August Beach Travel Guide

COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEF: Guadeloupe celebrates women cooks this month (Digital Visions)

Festival of the Women Cooks, Guadeloupe
When you have a festival that celebrates women AND food, and you hold it for two months on a tropical island ringed with gorgeous beaches, you know all is well in the world. This event starts early in the morning when local women gather to brew up a colorful sizzle of renowned Creole dishes and culminates with a parade and a five-hour public banquet. Tickets go for about $20 but sell out fast. Even if you miss out, you won't go hungry: The butterfly-shaped French-Caribbean island is dotted with fine, proud restaurants, which you can sample as you meander among some of the most serene beaches in the region. Or drop into the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park on Pigeon Island, a dive area that Cousteau called one of the prettiest places in the world.

Sandwich Beach, Cape Cod, MA
Tucked up near the shoulder of Cape Cod (all of which resembles a flexing bicep), this protected stretch of sand is accessed by a long wooden walkway over live green marsh grasses and the easy waters of Mill Creek. And if the town looks like it was lifted from a bygone portrait, there's good reason: This is the oldest town on the Cape, with settlement dating to the 1630s. Pop into the corner store for an ice cream, coffee, or smoothie; drift in and out of art galleries, antique shops, and the Heritage Museum and Gardens; and, whatever you do, enjoy the soothing pace of life in the slower lane.

Old Orchard Beach, ME
Summer vacationing at this inspiring stretch of sand dates to the 1830s, when people paid $1.50 a week to board at a local's shore-side farm. Prices are up a bit since then but that hasn't slowed the popularity: Old Orchard draws a summer population of more than 100,000 people. Catch fireworks every Thursday night through Labor Day down near the pier. Mid-August is the annual Beach Olympics, featuring all-in-good-fun competition, music, and benefit for the Special Olympics of Maine.

Calvi, Corsica, France
How do you get all the best beach features of the French Riviera without the traffic and hassle? Head to Corsica, specifically, the glorious crescent of beach called Calvi. Laid out beneath the pretty hills of this small island, Calvi has both a paid and free section, so keep walking if someone asks you to pay. The beach is within strolling distance of the historic old town and a lively string of ocean-side restaurants and bars.

Palmetto Point, Barbuda
Some people like to be left alone and Barbuda was made for them: a remote island about 30 nautical miles north of Antigua, Barbuda offers miles of postcard beaches and uncrowded—though by no means dead—bar scenes. Sailors love the abundant secluded anchorages—including Palmetto Point—and divers and snorkelers will marvel at the roughly 200 shipwrecks around the island.

Corolla, NC
Way up at the end of the road, past the forced quaintness of the "shoppes" in Duck is the once-sleepy settlement of Corolla. Unfortunately, it has succumbed to the familiar Outer Banks outbreak of way too many modern beach homes clustered too close together, but Corolla still has simple-time charm, due in large part to the 12 miles of semi-protected dunes and beach immediately north of town—some of this area is lightly developed and much of it set aside as the last domain of a herd of wild horses. Enjoy this ever-diminishing wild land but, please, don't feed, harass, or pursue the horses.

Patara Beach, Turkey
Turkey’s southern coast has emerged in recent years as world-class beach turf, and Patara is a worthy representative. Not as touristy as Oludeniz but still served by the small town of Patara, the beach offers nine miles of velvety sand, wind-sculpted dunes, coastal vegetation, and unsullied sea views. In the hills, spot ancient ruins and other reminders of Patara’s heyday as the main port of Lycia.

Anne's Beach, Islamorada, FL
The Florida Keys are not famous for ample beaches, a fact that makes Anne's Beach all the more special: a rare patch of soft sand in the limestone-dominated isle chain, Anne's (which is dedicated to local environmental activist Anne Eaton), offers mellow, shaded picnic facilities and bathrooms, and—of course—proximity to Islamorada's eat, drink, fish, and party circuit. The surf is gentle here and the water in August is warm and clear.

Easton Beach, Newport, RI
This is where money meets fun, and the two seem to get along rather well. The docks are stacked with multimillion-dollar sailing yachts, the streets lined with historic inns and bars, and the beach—also known as First Beach—packed with a range of enjoyment seekers, from accomplished kite-surfers to history buffs gawking at famous coastal mansions to day trippers from Providence. The summer-long free concert series carries through Labor Day.

Ocean City, NJ
This is the other "city" beach in Jersey and—aside from lacking in casinos—Ocean City offers everything that Atlantic City does: broad beaches filled with devotes of sun, sand, and surf; a huge boardwalk with all the kitsch and thematic food you expect from a summer beach spot; and a Jersey energy that you just can't get anywhere else in the world. And if you really need to roll them bones, A.C. is a scant 20 miles up the road.

Published: 24 May 2007 | Last Updated: 8 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »