Beach holidays can be a delight and most individuals like to visit a spot that is pretty and secluded, where it’s safe to swim or to go snorkeling or where they are able to laze about peacefully soaking up the sunshine. Overcrowded beaches, on the other hand, can be very disappointing – loud music or conversation and sand kicked up by other people is no-one’s idea of a good time. Here are five places to go that are less well known, but undeservedly so.
Mexico Beach, Florida
Still a well-kept secret, Mexico Beach is well worth the effort that is needed to get there. A secluded part of the Florida Panhandle, it’s roughly 30 miles to the east of Panama City. The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are crystal clear, warm and clean, and the sugar-like sand here is unusual, being composed of quartz crystals originating from the Appalachian Mountains. The beach is five miles long and is well cared for – no glass of any kind is permitted and no open fires, so it’s safe and clean for all the family. In particular, visitors are encouraged to respect and protect the resident sea turtles, their beach nests and their habitat.
Ocracroke Island Beach, North Carolina
A most secluded spot, Ocracroke Island Beach is accessible by ferry from Hatteras Island, or there is a small aircraft service. The natural beauty of the island environment makes it particularly appealing for a vacation package and at its southern end Ocracroke is famous as the place where the pirate Blackbeard died. The beach here is composed of fine sand and popular pastimes include fishing. One unusual feature is the number of musicians who live on the island; there is a weekly music session at the Ocrafolk Opry and the annual Ocrafolk Festival features live music over a long weekend, with a range of performances to suit every taste.
Maui Island, Hawaii
There are always plenty of visitors in Maui because of its many attractions, its scenic beauty and its numerous and very good beaches. The upscale hotels are clustered near Wailea Beach, where volcanic outcrops line the sandy shores – a perfect spot for some quiet relaxation. Kaihalulu Beach has remarkably exotic red sand – the result of volcanic activity in the distant past – and is a complete contrast to the white sands elsewhere and to the black sands of Waianapanapa State Park, where families can have a great hiking day out.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Not normally associated with beach vacation packages, Alabama’s big surprise is Gulf Shores. The coastline is an extension of the Florida Panhandle and has all the same resources as Florida beaches – minus the crowds and the expense. A welcoming community, it’s perfect for families that enjoy peaceful beaches and outdoor activities – especially wildlife refuges and historic sites. Golf and fishing enthusiasts are also catered for extremely well.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
For a romantic getaway, Kiawah Island is ideal with its ten miles of beach and striking scenery, including marshlands and rivers. Beachwalker Park is a nature-lover’s paradise where visitors can paddle kayaks and canoes through the tidal inlets or view the many thousands of birds that visit St. Sam’s Inlet. Four golf courses, tennis centers and basketball courts cater for sports enthusiasts and there are 30 miles of cycle trails to explore.