There’s something about warm weather getaways that beckons this time of year. As the frost begins to thaw and we see the first signs of spring, inevitably we begin to plan summer vacations. Which is why VIRTUOSO LIFE dedicated an entire issue to the subject, beginning with the cover story on New Zealand.

You’ll also find warm weather inspiration in the article on 25 top beaches. The following are a few examples located in the U.S., but our complete list of 25 encompasses the world.

hawaiiHawaii
Hanalei Bay Beach

The Vibe: Hawaii unplugged
Read: Tangled Lies by Anne Stuart (set on Kauai)
Eat: Teriyaki burger and banana milk shake at Bubba’s (Kuhio Highway; 808/826-7839)
Stay: The new 252-room St. Regis Princeville Resort scales a jungle-covered bluff overlooking Hanalei Bay.

Nestled near the eastern end of Kauai’s dramatic Na Pali Coast, this eclectic beach curls around a crescent-shaped bay of the same name. The cove attracts more locals than tourists, and the calm, shallow waters lend themselves to surfing, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, and windsurfing. Scenes from South Pacific (1958) were shot in and around bayside Hanalei town, renowned for its one-lane bridge and taro farms.

California
Venice/Santa Monica Beach

The Vibe: California eclectic
Read: North of Montana by April Smith, a murder mystery set in Santa Monica
Eat: Huevos rancheros with a Bloody Mary at the Sidewalk Café (1401 Ocean Front Walk; 310/399-5547)
Stay: Situated in Santa Monica, Shutters on the Beach is one of the few LA-area hotels whose backyard really is the beach. Its 198 residential-style rooms were recently renovated.

“Carnival by the sea” best describes the shore shared by the Venice and Santa Monica areas of Los Angeles. The spacious sands and copious waves nearly take a backseat to the frenetic action along the boardwalk: chalk artists and street musicians, craft stalls and outdoor cafés, bikini-clad Roller-bladers, and bare-chested weight lifters, even a pleasure pier with thrill rides. The beach is long enough that you can take a lone stroll along the much less populated northern sands.

Florida
South Beach, Miami

The Vibe: Are you cool enough?
Listen: Sound track from Miami Vice
Eat: Rainbow ceviche and rum-vanilla-cured smoked marlin at Ola (1745 James Avenue; 305/695-9125)
Stay: The Tides South Beach, where all of the 45 rooms are suites with beach views.

Star of television, film, and steamy novels, South Beach is more like a living, breathing celebrity than a static stretch of sand. This is beachfront eye candy gone wild – fancy cars and beautiful people. Art deco facades and faces you’ve seen on a million magazine covers. Endless sunshine and all-night dance parties. Everything you love (and loathe) about southern Florida comes together in one place. Yet it’s not just a pretty face: South Beach also lures with superb sand and hardcore beach volleyball, especially the courts at 8th and Ocean.

Georgia
Cumberland Island

The Vibe: Gone With the Wind goes to the beach
Read: Palindrome by Stuart Woods (set on Cumberland)
Listen: Gullah – Songs of Hope, Faith and Freedom by Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers
Stay: The 444-room Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island sprawls across an enticing beachfront locale eight miles from Cumberland Island.

March VL CoverOnce a private getaway for the Carnegies, Georgia’s largest barrier island boasts 18 miles of pristine beach protected as a national seashore. Backed by low dunes, the strand is nearly 1,000 feet wide. Beachcombing is superb, and keep a lookout for dolphins, wild horses, and more than 300 bird species. Visit Dungeness (the ruined Carnegie mansion) near the south end of the beach and the tiny Baptist church where JFK Junior married Carolyn Bessette in 1996.

Click here to enjoy the entire March/April 2010 issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE.

2 comments

  1. Where in Italy we also have great Island to visti and to stay. One of the greatest Island is Sicily with Taormina. They are fantastic island and also very different form the other thank’s the volcanic soil.
    In Taormina you can stay in the San Domenico Palace one of the best hotel in Europe and in Italy. The Garden Suite is one of the best room that they have, has a private jacuzzi overlooking the see. the price are not to bad they can go from 1.500 euro per night a suite of 58 m. The hotel have also a Michelin restaurant Pricipe Cerami with 2 stars manage by the chef Massimo Mantarro.
    Great advice to vist Taormina.
    Alex Rome Tour Guide
    http://www.italyiloveyou.com

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