Beaches | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:56:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg Beaches | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 Cabo Pulmo Diving and Snorkeling https://moon.com/2017/11/cabo-pulmo-diving-and-snorkeling/ https://moon.com/2017/11/cabo-pulmo-diving-and-snorkeling/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:02:19 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=60538 With a reef that begins just a few meters off the shore, Cabo Pulmo is an extremely appealing dive and snorkel spot. Here's a quick look at its beaches and outfitters.

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One of only three coral reefs in North America, the Cabo Pulmo reef is 5,000 years old and the only living coral reef in the Sea of Cortez. The marine reserve was established in 1995 to protect the reef, and in 2005, UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site. There are eight separate fingers of the reef, four close to shore and the other four out in the bay. The reef begins just a few meters off the shore, which makes Cabo Pulmo an extremely appealing diving and snorkeling spot. Commercial and sportfishing are banned within the park.

The waters here are teeming with marine life, and divers and snorkelers have the ability to see sea turtles, dolphin, parrot fish, angelfish, damselfish, mobula rays, sharks, and whales. Large schools of tropical fish provide impressive sights for those who explore this part of the Sea of Cortez.

The little town of Cabo Pulmo is completely off the grid. The rustic, dusty town is inhabited by a small group of Mexicans and expats who operate the dive shops, accommodations, and restaurants in town. There are not many services here (no ATMS or gas stations) and just a handful of small lodging options and restaurants. Travelers who visit are usually divers or those looking for a remote and peaceful escape.

a diver under water looking at fish and coral in the Sea of Cortez

The Cabo Pulmo reef is 5,000 years old and the only living coral reef in the Sea of Cortez. Photo © Hoatzinexp/iStock.

Cabo Pulmo Beaches

Los Arbolitos

Five kilometers south of town, Los Arbolitos is the best beach in the area for snorkeling. There aren’t many services out here, so if you don’t have your own snorkel and mask, you’ll need to rent one in town before coming out to Los Arbolitos. There are primitive bathroom and shower facilities. You’ll need to pay US$2 to park your car and for access to the facilities.

Playa La Sirenita

Also known as Dinosaur Egg Beach or Los Chopitos, this beach is difficult to access. Playa La Sirenita can only be reached by kayak, boat, or from a walking path from Los Arbolitos. The attractive narrow beach has white sand speckled by rocks. Hidden at the base of a cliff, the beach has protected waters that provide an excellent area for snorkeling around the rocks just offshore.

Los Frailes

When the winds kick up in the afternoons, divers and snorkelers head to Bahía de Los Frailes. Nine kilometers south of Bahía Cabo Pulmo, this sheltered bay provides a calm location for diving. The long beach has a few palapas for shade, but otherwise very few services. Snorkeling and diving take place at the northern part of the beach where the rocky point is. Camping is allowed, and this is a popular spot for dry camping and RVers.

palapas on the beach at Los Arbolitos in Cabo Pulmo

Visit Los Arbolitos for the best snorkeling, but make sure to bring gear with you, as there are few services offered here. Photo © Jennifer Kramer.

Snorkeling Cabo Pulmo

Because the coral reef begins just a few meters from the shoreline, it’s possible to snorkel directly from shore at Cabo Pulmo without having to take a boat out to reach the good spots. Los Arbolitos, about five kilometers south of town, is the prime spot for snorkeling off of the beach. If it’s too windy at Arbolitos, head down to the more protected Los Frailes where the snorkeling is good along the point on the north end of the beach.

If you want to go on an organized snorkeling trip, any of the tour operators that run dive trips can accommodate snorkeling trips as well. There are stands and information for tours in town where the beach access is (next to La Palapa restaurant). The tour operators can take you out on boats to certain beaches and spots that you can’t access on your own.

Snorkeling trips with Eco Adventures (tel. 624/157-4072, US$45-60) last 2.5 hours and include snorkeling equipment, waters, soft drinks, snacks, the national park entrance fee, and a guide. For those with younger kids, they offer a special device with a Plexiglas viewer that allows them to see underwater without using snorkeling gear.

diving tour boat on the ocean in Cabo Pulmo

A tour boat departing from the beach access in Cabo Pulmo. Photo © Jennifer Kramer.

Diving Cabo Pulmo

There’s good scuba diving year-round in Cabo Pulmo, but the best seasons are summer and fall when the visibility is best (30 meters or more) and water temperatures are warm. Divers can find themselves surrounded by large schools of fish like snappers, bigeye jacks, and porkfish. Moray eels, sea turtles, octopus, sharks and manta rays are also common sights. Guided drift diving is how most tours operate, with divers drifting along with the current and the captain following with the boat.

In the center of town, Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort (tel. 624/141-0726) is a PADI-certified dive center. They have well-maintained gear and professional and experienced guides who can handle beginning to advanced divers. They operate a hotel as well, so they offer complete packages including accommodations, food, and diving.

With a stand near the beach access in town, Cabo Pulmo Sport Center (tel. 624/157-9795) offers dive tours that start at US$95 for one dive. They also handle snorkeling tours, equipment rental, sportfishing, kayaking, and whale-watching. In case you want to video your underwater adventure, they also rent GoPros.

Cabo Pulmo Divers (tel. 612/157-3381) and Cabo Pulmo Watersports (tel. 624/176-2618) are two more options for dive operators.

Map of El Camino Rural Costero, Mexico

Map of El Camino Rural Costero

If you're headed to Los Cabos, Mexico, pay a visit to Cabo Pulmo National Park for excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Author Jennifer Kramer guides you to the best beaches and outfitters in the area so that you can experience the beautiful living reef in the Sea of Cortez.


Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Los Cabos.

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South Shore Kaua‘i Beaches https://moon.com/2017/11/south-shore-kauai-beaches/ https://moon.com/2017/11/south-shore-kauai-beaches/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 18:30:08 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=24060 Some of Kaua‘i’s best beaches are found on the south side. All provide a selection of coveted Hawaii activities, such as snorkeling, surfing, swimming, and sunbathing.

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Some of Kaua‘i’s best beaches are found on the south side. They’re blanketed in fine white sand and range from popular and crowded to secluded and hardly visited. All of the beaches are in the Po‘ipu area, as Koloa, Kalaheo, and Lawa‘i are all inland areas. The beaches provide a selection of coveted Hawaii activities, such as snorkeling, surfing, swimming, and sunbathing.

waves on the shore of Mahaulepui Beach in Kauai

The Maha‘ulepu Beaches are situated on the outskirts of Kaua‘i’s south side, and well worth the trek. Photo © BackyardProduction/iStock.

Maha‘ulepu Beaches

Adventure into the outskirts of the south side and drive out to the Maha‘ulepu Beaches at the east end of Po‘ipu. You’ll travel down a long and bumpy dirt road through undeveloped land with great views of the green mountains inland. The road is fit for two-wheel-drive cars but is usually pocked with ruts and potholes. Fortune favors the brave, though. Drive slowly and eventually you’ll get to the long strip of beaches. Gillin’s Beach is the first you come to, Kawailoa Bay is the second, and the third and most secluded is Ha‘ula Beach. To get here, drive past the Grand Hyatt Kauai until the road turns to dirt. You’ll see the CMJ Stables sign as the road turns to dirt and a gate. The access is privately owned, and the gates are locked at 6pm. Respect the area and pack out everything you brought in.

Gillin’s Beach is accessed via a short trail through some dense shoreline brush. Parking is out of sight from the beach, so bring your valuables to the beach or leave them at home. The beach is very, very long, with fine white sand. It’s a nice beach for swimming, but be careful and use good judgment as the conditions are often windy and strong currents prevail. Although the beach is very long, it’s not the widest from dunes to ocean. As the tide gets higher the sand gets narrower, and you will most likely see sunbathers bordering the dunes. To the right of the beach after Elbert Gillin’s house is the Makauwahi Sinkhole, which is fun to explore. The open sandstone sinkhole has some fun elements to check out including unearthed archaeological finds.

Swimming is best east of Gillin’s at Kawailoa Bay, where the water is most protected. To get here, drive past Gillin’s and you’ll see Kawailoa Bay from the roadside, or walk from Gillin’s east around the bend, but it’s a bit of a walk. The cove is calmer here than anywhere else on the beach, but the beach isn’t quite as nice as the rest. Since the beach is in a semi-protected cove, the whipping winds can be less offensive here.

To get to Ha‘ula Beach, walk for a while along the lithified cliffs. The cliffs look wild and prehistoric; they’re rough, and you’ll want shoes for this beach walk. After about 15 minutes of walking, you’ll reach Ha‘ula Beach. Swimming out here is always dangerous, but secluded beachcombing and sunbathing is ample. Serenity and isolation is the main appeal of making the trip.

waves crashing onto Shipwreck Beach in Kauai

Shipwreck Beach with Makawehi Point in the distance. Photo © kida/iStock.

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach fronts the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa. Named after an old shipwreck that used to rest on the eastern end, the beach is generally crowded because of its location. It offers plenty of space with about 0.5 mile of sand, but the ocean here is usually too rough for swimming except for those who are experts in the water. Local surfers and bodyboarders congregate on the east end of the beach and surf the waves along the outer reef. Also on the eastern end is Makawehi Point, the high cliff that locals like to jump off for fun. To get here, drive toward the Hyatt on Weliweli Road and turn right onto Ainako Road. Park in the small parking lot at the end.

Po‘ipu Beach Park

Po‘ipu Beach Park (at the end of Kuai Road) is hands down the most ideal beach for families and children on the south side. A protected swimming area, playground, full amenities, and grassy lawn come together to create everything necessary for a full day at the beach. It’s often crowded with visitors and local families, a testament to its popularity. The shallow ocean pool is semi-enclosed by a short rock wall, providing calm water within the rock barrier. It’s a great swimming pool for children to float and play. The water isn’t as protected on the west side of the beach, but if the waves are small it’s safe and a great zone for swimming and snorkeling. Monk seals frequent the beach too, so if you see a seal, please respect all signs and safety zones and give the seal plenty of space to snooze in the sun.

An elaborate playground for children is located at the east side of the park alongside a shade-offering tree. Picnic tables dot the grassy lawn, showers and bathrooms are on-site, and there are lifeguards on duty. There is parking available across the street from the beach, but on most days the spots are full. Get there early to grab a spot or be prepared to wait for someone to leave.

Just east of Po‘ipu Beach Park is Brennecke Beach. The waves are great for bodyboarding and bodysurfing. Surfboards are not allowed. Beginners can rent a bodyboard from Nukumoi Beach & Surf Shop (2080 Ho‘one Rd., 808/742-8019, 8am-sunset daily) across the street and charge the little waves. To get here, turn down Ho‘owili Road off Po‘ipu Road. The beach is right at the bottom along Ho‘one Road.

poipu beach in Kauai

Po‘ipu Beach is beautiful, but popular and often crowded. Photo © JuliaNufer/iStock.

Po‘ipu Beach

Also known as Sheraton Beach (because it fronts the Sheraton Kaua‘i) and Kiahuna Beach, Po‘ipu Beach is a popular, and therefore a generally crowded, beautiful beach. The swimming just offshore is usually pretty mellow thanks to the outer reef where the surfers find great waves. Surf lessons are also given here. It’s also a good spot for snorkeling if the ocean is calm, so bring your gear. There are restrooms at the grassy lawn above the sand. Parking here and along the street can be tight, so keep a lookout for several parking areas along the road. The beach is at the end of coastal Ho‘onani Road.

Baby Beach

True to its name, Baby Beach is perfect for small children and babies. The small beach is nearly always calm, still, and shallow. The water here feels more like a saltwater swimming pool than the open ocean. There is a narrow strip of white sand descending into the water, leading to a rocky bottom. Hawaiian rocks can always be a bit tough on the feet, so bringing water shoes is a good idea. Kids will love jumping around in the water with floats here. To get here, turn off Lawa‘i Road onto Ho‘ona Road and look for the beach access sign. The beach is behind the oceanfront homes.

PK’s

Located right across from the Prince Kuhio monument, hence the name PK’s, the narrow strip of sand is most notable by the surf break to the right of the Beach House Restaurant. The wave here is also called PK’s. Snorkelers will find a lot of fish here since the bottom is so rocky, but the ocean surface is usually rough. It’s best to snorkel when the waves are very small and the wind is calm. The beach is narrow and just off the road, so it’s less than ideal for a day at the beach. Drive down Lawa‘i Road and you’ll see the small beach below the roadside rock wall directly across from the monument.

Lawa‘i Beach

A small white-sand beach in an almost always sunny area, Lawa‘i Beach offers swimming and decent snorkeling along a narrow strip of white sand. The grounds of the Beach House Restaurant jut out on the left side of the beach, while condominiums act as a backdrop across the road. Across the street is a small parking lot with restrooms and a small shop. This is a popular hangout for local surfers, who enjoy a few beers at day’s end while watching the waves at PK’s. Head down Lawa‘i Road and you can see the beach from the street right past the Beach House Restaurant.

Keiki Beach

A few yards down from Lawa‘i Beach is Keiki Beach. A secluded and very small strip of sand just below the road, the small beach is accessible by hopping over the rock wall and stepping down past a few boulders. There’s a little tide pool here that’s good for a very shallow dip or for kids, only at low tide. The nice thing about this spot is that it’s nearly always uninhabited. During high tide you’ll find yourself sitting up against the rock wall, so it’s best at low tide. Although small, Keiki Beach is a change from Lawa‘i Beach just because it’s usually empty.

Lawa‘i Bay

Bordering the National Tropical Botanical Garden is Lawa‘i Bay. The bay is usually only reached by those with a passion for serious ocean adventuring. If you kayak about a mile west from Kukui‘ula Small Boat Harbor you will reach it. Those who make it there are asked to be respectful and not enter the gardens. Needless to say, you’ll most likely be alone here if you make the trip. Park your vehicle at Kukui‘ula Small Boat Harbor at the end of Lawa‘i Road. Hop in the water with your kayak and paddle about a mile west down the coast.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaii.

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Aruba’s Best Beaches: Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, and More https://moon.com/2017/11/aruba-best-beaches/ https://moon.com/2017/11/aruba-best-beaches/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 17:42:16 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=9606 Aruba has been hailed as one of the top beach destinations in the world. Whether you're looking for a place with the right waves for bodyboarding or gentle shallows that are perfect for very young children, author Rosalie Klein has a beach for you.

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Caribbean islands are usually synonymous with beautiful beaches, but veteran travelers will tell you that Aruba’s beaches are exceptional. Aruba has been hailed as one of the top beach destinations in the world. The soft, snowy white sands (a composition of coral and shells crushed into a fine powder over eons) and the breathtaking blue waters make sunbathing, beachcombing, and swimming popular pastimes here. And though the temperature is consistently warm, Aruba’s beaches are never too hot for a barefoot stroll even at noon.

sun shining on Baby Beach in Aruba

Take a dip at Baby Beach. Photo © Kjersti Joergensen/Dreamstime.

Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are the most raved about beaches on the island, with fine accommodations along their shores.Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are the most raved about beaches on the island, with fine accommodations along their shores. The long, uninterrupted miles of sand are the main attraction for both visitors and developers. Unquestionably, the nature of Aruba’s beaches has dictated the degree of development of resort areas, as well as their character. It was long ago decided that Palm Beach offered the “best beachfront.” Though, of course, vacationers who return to Manchebo Beach and Eagle Beach year after year are confident that they’re staying at the best.

Along Palm Beach the shallow water extends almost a half mile from the shore with negligible wave action. Many consider this ideal for families with very young children. The extremely shallow, still water is perfect for a baby’s first encounter with the sea. Swimming areas are well-marked, patrolled, and maintained.

Eagle Beach is not quite as maintained and patrolled as Palm Beach, but all the resorts in Aruba take responsibility for the safety of their beachfront. The government is working on a program to establish lifeguards at crucial areas. As more resorts crop up along Eagle Beach, more cordoned-off swim sections can be expected.

There is more wave action at Eagle Beach, and particularly Manchebo Beach, due to the bottom suddenly dropping off very close to shore. The current action at Punto Brabo, where the southern shore meets west and various currents collide, also contributes to bigger waves. This makes it very popular with surfers and bodyboarders. Other great spots popular for bodyboarding or wave boarding are Andicuri, Dos Playa, and Urirama, all on Aruba’s north coast, where heavy winds from the northeast cause strong wave action.

divi tree on Eagle Beach, Aruba

Get some peace and quiet at Eagle Beach. Photo ©
Kjersti Jorgensen/123rf.

Aruba’s Best Beaches

  • Renaissance Island: A private island for the guests of the Renaissance Resort, this tranquil enclave offers a choice of family fun or adults only beaches. It also has nice snorkeling, a spa, restaurant, and friendly flamingos.
  • Eagle Beach: Eagle Beach is one of the top-rated beaches on the island with many of the same offerings as Palm Beach; the difference here is that there are fewer people and slightly bigger waves.
  • Palm Beach: Aruba’s principal playground has every manner of amenity and activity available within a few steps from your beach lounge. Traditionally, it has the quietest waters of the long beachfronts.
  • Baranca Plat: You’ll encounter quiet waters and snowy white sands at this cozy little cove, a short walk from the big resorts. Shade trees and few people provide that feeling of having a special place in the sun all to yourself.
  • Fisherman’s Huts: At this windsurfing beach, relax among the dunes and take in the colorful sails and parachute kites speeding across the water.
  • California Dunes: This expansive area is great for a long walk, a day exploring the dunes, or finding a private dune for some topless sunbathing.
  • Andicuri Beach: Dramatic terraces of limestone formations surround this secluded beach. The wave action here is perfect for body surfing.
  • Black Stone Beach: Rock formations create multiple natural bridges and beautiful photo-ops. The beach is named for the lava stones that litter the shore.
  • Baby Beach and Roger’s Beach: Two of Aruba’s most beautiful beaches are within the remains of the old Lago Colony. Calm, clear waters are found within the breakwaters, surrounded by long stretches of white sands, bordered by greenery and carved stone cliffs.

Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Aruba.

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Enjoying Aruba Watersports—Without Planning Ahead https://moon.com/2017/10/enjoying-aruba-watersports-without-planning-ahead/ https://moon.com/2017/10/enjoying-aruba-watersports-without-planning-ahead/#respond Sat, 28 Oct 2017 14:01:13 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=9611 Want to try kitesurfing, tubing, or renting a waverunner? Palm Beach has dozens of independent operators that provide spur-of-the-moment, unscheduled activities. Learn more about last-minute water adventures in Aruba.

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All along Palm Beach are a dozen or more independent operators with tents that provide spur-of-the-moment, unscheduled activities. These could be banana boat rides, tubing, waverunners, and parasailing, usually sold in blocks of 15-30 minutes. Each resort has at least one vendor; prices and services are the same from one to the next. Fisherman’s Huts, north of the Marriott, is Aruba’s windsurfing and kitesurfing center, with kiosks and tents where lessons can be arranged or equipment rented to those with experience.

kitesurfers and other people enjoying watersports in Aruba

No need to plan ahead to get out on the water; these watersports operators have you covered even if it’s a last minute decision. Photo © Nisangha/iStock.

Aruba Active Vacations

Dedicated to extreme sports, Aruba Active Vacations (Fisherman’s Huts, L. G. Smith Blvd. across from Bakval, 297/586-0989, 9am-7pm daily, windsurfing $50-135, kitesurfing $110-160, mountain biking $25-100, landsailing safari 2.5 hours, $60) is aptly named. Owner Wim Eehlers is the president of the Aruba Windsurfing Association, which conducts the annual Aruba Hi-Winds Pro-Am. He and his crew are fanatical about their activities, offering patient, expert instruction. Aruba is considered to have some of the most ideal conditions for windsurfing in the world: Calm waters and steady winds make it easy to master the sport. Discover a new obsession.

Aruba Surf School

Due to Aruba’s calm waters, surfing does not have the thrill of the Pacific or north Atlantic coasts. There is only one operation dedicated to pursuing this activity here: Aruba Surf School (Irausquin Blvd, 297/593-0229, by appt. daily, 2.5-hour lesson and tour $95, rental $35, SUP class $60, $25/hr rental). Still owner and surfing fanatic Dennis Martinez does his utmost to provide a fun day of riding the waves. He picks up guests at their resorts and takes them to the best surf for that day—at out-of-the-way coves along the north coast. Expect an outback adventure and surfing safari experience all in one. They also rent stand-up paddleboards (SUP) from their center on the beach directly in front of the Marriott Surf Club.

Native Divers Watersports

You can always count on a friendly chat and conscientious service with Vanessa at Native Divers Watersports (Washington 16, 297/586-4763, book at the tent in front of the Marriott Surf Club, 9am-5pm daily, float rental $5/day banana boat; tube rides $20 for 20 minutes; waverunners $65/half-hour; additional $5 per child to share with up to two small children; driver must be at least 16 years old; parasailing $60). She will be happy to arrange all sorts of family activities for playing in the waves, such as tubing, banana boat rides, parasailing, and waverunners, as well as renting out floats, at standard rates. She makes it a practice of directing clients to the most safety-conscious and reputable operators. Her tent is a hospitable place to relax, and she is a fountain of information regarding activities and operators.

Fun for Everyone

At the north end of the Riu Palace beach is George Tromp and his tent offering Fun for Everyone (Borancana 128, 297/640-6603, 9am-5pm daily, float rental $5/day, banana boat and tube rides $20/half-hour, waverunners $60/half-hour, parasailing $60, beach umbrellas $25/ day, beach lounges $5/day). George runs a very friendly operation. He has four fast boats of his own to accommodate all comers. Banana boat rides offer a complete tour of the coastline from Palm Beach to the Westpunt.

He also has beach lounge rental by the day and shade umbrellas for those who are not guests of Palm Beach resorts but wish to spend the day here. This is particularly handy for cruise ship passengers.

Vela Surf Center

On the beach between the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton sits Vela Surf Center (L. G. Smith Blvd 101, 297/586-3735, 9am-6pm daily, $60-$125) and a full menu of surfing options. Two-hour beginners’ group windsufing and kitesurfing lessons are scheduled four times daily. Advanced private lessons can be set up as well. They also rent kayaks, snorkeling gear, and SUPs. This is one of Aruba’s longest established and most respected operators.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Aruba.

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Colombia’s Best Beaches https://moon.com/2017/10/colombias-best-beaches/ https://moon.com/2017/10/colombias-best-beaches/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 23:47:52 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=60154 With both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines to choose from, picking the best of Colombia's beaches is a tough task. Whether your 'best' is an empty expanse of white sand or a chance to really enjoy the water, there's a beach here for you.

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Picking the best of Colombia’s beaches is a tough task. Colombia is the only country in South America with both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. The Caribbean coast features gems like Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, where glacier-fed streams flow from snowcapped mountains into the sea. The Pacific coast offers solitude and a chance to spot humpback whales breaching. And, far from the mainland in the Caribbean, the islands of San Andrés and Providencia are a sultry respite.

Stunning turquoise Caribbean water at Playa Blanca near Cartagena, Colombia

Enjoy the water at Playa Blanca near Cartagena, Colombia. Photo © DC_Colombia/iStock.

Playa Blanca

South of Cartagena is the elongated island of Barú, which is separated from the mainland by the Canal del Dique, an artificial waterway built in 1650 to connect Cartagena with the Río Magdalena. On Barú lies Playa Blanca, a Caribbean paradise of idyllic, white-sand beaches bordering warm blue waters.

Playa Grande

The gray, sandy beach in front of beachside-community Taganga’s boardwalk attracts hordes of locals, especially on weekends, but the best beaches are outside of town. Playa Grande, northwest of town, is the best of the bunch, and it is one of the closest to Taganga. It costs COP$10,000 round-trip to get there by boat. To arrange for boat transportation, just head to the beach in front of the promenade or at La Ballena Azul. There are always boaters waiting for customers. There’s a path to Playa Grande from Taganga, which takes 15 minutes to walk. Check with your hotel whether it’s open and passable.

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

The beaches in Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona are spectacular, but though the water may appear inviting, currents are deceptively strong, and, despite the warnings posted on the beach, many people have drowned here. Of the park’s 34 beaches, there are only 6 where swimming is permitted. There are no lifeguards on duty in the park, and no specific hours for swimming.

The best swimming beaches are around the Cabo San Juan area, including Arenilla and La Piscina, inviting coves of turquoise waters that are protected by natural rock barriers. It’s a 20-minute walk from Arrecifes to both of those beaches. Cabo San Juan, with a large campground nearby, is a hub of activity in the park. Farther along is a clothing-optional beach, just past Playa Brava. Some of the other beaches open to swimming are in the less-visited western part of the park. Playa Neguanje is accessed by car or taxi (COP$15,000 from Santa Marta) through the Palangana entrance (12 km northeast of Santa Marta). Playa del Muerto (Playa Cristal) is another recommended beach in the same area. It’s more than 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the park entrance to the beach.

Palm trees on the Palomino beach in Colombia

Palomino beach is the place to find gently swaying coconut palms and uncrowded stretches of sand. Photo © Peek Creative Collective/123rf.

Palomino

Swaying coconut palms and uncrowded beaches: That’s what the Caribbean is all about, isn’t it? And at Palomino that’s exactly what you get. This town has become quite a popular destination, particularly with backpackers. Caribbean currents can be frustratingly strong here, but the cool waters of the nearby Río Palomino flowing down from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are always refreshing and much more hospitable. Palomino is a good stop to make between Santa Marta and desert adventures in the Alta Guajira.

Tolú

South of Cartagena, the Golfo de Morrosquillo is a broad, 50-kilometer-wide (31-mile-wide) inlet. Largely unknown to international visitors, the gulf’s easternmost shore is home to the beach community of Tolú, which is popular with vacationing Colombian families. Tolú is best described as sleepy. Here, locals get around on foot or bici-taxi (bicycle cab), and it’s hot and humid year-round.

Islas de San Bernardo

The easiest and least expensive way to spend some time on the turquoise waters of the Golfo de Morrosquillo and relax on a tropical white-sand beach is to visit the Islas de San Bernardo. These islands, located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) offshore, are part of the Parque Nacional Natural Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo, although the islands have been privately developed.

Playa Almejal

The fishing community of El Valle to the south of Bahía Solano is authentic if grubby, with wooden houses lining unpaved (often muddy) streets. Just outside of town, about a 15-minute walk north, is Playa Almejal, a broad beach with hotels set back against the jungle. The beach is home to thousands of cangrejos fantasmas (ghost crabs) scurrying about—at a speed of up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) per hour. The graysand beaches are often covered with driftwood, but during the spectacular sunsets, the pastels of the sky are perfectly reflected on the wet sands. The water is great for jumping in the waves, bodysurfing, and surfing.

San Andrés

Some of the best beaches on San Andrés include Spratt Bight, near the Centro in front of the pedestrian walkway; San Luis, near Chammey Marina Cocoplum; Bahía Sonora (near Rocky Cay) beaches; and the Parque Regional Johnny Cay. Out of all of these, the beaches on Johnny Cay, the island off Spratt Bight, are some of the most popular. During peak tourist seasons, on weekends, and on holidays, they get very crowded.

To get to Johnny Cay, you must take a lancha (boat) from Spratt Bight on a quick 15-minute ride. There are always boats (owned by individuals, not organized tour companies) at the ready at Spratt Bight. To arrange a trip, your negotiating skills will be put to the test. Hiring an individual boat can cost up to COP$200,000. The inexpensive option is to take a day tour (COP$20,000). These leave from Spratt Bight by 9:30am every day of the year, returning at around 4pm.

In the late afternoon, Johnny Cay clears out, but you can stay until almost 6pm when the last boats leave. It’s nice to be one of the last visitors on the island as the sun begins its descent. There are no accommodation options on the island, but there are coco loco stands aplenty and some restaurants serving the usual fried fish fare. While there, take a walk around the entire island, where flocks of birds are likely the only company you’ll have. It takes about 15 minutes.

On the eastern side of San Andrés, the beaches at San Luis and Rocky Cay have easy access and great food options. It’s possible to wade through the shallow waters to Rocky Cay.

A beach in Providencia. Photo © Andrew Dier.

A beach in Providencia. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Providencia

The best beaches on Providencia can be found generally on the western side of the island. From Manchineel Bay (Bahía Manzanillo) on the southern end to Allan or Almond Bay in the northwest, they are each worth exploring, if you have the time. On these beaches, the waters are calm, the sand golden, and there’s always a refreshing breeze.

Manchineel Bay (Bahía Manzanillo), home to Roland Roots Bar, is an exotic beach where you can relax under the shade of a palm tree. (Be careful of falling coconuts.) In Southwest Bay (Bahía Suroeste), there are a couple of hotels and restaurants nearby, and you can sometimes see horses cooling off in the water or people riding them along the shoreline. The beaches of Freshwater Bay are very convenient to several hotels and restaurants.

The beach at Allan Bay (or Almond Bay) is more remote. It’s notable for its large octopus sculpture on the side of the road (can’t miss it) and nicely done walkway down to the beach from the ring road. The beach area is a public park, and there is a snack bar and stand where you can purchase handicrafts. You’ll have to either drive to this beach or hitch a ride from a taxi.

A couple of coves on Santa Catalina have some secluded beaches on the path to Morgan’s Head, and they offer snorkeling opportunities as well.

With both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines to choose from, picking the best of Colombia's beaches is a tough task. Whether your 'best' is an empty expanse of white sand or a chance to really enjoy the water, there's a beach here for you.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Colombia.

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Best Beaches in Los Cabos along the Corridor https://moon.com/2017/09/best-beaches-in-los-cabos-along-the-corridor/ https://moon.com/2017/09/best-beaches-in-los-cabos-along-the-corridor/#respond Sun, 10 Sep 2017 17:15:40 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=9860 The corridor is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Los Cabos. Whether you’re looking for activities such as snorkeling, swimming, and Jet Skiing, or just want to relax, the corridor has a beach for you.

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The corridor is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Los Cabos. Whether you’re looking for activities such as snorkeling, swimming, and Jet Skiing, or just want to relax, the corridor has a beach for you.

Bahia Santa Maria in Los Cabos

Bahía Santa Maria is your best bet for snorkeling. Photo © rand22/iStock.

Bahía Santa Maria

Another good spot for snorkeling is Bahía Santa Maria (Mexico 1 Km. 12) where you can rent a snorkel and mask from a vendor on the beach if you didn’t bring your own. It’s best to go in the morning when waters are calm and you have the best chance at reserving one of the beach palapas. There are new public showers and clean restrooms. The sand here is very coarse, more like little pebbles, so plan on wearing water shoes if you have sensitive feet. Watch for beach access signs to get to the dirt parking lot.

Playa Chileno

One of the most picturesque and swimmable beaches in the region is Playa Chileno (Mexico 1 Km. 14). The protected bay provides a calm area for swimming, and the coral reef out near the point provides one of Cabo’s most popular spots for snorkeling from shore. This family-friendly beach is located adjacent to the new Auberge Chileno Bay Resort, but public access is still easily available. Just follow the signs from Mexico 1. There’s a dirt parking lot and portapotties.

swimming lanes marked off in the ocean at Playa Chileno

Playa Chileno is one of the most swimmable beaches in the area. Photo © Jennifer Kramer.

Playa Bledito (Tequila Cove)

An artificial breakwater makes swimming possible at Playa Bledito (Mexico 1 Km. 19.5), also known as Tequila Cove. You can rent a Jet Ski or WaveRunner on the beach here. There’s public access through the arroyo at kilometer 19.5 or through the Hilton or Meliá Cabo Real hotels.

Playa Palmilla

Even though Playa Palmilla (Mexico 1 Km. 27) serves as the beach for many upscale resorts, it’s open for anyone to enjoy. This beach is protected enough for swimming and snorkeling, which makes it a popular spot for families. There are no facilities here other than a few palapas for shade on either side of the fishing fleet. Take the Palmilla exit off the highway and follow signs to the main beach.


Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Los Cabos.

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Morocco’s Best Beaches https://moon.com/2017/09/moroccos-best-beaches/ https://moon.com/2017/09/moroccos-best-beaches/#respond Thu, 07 Sep 2017 21:57:34 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=59138 Discover the tranquility of Mediterranean and Atlantic beaches, great for surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers alike. Windsurf in Essaouira, snag a wave in Agadir, and find yourself secluded in the aptly named Paradise Beach in Asilah. For calmer beaches, visit in September, just after the August crowds have subsided and while the water is still at its warmest.

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Discover the tranquility of Mediterranean and Atlantic beaches, great for surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers alike. Windsurf in Essaouira, snag a wave in Agadir, and find yourself secluded in the aptly named Paradise Beach in Asilah. For calmer beaches, visit in September, just after the August crowds have subsided and while the water is still at its warmest.

Agadir

The beach features one of the most pleasant corniche walks, plenty of lounge chairs, and many Europeans who flock here throughout the year for the sun and sand. Just north of Agadir is the friendly enclave of Taghazoute, where good surfing can be had October-April.

sunny day at Agadir beach in Morocco

The enclave near Taghazoute is great for surfing. Photo © Jaques8425/iStock.

Essaouira

Essaouira beaches are welcoming to women travelers and offer plenty of activities, including bird-watching on the Îles Purpuraires. The wind makes it popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers.

Mirleft

This distant beach is a favorite with Europeans looking for something a bit more out of the way. There are some water sports and deep-sea fishing possibilities, but most people come here to get away from the crowds.

Dakhla

The heavy winds that tear across the Sahara and through the distant Western Sahara city of Dakhla have made this beach a favorite with kitesurfers and windsurfers, with paragliding and fishing also favorite pastimes.

seafoam on the shore of Dakhla Beach in Morocco

Kitesurfers, windsurfers, and paragliders will love the beach in Dakhla. Photo © flyingrussian/iStock.

Rabat

Next to Kenitra, just north of Rabat, is the friendly sunbathing Plage des Nations. With the Exotic Gardens of Sidi Bouknadel nearby, there is plenty to do for a day.

Asilah

The aptly named Paradise Beach is generally deserted outside of the busy summer months, making this a romantic daytime getaway for couples looking to spend a little alone time on a beach.

waves crash on the shore of the beach in Asilah, Morocco

Head to Paradise Beach in Asilah during the off-season for a romantic escape. Photo © typhoonski/iStock.

Tangier

Tangier has beaches on the Mediterranean and Atlantic. The popular beaches on the Mediterranean are good for families and small children, while the Atlantic is where the trendy go to catch some rays away from the crowds.

Cabo Negro

Just a short drive from Tetouan are the clean, warm private beaches of Cabo Negro. They’re impossibly busy during the summer months, but in early fall the crowds subside, making this a go-to destination for sun worshippers.

Plage de Torres

Hidden in the middle of Al-Hoceima National Park, the little-visited Plage de Torres is a gem along this stretch of the Mediterranean and one of the few public beaches not strewn with garbage.

Sit back and relax on Morocco's best and most beautiful beaches from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Morocco.

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Dog-Friendly Campsites on California Beaches https://moon.com/2017/07/dog-friendly-campsites-california-beaches/ https://moon.com/2017/07/dog-friendly-campsites-california-beaches/#respond Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:03:53 +0000 https://moon.com?p=58316&preview=true&preview_id=58316 Summer fun in the sun wouldn’t be complete without man’s best friend! Each of these beautiful, dog-friendly campsites have beach access, so you and your pup can enjoy all that California beaches have to offer.

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Summer fun in the sun wouldn’t be complete without man’s best friend! Each of these beautiful, dog-friendly campsites have beach access, so you and your pup can enjoy all that California beaches have to offer. For details, directions, and even more pet-friendly campsites, pick up a copy of Moon California Camping and look for the easy-to-use dog icon to find hundreds more options for camping with pets. Moon Coastal California also has a “dog days” section that lists the best places for traveling and adventuring with dogs.

Sleeping golden retriever in front of a tent at a dog-friendly campsite

These beach camping adventures are sure to give your dog a good night’s sleep. Photo © chendongshan/iStock.

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Northern California

Gold Bluffs Beach (in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park)

Scenic Rating: 8/10
Region: Redwood Empire
Dog Policy: Leashed dogs are allowed in campground and on the beach, but not on trails

The campsites are in a sandy, exposed area with windbreaks; there’s a huge, expansive beach on one side and a backdrop of 100- to 200-foot cliffs on the other side. You can walk for miles at this beach, often without seeing another soul, and there is a great trail routed north through forest, with many hidden little waterfalls.

In addition, Fern Canyon Trail, one of the best 30-minute hikes in California, is at the end of Davison Road. Hikers walk along a stream in a narrow canyon, its vertical walls covered with magnificent ferns. Sturdy hikers can continue heading north on the Coastal Trail through its pristine woodlands and fantastic expanses of untouched beaches. However, note that dogs are not allowed on Redwood National and State Park trails. There are some herds of elk in the area, often right along the access road. These camps are rarely used in the winter because of the region’s heavy rain and winds. The expanse of beach here is awesome, covering 10 miles of huge, pristine ocean frontage.

Nearby Elk Prairie is another option for camping with dogs in Prairie Creek Redwoods. Though it is not directly on the beach, it has a scenic rating of 9/10 and is rated as one of the best campgrounds for families.

Clam Beach County Park (near McKinleyville)

Scenic Rating: 7/10
Region: Redwood Empire
Dog Policy: Dogs must be on leash in the campground, off leash areas may be available at the beach

Here awaits a beach that seems to stretch on forever, one of the great places to bring a date, a dog, your kids, or, hey, all three. While the campsites are a bit exposed, making winds out of the north a problem in the spring, the direct beach access largely makes up for it. The park gets its name from the fair clamming that is available, but you must come equipped with a clam gun or special clam shovel, and then be out when minus low tides arrive at daybreak. Most people just enjoy playing tag with the waves, taking long romantic walks, or throwing sticks for the dog.

Looking out Wrights Beach towards the hills and cliffs in the distance. Waves crash onto shore and onto a boulder close to the shoreline

Enticing and turbulent waters of Wrights Beach. Photo © Bill Williams, licensed CC BY.

Wrights Beach (in Sonoma Coast State Park)

Scenic Rating: 8/10
Region: Mendocino and Wine Country
Dog Policy: Leashed pets are permitted in the campground and on the beach

This park provides more than its share of heaven and hell. This state park campground is at the north end of a beach that stretches south for about a mile, yet to the north it is steep and rocky. The campsites are considered a premium because of their location next to the beach. Because the campsites are often full, a key plus is an overflow area available for self-contained vehicles. Sonoma Coast State Beach stretches from Bodega Head to Vista Trail for 17 miles, separated by rock bluffs and headlands that form a series of beaches. More than a dozen access points from the highway allow you to reach the beach.

There are many excellent side trips. The best is to the north, where you can explore dramatic Shell Beach (the turnoff is on the west side of Highway 1) or take Pomo Trail (the trailhead is on the east side of the highway, across from Shell Beach) up the adjacent foothills for sweeping views of the coast. That’s the heaven. Now for the hell: Dozens of people have drowned here. Wrights Beach is not for swimming; rip currents, heavy surf, and surprise rogue waves can make even playing in the surf dangerous. Many rescues are made each year. The bluffs and coastal rocks can also be unstable and unsafe for climbing. Got it? 1) Stay clear of the water. 2) Don’t climb the bluffs. Now it’s up to you to get it right.

Shot of the beach, where two people and their dogs stroll next to the shoreline. Fog and hills in the background a bit across the water.

Dogs enjoy a long walk on Carmel Beach. Photo © Stuart Thornton.

Carmel by the River RV Park (on the Carmel River)

Scenic Rating: 8/10
Region: Monterey and Big Sur
Dog Policy: Leashed pets are permitted at the campground, and nearby Carmel Beach (20 minute drive) and Garland Ranch Regional Park (9 minute drive) offer off-leash areas

Location, location, location. That’s what vacationers want. Well, this park is on the Carmel River, minutes away from Carmel, Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, golf courses, and the beach. One of the best California dog beaches is nearby Carmel Beach, where dogs abound and can roam leash-free. Carmel Valley’s Garland Ranch Regional Park is also one of the best places to hike with your dog, offering pet water fountains and off-leash areas. Hedges and flowers separate each site at this RV park.

Note: No tents are permitted here, so this is ideal for RV campers, but closeby Saddle Mountain Ranch RV Park and Campground offers 28 tent sites.

A dark golden retriever leaps out of the water with a wooden stick in its mouth

A special section of Huntington Beach is reserved for dogs and their owners. Photo © John Liu, licensed CC BY.

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Southern California

Bolsa Chica State Beach (near Huntington Beach)

Scenic Rating: 7/10
Region: Los Angeles and Vicinity
Dog Policy: Dogs are allowed at the campsites, but not on the state beach. However, they are allowed on several miles of paved coastal trails and the Huntington Dog Beach is a bit down the coast

This state beach extends three miles from Seal Beach to Huntington Beach City Pier. A bikeway connects it with Huntington State Beach, seven miles to the south. Across the road from Bolsa Chica is the 1,000-acre Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve, managed by the Department of Fish and Game. The campground consists of basically a beachfront parking lot, but a popular one at that. A great little walk is available at the adjacent Bolsa Chica State Reserve, a 1.5-mile loop that provides an escape from the parking lot and entry into the 530-acre nature reserve, complete with egrets, pelicans, and many shorebirds. Lifeguard service is available during the summer.

This camp has a seven-day maximum stay during the summer and a 14-day maximum stay during the winter. Surf fishing is popular for perch, cabezon, small sharks, and croaker. There are also occasional runs of grunion, a small fish that spawns in hordes on the sandy beaches of Southern California.

San Elijo State Beach (in Cardiff by the Sea)

Scenic Rating: 9/10
Region: San Diego and Vicinity
Dog Policy: Leashed pets are permitted at the campground, but not in some areas of the beach. However, Del Mar City Beach is just down the coast and has a dog section that extends from 29th Street to Solana Beach

These are bluff-top campgrounds and about half the sites overlook the ocean. Swimming and surfing are good, with a reef nearby for snorkeling and diving. What more could you ask for? Well, for one thing, how about not so many trains? Yep, train tracks run nearby and the trains roll by several times a day. So much for tranquility.

Regardless, it is a beautiful beach just north of the small town of Cardiff by the Sea. Nearby San Elijo Lagoon at Solana Beach is an ecological preserve. Though this is near a developed area, there are numerous white egrets, as well as occasional herons and other marine birds. Reservations are usually required to get a spot between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.

Aerial shot of the coast at Ocean Beach. There is a large sandy area and some wave breaks.

Ocean Beach has lots of room for dogs to run. Photo © Hasan Can Balcioglu/Dreamstime.

Campland on the Bay (on Mission Bay)

Scenic Rating: 8/10
Region: San Diego and Vicinity
Dog Policy: Leashed dogs are allowed, with some restrictions. Though they are not allowed on the beach, there are designated Dog Walk Areas and nearby Ocean Beach, the “original dog beach,” allows dogs

This is one of the biggest campgrounds this side of the galaxy. The place has a prime location overlooking Kendall Frost Wildlife Preserve and is set on Mission Bay, a beautiful spot that’s a boater’s paradise with a private beach. Waterskiing, sailboarding, and ocean access for deep-sea fishing are preeminent. SeaWorld, just north of San Diego, offers a premium side trip. This campground is consistently rated one of San Diego’s best. There are more than 558 sites, and many facilities are available.


Find the best dog-friendly California campsites with beach access.


Excerpted from the 20th Edition of Moon California Camping.

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Block Island’s Best Beaches https://moon.com/2017/07/block-islands-best-beaches/ https://moon.com/2017/07/block-islands-best-beaches/#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:52:25 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=43129 With 17 miles of beaches encircling Block Island, beachcombers and solitude seekers need not worry about excessive crowds, even in the height of summer.

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With 17 miles of beaches encircling Block Island, beachcombers and solitude seekers need not worry about excessive crowds, even in the height of summer—it’s usually possible to find at least a small stretch of beach that’s nearly or entirely deserted. Keep in mind that only Benson and Ballard’s beaches are staffed by lifeguards, and riptides are a serious problem in the waters surrounding Block Island. Pay close attention to water and wind conditions before venturing into unfamiliar waters.

A sandy path lined by a wooden fence at Block Island's Crescent Beach.

Wander through the warm sand on the path to Crescent Beach. Photo © Ellenmck/iStock.

Crescent Beach

The most famous but also most crowded swath of sand is two-mile Crescent Beach, which stretches along Block Island’s east coast from Old Harbor to Clay Head Nature Preserve. The beach is comprised of different sections, the main one being Fred Benson Town Beach (or Benson Beach) off Corn Neck Road. This is one of the only beaches on the island where you’ll find lifeguards and public amenities like changing facilities and showers, chair and umbrella rentals, and a small snack bar (the other is Ballard’s). There’s also a large (free) parking lot with bike racks. This town beach, formerly run by the state, tends to draw the bulk of day-trippers and other visitors, especially on weekends.

South of Benson Beach, practically in Old Harbor, you’ll find the shallow pools of Baby Beach, where families often bring children. It’s a short walk from many hotels, and the tidal pools are fun for picking up fiddler and hermit crabs, collecting seashells, and swimming or wading.

On the other side, just north of Benson, the somewhat more secluded Scotch Beach section tends to draw a lot of summer workers, local teens, and the like. It’s less suitable for families than Benson. North of here, beautiful Mansion Beach forms the northern end of this stretch. It lies beneath the remains of a mansion that burned in a fire long ago. There’s not much parking here—many visitors arrive by bike. It’s a very scenic and romantic spot, perfect for a picnic or some relative peace and quiet and yet more accessible than some of the island’s most tranquil beaches.

Mansion Beach Lucas

Other Beaches

A lively spot that gets rowdy at night, Ballard’s Beach, at the southern tip of Old Harbor’s commercial district, is right by Ballard’s seafood restaurant, just beyond the harbor’s southern breakwater. This attractive span is popular with young singles and couples: Waitstaff scurries about, delivering beer and fruity drinks, revelers play volleyball, and live bands entertain the crowds on summer afternoons. The surf can be pretty intense at times, although it’s perfectly safe for adults with swimming experience.

A short drive or bike ride from Old Harbor, West Beach (West Beach Rd.), with parking just past the town transfer station, is a relatively peaceful beach that’s ideal for a stroll, especially at sunset. From here you can hike up the entire western shore of the island, heading north to North Lighthouse. Part of this area is a bird sanctuary, so dogs are not permitted, and humans are asked to stay below the high-tide line and avoid disturbing the dunes and wildlife.

There are several other smaller and more secluded beaches around the island, many of them known only among locals and accessible primarily on foot or by bike. Favorites among these include Black Rock Beach and Vail Beach, both of which are accessible from Snake Hole Road on the south shore of the island.

Vail is a pretty if rocky spot in the shadow of Mohegan Bluffs and has some rough surf. Black Rock takes its name from the large black rock offshore; it has a series of secluded coves perfect for hiking or quiet sunbathing. You’ll want to take a bike here, as the road to the beach is more than a mile long and mopeds are forbidden. Given the seclusion of the area, some beachgoers may decide to make their excursion clothing-optional, although you didn’t hear that from us.


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Rhode Island.

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The 10 Best Places to Camp on Oregon’s Coast https://moon.com/2017/06/the-10-best-places-to-camp-on-oregons-coast/ https://moon.com/2017/06/the-10-best-places-to-camp-on-oregons-coast/#comments Sun, 18 Jun 2017 18:45:44 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=13615 From north to south, here are 10 great coastal camping spots for all interests—whether you're looking for something easily accessible or beautifully secluded.

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From north to south, here are the top Oregon coastal camping spots for all interests—whether you’re looking for something easily accessible or beautifully secluded.

Best Camping on Oregon’s North Coast

Tents set in a grassy clearing with late afternoon sun hitting nearby trees.

Camping at Nehalem Bay State Park. Photo © Judy Jewell.

  • Fort Stevens State Park: Bike trails, a shipwreck, an old military fort, and a long beach where the Columbia River crashes into the Pacific make this a family-friendly campground. It’s big, too, with over 500 sites, including yurts and cabins, so it’s usually easy to find accommodations.
  • Nehalem Bay State Park: This campground has beach access to the Pacific on one side and sandy Nehalem Bay on the other; bike and hiking trails make it easy to get around.
  • Cape Lookout State Park: At the base of a secluded sand spit, with easy access to hiking on Cape Lookout–one of the coast’s top hiking trails–this campground has popular yurts and cabins.

Best Camping on Oregon’s Central Coast

Two dogs at the crest of a sand dune in Oregon's Honeyman State Park.

The dunes at Honeyman State Park. Photo © ktkochan/Flickr, CC-BY.

  • South Beach State Park: Just south of Newport, this large campground has easy access to the beach. It’s a great base camp for a guided paddle trip up the nearby Beaver Creek estuary.
  • Carl G. Washburne State Park: On the central coast between Florence and Yachats, camp on the inland side of the highway in a thicket of huge salal bushes. Pile your gear into a wheelbarrow (provided) and trundle it to one of the great walk-in campsites, then hike along the Hobbit Trail. There are also plenty of standard spots for car and RV camping.
  • Honeyman State Park: A few miles south of Florence, this large campground is a playground for sandboarders and dune riders. Two miles of sand dunes separate the park from the ocean. The two freshwater lakes within the park’s boundaries are popular places to boat and swim.

Best Camping on Oregon’s South Coast

The lighthouse near Cape Blanco. Photo © Judy Jewell.

The lighthouse near Cape Blanco. Photo © Judy Jewell.

  • Sunset Bay State Park: Not only is this bay-fronting campground lovely, it’s home to the Oregon coast’s only real swimming beach and adjacent to several of the southern Oregon coast’s top sights: Shore Acres State Park, Cape Arago, and South Slough National Estuarian Research Reserve.
  • Cape Blanco State Park: A beautiful and often blustery campground at the state’s westernmost point, just north of Port Orford and Humbug Mountain. Campground trails lead down to the beach and to the nearby lighthouse.
  • Harris Beach State Park: Just north of Brookings, this magical campground sits in a grove of spruce and firs, and just off the beach are menhir-like sea stacks busy with seabirds.
  • Alfred A. Loeb State Park: On the north bank of the Chetco River, find aromatic old-growth myrtlewood and the nation’s northernmost naturally occurring redwood trees at Loeb State Park. The 1.2-mile nature trail winds through the redwoods, passing one tree with a 33-foot girth. When the south coast is foggy and cold on summer mornings, it’s often warm and dry here.

Travel Maps of Coastal Oregon

Topographical Map of Coastal Oregon

Coastal Oregon Topographical Map

Color map of the north coast of Oregon

North Coast of Oregon

Color map of the central coast of Oregon

Central Coast of Oregon

Color map of the South Coast of Oregon

South Coast of Oregon



Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Coastal Oregon .

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