This is always a busy time of year- shopping, decorating, festive activities to attend...but if you haven't given any thought to next year's summer vacation, it's time to get started! Many of us immediately think of the beach when we think of summer travel. If that's your vacation preference, here are a variety of beach resorts in Europe, California, Mexico, and beyond, where the entire family can relax together.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Daily trips to the beach, delicious food, stunning resorts, and plenty of amazing day trips are a few of the reasons to visit Playa Del Carmen. The beach is long, white, and covered in perfectly soft sand. When the sun is shining, the water is a bright Caribbean turquoise. Lined with beach clubs serving tacos and cocktails, it’s easy to spend several hours relaxing. Playa del Carmen is a low-key, family-friendly destination with a reputation for safety. While you shouldn’t skip the glorious beaches, also plan time to swim in an underground river at Maya-themed adventure park Xcaret, browse Quinta Avenida for handicrafts, and snorkel the limestone-filtered jade pools of Cenote Azul. Staying in Playa del Carmen’s central location puts the whole Riviera Maya within exploring distance. Green sea turtles glide through the waters in nearby Akumal, and Tulum’s ancient ruins are an hour away.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
One of the most beautiful towns in South Carolina, Hilton Head Island is known for its pristine beaches and championship golf courses. Located between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, this 12-mile barrier island offers a less crowded atmosphere than these two more popular destinations. Hilton Head was named America’s Best Island by Travel Pulse, making it the ideal place for a weekend of relaxation and recreation. Miles of open beaches invite sandy strolls at Hilton Head Island. With soft, white sand and gorgeous coastal surroundings, Coligny Beach is one of the main draws to visiting Hilton Head Island. Though there are a total of seven beaches on the island, Coligny is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Before hitting the beach, you can browse the shopping area with surf stores, bars, and restaurants. Once on the sand, beachgoers can sip a cool drink from the beachside bars or play a lively game of volleyball. To explore the entire stretch of sand, rent bikes for the day and ride along the shore. There’s little need to drive here- trolleys whisk groups between The Sea Pines Beach Club and Harbour Town, where boats depart for dolphin-watching or pirate-themed adventures.
Santa Monica, California Santa Monica is a city in Los Angeles County that sits directly on the Pacific Ocean. It started as a resort town for Hollywood celebrities and remains a place to see and be seen today. It is located just 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, making it quite convenient to visit for a day trip. It is also only 15 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport, so it could be the first place you visit when you get off the plane. The famed Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica State Beach are already reasons enough to visit the city. The Pier offers many attractions and things to do for the whole family to enjoy. There is a roller coaster, ferris wheel, and tons of restaurants and food carts that can take up a whole afternoon. It is also a great place to catch one of California’s most dazzling sunsets. Santa Monica’s beach is the perfect place to relax and catch some rays. This beach is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Southern California and is a must-see for any first time visitor. It features beach volleyball courts, a muscle beach area, and bike paths. You can also rent a bike or some roller blades and go all the way down the boardwalk and reach Venice Beach. While it may be best known for its pier and the beachfront, Santa Monica offers a lot more and is a bustling city that is home to over 90,000 residents.
Imagine sandy beaches, bright turquoise water, year-round warm weather, amazing restaurants and shops, and spectacular views. Marbella definitely has it all. This small town in Spain bordering the beautiful Mediterranean Sea is one of the best places for a vacation. The city is surrounded by beautiful coastline divided into 24 beaches. Out of the 24 beaches, 9 have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for the best beaches in the world. The city is also known for its various prestigious beach clubs like Nikki Beach Club where you can mingle with the rich and famous. After you’ve hit the beaches and before you’ve danced the night away, head down to one of the city’s most luxurious dining locales and enjoy their Michelin-star-worthy cuisine.
St Andrews, Scotland
St. Andrews is know as one of Europe's most romantic towns and it has enough charm to take your breath away. St Andrews boasts some of the most gorgeous landscapes, ideal for beachgoers who are looking for a secluded, lush destination. From incredible views of the coast to ample greenery and fresh air, the town has a charm of its own. Here, you will find quaint fishing pools, sparkling blue waters, and picture-postcard sights that will stay in your memory forever. A pilgrimage place for golfers, this North Sea beach town merges heritage with student energy. Even if you leave the late-night bar scene to the kids, St Andrews old-world pubs are a multigenerational affair. Afternoons are for pub crawls, browsing tartan boutiques, sipping whisky in Lindores Abbey Distillery, and elegant afternoon tea services at the Old Course Hotel. Or slip off your shoes to stroll West Sands Beach, where you'll find dunes and an estuary where seals bask on sunny days.
If the beach is your happy place, you can't go wrong with any of the choices above!