Best Beachside Cities in Florida

By: Ben Holdt

Spending a few days at the beach is a great way to get away from the daily stresses of life and relax. With over 8,000 miles of coastline, Florida is second to just Alaska for the amount of land they have touching, sparkling ocean waters. However, the Sunshine State has the upper hand on being near the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. While there may be a lot of towns and cities dotting the Florida coast, there are only a few that indeed offer the best quality of life. Check out the best beachside cities in Florida for your next beach getaway.

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach Rentals

Panama City Beach Skyline

With 27 miles of white sandy beaches, Panama City Beach is widely known for its ability to ease away any stress that you brought with you on your vacation. This famous town offers waterfront restaurants as well as plenty of scuba activities thanks to its nearby artificial reefs. Families will enjoy the many water parks in town as well as two state parks that offer an up close and personal look at nature. There are plenty of nearby amusements to fill a vacation at the beach when the sand castle building is all done.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach House Rentals

Cocoa Beach House Rentals

This popular surfing destination is just south of Cape Canaveral along the Atlantic Ocean. Cocoa Beach is known for the waves that descend upon its shores at the end of the hurricane season that offers a great opportunity for avid surfers. Check out local events to book a vacation with plenty of action out on the water as you soak up the sun from the beach. You’ll also find many things to explore in the area including tours of the Kennedy Space Center, the Dinosaur Store, and many fishing charters.


Destin Florida Vacation Rental homes

Destin Sandy Beaches

Located in Northwest Florida, Destin features plenty of sugar white beaches and sunshine. As a popular destination point for many Midwesterners, the area is well known for its wide range of fishing activities as well as shopping opportunities. You’ll find excellent fishing charters as well as plenty of events year-round to make your vacation unique. Local restaurants feature fresh seafood from the gulf, and you’ll also find plenty of golf courses in the area as well.

Palm Beach

This widely known beach is as far East as you can get on the Florida coastline. Palm Beach features beautiful palm trees along white sandy beaches and plenty of luxury. The beach sits on a 16-mile-long island that is just 0.5 miles wide with plenty of beach area all around. Many wealthy families choose this area for winter homes which have created a luxury experience in town. You’ll find the most excellent restaurants and upscale shops when you’re not enjoying the beautiful beach.

Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach House Rentals on the beach

Fort Walton Beach

The beautiful emerald waters along Fort Walton Beach are enough to attract plenty of visitors each year. Located between Pensacola and Panama City, the beach is in an excellent location for visitors to get to from other parts of the country. Fort Walton Beach has powdery white beaches and offers plenty for the family to do once a day at the beach is done. You’ll find golf courses, aquariums, and many other attractions that help make this destination a vacation to remember.

There are plenty of places to choose from when looking for a great vacation on the beach in Florida. White sandy beaches mixed with enough great food and nightlife to keep you busy after a long day on the beach is standard for many of these hot spots. Consider any one of the best beachside cities in Florida for your next vacation to the Sunshine State.

Ben Holt is a fresh air enthusiast and loves writing about it. Ben is always looking to make the most of a summer day, whether he is relaxing in his garden, hiking on an off-beaten trail or entertaining friends on his newly renovated patio.

Basking in the Beach: Eight of the Best Beaches in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city so glitzy that sightings of superstars are commonplace. It is home to Hollywood, itself a must-see destination. It also boasts of an assortment of attractions, like Universal Studios Hollywood, Griffith Park, and Getty Center. It is even a certified sports city, with several professional sports franchises calling Los Angeles their home. That list includes the Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, the Sparks of the WNBA, the Dodgers and Angels of the MLB, the Galaxy and FC of the MLS, and the Rams and Chargers of the NFL, which is, of course, a staple of American society itself. 

The City of Angels is also known for its beaches, each of which is described by Culture Trip as having its “own style and flare.” That being said, here are eight of the best beaches in Los Angeles:

Santa Monica State Beach

The busy Santa Monica State Beach

The busy Santa Monica State Beach


The busy Santa Monica State Beach

A favorite among both tourists and locals, this expansive beach boasts of a historic pier that signals the end of Route 66. It has a classic, retro vibe, with great surf spots along a three-mile stretch. It is quite popular, and can be overcrowded at times, though the many resorts can handle the trove of visitors coming over. It also helps that there are plenty of other things to do here aside from swimming and sunbathing. A walk downtown, for instance, can be quite gratifying, as is relaxing under the shades provided by Tongava Park.

El Matador Beach

A view of El Matador Beach

A view of El Matador Beach

A view of El Matador Beach

Nestled deep in Malibu is the El Matador Beach, which is known for its extremely rocky terrain. It can be a pain to get there, but it is worth checking out nonetheless. The views are breathtaking, the water is crystal clear, and the place is pretty much all yours. That it is one of the cleanest beaches in Los Angeles is a plus. Without doubt, El Matador Beach is perfect for those seeking to take a clear break from the hustle-bustle of life.

Venice Beach

The famed bike path in Venice Beach


The famed bike path in Venice Beach

The famed bike path in Venice Beach

Like Santa Monica State Beach, Venice Beach is also quite popular, and like the former, it can get crowded, too. But that is actually one of the inherent charms of this beach. With the plethora of people visiting Venice Beach, there is this palpable energy that never seems to run out. It is a surfer’s haven according to CBS Los Angeles, and it boasts of a host of other attractions apart from the beach. There’s a bike path, for instance, that will take you all the way to the aforementioned Santa Monica State Beach.

Paradise Cove Beach

Paradise Cove Beach

Paradise Cove Beach

Situated beneath the cliffs of Malibu is the public-private Paradise Cove Beach. This understated beauty is mostly under the auspices of Paradise Cove Beach Café, which offers all necessary amenities. Swimming and surfing, though, are free; but for a full appreciation of Paradise Cove Beach, it is best that you rent a private terrace (or even just a beach bed or lounge) and just pass time away in arguably one of the coziest, most relaxing spots in Malibu.

Carbon Beach (Billionaire’s Beach)

Carbon Beach (Billionaire's Beach)

Carbon Beach (Billionaire’s Beach)

There’s a reason Carbon Beach is also called “Billionaire’s Beach”: It is a public beach that looks and feels like a private one. It is home to the homes of some of the city’s wealthiest locals, and is as secluded an area as there is in all of Los Angeles. It offers a long, tranquil, yet scenic stretch of fine sand and clear waters, where you can swim and relax with little to no disturbance. It is, in a way, similar to El Matador Beach, only with a more private beach feel.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach / Surfrider Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach / Surfrider Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach / Surfrider Beach

Los Angeles’s beaches are by and large surfers’ havens, and that is exactly the case with Malibu Lagoon Beach, otherwise known as Surfrider Beach. The latter designation is much deserved, as this beach is known as a great place to surf — all throughout the day! But like beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, Surfrider Beach can get overcrowded at times. Then again, people go here because it is one of the city’s very best.

RAT Beach

RAT Beach

RAT Beach

Before anything else, RAT here stands for “Right After Torrence”, and not for that nasty rodent. It is located just south of Manhattan Beach and boasts of the scenic Palos Verdes Cliffs. Moreover, it is a silent stretch of sand and crystal-clear water, which means it is perfect for those who want a quiet getaway away from the crowd.

Point Dume State Beach

Point Dume State Beach

Point Dume State Beach

Right at the end of Malibu and just jutting out into the Pacific is Point Dume. It is home to a dramatic cliff’s edge that descends to a stunning crescent-shaped beach overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. The turquoise-colored water is crystal clear, and the horizon is an endless view of the ocean, with its cascading waves. It is known as a great scuba spot, with sea lion encounters commonplace. It is also a great spot to learn the basics of rock climbing.

Los Angeles, again, isn’t all about Hollywood. It offers an assortment of attraction for everyone, including several spectacular beaches. They are certainly perfect for getaways, though you can choose to live in the beach if your heart so desires, as in the case of Carbon Beach’s affluent residents. In that case, just feel free to check out all the California Beach Houses for Rent and for Sale at We’ll help you get the beach house of your dreams!

Newport Beach, California – More Than a Day at the Beach

Synonymous with great surf for decades, Newport Beach, on California’s sunny coastline, is no one trick pony. Newport Beach’s unique culture and climate can probably be chalked up to the juxtaposition of the luxury homes, storefronts and restaurants that are occupied and frequented by sun-kissed beach bums.  I like to think of it as sand between your toes chic.

Newport beach vacation rentalsLocated in the heart of Orange County’s beachfront between Huntington Beach (to the North) and Laguna Beach (to the South), Newport Beach is home to a handfull of the most beautiful beaches in the state, and arguably, the world.
Including the beaches on the harbor and back bay, there is over 15 miles of beaches to discover, which I definitely plan on doing! 
Some of the beaches include Balboa peninsula beaches, The Wedge, Corona del Mar beaches and Crystal Cove State Beach, plus some back bays, the Newport Dunes, and some small community beaches.
Each beach has its distinct attributes that set it apart from the others – Balboa Beach, Newport Municipal Beach and the West Jetty View Park with The Wedge are flat, sandy expanses along the peninsula where Corona del Mar, Newport Dunes and Crystal Cove, have cliffs, rocky points and tidepools.

Best Newport Beach Rental

Of Endless Summer fame, The Wedge is one of the best surf breaks, thanks in part to the improvements (done in the 1930′s) to the rock jetty on the North end of Newport’s harbor. South swells reflect off the jetty creating a second wave, which meets up with the following wave of the set and forms a peak. This series of events is the perfect recipe for creating waves that are often several feet larger than waves at other south facing beaches in Newport on any given day.

Newport Beach Rental Property

Newport Beach Rental Beach Houses

Newport Beach offers mostly outdoor shopping in little boutique stores but is also home to the shopping Mecca known as Fashion Island. Fashion Island is an outdoor shopping mall in the heart of Newport Beach where shop-a-holics go to see and be seen. With department stores such as Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Macys, many appreciate the fact that Fashion Island is also welcoming of your furry friends.

Back on the mainland other attractions include Pelican Hill Golf Club, a luxurious 36-hole championship golf course, that is said to rival Pebble Beach, and, The Orange County Museum of Art, a premier visual arts museum.

Considering a beach vacation? Book your beach house today through! Find our most popular Newport Beach Rentals here!

5 of the Best Beachside Cities in California

5 of the Best Beachside Cities in California
By: James Witts

Every beachside area will have the same key ingredients: sun, sand, and water. It’s no wonder residents in SoCal move from city to city within California to experience these beachside towns. It is the charm of the local town or city that makes a beach trip great? Check out these best beachside cities in California for your next beach getaway.

1. Santa Cruz
Located off of Highway 1 in Northern California, Santa Cruz offers a laid back and retro environment. Step back decades as you stroll down the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and peruse the many vintage shops that line the way. You’ll see a historic carousel as well as plenty of good old fashioned family fun with coasters and arcade games. Santa Cruz is one of the best beachside cities due to its proximity to other forms of nature. You’ll be able to catch a glimpse of whales from the ocean as well as tour nature at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Wineries also dot the countryside near Santa Cruz offering their other version of perfection by the bottle. Rent a beachhouse in Santa Cruz here.

2. Carmel
Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, this quaint little town sites on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula south of San Jose. It’s tucked in location offers a quiet and relaxing beach getaway. You’ll enjoy time on the white sandy beaches as well as the windy conditions of the Point Lobos State Reserve. The Mission Trail Nature Preserve is also located nearby with many trails to explore. The town of Carmel itself offers a more mature beach trip with streets full of galleries and fine dining establishments. Rent a beach house in Carmel here.

3. Malibu
There is a reason why this beach is so famous for both residents and visitors. Malibu is a beautiful beach that stretches out for more than 30 miles making this an excellent option for those wanting to take a long run along the water. Malibu is the prime spot for surfing and is well known as one of the significant places that celebrities and athletes call home. The ocean waves are well suited for both beginner and advanced surfers making this a great spot to learn more about the sport as well as see professional surfers in action. You’ll also find amazing fresh seafood dishes at the many restaurants that are located on the pier or right off the beach as well. Rent a beach house in Malibu here.

4. Catalina Island
If you’re a California resident looking for a vacation that is easy to get to but feels a million miles away, Catalina Island is the place for you. This island located just 22 miles off the coast of California feels like an entirely different world with its peaceful community and magnificent sunsets. There isn’t even a traffic light on the entire island making this a common getaway destination for many residents who spend hours a day sitting in traffic. Catalina Island boasts beautiful beaches as well as a casual atmosphere that is sure to put you on island time.

5. Venice Beach
Known for its eclectic style, Venice Beach is a favorite spot for those looking for some far-out beach time. You’ll find piazzas and canals much like its Italian counterpart as well as quaint little shops that line the boardwalk. Venice Beach is a great spot to be entertained by street performers as well as spend an afternoon watching all of the diverse people stroll by. Chic boutiques and food trucks are favorite stops for both residents and tourists alike as well.

California is full of great little beachside towns and cities that create the perfect backdrop to a beach getaway. From the laid-back atmosphere of Santa Cruz and Venice Beach to the surf-loving area of Malibu, to the peaceful getaways of Carmel and Catalina Island, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from for your next beach vacation. Consider all of these best beachside cities in California for your next trip.

James Witts is an eco-conscious home improvement writer. He is constantly trying to find new ways to live off the grid while living in a tiny home with his wife, Andie.

Now’s a Great Time to Book Your Beach House!


Imagine this scenario – you’re planning a trip down to Florida, you’re excited to go during the summer months when the kids are out of school and your boss has finally granted you your week’s vacation, everything’s set for the trip, and then your opportunity is taken away from you as you realize that there are no more available beach houses in the area you were looking most forward to staying in. For those of us dreaming of being able to escape to warm, sunny climates during the most popular time of year, the best time to book a beach house is now! Some of the best and brightest locations tend to get booked sometime in the early/middle months of winter as more vacationers begin to take a good look at their cold surroundings and become motivated to move on to a brighter location in time for the summer.

Gorgeous Views!

Location, Location, Location
As we all know, one of the greatest obstacles is finding the right spot and deal once the official location for the vacation (city, state, country) has been decided. The earlier you book, the more options you’ll have when it comes to getting your desired spot and housing accommodations as well! One benefit of booking ahead is having more options when choosing your beach house, and a better chance of scoring a home closer to the water, or one with an extra bedroom that allows friends from back home to visit you if and when they get the chance. If you book your summer trip now in January, you increase your chances of getting a condo with a nicer view of the gulf so that you can wake up every single morning and have breakfast on your balcony as you watch the turquoise waters settle down below. When you hesitate to make your reservations, you lose your opportunity to get the better deal. And when you’re late, even in the off-chance that you can get a spot in the general area you originally sought to stay in, the likelihood of being able to get the places with the better amenities diminish considerably; you’re usually left with something you probably would not have gone out of your way for in the first place.

You Can Almost Smell That Ocean Air!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
As important as availability is, another important thing to consider is transportation. True, many of us choose destinations that we end up driving to instead of either flying or taking the train. But imagine you decide to go out of your way for this one trip and venture out of your comfort zone as you head someplace farther and more exotic than the area you live in. A common mistake many first-time travelers often make is forgetting to coordinate their transportation with the rental dates. Whether this may be from one side of the country to the other or out of the country altogether, you need to make sure that your ride will get you there on the day you check in and take you back home the day you check out. Even more time is necessary if you need more than one seat! If you book last minute, you have a greater chance of not being able to get a ride over to your much awaited vacation destination and in extreme cases, you might even have to reschedule the whole thing on account of having mis-coordinating flight/rental schedules. Don’t let it get to the point where what could be the most enjoyable week out of your year is ruined because of poor time management!

Living in Paradise!

You’re in the Money!
As important as the first two categories are, one of the best features of booking ahead is the amount of money you get to save! You always go on vacation knowing that you will spend a certain amount of money which you automatically budget for. But have you ever considered how much more money you get to keep in your wallet when you take advantage of the rates available during the winter months? The lowest annual rates for any rental are always right after the holiday season. That way you have the opportunity to get that nice, big rental house right on the water for around the same price you would have to pay for the smaller, less convenient home farther away from the beach. Flight tickets also go down in price considerably after January 1st. And there you go! Your two biggest expenses cut down to nearly half just by taking care of things now rather than later. Makes the trip that much more enjoyable, doesn’t it?

So do yourself the favor and book now for your beach house sooner rather than later. Shouldn’t you have the best on your vacation? After all, for many of us working stiffs out there, it only comes but once a year!

Travel Deals – Croatia & Eastern Europe

I need to travel. I would rather sacrifice in other areas so that I can travel. I am constantly looking for somewhere or someway that I can travel, that doesn’t require me getting a third credit card. If I hear of someone who just went on a great vacation, I pick their brain and then research the area, the beaches, whatever I can find. If there is a shred of doubt in my mind weather or not I can afford the trip, I usually start researching flights immediately. I have friends who just got back from their honeymoon in Croatia, so of course I researched Europe and now I want to go!

Republic of Croatia

Croatia’s peak season starts in May and goes through September. Try planning your vacation for October – weather is cooling off slightly, but most beaches will still be warm enough to swim at.  Prices will be lower in the off season and there are fewer other travelers to contend with. 

Kristin (the new bride!) also recommended that travelers rent a beach house rather than paying premium prices for hotel accommodations.  You may have to pick up after yourself and do your own laundry, but you will save money in the long run, plus you have the privacy of your own home, access to a kitchen and often your own pool!

Generally, Eastern Europe is much cheaper to travel to and around than its counterpart to the West. If beach destinations like Croatia, or the popular (and pricier) cities of Paris, Rome or Barcelona aren’t your thing, travelers can still see the old world charm found in Western Europe, for less of their cash. Places like, Sofia and Budapest, Bruges, and Tallinn make for unique and exciting vacations. karen-and-mom

Tallinn, Estonia is safe, on the cheaper side, and offers more charm and beauty than its other former Soviet neighbors with a contrast of cobblestone streets winding past 13th Century churches and nightclubs such as Club Bonbon and Privé entertain revelers until 5 a.m.  The best way to see the town is by foot (look into walking tours) and be sure to visit Viru Street for excellent shopping!

Sofia, Bulgaria is a walking town surrounded by things to see. Take a day trip to the Vitosha Mountain or stay locally and join in on the leisurly meals served at one of many cafe-style restaurants.

Visit Sosua in the Dominican Republic for White Sandy Beaches!

Sosua beach

Sosua Beach


Sosua is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic and is a top tourist destination of the Caribbean. Located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, just four miles from Puerto Plata International Airport and 15 minutes from Cabarete, the windsurf capital of the Caribbean, you can find beautiful beach houses for rent, great seafood, and exciting nightclub entertainment. At the beach you can go sunbathing, snorkeling, water skiing, scuba diving, and listen to live music.

The North Coast of the Dominican Republic has been a top tourist destination for Europeans for nearly three decades. The people of Sosua consists of mostly Germans, British, Americans, and Canadians. They love to share their culture and mingle with vacationers.

Sosua Bay attracts many water sports enthusiasts, including snorkelers and divers because of its sheltered, calm waters, many species of fish and intricate reef structures. In the winter, whale watching is also a popular tourist activity in Sosua Bay.

The premiere scuba diving facility in #Sosua is on the northern coast of the #DominicanRepublic. Owned and operated by Jurgen Rumpenhorst since 1994!
visit @diving_merlin on Twitter

Recently, a new beach has been created by nature, just north of Sosua Bay. Mother Nature has been depositing sand where there were previously only sheer rock cliffs. The beach is called both Playa Alicia and Playa Casa Marina because of the hotel in close proximity that bears the same name.

Sosua Beach is a crescent-shaped bay protected by coral formations and clear waters for divers and snorkelers. Sosua’s other beaches are Waterfront (also called cul de sac), which was created after a storm around 2002, Paradise beach, Playa Imbert and Playa Chiquita.

There is also sport deep water fishing.

Contact any of these Tour Guide companies to make your vacation in Sosua a fabulous one full of exciting activities:

Luya Tours @RdLuya on Twitter
Sunflower Tours @Sftoursrd
Tigua Aerotours SRL @TiguaAerotours
Ministerio Turismo @MTurismoRD

Top 5 Beaches Where You Can Bare it All

2916787894_cc7c44f5e4Banana Beach, Greece - What would you expect from the aptly named Banana Beach, but lots of – er – bananas?  Well get your mind out of the gutter, because this beach is actually a trio of beaches located on the small Greek Islandof Skiathos, whose name came from the yellow-hued sand and the curved shape of their coastline.  The three beaches that make up Banana Beach are Little Banana (also called Sparticus), Big Banana and a small beach separated from Big Banana by a rocky outcrop.  And while one may have assumed that bigger would mean better (especially in this situation) Little Banana is actually the most popular of the three.  Durring the peak winter months, clothed onlookers tend to swarm the other two beaches while leaving Little Banana to itself.  As if there wasn’t already enough to look at, all three beaches have tremendous views of the tree covered foothills that surround the beaches behind you and the crystal clear Aegean Sea in front of you.

5111987645_5d03bd3665Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA – In the city that is known for its liberal lean, Baker Beach is right at home in San Francisco.  Baker Beach is blanketed in clean, fine white sand – not too dusty, not too pebbly – clear sapphire water, and maybe the most dramatic views of any beach you will come across.  Satisfy your inner vouyer, and we’re not just talking about the old men bits and pieces you are sure to see… as you walk the beach you will also catch a glimpse of some of California’s prime real estate – and have a chance to take in the same views that those homeowners enjoy – the cliff houses look out over the bay and the famous Golden Gate Bridge.  Parking is a breeze, free, and just a short walk from the beach, or you can opt to take public transportation, which dropps you off very close by.  Visit in September or October as the summer months tend to be covered with San Francisco’s notorious fog bank.

4910303358_101ac07014Valalta (Rovinj), Croatia – As far as nude beaches go, Valalta is perhaps the Mecca – the destination where all nude sunbathers and naturists feel drawn to and hope to journey to at least one time in their life.  This resort (yes, it is a planned resort, different from some of the naturally occuring beaches that have been gradually morphed into a nude beach over time) is huge, with the beach alone streatching over 3 miles.  Visitors can stay in a variety of accommodation – Valalta offers everything from fully-equipped apartments and bungalows to luxury mobile homes and glorified tents…all with electricity and running water though.  There is also a sports harbor, a number of restaurants, beer that has been brewed in their own brewery, souvenir shop, kids club, and a host of day and overnight excursions.  And if you prefer to get your bare-bronze on in relative seclusion rather than with the rest of the resort, there is a beach that is not an official part of the Valalta Resort that is usually much less crowded.

2773305082_27c5f70fb2Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii – If you like to live on the edge (which you must if your’re reading this post in the first place), Little Beach may be perfect for you.  Although nude sunbathing is technically illegal at the secluded Little Beach – and the rest of Hawaii – it’s referred to as Maui’s “unofficial clothing-optional beach” since the law has not been enforced here for a number of years.  It’s also somewhat of a local’s hot-spot…while the vast majority of beach-goers opt to sunbathe au natural, there are those who wear clothes (mostly tourists).  So if a little thing like illegality doesn’t rock your boat, grab your sandals and towel and make the trek to Maui’s Southern coast, and you will find Little Beach located just North of Big Beach.  Tucked behind rocks and high shrubs, and guarded by a narrow entry, Little Beach is picturesque Hawaii – white sand contrasted by bright blue/turquoise water.

5651319954_6a3b1c6a39Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia -

Named for a hulking, wrecked vessel that once sat on the sand, Wreck Beach is the shore of choice for Vancouver students. Just several hundred steps below the University of British Columbia, the 3-mile-long beach is a wildlife and nesting area for both bald eagles and bald bodies. Other sections of the beach assume a more carnival-like atmosphere. One stretch on the beach known as Vendors’ Row is a 1-stop shop for souvenirs, refreshments and the ever-important sunscreen.

Come see what Kiawah is all about!

Miles of beautiful beach and nearly nobody else in sight!





One of South Carolina’s best-kept secrets is beautiful little island 20 miles south of Charleston. Kiawah Island is one of the best places to book beach property rentals because it offers vacationers to relax in a place of quiet tranquility at a secluded, private beachfront community.

Kiawah Island, (pronounced “KEE-a-wah”) is a resort community 20 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. One of the happiest seaside towns in America, it offers 10 miles of pristine white, and warm beaches. With so much space to spread out and so few properties on the island you’ll never have to see another vacationer if you don’t want to. Kiawah is the perfect destination for honeymooning couples or families with small children.

Bike trails galore for the adventurer in us all

For those who want to do more than rest on the beach, Kiawah Island offers 20 miles of paved bike trails meandering through wildlife and nature reserves where anyone can see the local species Kiawah is designed to protect. Stop by the Kiawah Island Nature Center to sign up for one of its nature programs which include kayak and canoe rentals, guided paddling excursions, outdoor walking tours, ocean tours, an alligator adventure, island birding, nature photography, wetland tours, fishingand motorboat excursions, sunset cruises, and so much more. Learning to ride a bike? The white-sand beaches during low-tide are a beautiful and safe place to improve your skills or get your little ones going.

Kiawah Island oceanside vacationers love the outdoors and enjoy playing tennis at one of the many tennis courts, rollerblading around the island, and at one of the island’s many exclusive golf courses. The Ocean Course at Kiawah’s Island Golf Resort will be hosting the 2012 PGA championships.


What a beautiful place to play!

Freshfield Village, just outside Kiawah, features exclusive shopping, art shows, live music, outdoor movies, a farmers market and lots of other events. And if you are craving even more culture just make an excursion to Charleston which is a short car ride away. It’s the cultural heart of the South with lots of historic sites, art galleries, concerts, cafes and restaurants to explore.

Vacationers on Kiawah Island  can enjoy all the benefits of a modern, well-furnished beach home with exclusive beachfront access year round. Since many homes are in private or gated communities a vacationer can enjoy perfect privacy right between a boundless nature preserve and a beautiful beach.

Want to come and see what Kiawah is all about? Book now before it’s too late!

Great surf spots you’ve (probably) never heard of…courtesy of Budget Travel

Surfing Steamers Lane 1 - by Jim Bahn

Surfing Steamers Lane 1 – by Jim Bahn

* re posted from BudgetTravel

In honor of International Surfing Day on June 20, and another ‘endless’ summer (shaka!), we asked the Surfrider Foundation to put together a list of some lesser-known surf spots around the country that everyone from the novice to the experienced rider can enjoy.

“I tried to pick spots that are legit from a surfing standpoint, but for various reasons don’t get the attention that they deserve,” explained Matt McClain of the Surfrider Foundation, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of coastlines.

McClain put together this list from West Coast to East:

1. Pine Trees, Kauai, Hawaii: Located off the sleepy surf town of Hanalei on the north shore of Kauai, Pine Trees offers an escape from the circus-like atmosphere of Oahu’s North Shore. It’s a fun break for intermediate and advanced surfers, while beginners can find gentler waves in front of the nearby pier.

2. Yakutat, Alaska: If you want to get away — far away — then Yakutat is the place. Don’t let the towering Sitka spruce and bald eagles fool you. Yakutat is a bona fide surfing destination that has drawn some of the biggest names in professional surfing.

3. Cowell’s, Santa Cruz, California: Located just inside the famous break at Steamer Lane, Cowell’s is the perfect spot to learn how to surf. This break is renowned for its gentle peaks and long, rolling waves. A number of surf schools operate here.

4. Burnout, Torrance, California: Despite being one of the most photographed spots in Southern California, Burnout is still relatively unknown outside of the South Bay. A quintessential California beach break, on any given day pro surfers like Alex Gray and Holly Beck can be found pulling into the barrels at Burnout.

5. Trails, San Clemente, California: Technically part of San Onofre State Beach Park, Trails is often overshadowed by the park’s other spots, Trestles and San Onofre. The surf itself is not the most amazing you’ll ever ride, but the laid-back atmosphere and dog-friendly policy make it worth the trip.

6. Reef Road, West Palm Beach, Florida: With it’s clear, warm water, Reef Road is about as good as Florida surfing gets. A popular spot with local surfers, the sandy bottom break can range from three- to six-footers, up to two times overhead on a storm swell.

7. The Cove, Cape May, New Jersey: If The Cove were located in California or Hawaii, it would probably be as famous as Malibu or Waikiki. The Cove is primarily a longboard spot and attracts surfers of all ages and abilities.

8. Alamo, Montauk, New York: Located out on the tip of Long Island, Montauk pulls in all kinds of waves and weather. The hearty souls that are willing to brave the wind and strong currents are rewarded with thick heaving lefts (waves that break from left to right when you’re looking out from the beach). This spot is for experienced surfers only.

There’s also a whole host of activities taking place around the country, and around the world, over the coming days in honor of International Surfing Day. For a schedule of events and additional information about the day set aside for celebrating the sport of surfing, go here.

In’s Backyard: Dolphin soars; wipeouts galore at the wild Wedge

It was another wild day at the Wedge, with more surfers and bodyboarders in the water getting worked on Friday morning, as waves in the 15-foot range and bigger slammed the shore.

More spectators lined the shoreline today, with news crews out and the echos of “ohhhhh” ringing loud when one of the insane riders was pummeled by a huge wall of water. There were big-time wipeouts, as well as some amazing rides. If you were stuck in your office and couldn’t make it to the sand, be sure to check out our slideshow HERE.

Wild Wedge thrills and spills on Friday as swell stays strong

Wild Wedge thrills and spills on Friday as swell stays strong

It was a big day for thrills and spills as the guys out in the water tried to take on the big bad Wedge before the swell starts to drop over the weekend. It was day 2 of the swell, a bit cleaner today but more crowded.Check out images from Thursday if you missed them (with newly added evening shots after it cleaned up.)

After you check out the photos, below is a can’t-miss video that hit Facebook last night by photographer and Wedge local John Minar.

A few of us were on the sand Thursday morning when the swell started to hit hard, and all of a sudden a huge dolphin came flying out of the top of a wave, propelling itself way up in the air.

I pulled up my camera and hit the button, but it happened so fast the dolphin was gone in a split second. Another photographer and I looked at each other, mouths dropped “DID YOU GET THAT?!” Neither of us did.

Fortunately, John Minar had the camera rolling, and said he didn’t even see it until he was looking through his footage later that day. It goes to show that the dolphins are the original locals out there, and none of us can compete. Definitely take a few minutes to watch; it’s guaranteed to make your Friday:

*article from

Have you heard about Beachapedia?


See what all the buzz is about:

Beachapedia captures decades of experience and knowledge gained by Surfrider Foundation activists, scientists and staff through hundreds of environmental and educational campaigns on our coasts.  By sharing this resource with the public they hope to provide tools and information to help communities make a positive impact on their local beaches.

With cool features like the “Coastal Factoid” of the day and continually-updated “State of the Beach” report, Beachapedia is an awesome resource for anyone and everyone who loves the beach, ocean, waters, or the environment.

Check it out today!

*** 2010 JAYO International Team Player, James Pribram – In the News!

Yahoo News: Pro surfer rescues woman swept out to sea

Call it coincidence, serendipity or divine intervention, Maira Khan’s alive today thanks to a stranger’s last-minute change of plans.

Swept out to sea, non-swimmer Khan was rescued by a pro surfer who wasn’t supposed to be there.

“The fact that a pro surfer came and saved my life? It’s a miracle.”

James Pribram is a pro surfer. He was supposed to be in Canada that day, but an injured family member had him in California earlier than expected.

While standing on the balcony of his parents’ Laguna Beach home, Pribram saw Khan climbing on the rocks below when a 6-foot-wave knocked her off-balance.

The waves battered her body against the rocks, sweeping her out to sea.

Pribram saw the distressed woman. He called for his mother, told her to call 911, and ran toward Khan.

In the very waters where he learned to surf, Pribram pulled a scraped and bleeding Khan from the water.

He handed her over to the care of paramedics and quietly left without introduction. Only after a lifeguard told Khan her rescuer’s name did Khan discover that her good Samaritan was a professional surfer with an already heroic reputation.

Dubbed “The Eco Warrior” by one journalist, Pribram was named Laguna Beach’s 2011 Athlete of the Year for his work teaching school kids to care for their ocean.

Khan told the Orange County Register, “I feel like he was sent from God to see me at that moment and save my life.”

Khan has since reunited with her hero; she accepted his offer of swimming lessons.


Laguna Beach, Three Arch Bay & Tidepools

Laguna Beach, CaliforniaWhen I decided to move to Orange County, I was excited and nervous.  This was going to be my first time living away from the Central Coast town that I was born and raised in, had gone to college in, and had started my career in.  I had barely settled and homesickness hadn’t even had a chance to kick in, and my family and some of our close family friends came down to visit – it ended up being one of the best weekends I have ever had…

Our family friends have a house in Three Arch Bay, a private beach community on the southern end of Laguna Beach, that was established in the 1930′s.  We started the weekend at the property and headed down to check out the private beach.  A few hundred steps later (maybe only a slight exaggeration) we found ourselves on a quaint, private, and uncrowded crescent of sand, sheltered by bluffs on one side and open to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean on the other side.  Once I had staked out my spot on the sand, I started checking out my surroundings.  There was a handful of other groups at the beach that day – a couple groups of teenagers and skimboarding, some 20-somethings working on their tans, a couple families with young kids playing in the sand and jumping in the shallow whitewater…and a crew setting up what looked to be a stage.

One of the crew members told us that they were setting up for a birthday party that one of the homeowners was having at the beach that evening.  Sure enough, as the day went on, the stage was completed, and the party site really started to take shape.  Tables and chairs were arranged, tents were erected, decorations were thrown up…so, of course we decided to stick around to see what all the fuss was about!

Tide-poolGuests started showing up around 4, and by 5 or so, sound checks started to sound over the microphones.  By this time, there were maybe 50 party guests, the ten of us, and only about 15 other beach-goers.  When the music started we all wandered over to hear who was playing.  We recognized the classic surf rock immediately once The Beach Boys started crooning and proceeded to play all of their best hits – we had stumbled upon a private Beach Boys concert!

The night eventually wound down and we made our way back up to the beach house.  The next morning, we woke up to sunshine and clear blue skies – another perfect beach day!  We went into Laguna Beach, where we had lunch at Goko Cafe (great Greek food – very fresh and mostly organic) before visiting the tide-pools at Picnic Beach (also known as Heisler Park Reserve).

As a kid I remember being fascinated by the sea creatures I found in the tide-pools – starfish, sea urchins, tiny fish, and my favorite, hermit crabs.  At Picnic Beach that day, there were several families with small children – all of the kids were enjoying exploring the rocks, looking for their favorite tide-pool critter.

Laguna Beach also has a variety of shops – everything from vintage boutiques and candy shops, to jewelry stores and art galleries.  It is a great beach town to vacation to and there are tons of beach vacation rental properties to stay in.

What stores and restaurants do you hit up when you are in Laguna Beach!  What is your favorite stretch of sand?  Leave us a comment!

At the Beach: Kahuna Kupuna Surf Contest


In Hawaiian, “Kahuna” means “Big Chief” and “Kupuna” means “Grandparent” or “Older member of the community to whom everyone goes for advice and counsel.”  So, “Kahuna Kupuna” means “Big Chief Grandparent” in Hawaiian.

Kahuna Kapuna is the only amateur surf contest in the world that focuses on surfers age 40 and over by offering separate shortboard and longboard heats (pending demand) for men and women in the following age divisions:

  • 40-49
  • 50-54
  • 55-59
  • 60-64
  • 65-69
  • 70-74
  • 75-79

The suggested entry donation is $65 and all net proceeds support Pacifica’s Environmental Family, a 501(c)(3) non-profit fiscal sponsorship organization.

Driftwood trophies, crafted from driftwood collected at Pescadero State Beach, south of Half Moon Bay and Moat Creek Beach up near Point Arena, will once again be given to the top 6 finishers in each division.

There will be a post-contest reception with live music, a full buffet dinner featuring delicious organic mexican food from the Green Enchilada and another lollapalooza of an award ceremony starting at 5:30 PM at the Pedro Point Firehouse. Each contestant’s entry will cover admission for the post contest festivities. A sliding scale suggested donation of between $10 to $20 is requested from additional guests who want to join us at the Firehouse. Will call tickets for your guests are available in advance or during the day of the contest.

For more information visit the official contest website:  Kahuna Kapuna

Cheers to a good cause…

2007 Surfrider Chardonnay2005 Surfrider Red2008 Surfrider Sauv Blanc
The other night, my friend came over for dinner and, being the great friend that she is, she also brought along a bottle of wine…and not just any wine.  An avid reader of this blog (thanks K!) she knows that the Surfrider Foundation is a frequent topic of conversation, so she brought a bottle of Surfrider Chardonnay!

I know…who knew they even made that?!  Well, technically, Surfrider doesn’t make it.  Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate winery is responsible for this delicious wine.  And even better, 85% of the fruit used in the wine was grown in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo where I grew up!

After a glass (maybe 2…) I started researching for this post.  Turns out Rosenthal has a whole line of Surfrider wines:  a 2007 Surfrider Chardonnay, a 2005 Surfrider Red,a 2008 Surfrider Sauvignon Blanc, and even a 375 ml 2005 Red Dessert Wine.

labelI am such a wine novice that I wouldn’t feel right subjecting you all to my review of these wines, so I’ll leave it to Randy Fuller, writer of the Now and Zin wine blog:

It’s a pale straw-colored wine.  The nose features a fragrant show of mainly tropical fruit and flowers.  The palate is not belabored by wood, although it is 30% barrel-fermented, with five months in oak.  In fact, it feels quite clean and crisp in the mouth. The fruit comes from Edna Valley, not Rosenthal’s Malibu estate, which may explain some of the minerality.  I even noticed a slight effervecsence on the second day which I didn’t see in the previous night’s glass.  I’m a big fan of Chardonnay with a hint of oak, but I also love a refreshingly unoaked variety.  Surfrider falls somewhere in between.  I’m glad I could hang five – fingers, that is – on a Surfrider Chardonnay.

Randy Fuller, Now and Zin Wine Blog

Rosenthal supports the Surfrider Foundation by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle.

Now you don’t have to feel guilty about having that glass of wine…you’re helping to keep our oceans and beaches clean!  Cheers!

Sandcastles – not just child’s play anymore!

15751425_41bbde8e6aIf you’re going to live the beach-house lifestyle, there’s one skill you can’t do without, and that’s the ability to build a respectable sandcastle.  True beach lovers know that there’s nothing more relaxing than feeling the sun on your back, the wind through your hair, and wet sand on your hands as you construct a fairy-tale castle fit for a pint-sized king.

But if it’s been a few years since you dabbled in the sand-related arts, you may need some pointers from the experts.  And strangely enough, there are experts.  A whole community has grown up around the art of sandcastles, with contests, Web sites, and even newsletters.

So before you jet off to your beach-house vacation, get prepared with the following overview of sandcastle building.  It’s all a matter of patience, the right tools, and lots and lots of, you guessed it, sand.

36889676_aa197c203dThe first step to a successful sandcastle is a good water source.  You can either dig a hole down to the water table (so that it fills with water) or get yourself a big bucket of seawater.  You won’t get anywhere with sand that is too dry.

Then it’s all a matter of carving.  Yes, carving.  It turns out that sandcastle experts generally carve sandcastles from large mounds of sand, rather than attempting to build from the bottom up and forming flimsy (read doomed) walls and towers.  They get themselves a nice pile of wet sand and carve it down into a castle shape.

To be a successful sandcastle-carver, you need tools.  Whether you use Popsicle sticks, shells, shovels, spatulas or just your hands, you need a variety of tools to do a variety of different jobs, from carving out a tower to drawing in a window with a little sand princess looking out.

Start at the top of your pile and work downwards, that way the sand won’t roll down and destroy your work.  Carve out a few towers, and pick out a suitable roof for your structure.  Put in a few turrets and maybe a window or two.  As you get to the bottom, add some landscaping, or maybe a moat.

The key is to go slow, and carve off just a little at time.  If you get impatient, and scrape off a big chunk, you’ll have to start over again.  Relax, get into the mood, and watch your dream castle slowly appear.  But don’t get too attached.  High tide will be here soon.

Sandcastle built by Sudarsan Pattnaik, part of the Amsterdam India festival Sandcastle Resource Guide

There’s a whole big sandcastle world out there, with contests, Web pages, even computer games. Check out our selection of links to the online world of sand sculpture:


  • Comprehensive guide to sandcastle contests, from, your online resource for all things sand sculpture.

Sand Sculptors

  • Home page of Sandscapes – a team of leading, sand sculptors, Brad Goll, Dan Belcher, Fred Dobbs, Kevin Crawford, and Greg & Brandi Glenn.  Lots of information about their technique, links, photos, and more.
  • Kirk Rademaker – sandsculptor / interactive environmental art and more.

Karl Strauss Brewery’s Beach to Brewery 2010 – A Beer & Music Fest to benefit Surfrider Foundation


WHAT: Beach to Brewery Beer + Music Fest

WHEN: Saturday May 8, 2010 from 2:00p-7:00p

WHERE: Karl Strauss Main Brewery in Pacific Beach (Map It!)

Other Info:

  • This year marks the 7th year of supporting the local San Diego Surfrider Chapter.
  • Admission includes a souvenir taster glass and 5 samples.
  • Tickets are $25/pre-sale and $30/at the door.  All proceeds go directly to the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter.
  • Interested in becoming a Surfrider member?  Buy a ticket to the event and a 1-year membership for only $40 a $50 value.
  • On-line pre-sale ticket sales end at 2:00p on Friday May 7th. Tickets will be available at the door on May 8th for $30 each.
  • Free shuttles starting at 1:40pm are available from Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach and will run throughout the event.   The PB pick-up/drop off point is at the corner of Dawes/Thomas at the edge of the PB Library.  No event parking is available at the Library, so plan accordingly.   The OB pick-up/drop off point is at Dusty Rhodes Park.

Check out this video from their event last year:

Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery from Love Machine Films on Vimeo.

Travel Deal: Cabrera, Dominican Republic, Caribbean Islands

Need to get away to the sunshine? Escape to Affordable Luxury! Save 50% right now! (to take advantage of this offer, please leave a comment and we will get in contact with you)

Experience a luxurious getaway in one of the hottest destinations.  This is “The best island romantic villa!”  An exotic location with welcoming weather and a real seaside stress reliever…escape those winter time blues!

Welcome to the beauty, serenity and peaceful elegance of Casa Bella Villa. This Dominican Republic luxury vacation villa rental offers 3 bedrooms, all en suite and air conditioned, located right on the beachfront in the exclusive gated community of Orchid Bay Estates.

The beautiful white sand beach is literally steps away from the vacation villa where you can swim, snorkel or build those sand castles from your dreams.

Casa Bella Villa comes with a full staff (private chef, maid, host, gardener, guard) to take care of your every need.
Casa Bella sits right on a private beach. Come and experience a travel adventure at an exclusive exotic location!
True oceanfront/beach property
Swim everyday in clear blue carribean sea.


  • outdoor pool table
  • basketball hoop
  • Wii game
  • Dsl wireless internet
  • No chlorine/ swimming pool
  • and much more!

Come and experience villa rental like you never had before.

Everything is provided.  No worries of what to eat or having to do household chores.  Your stress-free vacation awaits!

***Recession-Busting to Winter Travel Deal for Casa Bella Villa–Save 50% or More***

Leave us a comment for info on special package rates for winter.  Package rates can start as low as $400 per night or $2,800 per week. (limit time only, some restrictions apply)

See every beach in the world – in one day!

You’ve backpacked through Asia, hiked the America’s, hopped the Eurorail across Europe, safaried in Africa and dog sledded your way throughout Antarctica…and you have a foggy recollection of spending some time in Australia, although you can’t be 100% sure – there may have been a lot of lager involved…

If you’re feeling a case of the been-there-done-that’s, you only have to wait a few more years – which is probably the amount of time it will take you to pawn off all of your possessions,  shake down your family and closest friends, and climb the ranks in your local mafia so that you can amass enough money to afford a trip to the final frontier… space.

Virgin Galactic (see what they did there?  Galactic sounds kinda like Atlantic?  clever.) has announced that, estimated to begin in the year 2012, you will have the opportunity to travel into outer space – an opportunity that, so far, only professional astronauts have had.  Their Website can’t stress “safety” enough – new technology and a 3-day pre-flight training seminar will supposedly leave you ready to board one of their state-of-the-art spaceships (complete with comfort-first seats and amenities and panoramic windows) and venture out into the wild black and blue yonder.

Virgin Galactic’s affordable pricetag:  $200,000 – with plans to reduce the cost as much as possible as quickly as possible in order to maximize the number of people who will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

Another company, Galactic Suite Limited, is also set to voyage into outer space, although both Galactic Suite Limited and Virgin Galactic are adamant that there is no race – both companies are independently financed and will start their engines only once exhaustive test flights and trial runs have been successfully completed.

While Virgin’s trip is a there-and-back, relatively quick journey, Galactic Suite Limited’s experience will allow amateur astronauts an extended stay in orbit aboard The Galactic Suite Space Resort.

The experience will begin on a private tropical island where your “challenging and exhilarating” briefed astronaut space training program will take place.  After that, it’s go time and you will be launched into space on their SpaceShip, on track to join up with their SpaceResort.  Once there, you will spend 3 nights in a private lux pod room – all for the low, low price of $4,000,000!

…imagine…going from 0 km/hr to 28,000 km/hr in 10 minutes…traveling around the world in 90 minutes…watching 15 sunsets in one day…experiencing total weightlessness…

5 of the Dirtiest U.S. Beaches

On this blog we’ve profiled some of the most wonderful, exotic and captivating beaches in the entire world. Beaches that entice travelers to come and experience their mystic appeal. We’ve shown you travel destinations tucked away in tropical havens and waters so clear that they practically beckon you to visit through your monitor. If only they were all so picturesque.

The sad truth is that for every amazing beach, there exists it’s negative counter-part. The truth of the matter is that there are just as many sad beaches as well that tempt no one. Call them dirty, polluted, whatever you like. Just don’t call them your vacation spot.

Here’s your list of 5 of the dirtiest beaches in the U.S.

"Honey, call the travel agent. I want a refund. This is NOT the Hawaii they promised."

"Honey, call the travel agent. I want a refund. This is NOT the Hawaii they promised."

Located on the north shore of the island, the beaches on the Hanalei are littered with pollution. According to The Natural Research Defense Counsel (which monitors beach quality). How bad is it? According to the report, it exceeds the accepted level of bacteria by a whopping 100%. That is to say that there is TWICE AS MUCH bacteria present on the beach and swimming area that is normally acceptable. Hawaii is known for is magnificent beaches, but the northern beaches on the Hanalei river should not be included with them. The good news is that in 2003, the area was a recipient of over $900,000 in grant money designed to counteract sediment and waste-water problems. Because that’s the last thing that you want to think of at the beach…. ‘waste water.’ Eeewww!

Ahh... Lake Michigan. Home of the American Pie Movies.

Ahh... Lake Michigan. Home of the American Pie Movies.

When samples were taken from this beach in 2003, 56% of the time the bacteria levels were at failing levels. That means that better than 1 out of 2 times you take a dip you could contract an infections disease. The Great Lakes don’t seem so great when they’re teeming with bacteria. It just goes to show that we’re not content with simply violating and polluting the oceans, we’ve decided to move inland and hit our fresh water lakes as well. The pollution of this (and other inland beaches) is likely the direct result of decades of heavy commercial shipping that takes place in the lakes.

Vitamin Water bottle: OK if YOU brought it, gross if the lake did.

Vitamin Water bottle: OK if YOU brought it, gross if the lake did.

Take two of the blandest, safest and most vanilla words and places in America (YMCA and Wisconsin) and put them together and you think that you’d have the most perfect beach… right? WRONG! In fact, the YMCA Beach in Wisconsin is the exact opposite. Unless you think of E. Coli bacteria which has caused serious illness as ‘safe.’ Lest we get too far without talking about it again, E. Coli is the direct byproduct of human and animal waste. So while you’re in the north country trying to enjoy a nice summer day at the beach and you wonder what that tangy thing is on your tongue and that stinging sensation on your skin it’s best not to dwell on it for too long.

"The beaches in New Jerseyyyy...."

"The beaches in New Jerseyyyy...."

According to Saturday Night Lives’ Governor Patterson parody, no dirty beach list would be complete without a New Jersey spotting. I personally think that New Jersey get’s a bad rap for a lot of things, and I love going to Wildwood and enjoying the boardwalk every summer. That being said, Beachwood Beach West is certainly no Wildwood. It’s the anti-vacation beach if ever there was one. With a 60% failure rate for bacteria sampling, this beach recently showed up on a “most dangerous” beaches of the world along with some shark infested beaches in Australia. But the danger here isn’t sharks…but rather the risk of infection.

LA Beach

That's a lot of pee-pee!

I got a kick out of putting this one down. As I researched for this article and I found the NRDC’S report I scanned over the results. A beach from Florida here, one from Ohio there… and then I saw this. EVERY beach in Los Angeles County was lumped into one giant category. Basically what the Research Council is saying is that Los Angeles is in fact a cesspool…. LITERALLY! I always use literally incorrectly but not in this case. It is a literal fact that the beaches of Southern California are bacteria ridden, having a bearly 60% failure rate for safe level testing. I’m sure that there are beaches in Southern California that are lovely and safe to enjoy, but apparently not in Los Angeles County (at least according to this report).

Strange things that have washed up on the beach…

1) Giant Lego Man

On October 29, 2008, to the delight of children playing on a Brighton beach, an 8 foot tall man wearing a green top washed ashore…an 8′ tall Lego man that is. Lego denies having any knowledge of the missing giant (although that’s what they would say, were this the result of a genius marketing ploy) and is content to let him remain on the beach where he has become somewhat of a local legend. Other theories surmise that the Lego man started his swim off of the coast of Denmark where there is a Legoland park, while others think he simply fell off of a cargo ship.

2) Rubber Duckies

Destined for bathtubs around the world, a flock of 29,000 rubber duckies ended up getting more of an adventure than they had bargained for.  Boxes of the ducks, along with blue turtles and green frogs, were washed overboard in the eastern Pacific Ocean in January, 1992 on their way from China, where they were made for the US firm, The First Years Inc.  Since then, the little guys – dubbed the “Friendly Floaties” – have drifted over 17,000 miles.  Some circled the northern Pacific, before washing up on the Alaskan shore, while the others traveled through freezing Arctic waters, past the tropical Hawaiian Islands, and even passing over the location where the Titanic sank, before heading down the West coast of Canada and the US.  Watertight and formed from durable plastic, the toys have helped researchers to chart ocean currents, and are now quite valuable.  So keep an eye out for them – the US firm that made them is offering a reward for finding one.

3)  BMW Motorcycles

While en route from Belgium to Portugal, on January 18, 2007, a windstorm brought down the MSC Napoli.  Soon after, the ships cargo began washing up at Branscombe, luring hundreds of people to scavenge the loot, which included several BMW R1200RT motorcycles!  As crowds became unruly and began removing anything that wasn’t nailed down from surrounding personal residences, the police closed the beach, and announced that they would force people to return goods they had salvaged as per the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 such actions constituted an offence equivalent to theft.

4)  Human Feet

On August 26, 2007 a beachgoer was strolling the beach in Jedidiah Island in British Columbia when he stumbled upon a human foot, still in its shoe.  Immediately authorities began looking into missing persons reports and conducting DNA tests in order to find the body that the foot belonged to.  Police remained tight lipped in regards of any findings and the incident was thought to be unfortunate, but not unusual, as human body parts will sometimes wash ashore, victims of plane crashes, drownings, etc.  However, on August 26, 2008, the investigation took an unusual turn as a second food washed up on nearby Gabriola Island.  Since then, 5 other human feet – all wearing socks and shoes – have washed ashore, 7 total, all in relatively close proximity to each other.  Here is a timeline:

1) Aug. 20 2007 – right foot, male, Jedediah Island (Campus brand)
2) Aug. 26, 2008 – right foot, male, Gabriola Island (Reebok)
3) Feb 2 2008 – right foot, male, Valdes Island (Nike)
4) May 22 2008: right foot, female, Kirkland Island, Richmond (New Balance)
5) Jun 16 2008: left foot, male, Savage Rd, Ladner (only left foot) (Nike) (same man as Valdes foot)
6) Aug. 4 2008 – right foot, male, Pillar Point Beach, Washington (hiking shoe)
7) Nov. 12 2008 – left foot, female, Finn Slough in the south arm of the Fraser, near the end of Garden City Road, Richmond (New Balance)

5)  Message in a Bottle

In August 2008 a team of volunteers cleaning up a beach at West Sands in St Andrews happened upon a bottle with a message in it that had been written by an 11 year old boy – 23 years ago.  Donald Wylie had originally thrown the bottle into the sea off Orkney in Northern Scottland.  His message contained his name, age and the request that, if discovered, its finder pass it onto a boy of similar age.  The University of St. Andrews students and staff tracked down the not 33 year old Mr Wylie, who was, remarkably, still living in Orkney.  Once it had been confirmd that he was, indeed, the sender, Wylie went to the University to see the bottle and where it had been found.  Wylie told the students that he had thrown several bottles out to sea after his mother suggested the idea…and that to this day, his mother encourages her grandchildren to do the same.   Other bottles that Donald has thrown into the ocean have been found as well – he has recieved calls from Norway and Denmark – but this was the first bottle to be found so close to where it had started its journey.

6)  Hindu Statues

September 2006 – Devotees in Bombay celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Ganesh.  Traditionally, a few months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi, clay models of Lord Ganesha is various poses are made and decorated, ranging in size from 1 inch to over 25 feet.  On the 11th day, worshipers carry the statues through the streets, dancing, singing, before immersing dozens of these colorful statues into a river or ocean.  As was the case when statues were sent off in the Arabian Sea at night.  The next morning, the tide brought them back, some chipped, some missing appendages, making for a spectacular, if not cartoonishly macabre scene.

7)  Cocaine

Love combing the beach for treasure?  How about $1 million in treasure?  In August 2009 the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received a call – someone had found a suspicious package that had washed up on the shores of Sebastian Inlet in Florida.  When authorities arrived, they discovered the package contained 60 pounds of cocaine – 24 bricks – with a street value of about $1 million!  And while the owner of the narcotics is not known, the Deputy on duty said that, while the loss would be substantial to the smugglers, they would probably just consider it the cost of doing business.

8 )  Tons of Timber

In January of 2008 thousands of pieces of timber – more than 2,000 tons in all – washed ashore along England’s southern beaches after drifting 100 miles from a cargo ship that sank off of the coast.  The Ice Princess, en route to Egypt from Scandinavia, was carrying thousands of tons of untreated saw timber when she hit rough weather and the cargo shifted causing her to drifting east and eventually sink.  Twenty crew had to be rescued by helicopter and lifeboat.  The local coastguard said that the timber had washed up all the way from Littlehampton in West Sussex to Beachy Head in East Sussex.  Time for a beach clean-up?  Maybe, but not by just anyone…the Sussex police warned than anyone caught removing the timber – aside from contractors authorized by the Maritime Coastguard Agency – were subject to prosecution and arrest!

Photo Journey through SE Asia Guest Bloggers, Stacy & Jeff, traveled across 6 countries in Southeast Asia and were nice enough to check in with us all along the way.  This is their journey by the numbers:

  • 21different airplanes they took
  • 6bus rides (varying from 7 hours to 27 hour trips)
  • 2train trips (overnight)
  • 11boat/ferry rides
  • 46different hotels (not including Cynthia and Fernando’s homes)
  • 12the # of languages they came across (at least!) throughout their trip
  • 0sicknesses
  • 0injuries
  • 1root canal
  • 0danger/trouble they encountered
  • 22# of books they read – each!
  • and we both want more!
  • This is their journey in photos (each photo links to the corresponding blog entry):

    We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did!

    Indonesia Hit Hard – Again – Second Earthquake Strikes Hours After First

    Only one day after the first earthquake shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a SECOND one hit on September 30, only 180 miles from the epicenter of the first one, leaving the area devastated.  The second quake measured 6.6 in magnitude.

    Early reports estimate that 500 are dead and thousands more are severely injured, still trapped or missing after buildings caught fire, homes collapsed, airports closed, and residents and tourists became trapped.  In Padang, one of the hardest hit towns, at least 500 homes caved in.

    The Indonesian Red Cross (also known as Palang Merah Indonesia or PMI) has dispatched nearly 300 volunteers, (including 45 doctors to the quake zone to offer first aid services, shelter and other assistance for those in need) and thousands of relief supplies, such as tarps, blankets and sarongs, are also being moved from warehouses in Jakarta to Padang.

    While the American Red Cross is initially donating $100,000 to the Indonesian Red Cross, The global Red Cross network is now responding to five near-simultaneous disasters in Asia Pacific (the Ketsana typhoon of 9/26/2009; an 8.3-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit on 9/29/2009 that rocked Samoa, Tonga and America Samoa; the first 7.6-magnitude quake that hit off the coast of Padang, West Sumatra on 9/30/2009; and the second earthquake that hit 10/1/2009 in the Jambi region of Indonesia) and needs your help!

    Ways to help:

    • Donate now – you can make a tax-deductable financial contribution to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Relief Fund, International Response Fund, or to your local Red Cross chapter.
    • Volunteer your time
    • Give Blood

    For inquiries about relatives living and who have citizenship in Indonesia, please be patient and call repeatedly until the lines clear or contact other family members who live nearby. Telephone, Internet and other communication lines are often disrupted in times of disaster. People trying to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Indonesia should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225.

    You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Donations to the International Response Fund can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at

    Travel Deal: Crystal Sands Villa On the Beach, Turks & Caicos

    Last Minute Cancellation! Book your vacation for the week of November 28th – December 5 and SAVE $200!!!

    Crystal Sands Villa is a HUGE 4200 square feet!! Each of the two Crystal Sands Villa suites has two master suites with king beds and ensuite baths. (One king is convertible to two twins.) Each master suite has a direct view of the beach! The rooms are large, open and airy. In the Beach Level Suite, a third nursery/children’s room has an extra twin bed! (villa sleeps 13)

    Vacation comfort is a given, with the villa’s large living area with extra sofa bed and well planned baths, with large vanities, large walk in showers and fabulous storage! The balcony is magnificently 50 foot long and it is covered! Whether you choose 2BR/2baths or 4BR/4baths, comfort and luxury are assured!

    Our fresh water swimming pool is nestled in a beautiful garden setting for privacy. The gardens feature dozens of tropical flowering plants and plenty of shady places to sit. Our palapas offers a restful setting for enjoying our hammocks.

    Expect a fully equipped kitchen, linens, including beach towels, cable TV, CD/DVD, washer/dryer, ceiling fans, beautiful furnishings!

    Crystal Sands Villa is located in the most exclusive residential area on Providenciales, on Sapodilla Bay Beach on the South side. It is peaceful, quiet and calm. Yet, it is only minutes away from the commercial area on Grace Bay Beach, from the restaurants throughout the island and from the many activities that Provo has to offer. It is truly the best of all worlds! Our ocean bay is serene….and the stars at night are so magnificent; it is just dark enough to really see the spectacular star scene! The sunsets at dusk are also spectacular; the view is unencumbered by tall buildings! The sand is pure crystal white!
    The water is clear, sparkling aqua! Our guests have ALL indicated that the photos simply do not do justice to our spectacular villa! We have dozens of varieties of flowering plants which cascade throughout the garden. The pure white sand and crystal clear water are indescribable! The villa is perfectly set up for a truly elegant vacation with all the comforts of home!

    Although tropical breezes keep the villa pleasant, air conditioning is available at extra charge for those who must have it! Please see our rates page for details.

    Fodor’s has named our beach the best on Providenciales!

    At the Beach: 25th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day

    What: The 25th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. Now is your chance to be one of the tens of thousands of Californians that will gather along the beaches, shorelines, and inland waterways of the state to clear away the debris that has been deposited over the past year.

    Last year, 73,461 Coastal Cleanup volunteers (a 20% jump from the previous record for volunteer turnout) collected over 1.6 million pounds of trash and recyclables. Covering over 2,800 miles of coast and inland shoreline in 45 counties around the state, the 2008 cleanup also had the largest geographic reach ever achieved.

    When: Saturday, September 19th, from 9am to Noon in most locations.

    Where: Cleanups will be held at over 750 sites on California beaches, bays, rivers, creeks, parks, roadsides, and highways. Contact your local coordinator for exact locations and other site-specific information, or, for further details, visit

    Why: “Coastal Cleanup Day is an opportunity for every Californian to feel their connection to our coast, no matter where they may live,” says Eben Schwartz, Outreach Manager for the California Coastal Commission. “By pushing the Cleanup into every corner of the state, we can clean up a lot of trash before it has a chance to reach our ocean, and in doing so, bind every Californian to one another through our collective stewardship.”

    How: Pre-register with your local Coordinator, or show up at any drop-in site (find one close to you at the county contact pages).  Or you can call 1 (800) COAST-4U or visit for more information. You can further support Coastal Cleanup Day, by shopping at any Northern California Whole Foods market on Tuesday, September 22nd – 5% of all sales from that day will be donated to the Cleanup Program.

    California Coastal Cleanup Day 2009 is supported by the California Coastal Commission, California State Parks Foundation, and the Ocean Conservancy. This event is made possible by the hard work of hundreds of local non-profits and government agencies throughout the state and tens of thousands of volunteers annually.

    *content is from and the California Coastal Commission site

    Guest Blog – Stacy & Jeff do SE Asia (30 of 40)

    nie han beach

    nie han beach

    bagus bagus bagus
    “three for three. not the biggest surf, but it’s bali surf. jeff couldn’t be more happy. the first day, met up with fernando and alana (jeff’s peruvian and auss friends, used to be slocals) and hit up bingin and impossibles. chest high and fun, it’s just good to be surfing with fernando, and just surfin’ at all. inconsistent now, but word on the wave, swells on its way. man was it a fiasco to get here though…

    finishing up our days in phuket, we realized we would need a 60 day visa for indo, otherwise after 30 days we’d have to fly out and fly back in to get a new stamp. not a real problem, but we’ve got boards now and who knows where we’ll be on may 31st. so we figure lets do it, spend the few nights in KL or bangkok and go to the embassy and just deal with it. we pick KL (kuala lumpur, malaysian capitol) for something different. we call ahead, they say we could probably get it done in one day (whereas bangkok’s office said at least 3 days, another reason we went with KL). so, we book the ticket for thursday morning figuring between thursday and friday we can get it, then fly out saturday on the 2nd, giving us exactly 60 days between arrival and our fly out date of june 30th. good to go. bagus.

    one of the many books weve read

    one of the many books we've read

    tidak bagus, not good. in reading the newspaper we realize it’s labour day on may 1st, friday. we’ve been seeing ad’s and signs for this day, but it just hasn’t been registering cause everytime i see it i think, no, it can’t be labour day (spelled the english way) because labor day is in september, duh. but, lo and behold, not everyone in this world is on america’s holiday schedule, and they have a few holidays of their own. one big one being labour day, experienced everywhere through the eastern part of the world, and even europe. what’s this mean for us? it means like most american holidays, big sales and all gov’t offices are closed. so we reassess. our ticket puts us landing in KL at 10:30am. if we want our visa processed in 1 day, we have to have it in by noon. it takes an hour to get from the airport to the embassy of indonesia (according to google’s trusty mapquest directions). so, that leaves a half hour margin to get off the plane, go through customs, get our luggage and get a taxi. jeff’s freaking out. this could mean if we don’t get it, that’s at least 3 extra days of NO surf and being stuck in another city, no matter how cool it could be.

    tannings a serious business

    tanning's a serious business

    we have all our forms filled out and photo copied with extra passport photos and american dollars, we’re ready. we venture off to the airport with cynthia (my mom has already left two days earlier) and with good thoughts, we’re off to KL. we relax and even sleep on the flight, knowing once we land, it’s on, like donkey kong.

    the breaks squeak, we sway from side to side like all airplanes do when they come to that screeching halt, and then we’re off. We grab our bags and speed walk our way as courtessly as we can, through the construction and crowds (keep in mind this is our 3rd time in this airport that is under construction so we know it almost like the back of our palms). we stretch our strides as far as we can til we reach the customs booth. i go first, hand the nice lady my passport, and then, she drops it. these are precious seconds here people, every last one counts. she shuffles in her spin chair, not wanting to get off it it seems. i see jeff’s already through now waiting on the other side for me. she finally reaches it, makes some small talk (side note: everybody at the KL airport are by far the nicest people we’ve come across throughout the trip. every time we’re here, we’re reminded of this), and then i’m through. we continue our giant strides, grab our bags, and make way for the taxi. believe it or not, we’re sitting in the taxi at 10:46am. wow.

    jeff - last night in pukhet

    jeff - last night in phuket

    we make it to the office and walk in with all our luggage, after jeff had to put some pants on cause his shorts were too scandalous for them, at 11:45am. we take a number, we sit, then we go up, show the papers and make our request. he glances, shuffles, glances, then says we’re missing a photo copy of our passports stamped entry into malaysia. who knows whey they need this, but they do. he informs us there’s no budging around the 12 o’clock time whatsoever. i sprint around the corner to this little tiny weeny photocopy shop and get the business done, sprint back, and grab another number (seriously frustrating!). our number says 11:58am. so we think we’re golden. we get called up at 12:05pm. show the same guy our stuff, he shuffles, ho-hums, shuffles, gives us tons of grief on how hard it is for him to get a visa into the states, even with diplomatic whatever. e apologize for his grief, smile, but not too much, keep it short and polite. finally, after what seemed forever, he says he’ll process our visas for us, but not to expect this kind of service in the future. man, what a mess! after paying double the amount cause all we had was USD (not the local currency of ringetts), we got our 60 day visa meaning we were only stuck in KL for one full day…

    more on it tomorrow!”

    stacy - phuket - last night

    stacy - phuket - last night

    Guest Blog – Stacy & jeff do SE Asia (29 of 40)

    east bay phi phi

    east bay phi phi

    on to phi phi don…
    “a comfy air conditioned ferry ride later, we’ve arrived at what some say is the most beautiful island in the world: phi phi don. you probably will recognize it from pictures, the twin bays, and it’s sister island phi phi leh, is the famous beach of the movie the beach. beautiful it is, but crowded as well. everyone always wants a piece of paradise. more lounging, swimming, snorkling, and then we experienced our first monsoon rain. it’s the beginning of the season. a quick bucket of a downpour, and then steamy afternoons. a beautiful island, you can see in the pics, unbelievable water colors and cliffs. after one night and two days, we headed onward to phuket.

    jeff escaping the monsoon

    jeff escaping the monsoon

    here it’s a vacation away from our vacation. lovely house, scooters for all, and for jeff and i, we’re so familar with the area, it’s like the comfort of coming home. some more monsoons, swimming, shopping, and always eating and drinking, we’re closing in on indonesia. jeff is so ready, he’s more than ready. so here we come! first a stop over in malaysia for a few days to take care of our indo visa (in order to stay 60 days, you have to prearrange it) and then we arrive in bali and let the surfin begin.

    p.s. we can’t believe we only have two more months to go!!! time went so slowly in the beginning, now it’s flying by…. if anyone has any ideas on how to stay on longer, pass them on! we’re not ready to come home just yet, holiday lifestyle is too good to us :)


    trail up to the phi phi don view

    trail up to the phi phi don view

    phi phi don island

    phi phi don island

    jeff & stacy

    jeff & stacy

    phi phi

    phi phi



    its real!

    it's real!

    eyebrows & eyelashes

    eyebrows & eyelashes

    mom cruisin down the highway!

    mom cruisin down the highway!

    beer sunset

    beer sunset

    Guest Blog – Stacy & Jeff do SE Asia (28 of 40)

    thai crew team

    thai crew team

    traveling om
    “after we reached our “om” in cambodia with ancient towers and local laughs, we ventured on back into thailand.  our second time entering thailand, and this time like the first, the country seems to be at unrest.  from our taxi ride over the border and into bangkok, much more was visible this time around. swat teams on every corner with the plastic shields and army officers manning their perches, all with rifles.  still, in our little touristy neighborhood of koh san road, life goes on as normal.  little did we know, the morning we arrived one of the main current party leaders (a yellow shirt) was attempted assignation on (by red shirts) in his motor parade by assult rifles.  scary stuff, but lucky for us, the swat and army teams on corners was the only witness we had.  but, i’m guessing it’s gonna take some major time and consideration before thailand is at peace with itself.

    approaching raley

    approaching raley

    after our short stay in the city, we flew south to krabi, land of emerald seas and rock climbers dream limestone cliffs.  first night was spent in krabi town (the province is also named krabi) which is nothing more than a boat launch to the islands around.  but we did catch a great weekend market including karaoke, marching band, and delicous food carts. from krabi we headed out to the penninsula of raley.  this is the paradise at krabi. split into east and west sides surrounded by towering limestone painted with rockclimbers everywhere.  mom and cindy stayed on the fancy west beach while jeff and i bargined for a great bungalow in the center in a breezy grassy valley in the midst of limestones, only 5 minute walk to west or east beach. there’s no cars, only boats, monkeys, birds, great beaches.

    raley cove

    raley cove

    on arrival we realized we were just in time for the ‘awards ceremony’ for the annual rock climbing cup and fire dancing contest. so by night the west beach turned into a stage and fire show with live music.  after some impressive fire dancing, jazz and then calypso music, we were suprised to see our token thai reggae band, job 2 do, headline the show.  jeff and i first heard of them in phuket and then spotted them throughout thailand but we were always a day or 2 behind their shows. so it was fate we’d see them eventually. it was a great show.  dancing, drinks, and we got it all recorded…jah rastafari.



    after exploring more hidden beaches for a day (by the way, the water temp, way too hot, by far the warmest water any of us have ever swam in), we left onward on a speed boat tour of surrounding islands: hong island, paradise, and two others whose names escape me.  we loaded on our speedboat with 16 others and were on our way. cindy, mom and i sat in the front of the boat while jeff got left in the back.  the driver said it may be a bit bumpy so beware. man oh man were we in for a ride.  there were four others up there with us and we went flying in the air, thank god for the railings we were able to grab ahold of. 20 minutes later we arrived at hong island.

    gang on the beach

    gang on the beach

    here, we kayaked around the island into a beautiful lagoon, emerald with white sands.  once we reached the lagoon, already tired from our paddeling, we decide to go for a swim. jeff asks the guide if there’s a certian area, and he points to the sandy part.  unfortunately, mama wasn’t near us to hear these directions, so she leaped off her kayak onto a blanket of coral – sharp glass-like coral.  too quickly, her toes and feet got sliced (as seen in the graphic picture). luckily she didn’t loose any limbs, but she sliced her big toe and middle toe pretty bad, as well as the bottom of the other foot.  strong as she is, we continued our kayak trip and then back at the beach had the ‘life guard’ do a quick tape job that lasted a short two minutes. we pressed on. we snorkled until it was time to go onto the next island for lunch and more snorkling.  by the end of the day, we’d snorkled, swam, sighted a giant monitor lizard which roam these islands, lunched, and bumped our way back to mainland.  next day on to phi phi don…


    happy couple

    happy couple

    fire show

    fire show

    fire dancin

    fire dancin



    job 2 do concert

    job 2 do concert

    paradise beach, raley

    paradise beach, raley

    beach view

    beach view

    beach panorama

    beach panorama

    beach shells and crab holes

    beach shells and crab holes

    fertility cave

    fertility cave

    cave close up

    cave close up



    beach sign

    beach sign

    raley west sunset

    raley west sunset

    jeff bravin the seas

    jeff bravin the seas

    hong lagoon

    hong lagoon