As you’re plotting your summer vacation, you’re likely considering a beach destination. Between the waves, the rays and the easy-breezy culture, what’s not to love? When narrowing down your list of travel options (we know, our country is packed full of coastline) consider parking your beach chair at one of these five fab spots. Once you’ve got the destination in mind, you can rest assured you’ll receive some well-deserved R&R.
Newport Beach, California
Follow the stars! Pencil in beach time next time you’re in L.A. and sun alongside celebs at this Orange County hub. Besides the active wake and scenic mountain views, you’ve got your pick of upscale restaurants, hotels and nightclubs (not to mention Hollywood Hills) and a slew of events like the Hyatt’s Summer Concert Series.
Jet-set to paradise at this popular Hawaiian oasis for surf-lovers and culture hounds. Besides the awe-inducing natural splendors (volcanoes! mountains! palm trees!) and top-caliber surf, you’re also a stone’s throw from the aquarium, the zoo and a buzzing shopping district.
Even though it’s my hometown, Pensacola Beach still captures screen time in my imagination every summer. With its snow-white beaches and incredible eats (chow on the Parmesan oysters at Peg Leg Pete’s or order a Bushwacker at Flounder’s), it’s a picture perfect, family friendly destination with plenty to do and see. Plus, it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. Head down the road toward Ft. Pickens, and you’ll catch nearly untouched beaches.
Find southern hospitality at its best with a trip to this scenic beach village sandwiched between Charleston and Savannah. Golf lovers, you’ve got some world-famous courses here—take advantage of it. Indulge on fresh seafood, premier shopping and posh luxury hotels.
This artist’s retreat offers ample allure with its laidback lifestyle, picturesque views and small-town charm. Bike around the island, eat at a mom-and-pop restaurant (no big chains around here!), view the lighthouses (fellas, this could be a good spot for a proposal) and clock in some serious porch time as you take in the breeze and the New England seas.
Smart travel tip: Scan vrbo.com for beach houses for rent. You can secure luxe accommodations for a fraction of the price of a condo (and score twice as much space) when you share a house with friends.
Kelly is SweetJack’s laid back, in-the-know blog contributor. This former magazine maven loves a good French fry with exotic dipping options (looking at you, Leon’s), her map-obsessed fiance Jason and her dog Maddy.