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Beach

7 of the Best Beach Vacation Destinations Worth Visiting

Explore a new stretch of shore for your best beach vacation yet

The Vacationeer
Aerial view of couple walking along the beach in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Whether you are looking for an isolated stretch of sand or a dramatic cliff-lined coast, options are plentiful when it comes to salty air and sand between your toes. 

Here are some of the best-kept beach vacation destinations worth visiting before the secret's out.         

1. Luskentyre Beach

Aerial view of emerald seas and lush green cliffs at Luskentyre Beach Isle of Harris, Scotland.   

Isle of Harris, Scotland         

The famous Isle of Skye will likely capture your heart the first time you visit Scotland but take a ferry ride to the lesser-known Isle of Harris to really push the pause button.

The Isle of Harris is a jewel in the Hebridean archipelago, and Luskentyre Beach is a must-see turquoise-water paradise.

Here are a few ways to unplug at Luskentyre:

  • Rent a bike and pedal your way around the 3-mile single-track road that links Luskentyre Beach with the Isle of Harris' main road.
  • Explore the local Harris Tweed weavers and embrace yourself in Scottish fashion. This in-demand clothing, hand-woven, using a 2,500-year old process, will never go out of style. 
  • Toast to your time in the Highlands. Producing whiskey in the Outer Hebrides since 1829, Isle of Harris Distillery has become well known for its sugar-kelp-infused gin. 

Where to stay in Scotland:Hilton Grand Vacations' Scotland properties offer the ideal backdrop for a wilderness retreat of a lifetime.

2. Rockaway Beach

The sand meeting the sea at Rockaway Beach Queens, New York City.   

Queens, New York City

If you're searching for something different on your next trip to New York City, take a subway ride to Rockaway Beach, one of New York's lesser-known beach towns.

Rockaway offers a quintessential sandy shoreline, complete with surfing, beach volleyball, bars, restaurants, food trucks and shopping. Consider these things to do while enjoying this city hideaway.

  • Stroll along the 5.5-mile beach boardwalk.
  • If you're craving tacos, a visit to Tacoway Beach won't disappoint.
  • Grab a cold one at  Rockaway Brewing Company, a seven-minute walk from the beach. Enjoy rotating craft brews on tap, metal bar stools and live music.

Where to stay in New York City: Choose from our Hilton Grand Vacations New York properties. This beach is just a short subway ride away.         

3. Kailua Beach

Paddle boarding at Kailua Beach Oahu, Hawaii.   

Oahu, Hawaii

With the magic of Waikiki, the sea life of Hanauma Bay and the glory of the North Shore, it's hard to think of any of Oahu's beaches as "underrated."

However, Kailua Beach, near the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay, is often an empty, hidden paradise.

  • Bring your paddle board to enjoy riding the calm waves at this quiet spot.
  • Explore the shoreline on a 2.5-mile beach walk, flip-flops optional. 
  • Stop in downtown Kailua, just 5 minutes from the beach, and grab Hawaiian plate lunches to enjoy at the beach picnic tables.
  • Beach hop and visit Kailua's next-door neighbor – Lanikai Beach.

Where to stay on Oahu: Choose from five Hilton Grand Vacations properties in Waikiki for an unforgettable experience in the Islands.            

4. Moonlight Beach

Sunrise over Moonlight Beach Encinitas, California (San Diego).    

Encinitas, California (San Diego)

San Diego beaches aren't a secret, but Moonlight Beach, a cove within the beach town of Encinitas, could seem overlooked. The 'moonlight' in the name of this beach comes from locals visiting the area for midnight picnics in the early 1900s.

  •  Finetune your skills during a surf lesson at Leucadia Surf School. 
  • Collect pebbles and watch the sun sink into the Pacific from the cliffside.
  • Make memories with the kids and grandkids at the beach's playground.

Where to stay in San Diego: Stay at one of our Hilton Grand Vacations California properties for an ideal launchpad to Moonlight Beach. 

5. Glass Beach 

Close up of sea glass at Glass Beach Ft. Bragg, California.   

Ft. Bragg, California

One of the best beach vacations in California doesn't even involve sand. Just north of Mendocino, on the coast of northern California, there's a beach that's turned trash to treasure.

For centuries, glass, cans and other trash items have been dumped off the cliffs into the ocean. A combination of trash burning, creating fire-glass, and natural erosion from crashing waves created perfectly rounded and smooth-colored sea glass in a rainbow of colors.

  • Feel free to search through the sea glass but take pictures as your souvenirs.
  • Instead, visit the Sea Glass Museum, owned and operated by Capt. Cass Forrington, a retired sea captain.

Where to stay in Ft. Bragg, California: Enjoy the beautiful drive over the Golden Gate Bridge driving up California's Highway 1 to Ft. Bragg. Stay at Club Donatello in San Francisco.

6. Sullivan's Island Beach 

Sunset over sand dunes at Sullivan's Island Beach Charleston, South Carolina.   

Charleston, South Carolina

Over the bridge from Charleston is Sullivan's Island. At just 3.3 square miles, what Sullivan's Island lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty and charm. Imagine the sound of wooden front porch doors clanging, kids building sandcastles and adults enjoying Mason jars filled with sweet tea cocktails.

  • Soak up Revolutionary War history at beachside Fort Moultrie.
  • Get our blood pressure pumping with a kiteboarding or paddle boarding lesson at Sealand Adventure Sports.
  • Take in the views of the lighthouse.
  • After a day of playing in the ocean, dine al fresco on the porch at Poe's Tavern, named after writer Edgar Allan Poe, who lived on Sullivan's Island.

Where to stay in Charleston: Hilton Grand Vacations' newest South Carolina timeshare property Liberty Place Charleston by Hilton Club is just the place to experience the modern elegance and southern charm for which this historical Lowcountry city is known.  

7. One Foot Island 

Couple walking hand in hand down the shore on One Foot Island Aitutaki, Cook Islands.   

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Kia Orana — may you live a long and fulfilling life. Pure, natural beauty awaits you on the tiny island of Aitutaki, tucked far into the South Pacific. Warm waters fill a triangular, shaped turquoise blue lagoon — unreal in its indigo perfection. 

  • Board a lagoon boat cruise to immerse yourself in the culture of the island.
  • Spot turtles and tropical fish while snorkeling. 
  • Bring your passport to get a 'One Foot Island' passport stamp on arrival.

Where to stay in the Cook Islands: While there isn't a Hilton property in the Cook Islands, you can use your points through ClubPartner Perks to take a Paul Gauguin cruise to this untouched island destination and enjoy one of the best beach vacations around.

Read 6-Day Itinerary: Must-See Florida Beach Towns for more beach vacation inspiration. 

 

 

Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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