well, we like the hot sand between our toes and the crystal clear waters of a perfect beach scene.
Grab a snorkel and some sunscreen and share in a little wanderlust of a few favorite spots on the globe where the sun, sand, and smiles all seem to collide.
Anse De Colombier, St. Barts
Anchoring a boat in the calm, clear waters of a secluded bay is about as close to utopia as it can get. This bay in St. Barts is accessible either by boat or by hiking along a rocky cliffside trail that extends along some extremely picturesque landscape. Why would you leave other stunning beaches just to visit a beautiful bay. Well, you do it because you can. Anse de Colombier is worthy of the trek and your photostream will thank you. As you traverse the side of the island look out at St. Martin in the distance beyond the dotted landscape of tiny islands and rock formations.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? Go into the main town of Gustavia and get a taste of France in the Caribbean. Stock up on French wine, great cheese and fresh bread and then get back to your boat and live it up.
Holbox Island, Mexico
To describe Holbox Island as anything but paradise would be foolish. It’s a sleepy town away from everything and it has the perfect combination of picturesque beaches and a lack of amenities that make this not only idyllic but a must visit for any beach lover. To get there you’ll have to travel on quite a journey from the Cancun airport but you will be rewarded. You can expect fresh fish and cold beers and long walks along empty beaches. Flamingos and horse shoe crabs outnumber the residents and the warm bath like water is tranquil and serene. Evenings bring out food carts in the town square and every night feels like a festival. As you walk back to your hotel the silence is interrupted only by the wind and the ocean.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? The restaurants on the beach deliver fresh fish to you right on the sand. You’ll sit on plastic chairs under old palm shades (palapas) at what appears to be a rundown shack and shell of a restaurant. When the ice cold Mexican beer and fresh ceviche gets to your table you’ll realize that this is paradise afterall.
Waipouli Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Located near Kapaa this is one of the forgotten beaches of Kauai. Not that it lacks importance it’s just that not as many people are seeking prime parking spots or setting up camp for an entire day. The sand is supple and the Foodland is nearby to get snacks. The beach is swimmable and the sun rises from the horizon in the morning with the ease that motivates you to seek out sunrise in stead of a sunset. It’s a small stretch of sand on an island with an endless supply of picturesque strands only this feels like your neighborhood beach and often times you’ll be lucky enough to have it all to yourself.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? If you lived on Kauai this would be your beach. Since you don’t live on this island you get an authentic taste of a Hawaiian beach. Grab some food at a nearby roadside stand or grocery store and have your plate lunch picnic right on the sand.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a misunderstood island simply because their infrastructure makes it difficult to be a true vacation destination. Travelers will love it because of the rich history and the possibility of a quick adventure to Haiti. The beaches are stunning and the all inclusive resorts are in abundance. This beach is at the Sanctuary Resort at Cap Can a where you can experience a level of luxury that is simply unforgettable.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? The beaches of the Dominican Republic feel exotic and this one in particular have a hint of luxury. The locals are friendly, the water is warm and the experience is worlds away from your typical resort mayhem.
Prickly Pear Caye, Anguilla
You arrive by boat. Your feet sink in the bright white sand. You instantly think about paradise. You wish you never had to leave. This tiny collection of islands off the coast of mainland Anguilla are more than a pretty postcard. If you seek the quintessential paradise, Prickly Pear Caye is where you’ll find it. Walk along the shore and you’ll see tiny reef sharks cruising along while you frolic with them in less than a foot of water. Don’t worry, these guys are harmless and they are just learning how to swim along the reef. A beach bar opens up daily, that is after they bring the supplies over from the mainland. A few boats will drop tourists here to snorkel and play in the warm crystal clear water and the private yachts will park their dinghies on the sand. It’s not crowded and it is as simple as you can get. Because of that, it is simply perfection.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? The beach bar is a makeshift stand that packs in and out everyday. The authenticity of the guy serving the drinks is real Caribbean and the views are beyond what your eyes can completely comprehend. This beach is not easy to get to and because of that you will be rewarded with plenty of white sand for just you and your thoughts.
Tintamarre , St. Maarten
After you tour the abandoned airstrip and the remnants of an airplane you will attempt to find a speckle of sand that best suits you. You’ll walk along the desolate beach within view of mainland St. Maarten and you’ll test the wind. You’ll listen for the waves crashing on the other side of the island. You’ll probably even gauge the angle of the sun as it reflects off the ocean. It’s hard to find a good spot on Tintemarre because there are so many great spots. Sit at the shore and let the gentle waves glide over and past you. Once you do that enough times you’ll realize that your inability to settle down in one spot is due to so much natural beauty around you. This is sensory overload in the form of excellence.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? The tiny island is like something out of an adventure novel. As you walk around exploring you’ll be torn between taking in the sand and looking for hidden treasures.
Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama
You’ll rent a car in Grand Bahama and you’ll explore the beaches on the outskirts of this island. The West End is magnificent but it can feel somewhat like a tourist’s attraction. Instead head to Lucayan National Park along the Grand Bahama Highway. It will feel desolate but the views will reward you. Salty air and white sand beaches that are pristine and unpopulated. Paradise is stunning.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? Picture postcard perfect. As far as the eye can see is white sand and so many hues of blue that you’ll have trouble focusing.
Hualalai, Big Island, Hawaii
Luxury is hard to beat but luxury in a setting that draws your eyes to the ocean and feet to the sand is hard to resist. At the Four Seasons Hualalai the atmosphere is more than just Hawaiian hospitality. The palm trees sway in the perfect swoon of tropical lore and romantic daydreaming. The food is enchanting and the landscape will captivate you. Retreat to a lava field where blue water crashes on the rocks or negotiate with your senses to choose the sun or the shade in the warm sand. Either way, the setting is as ideal as you can get anywhere in Hawaii.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? Luxury, Hawaii, the ocean. Perfection in one spot with unbelievable customer service, swaying palms to shade you and your drink and unforgettable Hawaiian hospitality.
Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos
Try to describe the colors of the ocean and you’ll be confused. Step into the lukewarm water and look at your feet as they rest on the powdery sand. The calm ocean invites you to float away any stress you may have brought to the islands of Turks and Caicos. Grace Bay stretches along an endless view of serenity. The shallow water seems to go forever and the colors grapple with your vision. Your memories will be of long days that comprise of floating on your back looking high into the blue sky.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? You’ll find it hard to ever look at a beach the same way after a few days in Turks & Caicos. The ocean is a giant swimming pool and it is all yours.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
Some beach destinations require a little energy. South Beach is one of those places where the beach is a precursor to the culture. To the food. The music. The South Florida mentality. You’ll probably dance deep into the night and taste the flavors that range from Cuban, to Haitian to Bahamian. Your skin will turn a golden tan and you’ll welcome the scent of a fine cigar in the distance. Cocktails might make their way to your beachside chair and you might even touch the ocean. South Beach is not really about the beach but you will spend sometime with your feet on the sand.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? Get your Cuban side going for some late night dancing, early morning strolling and all day sun worshiping. South Florida is diverse and your beach experience will be rich with culture.
Napili Bay, Maui, Hawaii
If you sit on Napili Bay long enough you’ll think that Molokai, the island in the distance is getting closer to you. You’ll probably count a few dozen sea turtles. You’ll watch surfers ride a few perfect waves and you’ll hear kids scream in delight when they see their first fish in the warm water. You will hear about the Gazebo restaurant and its great breakfast and you will also walk to a nearby restaurant for fresh fish for lunch. You might leave along the Kapalua Coastal Trail and see a few more picturesque bays, but you’ll always return to Napili Bay and wonder, out loud, how you could ever be so lucky to have found a spot on the sand on this slice of paradise. This is a hard to beat beach anywhere on the planet.
What Makes it a Bucket List Worthy Beach? West Maui is the right combination of tropical climate and beachside sun splash. Napili Bay is the perfect combination of secluded luxury and local style Hawaii.