Beaches are the perfect destination which you can explore. Whether you're looking for a quick weekend getaway, the ultimate surf or are planning the trip of a lifetime, a beach vacation is always a good idea.
1. Barcelona, Spain
With layers of architectural wonders, cutting-edge cuisine, and buzzing nightlife, Barcelona would be a world-class city even without the eight white-sand beaches that rim its Mediterranean coastline. Accessible by metro, the nearly mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) Barceloneta Beach—revitalized in the massive waterfront makeover for the 1992 Olympics—is one of the most popular.
2. Cape Town, South Africa
The African capital of cool sprawls on a peninsula that divides the icy Atlantic from the warmer Indian Ocean, putting some 20 beaches within striking distance. The Clifton beaches, known for the posh homes that overlook them and stellar sunset-viewing, are sheltered from the region’s strong trade winds by a mountainous ridge.
3. Honolulu, Hawaii
The 19th-century Hawaiian royalty, Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach is now chockablock with resorts, some of them historic like the 1901 Moana Surfrider Hotel. The long, rolling breaks are ideal for novice surfers, but most beachgoers here are happy basking in the temperate, turquoise blue Pacific and killer views of the Diamond Head crater.
4. Nice, France
Some 35 beaches—some private, some public—stretch uninterrupted along Nice's coastline between the Rauba Capeu Quay and the airport, along the famous Promenade des Anglais, which fronts La Baie des Anges. Don't forget your flip-flops, however, as la plage is covered with small, smooth pebbles called galets.
5. Miami Beach, Florida
Separated from Miami by Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach is a barrier island and city unto itself fringed with nine miles (14 kilometers) of sandy Atlantic beaches, the red-hot center of which is South Beach. Once a seedy outpost, the 25 art deco-filled blocks known as SoBe has emerged as a stomping ground for the glitterati.