This time of year, it’s hard not to fantasize about long walks on sandy beaches in sunny locales. If you’re looking to escape the snow and enjoy a scenic stroll with your toes in the sand as the water laps at your feet, we have rounded up 10 bucket list destinations.
TEN MILE BEACH
Mendocino County, California
If you are looking for sweeping Pacific Ocean views in Northern California, the Ten Mile Beach Trail is the place for you. Although it’s not as warm as SoCal beaches, the trail hugs the coastline and will take you through sand dunes. This trail used to be a lumber road, so it’s a slice of Mendocino County history. An added bonus? From December to April, you can spot Pacific gray whales as they migrate.
Laguna Beach, California
Laguna Beach in Orange County is one of the most beautiful beach towns in California. This is, in part, because of its seven miles of coastline that includes 27 beaches and coves. The beaches are so revered, in fact, that according to “The Encyclopedia of Surfing,” the city is home to the world’s oldest continuous surf contest. Aptly named Main Beach is the most centrally located, and it is one of the best in the city, with a boardwalk and sandy beach perfect for walking. The beach has lifeguards, and you can watch surfers and swimmers as you take in the sun.
CORONADO CENTRAL BEACH
San Diego, California
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown San Diego, Coronado Central Beach is located on Coronado Island. It can be reached by the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, which is 2.1 miles long and gives spectacular views of the city. Once on the island, head to the famed Hotel del Coronado, located at the southern edge of Coronado Central Beach. With a pedestrian walkway and the beautiful, sandy beach, a stroll here gives you the opportunity to view million-dollar homes that dot the oceanfront.
Head to the longest stretch of beach in Oahu for your own slice of paradise. This beach, located in Honolulu, is close to the small town of Waimanalo, where you can start or end your stroll. The sparkling blue waters are known to host swimmers and body surfers, and the spacious plot of sand is perfect for relaxing.
Big Island, Hawaii
Part of Kekaha Kai State Park, Manini’owali Beach is a swimmer’s — and walker’s — paradise. Even though it is quite secluded, the beach can get crowded. The likely explanation is the postcard-perfect bright blue water and white sand beach. There have been turtle and dolphin sightings here, giving you the opportunity to take in some truly unique sights.
Located at the southern part of the island, Makena Beach is one of Maui’s largest beaches — hence its nickname, “Big Beach.” Because of its close proximity to major resorts, it is a bit more secluded than other public beaches in the area. Its size allows for perfect walking conditions, as the sand seems to go on forever and the surrounding area remains widely undeveloped.
DELRAY MUNICIPAL BEACH
This is one large beach perfect for walking — not just on the sand, but in the four parks that comprise it. With plenty of walkways, shaded areas and even playground equipment, Delray Municipal Beach is a great place to spend an entire day. There are cabanas for rent should you want to take a break and sunbathe; otherwise, take in the view at one of Florida’s best beaches.
This beach town is becoming more and more popular with Americans looking to own a tiny piece of paradise. It has become known as one of the best places to surf in the area, with surfers from dusk to dawn. Besides strolling down the sand, nearby streets are lined with shops, vendors and restaurants, where you can take a break with the perfect fish taco and a cerveza. It is located about an hour from the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, making it the perfect beach to get a taste of true local life and culture.
If you want a white, powdery beach and crystal blue waters, Varadero Beach is the place to go. It is located in a popular resort area, meaning there are plenty of nearby attractions — such as shopping and dining. The real crown jewel of the area, however, is Varadero Beach, which stretches for roughly 20 miles. Perched near the water are some of the nicest resorts in the world, which make for great people watching opportunities on your walk.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If you are looking for a serene walk, Macao Beach is it, as it has yet to have a number of resorts built up on its shores. The area is popular for surfers — locals and visitors alike. You’ll have both cliff and ocean views on your walk and won’t have to battle as many crowds, as they usually stick to the resort beaches in the area. Because of this, the beach is a bit out of the way but totally worth the visit.