No two beaches are the same. What makes a beach good or bad depends on one’s sensibility. For some beachgoers, palm trees rustling in the trades, gentle waves lapping against the shore and idyllic stretches of champagne-colored sand are all that’s needed for perfect bliss. But for others, a bustling boardwalk with hawkers selling fried dough and frozen Cokes, the bleep of arcade games and carnival rides are the main attractions.
In describing the beaches around the world, guidebooks and travel magazines use phrases like hidden gem and off-the-beaten-path, but in reality there’s no hidden gems left in the world; all the best ribbons of sand have been claimed, our beach umbrellas hoisted like country flags from coast to coast, continent to continent. Nevertheless, while there may no longer be any undiscovered strands of virgin shore, there are still beaches that are challenging and difficult to access, veiled coves and grottoes whose admittance is sure to tax the patience of most travelers -unless, of course, those travelers have a seaplane or a boat…or both.
10. Caladesi Beach, Caladesi Island: Florida
Situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Caladesi Beach was rated America’s Best Beach in 2008. Worlds apart from the glitz and glamour of Miami’s South Beach, Caladesi Island is a tranquil retreat filled with meandering mangroves, easy hiking trails, and miles of tourist-free beach. However, it’s still a good idea to make reservations to dock your craft, as boats dock on a first-come, first-serve basis. And remember: if you ever get tired of swimming, fishing and sunbathing –or spending lazy days on the hammock with a rum runner in hand –the Tampa/Clearwater/St. Petersburg metro-area is just a couple of nautical knots away.