The ebb and flow of waves caressing beaches is a sound that puts many of us in a meditative state. The sand ripples left behind by the energy of the waves are almost irresistible to dip our toes in. Breathing in the benefits of the negative ions in the ocean air and exhaling the weight of negativity brings about a certain bliss in our lives. You can almost feel the ions neutralizing the free radicals in your body. Well, not technically, but surf on the mind does do a body good.
It’s even better if you’ve found a first-rate beach chalet to settle into. So, it’s time to step away from the routine and take a 72-hour recharge. There are plenty of options out there for every type of beach lover but here are the top picks for playing hooky and using up some PTO time. Call it in because we’re going to the beach baby!
Orcas Island, San Juan Archipelago, Washington
The pull of the lush temperate rainforests of Orcas Island is well known to the locals and those seeking to retreat to the emerald isle of the North-Western United States. For those arriving via the Seattle airport or Washingtonians seeking a change of scenery, the trip it’s a fun 89-mile excursion and a ferry ride from Anacortes. The area is full of the history of the Salish Sea and a haven for resident marine mammals and wildlife. Named after the Viceroy of New Spain, Horcasistas, later shortened to Orcas. You’ll have the chance to mingle with sea orcas, minke whales, harbor seals, porpoise, bald eagles, ospreys, cormorants, and great blue herons while you sip an island-made beer or local wine. And there are plenty of shorelines to watch the sunset dusting the horizon next to an open fire or dining alfresco.
Orcas Island offers endless outdoor possibilities in the cooler air with the refreshing ocean waters lapping at the shores. The creative art community is a perfect getaway with your choice of private cabins on the water, cozy B & B’s, or quality hotels in the heart of town.
Calusa Beach, Big Pine Key, Florida
It’s hard to beat the pleasant 80-degree temperatures of Florida beaches, so why resist?
Calusa Beach is located along the expansive stretches of coral reefs and silky blue waters of the Florida Keys. A bit further out, lesser-known and less crowded it’s a great choice for a quaint getaway. Here you’ll find reefs bursting with marine life, options for kayaking, fishing or simply enjoying the balmy breeze under a palm tree. Snorkeling anyone? This beach is part of the Bahia Honda State Park, originally a tropical stopover in the 1900’s when a railroad was attempted to Key West.
The picturesque waters are inviting and with small concessions nearby you can shop for souvenirs, stroll the neighborhood, or visit the marine sanctuary before retreating to your private veranda at the Tranquility Beach Bay Resort. Other options include local bungalows overlooking white sandy beaches or setting up camp. It’s a tropical oasis that is hard to leave.
Folly Beach, Charleston, South Carolina
A must-do mini-retreat is Folly Beach just south of the historic port town of Charleston. Easily move between city and beach to fit whatever feels playful. There’s a little something for everyone here from surfers to fishermen, to families, and couples looking for a slice of utopia. If you’re wanting a bit of nostalgia you can explore the cobblestone streets by carriage in town then float off to the catch some vitamin sea at the beach. Sip wine at the upscale Uncork Charleston or kick up your feet at BLU’s Beach Bar for a more casual feel while you watch the waves roll by.
Looking for more? Book a charter or hop on a sunset cruise with local captains and mingle with new friends. Sailing Folly is one of the best ways to capture the expanse of the shoreline, watch the brilliant sunset colors light up the marsh, or do some dolphin spotting. The pull of the ocean is strong here and Folly’s 12-mile barrier island has always been a haven for South Carolina lifestyles. You’ll have plenty of choices to be outdoorsy, campy, or glamping with exclusive hotels lining the beachfront, cozy cabins, or camping options. Folly is just a short drive from Charleston or a short flight from several major U.S. cities.
El Matador Beach, Malibu, California
If you’re looking for a less crowded experience amongst California’s four hundred and twenty beaches, you may want to check out El Matador State Beach. The views from the blufftop give you a snapshot of California’s well know iconic cliff beaches and tumbling waves along the shoreline.
The dramatic eroded rocks form large sea caves and arches that will make you want to book a personal photoshoot or inspire you to play with sea stars in the rocky tide pools. Bring a backpack full of goodies or set up your posh picnic basket with wine and cheese for a true hideaway experience. If you’re feeling adventurous take a dip in the ocean or slip in your neoprene for some body boarding or surfing. With sun, nibbles, and natural beauty all near a refreshing drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, this is a conveniently fun weekend getaway. After a day in the sand snuggle into your cardigan and stroll to a nearby cafe. Book vacation villas or apartment homes for a day, a week or a weekend in nearby Malibu.
Whatever your beach style, focus on your connection to the ocean and the warm rays of the sun. Breathe deep and stay safe out there, travel is different now and these beaches still provide options for physical distancing. On the flip side, your body and brain will thank you for the rest and that just might make your Monday morning a bit more energized.
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Liz Galloway has danced with locals in Beirut, been lost in a maze of Marrakech souks, worked with Indigenous people in Costa Rica, hiked the highest mountain in Indochina, flown a helicopter, jumped from planes, bridges and cliffs, swam with whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, seals, hammerheads, and some humans. She has contributed travel features to Luxury Report, along with Matador, Yoga Digest, Vamoose Outdoors, Bad Yogi, HER Magazine, Spa Opportunities, Pulse, East Asia Backpackers and many other digital and print outlets. You can listen to her on the E-Health and Women Entrepreneur's podcasts or find her health juice book on Amazon Kindle. She also connects people with transformative travel to break personal boundaries with an online coaching space and in personal adventure retreats with the Wild Adventure Wellness brand. When she is not eating french fries or sipping wine, you can find her working with travel brands or scouting new locations. Connect with Liz online.