If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know that while I love city breaks, I also tend to holiday quite a bit on the beach. Whether it’s a full-fledged escape to the beaches in Goa, or just a chilly seaside town in New England—I absolutely love the beach. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Texas, hours away from any semblance to a coast (the Gulf of Mexico is not what I’d call spectacular). I’ve always loved the beach: the sound of waves, endless horizons, sandy swimsuits and the smell of the sea.
There are plenty of people who find beach holidays boring and unexciting—maybe lacking in adventure. I don’t feel that’s the way it has to be, though. Beaches can be so much more than just sun and sand! There are hundreds of ways to make a beach holiday interesting, unique and special. From sun lounging to culinary adventures, you can make the holiday whatever you want it to be. And many beaches offer up a full range of services from the budget-friendly to luxury, which make them great destinations for every type of traveler.
If you want a sample of all the different ways to enjoy a beach vacation, here’s my guide on the incredible diversity of a proper beach holiday…
Beaches cover the full range of budgets: from camping and tiny beach huts, to apartment/house rentals and luxury resorts. I’ve done both on various beaches around the world and I have to admit each has their benefits.
Undoubtedly the best reason to travel to the beach if you’re a kid is the ice cream. And, really, even if you’re not a kid — the ice cream on the beach is often so much better then inland. Don’t ask me why. It must be science.
Perhaps because beaches attract tourists looking for a holiday more about relaxation and fun than history & culture, many beaches seem to have a fair amount of clubs and nightlife. Again, this varies to the extreme: a beach might be deserted and lacking electricity, or if it’s a city beach like in Barcelona or Tel Aviv, then expect thumping clubs and all-night raves.
One of my favorite reasons for visiting beaches around the world is the seafood. You can’t get much more fresh food than that!
As a kid, going to the beach often meant a cooler full of peanut butter sandwiches & Coca-Cola.
For me, the beach is all about the sunshine. As a pasty white boy, I’m terrified of the idea of fake tans…and yet all I ever want is to get a bit toasty. So the natural sunshine (often best at the beach) is the way to go.
Plenty of people find beaches boring because they assume all there is to do is lounge around on the beach and read trashy novels. Well, they’re not completely wrong. Spending my summer holidays on the beaches in New England, I used to devour books
Hiking & the hinterlands
I first learned the word “hinterlands” last summer when vacationing in Rimini, Italy. It’s the land behind the coast/sea. Makes sense when you actually stop to think about it. The geographic formations along coasts can be quite unique. In Connecticut, there are the Rocks at Hammonasset that I grew up discovering. Last summer in Italy, I explored some of the nearby towns and rolling hills behind the beaches of Rimini and Cesenatico.
Last summer I spent one of my only beach vacations in San Sebastian, Spain. The weather was less than stellar, unfortunately, so instead I made a beeline for some of the more “off-the-beaten-path” tourist attractions. Notably was the aquarium. If I wasn’t able to jump into the water myself, I could at least pretend to by closing my eyes and pretending to swim through the halls of the aquarium making fish faces. Hey! You’ve got to keep yourself entertained when it rains!
Beach fashion may not win the big awards, but some of my favorite articles of clothing come from past beach holidays. There’s the sweatshirt from Watch Hill, Rhode Island which I’ve had since I was 14. Seaside towns often have the kitschiest little shops—from stores selling kitschy knick-knacks to used bookstores and beach fashion. Or, if you’re at a place like the Hamptons on Long Island, you’ll find ritzy shops the likes of Gucci and Prada.
Whether it’s a piña colada in Puerto Rico, a limoncello in Italy or just a cold beer, alcohol and beaches go hand-in-hand. Despite any warnings to the contrary about dehydrated tourists consuming alcohol. But hey—where’s the fun in worrying?! Just make sure you drink enough water in between beverages and you’re all set to go go go. There’s also the inevitable fruit smoothies and sno cones/shaved ice drinks — with or without a shot of vodka!
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I spent this past weekend hanging out on the city beaches of Barcelona and today I’m jetting off to Italy to explore the Adriatic coastal city of Cesenatico as part of a blog and social media trip. In a few weeks time I’ll be on the other side of the Mediterranean (again) at the Tel Aviv beaches. While each coastal city is sure to be different from one another (no beach is the same!), I’m sure each destination has its own benefits and quirks.
You can bet I’m going to make the most of this weekend holiday in Cesenatico because there are few places I enjoy more than southern Europe. Plus: gelato.
Do you enjoy beach vacations? Do you find them as diverse and unique as I do?