Whenever the weather gets warm and my freckles start showing again, I can't help but dream of laying on the beach, sliding my feet around in warm sand, smelling my coconut-scented Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion, and thinking of absolutely nothing. Except how badly I want to grab my surfboard and paddle out.
It's been tough living in Brooklyn, battling my way to the beach on the trains only to discover unsatisfying surf. Not to mention the $6 fee it takes just to get onto the beach in Long Beach--the closest and nicest of train-accessible beaches. Yes, $6 just to cross over from the boardwalk onto the sand.
This was a shock to me the first time I spent a day in this Long Island beach town. With one surf shop (decent enough) and local-magnet, burrito shack Aye Caramba (which also serves Caribbean fare), the image of what beach town meant to me (Santa Barbara and San Diego) floated farther and farther away. Even the scent of salty sea was nowhere to be found.
To me, Hawaii does it right. By law, all beaches must be open to the public. Yes, even the beaches in front of those mega-resorts like the Four Seasons Resort at Hualalai in Kona or the Princeville Resort in Kauai must let people onto the beach who are not staying at the hotel.
How to gain this said public access? When you drive up to the kiosk to enter the parking lot, just ask for a beach pass.
My favorite beaches in the world (okay, so I haven't been to Fiji, New Zealand, or most of the world yet), are in Hawaii. Sadly, the turquoise waters of Kua Bay in Kona, are no longer only accessible by an adventurous walk across a mile of black, sharp lava field. I know this doesn't sound enjoyable, but now that a paved road leads tourists right up to Kua Bay's white sands, the cove no longer feels like its your own when you arrive.
Lanikai, on Oahu, is my second favorite. The first time I arrived was by kayak. Gorgeous mansions line the shore, the Chinaman's Hat island looks so close, like you could doggy paddle your way right over to it. Brilliant coral in fuschia and blue creates an underwater civilization while sea turtles glide through less dense parts.
And unlike the beach that lines Malibu Colony's shore, anyone can settle into the sand, soft as velvet, with a book and a towel and enough drinking water to last all day long...
(Now fill me in. What's your favorite beach? Don't worry, we won't tell.)
[Image 1 thanks to Laura A according to this license.]
[Image 2 thanks to sarahkim according to this license.]
[Image 3 thanks to ssylvis according to this license.]