Hidden Beach Gems

Rainer Jenss recently traveled around the world with his wife and two sons and blogged about his experience here on Intelligent Travel.  We’re proud to announce that Rainer’s Jenss Family Travels was selected as one of the Top 25 Family Travel Blogs by Babble.com.  This is Part 1 of his report on some of the world’s best beaches.

For those of us living in the Northeast U.S., summertime means family trips to the beach.  Whether it’s a week on Martha’s Vineyard, a long weekend in the Hamptons, or a day trip to the Jersey shore, there’s an abundance of beaches from which to choose.  Having so many outstanding options within a day’s drive is one of the major benefits of living where we do.  Because we’ve got surf and sand on our minds (and maybe even between our toes) these days, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most amazing beaches from around the world that can serve as inspiration for those of us who might be willing to travel a little further to get to them.  Here are the first five of 10:

White Crest Beach: Wellfleet, Massachusetts

This gorgeous stretch of beach on Cape Cod is a prime hangout for surfers who usually spend more time waiting for waves than actually riding them.  Even though the water is a bit cold to swim in, the incredibly steep sandy bluffs that lead down to White Crest Beach provide one of the most picturesque days at the beach you’ll find anywhere in the U.S.

Short Sand Beach: Oswald West State Park, Oregon

On the other side of the country, California is usually the state most associated with sun-drenched beaches.  But in my opinion, the Oregon coastline trumps the Golden State in terms of sheer beauty.  Located 10 miles south of the more popular Cannon Beach is Oswald West State Park, whose half-moon-shaped Short Sands Beach is accessed via a short hike through a lush rain forest.  This gorgeous cove is rarely crowded, and has become a favorite place to windsurf, surf, and boogie board.  If you want to spend time at the beach in relative quiet, but without sacrificing views of the spectacular northern Oregon coast, put a stop at Oswald West State Park high on your list of places to visit.

Black Sand Beach: Maui, Hawaii

Honokalani Black Sand Beach is located in Wainapanapa State Park on the island of Maui. This large beach is set among lava cliffs and the sand is actually fine, smooth, lava pebbles. A small sea arch, sea caves, and seaside lava tubes are located in the beach area.  But half the fun is the drive that gets you there.  Black Sand Beach is one of the last stops on the world-famous “Road to Hana,” so unless you have accommodations in nearby Hana itself, you probably can’t afford to spend too much time sunbathing.

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Red Beach: Santorini, Greece

Santorini has long been called the diamond of the Greek Islands. Its white sculptured villages are nestled atop steep volcanic cliffs that fall sharply to the deep blue Aegean Sea. This is paradise for photographers, artists, or anyone who just wants to sit at a cafe and soak up the sun and scenery.  Their beaches are much different than others in Greece due to their special geographical features. The most famous is the Red Beach because of the red and black volcanic rocks.  Most people just come to admire the steep cliffs and never make it down to the hot sand. Those who do are treated to a natural beauty rarely seen anywhere else in the world.

La Digue: Seychelles

If you’re looking for an unspoiled and exotic beach vacation destination, La Digue is one of the most popular islands in the Seychelles, and Anse Source d’Argent is the reason why. This amazingly beautiful beach features giant, dark granite boulders on a white sand beach, surely one of the most dramatic tropical settings you could imagine! The pathway to the beach runs through an old coconut plantation, which is fascinating in itself.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 with five more of the world’s hidden beach gems.

Follow Rainer on Twitter at @JenssTravel.

Photos by Rainer Jenss