Of course a summer break could include all kinds of other locations, such as a visit to famous city, some high altitude walking in the mountains or time spent in one of the famous Lakeland areas of the world such as the Italian Lakes like Garda or Como, the Canadian great lakes or the Swedish Fjords. But more often than not there is likely to be some type of beach involved in most people's summer vacation. The Spanish Canary Islands are a small group of islands that have their own variety of beaches that provide holidaymakers with plenty of choice, whatever their preferences.
So what is it about a beach that attracts so many people? After all warm sunny weather can be experience in most locations, and swimming opportunities are found in many inland areas, either in lakes or rivers. Beaches have several unique characteristics that perhaps contribute to their allure. First there is the sand itself. The soft sand is comfortable to lie on, feels nice to walk on and of course provides a great play environment for small children. But sandy beaches are not the only popular ones, with shingle and rocky beaches also proving attractive. The views offered by coastal locations are also a factor. There is something pleasing about an outlook where the land has ended and the sea stretches off into infinity.
Imaginations run riot about what may be over the horizon, and the hustle and bustle of the world inland can be left behind. Of the course the sea itself plays a part. Unlike lakes, the sea is altogether a more dramatic and powerful beast. Gentle swells or crashing waves make the sea and ever changing environment and one that can either be just looked at or made use of as part of other pastimes. Fishing, swimming, surfing, sailing, diving, kayaking and windsurfing are just some of the sports and hobbies that make use of the sea. One other aspect is of course wildlife. Either in the water, above it or along its shores the sea supports a myriad of life forms that vary across the world. Beaches can be a naturists heaven at all times of the year.
For those seeking a place to lie in the sun there are beaches all over the world that easily fulfil that requirements. From the beaches of the Spanish Costa Blanca to Australia's Gold Coast, long sandy beaches are everywhere it seems. For the ultimate in sandy beach tranquility one of the 1000's of Maldives islands may be the ideal. Tiny islands, some with room for just one dwelling and surrounded entirely by white soft sand, these are perhaps the sand lovers dream. On the island of Fuerteventura are perhaps some of the Canaries' best sandy beaches. In the north of the island is the biggest beach, stretching for several kilometers south from Corralejo. The waters here, looking across to the nature reserve on the Isla of Lobos, can be a turquoise blue and soft sand reaches inland across dunes for over 2 kilometers. They present almost a desert scene looking inland towards the hills of extinct volcanoes like Volcan de la Olive.
Sports also have their favorite beach locations. From the surfing beaches of Hawaii like the North Shore, Oahu, the home of surfing, where huge waves provide the ultimate thrills for surfers during the winter. Waimea Beach is another spot where massive waves frighten the life out of all but the bravest surfers. In the Canaries surfing is also a popular beach activity, although the waves don't compare with the size of those in Hawaii. It is however one of Europe's favourite surf locations with Sotavento in the south of Fuerteventura and Playa de Famara on Tenerife both popular places.
As far as landscape and scenery are concern there are many spectacular beaches around the world, some of which are hardly visited due to their remoteness. Africa has some amazing places, like the beaches of the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. Paje beach on the east coast is a seeming endless stretch of white sand, fringed by palm trees, with an outlook across the Indian Ocean. In the UK there may not be the vast expanses of beach areas enjoyed by some larger countries but there are some equally spectacular spots. Kynance Cove in Cornwall is one example of a small dramatic beach reached by a steep footpath and Three Cliffs beach on the Gower Peninsula in Wales is regarded by some as one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK.
On the North West coast of Gran Canaria, beaches are few and far between as steep jagged cliff sides plunge into the Atlantic Ocean, but these places have their own beauty too. Driving north along the coast road towards the town of Agaete, the traveler is presented with some breathtaking views.
Finally let's not forget the children, those for whom the beach presents the perfect play ground. Praia de Rocha close to the town of Portimao on the Portuguese Algarve is a favourite family holiday spot. Along Spain's Coast del Sol are many golden sandy best favoured by European tourists. Two such examples are at Villajoyosa where the El Paradis beach has almost a mile of golden sand to enjoy and further south near Alicante the Playa Muchavista and the Playa de San Juan form a sweeping arc of almost 4 miles of wonderful sandy beach.
In the Canaries the south of Gran Canaria has perhaps some of the best children's beaches. The vast sand dunes of Maspalomas and the long sandy beach of Playa del Ingles are both ideal places for children to play the days away in the sun, sand and surf. These are just a few examples of the best beaches around the world and an illustration of how resorts like Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Gran Canaria can offer equally spectacular alternatives in a single location.