Congratulations, everyone. We’re now two thirds of our way through the suckiest month of the year! Well, in my opinion anyway. January of course is a hot month for travel companies, with Sunshine Saturday (the first Saturday in January) encouraging 5.2 million Brits alone to book a vacation. And I, myself, am also a sucker for this. With temperatures in Vancouver feeling a little chilly right now, I’ve just booked my first vacation spot of the year: Mexico. Planning out day trips to Tulum has made me long for white sands, and it’s got me thinking about my favourite beaches in the world.
So, what are we waiting for? Here’s my hot list.
My favourite beaches in Europe
Platja Migjorn, Formentera
Firstly – truly one of my favourite beaches in the whole world is Platja Migjorn. It’s located on the small but beautiful island of Formentera, the tiniest of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. My friend Jo and I unassumingly booked on to a Pacha boat trip to the island as a side perk of tickets to David Guetta’s F**k Me I’m Famous residency at the legendary club. And thank goodness we did. Despite being a little hungover on the sailboat across, the crystal clear turquoise waters are like none I’ve seen before. We sailed onto the glamorous island on a small dinghy, pulling up onto the golden sands. A few things to make sure you do there:
- Take a dip in the aquamarine waters. It gets very hot on the island in the summer so you’ll be grateful to cool off!
- Sit and people watch. There are all kinds of glamorous creatures on the island from all parts of the world so it’s interesting to relax and take it all in.
- Check out one of the restaurants. We popped to Restaurant Juan y Andrea for an icy cold drink. Tourists and locals were feasting on delicious paella and whole baked fish and it looked incredible. There are also gorgeous views across the beach to enjoy while you dine.
St. Ives, Cornwall
St Ives is another of my favourite areas of beaches, even if it doesn’t have quite the same temperatures as Formentera. I really do love a beach even in the cold as it just brings a very different vibe and is usually much quieter than in the summer months. Carbis Bay is a secret I almost don’t want to reveal. It’s a lot quieter than St Ives Harbour and absolutely beautiful, as well as being a great place to stay. As it’s a little hard to reach and pretty remote, it definitely brings a true sense of holiday. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the crazy coloured water, it’s really hard to believe it’s in England! It brings lots of elements of the quintessential British seaside together in a classy way, which I really love. Here are my top things to do in St Ives:
- Grab fish and chips, a pasty, or Cornish ice cream and enjoy them with a view of the harbour. I love watching the scattering of boats bobbing up and down.
- Take a morning walk along the beach, coffee cup in hand. You’ll spot paddleboarders, dog walkers, and kids building sandcastles.
- Wander around the adorable, quaint shops of the area, from bakeries to Cornish cider stores. There are so many independent shops in Cornwall so I try and support them wherever I can.
Majerovica Beach, Hvar
If you’re unfamiliar with Hvar, let me tell you all about it. It’s a glamorous party island in Croatia, renowned for its beautiful beaches and late night bars. I headed to Hvar a few years ago with a girlfriend and we had an incredible time. One of my favourite things about the trip is being able to simply slope off the pathway from our hotel to Hvar harbour to take a dip.
As a very safe and fun island, you can simply ditch all your things on the rocks and indulge in the icy water. It’s also great fun at beach parties, with many of the beach bars docking up inflatables for guests to enjoy after a few drinks. Majerovica Beach was one of our favourite beaches for hanging out in the hot sun, and perfect for taking a dip en route to dinner. Here are a few things you can’t miss at the beach:
- Head to Bonj les Bains for a luxury cabana directly on the sea and enjoy cold drinks being poured for you all day long.
- Simply alternate being sunbathing on the hot rocks and taking dips into the cool, crystal clear ocean.
- Be brave and skinny dip on the way back from the club!
Although many people dream of lounging on the iconic Waikiki Beach when thinking of Hawaii, I urge you to travel to Maui. This beautiful island harbours a plethora of less populated, sprawling beaches from black to sandy. A truly romantic vacation destination, Ka’anapali Beach is a real favourite of mine for a number of reasons. Lined with palm trees, it’s so picturesque, and the ocean so vibrant and perfect for body boarding. In the evening, you’ll see some of the most incredible sunsets you’ll have ever witnessed. The whole area is very relaxed and it gets perfectly warm during the day, with the cool breeze of the nearby palms to cool you down. Here are the things you can’t miss when visiting Ka’anapali Beach:
- Lounging in a hammock while admiring the beautiful beach views and watching the ocean’s waves roll in.
- Walking to Whalers Village for a tasty dinner, a Hawaiian luau performance, or a spot of shopping. Make sure to also stock up on inexpensive, locally sourced pearls!
- Feasting on fish tacos (choose the delicious and local ono) with a Mai Tai while watching one of the amazing sunsets across the beach. You may even see people clapping when the sun finally dips under the horizon.
My favourite beaches in North America
Siesta Key, Florida
Regularly considered the best beach in the USA, there’s good reason so many people love to visit Siesta Key in Florida. This is a much-visited spot of mine and my family’s, particularly in recent years as a great meeting point between Vancouver and the UK. Located on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida’s panhandle, this means it benefits from the glorious white sands and turquoise, warm waters of the Caribbean region. It’s an incredibly long and wide stretch of beach, meaning there’s plenty of space for everyone. The sand is also unusually 99% quartz from the Appalachian Mountains, meaning it’s naturally beautifully white and cool underfoot no matter how hot the sun. Here some things you can’t miss at Siesta Key:
- Lounge like the locals under a rainbow parasol with a speaker and a cool box full of icy cold beers and snacks for the day ahead.
- See how far out you can walk – the ocean is incredibly shallow for a long stretch out depending on the tide.
- If you’re adventurous, try your hand at jet skiing or paragliding on the ocean for aerial views of the beach.
Long Beach, Ucluelet
You may be wondering where such a gloomy looking beach fits into the many other tropical pictures I’ve included on this post. Well, that’s part of the appeal! Long Beach in Ucluelet is located on the western side of Vancouver Island in Canada. One of the great things about this region is that it’s a fairly long journey from Vancouver – a two hour ferry and roughly a five hour drive across the Island. Its Pacific North West characteristic features include a misty backdrop, dark fir trees, and beaches scattered with seaweed. It feels pretty magical as there’s almost an ethereal, end-of-world feeling about the place but a wonderful retreat.
- Bring a coffee or a hip flask and wonder the stretch of the beach, which is all the better for a little shower. There’s plenty of unique tubular seaweed which you can also crush as you walk. You’ll definitely want to wrap up warm!
- Swot up on the whaling history of this culturally significant area in the local education centre.
- If you’re feeling particularly brave, pull on a wetsuit and get out on the waves to paddle board or surf on the powerful west coast waves.
St James Bay, Antigua
Who doesn’t fancy a trip to the gorgeous Caribbean!? I was lucky enough to visit Antigua several years ago and it was a truly magical island. The people are super friendly, and the beaches wonderful for lounging and snorkelling. We enjoyed an all-inclusive vacation at a resort on the island, staying right on St James Bay. It was a glorious beach, with ocean all colours of the blue-green spectrum. It’s definitely a place I’d highly recommend visiting. St James is one of my favourite beaches thanks to all the amazing memories I collected with my family there. Here are a few activities you can’t miss out on at St James Bay:
- Spotting colourful tropical fish in the ocean when snorkelling and swimming alongside them.
- Going sailing, kayaking, or taking out a pedalo on the ocean to get the best views of the beach and beyond.
- Simply relaxing, sunbathing, and also enjoying a rum cocktail or two on the beach.
My favourite beaches in the rest of the world
Palm Beach, Sydney
Another hot and fairly tropical destination is Palm Beach in Sydney, another of my favourite beaches in the world. Located around two hours’ drive north of Sydney, it’s well worth the journey in my opinion. Also known as the backdrop of the soap Home and Away, it’s become famous for very good reason. A sprawling stretch of golden sand and powerful ocean, it’s a perfect beach for sunbathing or surfing. Because it’s so huge and a little way out of Sydney, it feels relatively quiet and isolated which I loved. Make sure to do the following when you’re at Palm Beach:
- Take the hike up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse for panoramic views across the beautiful beach.
- Travel during the week when there’s a chance you may even get to catch an episode of Home and Away being filmed on the beach.
- Walk the long stretch of beach with your feet walking through the ocean, or perhaps try out the surf.
I’ve shared my favourite beaches to travel to – so where are yours?! Please share your top tips and the beaches I need to add on to my travel wish list!