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Beaches Around the World

July 6, 2010

A lot of people endlessly debate about the best beaches of the United States, the greatest beaches worldwide, and on and on. Lists are prepared – often gratuitous sops to whatever Chamber of Commerce contributed to the magazine piece or newspaper article – and typically the winners are nice places if you want to go somewhere and fight tourists.

As a matter of fact, the world is far too large and the amount of coastline is much too great for one particular place to reckoned as the absolute best.  It’s a matter of what  you’re looking for.

Florida in the USA has lots of great sand.  The coast of the state is pretty much one long beach.  But there’s the unpleasant side effect of runaway development, redneck politics, and weird repressive laws that impinge themselves on visitors.

1) St. Augustine Fl – a thin veneer of civilization over a redneck political landscape

Cape Cod in Massachusetts is another example of one long beach with few interruptions.  Unfortunately the Cape is  freezing nine months of the year.

2) Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, Cape Cod – good weather when you can get it: Photo by Ken and Peg Herring

You can travel far in search of that perfect spot in the sand. Lamu Island in Kenya sometimes makes the lists of best world beaches, but getting there is a long waterless walk in appalling heat with no shade, either en route or at the beach itself.  The coast near the town is more scenic but not recommended for swimming.

3) Lamu beach (near to the town): Photo by Ken and Peg Herring

In Latin America, Costa Rica boasts truly world-class beaches.  A lot of them are overrun.

4) Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica in the 70s, back when you had to hike a few hours to get there

I have always been impressed with the beach at Tulum in Quintana Roo, Mexico.  It’s not everywhere you can lie in the sun and soak up archeology along with the rays.  I expect the place is quite crammed with beachgoers these days.

5) Tulum

I’ll always have a soft spot for the wild coast near Mui Ne in Vietnam.  The region, off-limits to foreigners and controlled by the Vietcong during the American War, has seen an upswing in tourism in recent years and  is rapidly developing.

6) A few miles south of Mui Ne: Photo by Diana Herring

Of course to the Vietnamese a beach is just another place to work.

7) And further along…

But my wife Diana and I have found the best beach for my own peculiar tastes.  It’s in Hawaii on the island of  Kauai. Poli Hale is its name.  You drive on a bad dirt road to get there and then you’re home.

6) Poli Hale Beach with Nihau in the background on the right

7) Looking the other direction to the Napali Coast.  A truck is visible on the beach in the distance – an imperfection to be sure but you can’t have everything: Photo by Diana Herring

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 11:25 pm

    I’ll take every last piece of political redneck sand we got!!

    • July 7, 2010 12:03 am

      You are welcome to it!


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