April 22, 2019

Beach Magic

Whether alluring or unusual, these spots cast a spell

By Elizabeth Armstrong

Vacations Magazine: Beach Magic
Miles Holden

(Scroll down to see a slide show.)

From spellbinding stretches of black sand to sun-washed shores conjuring carefree island vibes, there's a beach to match every mood. Here are a few favorites that you can access during a cruise, tour or resort stay -- check out the provided Vacations To Go websites for more information.

Antigua, part of the island country of Antigua and Barbuda, boasts 365 beaches -- one for each day of the year. Head to Ffryes Beach, a chilled-out spot on the southwestern coast, when Royal Caribbean International stops here on Caribbean voyages this spring. The powdery sands and cerulean waters are featured on the line's "Antigua Beach Extravaganza" excursion, which provides lunch and two free drinks at a nearby eatery.

Cut off from the rest of Thailand by steep limestone cliffs, the beaches of Railay peninsula only are accessible by boat. The cavern at Phra Nang Beach is dedicated to a woman who, according to one legend, lived there while awaiting her husband, thought to be lost at sea. SITA World Tours' "Beach Escape: Krabi" lodges guests in a hotel near Ao Nang Beach, where you can catch a long-tail craft for the 15-minute ride to Railay.

Iceland is one of the most volcanically active places on Earth, emerging from a hot spot created by a fissure where two tectonic plates separated. Striking black-sand beaches sprang from the geothermal commotion, along with lava fields and hot springs. Windstar Cruises sails weeklong circumnavigations of the Land of Fire and Ice, and its "Grundarfjordur: Wonders of the West" makes a stop at coal-colored Djupalonssandur Beach.

Enormous stone spheres litter Koekohe Beach on New Zealand's South Island like a giant's marbles plopped in the sand. The Moeraki Boulders are concretions, solid masses of matter that accumulated over millions of years and became exposed during erosion. The "Oamaru and Moeraki Boulders" outing from Princess Cruises breaks for a photo op when ships call at Dunedin, a port on Australia and New Zealand cruises.

On Canada's Vancouver Island, follow a boardwalk forest path to Sandcut Beach. It's strewn with pebbles, rocks and driftwood, and a glorious waterfall anchors one end -- a tranquil place for a few meditative moments. Part of Jordan River Regional Park, it's about 40 miles from Victoria. Visit when Celebrity Cruises stops in Victoria on an Oct. 13 cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Los Angeles.

Atlantis Paradise Island has everything you need for your resort vacation: 21 restaurants, 15 bars, 11 pools, the 141-acre Aquaventure park and its own marine habitat. But you came to the Bahamas for the beaches, right? Atlantis has that covered, too, with 5 miles of pristine, sandy expanses across three distinct beaches; shown here is Paradise Beach. Accommodations are spread among six different sections.


The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in Winter 2019. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 338-4962 for current rates and details.


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