Martha’s Vineyard is a small island off the southern coast of Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts on the east coast of the United States. The island is home to a number of quaint beach towns, the three most popular being Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. Martha’s Vineyard has a land area of 232 square kilometers (87 square miles) and has an estimated year-round population of 15,000 residents, though over 60,000 people have been known to visit at once during the summer which is the island’s busiest season for tourism. Most visitors to Martha’s Vineyard simply enjoy the beach town life, bike the extensive trail network and admire the stunning Victorian architecture of the old houses in Oak Bluffs. Gay Head Cliffs is a popular landmark on the western-most part of the island. The cliffs are made entirely of colorful clay. Tourist to Martha’s Vineyard can find excellent accommodation in any of the coastal towns, or opt for a more secluded stay on the interior of the island.
Southeast of mainland Greece in the southern Aegean Sea lies the stunning island of Santorini. A volcanic island, Santorini is an arid environment with a hot desert climate and very little rainfall, one of the only two environments of its kind in Europe. Fira, the capital, and Oia are the two main cities to visit on the island. The buildings and home of Santorini are the island’s most striking feature, consisting of whitewashed cube shaped houses, many with beautiful blue domed roofs. The hot climate and lovely black sand beaches make lounging on the beach with a delicious drink a favorite activity for visitors. Santorini is also home to wine vineyards, and a variety of world renowned vegetables, including tomatoes, white eggplants, and cucumbers. The island also has an airport which receives flights from Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines and Athens Airways. Fantastic accommodation for any budget can be found on this magnificent unique island.
Crane Beach, on the Atlantic coast of the Caribbean island of Barbados, is a fantastic wide white sand beach that is popular with honeymooners. The beach used to be a harbor, and the name “Crane” Beach came about because of the large ship loading crane that was at the top of the cliff overlooking the beach. Today, Crane Beach is called one of the 10 best beaches in the world. With it powder soft pink sands and incredibly blue ocean, it’s easy to see why. On the cliff above the beach stands The Crane Resort & Residences, a good option for those seeking high-end accommodation. Cheaper accommodation can also be had nearby.
The sunny South shore of the island of Kauai (known as the “Garden Isle”) in the tropical state of Hawaii in the United States is home to Poipu Beach. Poipu Beach is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top 10 beaches due to its pristine white sands, swaying palm trees, and sparkling blue waters. The activities to be enjoyed in the area are seemingly endless and include kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, surfing, mountain biking, deep-sea fishing, horseback riding and ATV tours. There are also two 18-hole golf courses. The classic beach is popular for weddings and honeymoons. There is a large variety of accommodation in the area, including the exceptional Villas at Poipu Kai. The Villas at Poipu Kai is a new boutique condominium resort with 3-4 bedroom poolside villas, 2-4 bedroom garden villas, and a stunning private home on the villas property.
Officially a collectivity of France, the island of Bora Bora lies in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. With its amazing reef, fantastic white sand beaches, and laid-back local population it is easy to see why Bora Bora is considered by many to be paradise on Earth. The island itself features an extinct volcano in the center and is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. Bora Bora is a tourist hot-spot and many resorts and over-the-water bungalows have been built on the island. The population of locals is just under 9,000 with Tahitian, French, and some English spoken. Visitors can enjoy world-class diving and snorkeling, as well as sunset catamaran cruises, fishing trips, and jet ski rentals.
Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island off the Eastern coast of Australia is said to be the whitest beach in the world. The sand is made almost entirely of silica which provides the incredibly white color. The sand is so pure, NASA has used it to make special telescope lenses. Whitehaven beach stretches for over 7 km (4 miles) along the largest of the Whitsunday Islands. Trips leaving from mainland Australia to visit the beach leave multiple times a day, and there is a variety of accommodation on Whitsunday Island. Visitors shouldn’t miss a trip to the nearby outer Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Southwest of Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea lies a paradise like no other, the island country of the Maldives. The Republic of the Maldives consists of twenty-six atolls in an area spanning 90,000 square kilometers (34,749 square miles). The Maldives are popular for their picture-perfect lush islands ringed by gorgeous white sand beaches. The tiny country is the smallest in Asia both in land mass and population (309,000 people). It also has the lowest high point of any country in the world at 2.3 meters (7 feet 7 inches) and because of this the rising sea level threatens its very existence. All total, the Maldives consists of roughly 1,190 coral islands, only 185 of which are inhabited. The islands were discovered as a tourist destination in the 1970s and today tourism accounts for just under 30% of the country’s GDP. A range of accommodation for any budget can be found on the Maldives, and the country’s capital city of Male is home to an international airport.
If an expansive white sand beach is what you’re looking for, Noordhoek Beach near Cape Town, South Africa can’t be beat. Only 35km (22 miles) from the center of Cape Town, Noordhoek beach is ideal for walkers and those seeking a horseback ride on the beach. There are also two excellent surf spots off the beach called the Hoek and Dunes. On the southern end of the beach you can find a century old wrecked steamship named the “Kakapo.” The beach is fairly isolated and lacks development so swimmers and surfers should use caution in the water. There are a couple restaurants near the beach, but for accommodation your best bet will be in Cape Town proper. A gorgeous view of the beach can be had from the top of nearby Chapman’s Peak.