Polar vortexes, record snow falls, Arctic conditions … you may be dreaming of a beach getaway right about now. Unfortunately, so too are thousands of spring breakers, who are gearing up to head to beaches from coast to coast (and to our southern Caribbean and Mexico neighbors, as well).
However, that doesn’t mean you have to join them (in the exact same beach locale, that is), or forgo going to the beach at all. So pack your swimsuit and head out: Here are several secluded beach getaways that offer sun, sand, and serenity, without the spring break crowds.
1. Instead of Cancun, try Isla Mujeres
The island of Isla Mujeres, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, offers a quiet paradise to refresh and recharge. You won’t find mega hotel chains or raging nightclubs here. Instead, picture boutique hotels and beachfront B&Bs, mom-and-pop restaurants offering the catch of the day and umbrella drinks with fresh-squeezed juices, and lazy bicycle or moped rides to explore at your own pace. It’s a place that values a laid-back, restorative lifestyle … and if you want nightlife and crowds, you’re welcome to take the ferry back to Cancun.
To get inspired, check out the Isla Mujeres travel photos on Trip Advisor, plus read the community postings for trip recommendations that gel with your preferred activities. If I were heading there, I’d plan for a few days of snorkeling – but also a few days just to relax on a hammock with a book and a drink, with my only must-dos being to read and nap.
2. Instead of Daytona Beach, try New Smyrna Beach
Nicknamed “Florida’s Secret Pearl”, New Smyrna Beach offers Florida beaches, great surfing, and a thriving arts community on the north/central Atlantic coast. Located 20 minutes south of Daytona, New Smyrna Beach offers a more family-friendly atmosphere and laid-back small-town vibe compared to its spring-break-famous northern neighbor.
If I were heading here, I’d take a kitesurfing lesson, check out the area’s art galleries for a one-of-a-kind souvenir, and hike the Canaveral Beach Trail (and keep my eye out for wildlife, such as the region’s nesting sea turtles). I might also try to snag a reservation at Norwood’s Restaurant and Wine Shop, a Wine Spectator-award winning restaurant that focuses on fresh, local, and handmade dishes.
3. Instead of Puerto Rico, try St. John, USVI
My friend’s parents visited St. John during a port stop on a cruise and loved it so much they retired here. Such is the lure of this quiet island, the smallest (and least populated) of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to its gorgeous beaches, St. John’s big draw is the Virgin Islands National Park, home to 7,000 acres of unspoiled forest and wildlife. You may not see other hikers, but you may spot hummingbirds, butterflies, wild donkeys, or turtles while out exploring the park.
Accessible via ferry from nearby St. Thomas, St. John is the epitome of mellow. If I were headed here, I’d plan on a few days of hiking and snorkeling – and not much else.
Which beach destination recharges your batteries? Share your favorites by leaving a comment below!
Photo courtesy Navin75 via Flickr Creative Commons
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