We know we want to go to the beach but do not have any particular destination in mind, even are open to going to the east or west coast. What beach do you recommend as your favorite for a relaxing get-away? Any specific resorts or hotels to recommend? Thanks...Cheers...Marolyn
I am completely California biased but my two favorite beach towns are Santa Barbara, CA and Carmel, CA. Santa Barbara is absolutely breathtaking with beautiful mountains in the background, a Mediterranean feel, a laid back attitude and enough activities to fill any day. Carmel is absolutely breathtaking in a different way, with gorgeous cliffs and rock formations out in the water and a more secluded feel to the little charming town. Santa Barbara has more of a Southern California feel and Carmel is more Northern California, a little more prim and proper. They both offer lovely hotels, excellent restaurants, fine shopping and sightseeing.
These are not towns where you will find a resort smack dab on the beach and people spending all day in the sand in bikinis drinking daquiris like you might have in Florida or the Caribbean. It's definitely a different type of beach vacation. You can lay on the beach (at least in Santa Barbara, Carmel is chilly except in the summer) but you'll definitely want to check out some of the restaurants, shopping, museums, etc. in both towns.
In Santa Barbara if you want to be right on the beach I'd recommend Bacara resort which is a bit of a drive to downtown Santa Barbara. The Four Seasons Biltmore is also on the beach in an excellent location downtown. There are some other great hotels in Santa Barbara although some of the better ones aren't right on the beach: San Ysidro ranch in upper-class Montecito is gorgeous (I'm biased as I was married there) and Inn of the Spanish Garden and El Encanto resort, both downtown, are also getting rave reviews. Be careful when booking as many of the hotels (San Ysidro Ranch, Four Seasons, Miramar Hotel, and others) have been undergoing a lot of construction so make sure they are finished before you book.)
In Carmel there are also numerous options for luxury hotels. In Carmel, Highlands Inn is the top-rated resort. I have stayed in downtown proper in one of the many smaller inns: Cypress Inn http://www.cypress-inn.com/ and not only was the hotel very nice it is in an amazing location along the main drag in Carmel. Other options in that area include all of the wonderful golf resorts in Pebble Beach and the more secluded, natural Big Sur hotels such as the famous Post Ranch Inn. Again, and much more than Santa Barbara, Carmel is not the kind of town where you will live in your bikini all day. People are a bit more formal, the town is upscale, but it is amazingly breathtaking and you could spend all day just looking at the lovely ocean and walking around this quaint little town. You can also drive over to Monterey next door to check out the aquarium and fisherman's wharf, or spend a few hours driving up and down the famed Pacific Coast Highway for more amazing views.
I love the beach and have been to many. I really enjoyed Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. It's just such a great little east coast beach town ! It was also the back drop for the famous television show Dawsons Creek. I highly recommend it !
Hi LL community - Our favorite US beach is Huntington Beach (State Park) between Merles Inlet and Pawleys Island South Carolina. This beach is so enormous that you can walk in one direction for hours - then try the other way another day! The only thing stopping you is the beautiful salt marsh separating Pawleys Island from the mainland. This beach is away from the tourist trap of Myrtle Beach. It can be accessed from many different public entrances or a variety of fabulous resort properties (Litchfield by the Sea is a favorite) Brookgreen Gardens is accross the highway from Huntington Beach State Park and well worth the stop. Brookgreen is an old plantation ruins showcasing history and art. The grounds are lush and all areas display bronze sculpture from a private collection. Enjoy ...Funtimes
If your idea of relaxing is lounging on a beach chair with your feet dangling in the water and sand, then hands down - the best beaches in the US? - Florida panhandle - specifically Destin or Santa Rosa beaches.
Powdery white beaches and turqouise water.You might look into the "Seaside Resorts" www.seasidefl.comwhich is also the same town and area they filmed the movie "Truman".
This is my turf... or "surf" as the case may be as I grew up on the beach in Newport, California! Newport is great fun and truly is an example of Southern California beaches with very wide, clean, swimming beaches with dolphins daily cruising the water between the Balboa Pier and Newport Piers. Except for June when it can be foggy, the weather is generally fantastic and toasty warm on the beach. Newport Beach is comprised of many different little islands between the coast and the water which are accessable by foot, bike or boat. You can stay at the Balboa Bay Club which is lovely or rent a private home - but this tends to be expensive - in the $5000+ a week rate for the average ones. Rent bicycles and cruise all around, stopping in Balboa for lunch, or go down to the "Wedge" and watch the great body surfing and board surfing there (I learned to surf there a hundred years ago!).
You can go inland to the fantastic mall of South Coast Plaza which has more"glam" shops thanjust about any other mall in the USA... and some really great restaurants too. Or a day trip on one of the boats to Catalina Island right from the BalboaPier...Or book a fishing charter or whale watching tour. Then there is always the museums,symphony, and opera in Orange County if you are needing something more than people watching and swimming...
You can rent a car and drive down to Laguna Beach and spend the day down there wandering in and out of all the great art galleries and have lunch... Or even go up to Huntington Beach and take surfing lessons!
Then of course, there is LaJolla, CA which is really superb with wonderful beaches in lots of lovely coves, great shopping and close access to all of the great sites in San Diego (Old Town, Gas Lamp district, Sea World - which really is great fun even as an adult) LaJolla has a good selection of very nice hotels, restaurants and the like.
Further to Claassenam's comments about Santa Barbara... I agree wholeheartedly about Santa Barbara. It is a wonderful place for a vacation and the hotels Claassenam listed are WONDERFUL... The Biltmore is on my list of all time favorites and their brunch is spectacular... The San Ysidro Ranch hotel is truly remarkable. The least favorite part of visiting Santa Barbara is the beach... often time the beach is fogged in and it's cold to swim in the water there.
Nice to have you back on the board. We missed you for a while there. As to your question on best US beaches, I would have to say that Miami South Beach beach was voted No. 1 and Siesta Key Beach was voted No. 2 in a recent poll as best beaches in the US. I personally favor Siesta Key Beach since we live there on a partial basis. Siesta Key Beach is unique in the sense that it is made up of quartz which translates into a totally white fine sugary sandy beach where the sand stays cool to the touch and you won't burn your feet not even at high noon. Instead of a hotel, I would suggest a luxury 1 or two bed-room condo rental with water view for a week which can be quite a bit more cost efficient and fun. I know the Sarasota, FL very well and I have done numerous posts about Sarasota's attractions on the Florida Destination Board. Have a look. Sarasota has an awful lot to offer. If you want additional information, please write me a personal message if you like.
As a resident of Sarasota Florida, I am biased by the "sugar" sand on Siesta Key beach. Since you are on the Gulf of Mexico, the surf is usually calm so it would be a great family destination. Don't miss the drum circle every Sunday night right on the public beach.
Siesta Key beach has not gone the "tourist" route with a lot of big hotels. It is mostly smaller properties with the bulk being condos for rent. Since it is a mostly condo rental market, most are available on a weekly or monthly basis with the "high season" January through April.
Downtown Siesta Key has some nice restaurants. My favorite is the Lobster Pot owned by transplanted New Englanders. Since you are close to Sarasota which has an abundance of fine restaurants, you can pick and choose based on how much you want to spend.
Other draws to the area are the Ringling Museum (yes the circus but also a fine art collection and Selby Gardens with a world famous lilly collection. Nearby isthe Van Wezel with many Broardway type shows andentertainers. There nare also 3 local theaters that have excellent shows. Sarasota during the season also has a symphony, ballet and opera.
A final thought is the Reds baseball team has spring training in Sarasota.