May Beach Travel Guide

St. Lucia
PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! Saint Lucia's Jazz Festival is a don't-miss shindig (Digital Visions)

Saint Lucia
There's a lot to recommend Saint Lucia at any time of year—the famous pitons, sweeping hilltop views, a distinct and vibrant culture—and in May there's one more: Saint Lucia Jazz Festival is among the more lively events on the regional musical circuit and has earned a rep as the best party in the Caribbean. Whether you're coming for the music or the island's natural charms, you can't go wrong booking into the Anse Chastenet resort (1.800. 223.1108;, a slice of soft sand and luxurious service on a crescent cove on Saint Lucia's southwest coast.

Saint Croix
This island isn't renowned for huge regattas, festivals, or swinging parties (which suits most visitors just fine), but if you need an excuse to visit, how about May's Saint Croix Ironman Triathlon? Even if you don't really want to train, run, swim, bike, and sweat out all those pounds, you can feed off the race energy or just slink off on your own, submerge in the 704-acre Buck's Island Underwater National Park, walk beaches that look about the same today as they did 500 years ago, tour the historic sites of Christiansted and Frederiksted, and rest assured that you can catch the crowds on some other island, some other day, after you get your fill of paradise.

Lubenice, Croatia
High on a hillside on the Croatian island of Cres is the centuries-old village of Lubenice, with stone arches, steeples, terraces, and winding walkways that lead to small gardens high above the sea. From there, it’s a 45-minute walk down through scenic pine forest to a stony beach (no sand here), the crystal waters of the Adriatic, and a small cave that invites aquatic exploration. Back up in the village, treat yourself to seafood pasta and a carafe of vino and you won’t want to leave.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns Beach, Big Sur, CA
This may be the smallest “best beach" on our list, but we bet you’ll still be blown away: It’s a pocket of sand in a rock-cradled cove, with a waterfall spilling from the rugged, piney hills splashing onto a spot of sand. The water color can range from dreamy blue to foreboding grey, depending on the mood of the sky. Even if you catch it on a bad day, you’ve got the rest of the jaw-dropping Big Sur coast to explore.

Little Saint Simons Island, GA
The days are getting longer and the soft Georgia sunshine is starting to bathe the beaches. Little Saint Simons knuckles into the Atlantic, leaving a big curve of beach ideal for shelling, strolling, and bird-watching: The area is one of the richest shorebird habitats on the Georgia Coast and is a Audubon Society-declared Important Bird Area, with over 286 species of birds.

West End, Curacao
It is easy to feel like a rock star out here—nice resorts, friendly service, lonely scenic beaches, and virtually private dive sites. Away from the bustle of Willemstad, the coastline here is more varied, with rocky cliffs and peninsulas concealing world-class beaches, and the large hills of the protected Christoffel Park. You'll think about hiking it, but good luck tearing yourself away from the water. And what does May bring? The Curacao Jazz Fest and the Curacao Dive Fest, two valid reasons to wade into the bustle of Willemstad.

Friendship Bay Beach, Bequia
Ah, the Grenadines in May. Okay, we admit it, we're suckers for the Grenadines all year ‘round. The beta on Friendship Bay: Remarkably beautiful stretch of sand hanging like tinsel beneath steep, lush hills and opening to crystalline snorkel territory. A couple of hotels and restaurants bookend the beach, but there's more than ample room for all comers.

Playa Parguito, Isla Margarita
This is the best of both worlds, in many respects: the May weather is warm, not hot; the local flavor is both Caribbean and Latin; the beach is a party—with locals congregating to celebrate all matter of things, including the surfers ripping offshore—but there's room to breathe; and this time of year is sandwiched between two high seasons, meaning decent rates.

Santa Maria del Mar, Spain
Exuding the relaxation and love of life that define modern Europe, this 800-yard stretch of golden-hued sand glows from the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) in western Andalucia. Fronting the temperamental Atlantic Ocean, the entire Costa de la Luz affords access not only to numerous fine beaches, but also classic Spanish towns, villages and national parks, offering nature lovers another level of diversion.

Destin-Fort Walton Beach-Okaloosa Island, FL
The Gulf Coast, stretching from the Texas-Mexico border all the way around to the tip of Florida, is bridled with winsome beaches, crowned by the pearly white sands of the Emerald Coast. Sea grasses sway in the gentle gulf breezes, porpoises wander by, and the bathtub-warm waters melt away worries like the sun melts into the horizon.

Published: 14 Mar 2007 | Last Updated: 7 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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