April Beach Travel Guide

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
YOUR OWN PRIVATE AVON: North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras lighthouse, part of the state’s famed Outer Banks (PhotoDisc)

Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Two great reasons to visit Grenada in April: It's an exotic, beautiful, fascinating island and in early April it hosts the Round-the-Island Easter Regatta. With water-borne events by day and partying by night, you can poach off the energy even if you don't know a mast from a mainsail. Grenada is the Spice Island, with some 90 percent of the world's nutmeg grown here, and if you hang around Grand Anse long enough you'll probably meet some of the locals in the spice trade. While you wait, soak in the stunning aesthetics of the nicest and longest stretch of sand in Grenada, where beach bars, cafes, and even a vendors' market front the sand.

Saint Thomas
The main hub of activity in the U.S. Virgin Islands doesn't need a lot of encouragement to start partying, but when it happens—like during April's Carnival—the residents really come out to play. This is one time when you don't want to steer clear of the main drag in Charlotte Amalie—it's a colorful, fun scene with a stream of parades, live bands, a calypso competition, steel band jamboree, and, to cap off the three-week fete, a night of fireworks.

Avon, NC
The days are warming quickly, which means the shallow waters of Pamlico Sound are doing the same. The spring weather fronts bring wind, which delights windsurfers and kite surfers, but you're still a month ahead of the big beach vacation crowds, so you have a lot of sand to yourself. The Atlantic is still nippy at this point but it's so serene and tempting you might be compelled to brave it.

Even if you don't like sailing (and, really, how could you not?), you have to concede the elegance, seductive shape and flat-out beauty of classic yachts. To drink this in hull, mast, and mainsail, tack to Antigua for the annual Classic Yacht Regatta. The event features classic ketches, sloops, schooners, and yawls, along with select Spirit of Tradition and J Class yachts, and Tall Ships. Sailors know two things better than most people: how to enjoy the sea and how to tell stories about enjoying the sea. On top of the nautical attractions, Antigua also boasts 365 beaches (though we stopped counting at about five) and the well-preserved Nelson's Dockyard historical site.

Zuma, Malibu, CA
This is a kick-back, old-school California scene, with surfers, surf-spectators, families, and anyone who appreciates a clean stretch of white sand and chilling out to the rhythms of Pacific waves. If you want to stay dry, join in on the robust volleyball scene or go whale watching in Santa Monica Bay. As much as any beach in SoCal, Zuma will get you California Dreamin’.

Anse de Grande Saline, Saint Barts
This ritzy little island will make you feel famous and French at any time of year—it's known for stunning beaches and some of the finest shopping and dining in the region—so perhaps it's wise to surrender completely and go during the Caribbean Film Festival, held in late April. No, this doesn't mean you have to spend a beach vacation indoors, just that you can glom onto the aura of regional moviemakers and stars, and perhaps even shoot your own relaxation expose on Anse de Grande Saline, the island's longest beach.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of those rare countries where you can feel you're having a true adventure without spending half the time privately wishing you were safe at home. And Puerto Viejo captures this mood. A hotspot on the surfing circuit, the waves crank here through the winter but typically mellow enough by April to accommodate novices and intermediates as well. The vibe is beach-bum-backpacker mixed with Latin dancer, with some bars kicking up disco far unto the night while others pulse to the familiar strains of reggae. The beach is classic Central American: wild, a little rough and raw, fringed by jungle trees. And April is in the dry season, but even then rain is a common—if fleeting—visitor.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL
April basically guarantees warm—but not oppressively hot weather—and ocean temperatures edging into the high 70s. The days are getting long and the summer throngs have yet to descend, yet there's more than enough action to satisfy nightlife, dining, and culture lovers. Hit a beach by day—the main-drag Blue Wave Beach is a favorite for people watching and sea gazing—then slide over to the Las Olas Riverfront for cafes, bars, museums, and a taste of living large.

Palmetto Point, Barbuda
Why Barbuda? Beauty, solitude, and the natural setting of a remote island about 30 nautical miles north of Antigua, with miles of postcard-perfect beaches and uncrowded bays and lagoons. Why April? In a word: weather. The winter swell has died down, rainfall is scant, the breeze averages 12 knots, and the sun hits the water just so. Palmetto Point is a favorite of yachties and once you see the brawny peninsula and arcing cove you'll understand why.

Kiawah Island, SC
Similar to an alluring golf hole, there are three ways to play Kiawah Island: Be very active (golf the championship courses, hit tennis, cycle past soft-hued marshes); dial down (naps on the award-winning beach, bob in the gentle surf, cocktails on the deck); or soak up the low-country culture in the rich cafes of Charleston. You probably already know our recommendation: Stay three weeks and do it all.

Published: 14 Mar 2007 | Last Updated: 22 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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