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Destination I Do

Discover Our Top 10 Beaches

Words by John Roark

Sand between your toes.
Warm skin kissed by the sun.
Vibrant sunsets that seem to have been created just for you.
Moonlit strolls with waves caressing your feet.
Waking up to the sound of the surf crashing against the shore.
For many of us, the beach represents the ultimate romantic getaway. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we’ve chosen our particular favorites in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico. 

Ka’upulehu Beach - Hualalai, Hawaii

Located on Kona's Kohala Coast, the Four Seasons’ private stretch of Ka’upulehu Beach has everything that makes the Big Island so unforgettable: the irresistible combination of aquamarine oceanfront, sugar-white sand and rugged black lava landscapes. Beautiful, peaceful and private, you won’t find its equal anywhere else on Kona.

Juanillo Beach - Dominican Republic

Quiet and relaxed, this jewel on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic has become a favorite of discerning travelers. Turquoise waves embrace velvet sands fringed with swaying palms. The beaches of the Punta Cana area are considered some of the best in the Caribbean; Juanillo Beach will show you why.

Maroma Beach (Located at the El Dorado Royale) - Riviera Maya, Mexico

The Riviera Maya region is home to some of Mexico’s most sensational beaches, and Maroma Beach is considered its most captivating secret. Thirty miles south of Cancun in the heart of the Riviera Maya and facing the beautiful Mexican Caribbean, you’ll find white sand, tranquil azure waters and abundant vegetation. In 2010, the Travel Channel ranked Maroma “The Most Romantic Beach in the World.” Close your eyes and revel in the silken breeze. You’ve found paradise.

North Shore - O’ahu, Hawaii

They say if there’s such a thing as the perfect wave, you’ll find it here. Stretching for more than seven miles, O’ahu’s North Shore is a legendary winter haven for surfers – and a year-round favorite for non-surfers as well. In addition to O’ahu’s dazzling natural beauty, you’ll see some of the most romantic sunsets you’ll find, period. 

One&Only Ocean Club Paradise Island, Bahamas

Under the canopy of the deep blue Bahamian sky, life is easy. Considered one of the islands’ most-prized private beaches, the One&Only Ocean Club Paradise Island’s powder-soft sands and beckoning blue waters will captivate you – and delight with some of the Bahama’s finest snorkeling, diving, wind-surfing and sailing.

Seven Mile Beach - Grand Cayman

On the western shore of Grand Cayman, crescent-shaped Seven Mile Beach glitters with coral sands and warm crystal waters. Renowned for its beauty and named "The Caribbean's Best Beach" by Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine, as you stroll the shoreline the warm breeze and jasmine-scented air will conspire to enchant you.

St. Regis PrincevilleKauai, Hawaii

Overlooking stunning Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of Kauai, the St. Regis’ view spans emerald cliffs and lush vegetation. The beach is protected by Hawaii’s largest coral reef and is loved for its soft sand and gentle waters year-round. Be sure to ask how to find the best local fish taco stands – praised by foodies worldwide. 

Imanta ResortPunta de Mita, Mexico

Just north of Banderas Bay, 30 miles from Puerto Vallarta at the northern end of Mexico’s west coast, Imanta’s private two-mile golden beach is flanked by natural rock formations and the backdrop of the plush jungles and soaring peaks of the Sierra de Vallejo Biosphere Reserve. Share your enclave with baby sea turtles in October and November, and watch for humpback whales December through March.

Pinel Beach, Pinel Island - St. Maarten

Accessible only by ferry, kayak or paddle board, Pinel Island is home to some of St. Maarten’s most picturesque beaches and best snorkeling. Follow the trails to some truly stunning reef-enclosed lagoons. You’ll swear you’ve found Eden. We love the tiny beachfront restaurants serving authentic Caribbean cuisine. Don’t miss: the fresh grilled lobster at Karibuni.

Ka’anapali Beach - Maui, Hawaii

One of west Maui’s most cherished retreats, Ka’anapali Beach was once a private retreat for Hawaiian royalty. Enjoy three miles of sparkling sand, shallow water near the shore and world-class snorkeling. Resorts, shopping and restaurants are a short stroll away. Don’t miss: the daily cliff diving ceremony off of the beach’s northernmost cliffs known as Puu Kekaa

Did your favorite make our list? We’d love to know what beach made your destination wedding or honeymoon unforgettable. Tweet your favorite to @DestinationIDo and include #BestBeaches.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Hualalai (first), Courtney Cox (second & fifth), One&Only Ocean Club (third), Imanta Resort (fourth), Cayman Islands Department of Tourism , shot by Don McDougall (sixth), Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas (seventh), Hawaii Tourism Authority - Tor Johnson (eighth), and Jennifer Stein (ninth) and El Dorado Resort & Casitas (last).

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