south beach miami

Find your perfect beachfront weekend getaway. (Photo: Getty Images)

Beach Travel

Need a Beachy Weekend Getaway in Your Life? These 6 Spots Bring the Sun, Sand and Sea

Craving a beach weekend getaway? We don’t blame you. There’s something restorative about the ocean — watching the waves, spotting sea life, feeling the breeze. Beaches are different all over the world, but the things they all have in common are relaxation and fun.

From the shores of the southern tip of South Africa to Canada’s adventurous coastline, there’s a beach out there with your name written in the sand.

Here are six spots where there are plenty of places to plant your umbrella, spread out a towel and dive into the water — or into your favorite weekend read.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Miami, Florida

Second only to Alaska, Florida has the most coastline in the United States at 1,350 miles, and no strand is as famous as Miami’s sandy glitz and glam. Once matted jungle, Miami Beach is now a haven for the rich and fabulous, filled with global culture, world-class cuisine and coastal bliss.

A visit to the Magic City isn’t complete without at least a few hours on South Beach, which is lined with luxury high-rise hotels and historic art deco apartment buildings and filled with beautiful beach bodies.

While the party scene carries on until dawn, opt to watch the sunrise from one of 1111 Lincoln Road’s 300 parking spaces to see the dawning of a new day over the Atlantic.

Vancouver, Canada

Whytecliff Park
Get outdoors in British Columbia. (Photo: Getty Images)

When the winter thaws and British Columbia sees sunshine, locals flock to the beach to soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

Like other coastal Canadian cities, Vancouver offers several top-notch beach parks for swimming on summer days, including Whytecliff Park, just around the point from Horseshoe Bay, offering views of Howe Sound and Bowen Island. Scuba divers also love Whytecliff for its myriad sea creatures, including starfish, urchins and seals.

Head to Kitsilano Beach for Vancouver’s best people-watching, and take in the views from the Boathouse Restaurant, right on the beach. White Rock is just 45 minutes from Vancouver, and its two beaches — East Beach and West Beach — are five miles long and perfect for paddleboarding, swimming and whale watching.

Punta de Mita, Mexico

An exclusive enclave near Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita offers beaches that are secluded from the megaresort crowds while maintaining five-star amenities and ease of access.

The Pacific Ocean is prime for whale watching (especially from December to March), and the beachfront golf courses let you get in a game without straying too far from the shoreline.

Beach lovers with bucket lists will certainly want to take a tour to the Marieta Islands, home of Playa del Amor, the famous Hidden Beach. You’ll swim through a cavern to get to the secluded spot where the crystalline waters meet white sands with a large oculus open to the blue sky above.

Santorini, Greece

Kamari Beach
See Santorini’s black sand beach. (Photo: Getty Images)

Few beachfront towns are as iconic as Santorini, filled with azure-capped, sun-bleached hillside homes overlooking the alluring Mediterranean. The island is ripe for romance, with beach sunsets, local wines and the freshest seafood just steps away from the shoreline.

Oia is the most famous beach on the Greek island, but it’s also the most crowded, especially when the cruise ships come in. Opt instead for Kamari, where you can enjoy the beach life and a history lesson at the ruins of Ancient Thira.

Hit Perissa’s Insta-worthy black-sand beach or take in the prehistoric museum at Thira, and snap some pics of nearby Nea Kameni island.

Sydney, Australia

Maroubra Beach
Have fun in the sun in Sydney. (Photo: Getty Images)

If you want a tour of Sydney’s best beach, you’ll want to visit Bondi first, and preferably early in the morning before the crowds descend. It’ll just be you and the surfers, so take advantage and stroll the sand while the crabs are just waking up. Then grab your boards and hit Maroubra in the Eastern Suburbs, just 20 minutes from Bondi.

If you’re not ready and waxed to hit the surf, the white sand makes tanning, swimming and socializing a breeze. At the Northern Beaches, don’t miss Palm Beach, just 25 miles from Sydney’s central business district.

Governor Phillip Park is a gorgeous nature preserve with bike and horse trails, dog parks and a long stretch of sand at Narrabeen Lagoon. The Barrenjoey Lighthouse is worth the trek to the top to see the view from this sandstone structure from the 19th century.

Cape Town, South Africa

boulder beach
See the penguins on Boulder Beach. (Photo: Getty Images)

Situated under the sprawling mesa of Table Mountain, South Africa’s chicest city is also home to its most beautiful beaches. Take the glass-enclosed cable car to the mesa’s top to pick out your (approximate) spot on the sand below, or time your visit with sunset and enjoy a sundowner cocktail as our nearest star sinks into the ocean’s horizon.

When you’re ready to hit the sand, Clifton Beach is a series of four beaches lining the metropolis, separated by large boulders. The white sands and gentle waves are intoxicating, but the Atlantic’s waters can be quite cold.

Boulders Beach is a must for animal lovers — it’s where African penguins live in a colony and visitors can spot whales off the shore from June to December.