FlightNetwork asked 600 travel writers to name the best beach in the world. Grace Bay in the Caribbean’s Turks and Caicos won the draw, but I suspect that there could have been 600 opinions about the best beach. Picking the best beach is often determined by your latest trip, and I thought it would be easy to name the last 5 beaches I was on. It was not. I would have been wrong if I had trusted my memory.
Beaches, like mountains, are natural landmarks. Whether or not you like a beach often depends on when you were last on it since many humans do beach time while traveling. Ruth and I have been on some spectacular beach real estate. I was surprised and pleased to learn that one we were on fairly recently, Rhossili, is considered among the top 40 beaches in the world. So is Whitehaven in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, but Ruth and I are far more familiar with Manly, Coogee, and Bondi near Sydney. In fact, we have walked from Coogee to Bondi, a very popular and fun activity. We have probably spent more beach time in Australia than any other place in the world. I thought that the endangered Australian sea lion beach on Kangaroo Island would be among our 5 most recent beach experiences. Not even close! The negative side about the beaches Down Under is the fear factor. Many of them are dangerous and off-limits for many months each year. Who wants to die from a jelly fish sting?
Many countries like Brazil, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, and even Croatia are associated with great beaches, and we have been to beaches in all of them. However, Zlatni Rat Beach in Croatia and Thailand’s Railay Beach are usually listed as among the world’s best. I don’t even know where Zlatni Rat is in this gorgeous country. The State of Washington’s rocky and sandy Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula is often on lists of the world’s best too, but again I have not been on it much. The same goes for Oregon, which has wonderful beaches like Cannon where we won a sand castle building competition. Oregon beaches unfortunately suffer from very cold water and waves that sweep beachgoers off rocks regularly. Among our states Hawaii probably has the best basking beaches on all its islands, but Miami’s South Beach has seen us frolicking in the water far more often than Waikiki, where Ruth & I watched ambulance after ambulance treating stung swimmers.
So what are our 5 most recent beach experiences? In reverse order they include Canada’s Gulf islands, Dune Peninsula, Aruba, Pacific Palisades, and Rhossili. The beaches on Salt Spring Island were small and pebbly. Dune Peninsula is a new park near Tacoma. Aruba’s beaches were hot and many scary creatures inhabited its waters. The famous Malibu Beach at Pacific Palisades was kind of dirty and deserted but gently curving and pretty to look at. Rhossili was in an unlikely place, Wales on the tip of the Gower Peninsula. It deserves its reputation for beauty, was locally popular and only one hour west of Swansea, but no one was in the water.
I hope I’m never asked to rate my favorite beaches.