A white sandy beach on a Caribbean island? A rocky beach in Nova Scotia? A glacial beach in Scandinavia? Or perhaps a cave-littered beach in France? Beaches are things of the imagination, and they don't disappoint. To each dream, there is a beach to match.
Given that the planet is two-thirds water and the land masses within it total 217,490 miles (350,016 Kilometers) of coastline, and that there are beaches from South Africa to England, Australia to Croatia (there are even 9 beaches in Antarctica!), it is safe to say that there is a beach somewhere in this world for everyone. There's a beach for you!
When the word "beach" is spoken, most people think warm, sunny, palm trees and fruity cocktails, a beach ball, a swimsuit and hours of leisure, maybe a nap in a hammock in the shade as the afternoon grows hot. But beaches take many forms, from white or pink sand to pebbles and even volcanic ash. They are home to a litany of sea creatures, on shore (crabs and birds, for instance) and in the water (fish and corals), and they come in two general categories, "developed", Miami Beach, for instance, and "wild" like some of the beaches in the Galapagos archipelago.
Planning a beach holiday can be mind-boggling because of the huge array of options. A smart place to start is to decide how far you want to travel and what type of beach you want to visit, plus how long you plan to spend there. A long weekend at a tropical beach, such as Baby Beach on Aruba, takes a quick plan, not a lot of packing, and doesn't necessarily involve a lot of side trips, just three days of R&R with rejuvenation as the result! But a week at Surfer's Paradise Beach in Queensland, Australia, probably means sight-seeing in the area and a completely different type of vacation experience.
Because every continent on the planet has beaches of various types, there is a beach somewhere no too far from where you live. Remember, beaches are not just on the ocean; thousands of freshwater lakes, such as Lake Ontario in Canada and Lake Como in Italy, boast excellent beaches. Think of the beach nearest you and consider "beaching" close to home as one style of beach vacation.
It's easy to think of beaches as havens of sunshine and rest, a lazy way to catch a tan and forget the weather or woes of work. Beaches have their perils and a smart beach vacationer will do their research. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean lap the waters of the gorgeous beaches at Durban, South Africa; sharks are fond of those waters, too. Undertow and tides are also a factor. At Cape Blomidon Beach, a beige sandy crescent circled by the red cliffs of "The Blomidon" in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, the tides are so extreme that people have drowned trying to swim/climb their way up the cliffs when the tides, that can rise 40 feet in a short period, come in up the Bay of Fundy. Safety at the beach will mean a positive vacation experience.
Beaches aren't just for summer activities and water sports. Some beaches are made for long walks near the water's edge, made better with a romantic partner and/or your dog. Cobourg Beach, in the small Ontario, Canada, town of the same name, is such a beach, and with fine dining, art galleries, great little shops, and several theatres in the area, it offers a lot for the culture-seeking beach vacationer.
A beach vacation is limited only by the imagination of the traveler, and the time and budget allocated. We are all drawn to water, perhaps because we all apparently came from it. A beach vacation will recharge your batteries, whether you've chosen to rock-hound at Man O'War Cove beach in Dorset, England, or sunbathe at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. A beach is a dream that in reality can come true.