ALL POSTS IN [Beaches]

Photo Courtesy of Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage on Monday, which should draw even more happy couples to the Aloha State. The law also allows couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a move that is sure to appeal to plenty of tourists.

How much of an appeal? Sumner La Croix, an economist at the University of Hawaii -Manoa, tells NPR that the legalization of gay marriage in Hawaii could boost tourism in the state by as much $217 million over the next 3 years.

“Same-sex couples will be attracted to Hawaii for the same reasons that opposite-sex couples are attracted to Hawaii,” said La Croix. “It’s the great weather, it’s the warm water, it’s the beautiful scenery. And it’s also the aloha spirit.”

We couldn’t agree more at Travel Channel. We’ve lauded combining your wedding with your honeymoon on the Hawaiian Islands thanks to the year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets.

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Photography By Waldorf Astoria

Puerto Rico’s El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria resort, lives up to its name of “The Conqueror.”
Daily Escapes!

Pat Weber of San Diego Surfing Academy with Robin, 9, of Boston area, at S. Carlsbad Beach. (Photo: Lori Hoffman)

Can someone learn to surf in just 1 day? How about learn to surf and participate in a surfing competition in 2?

If your teacher is Travis Long, the answer may be yes. At least that’s what this tandem-surfing pro and surf instructor with San Diego Surfing Academy has been saying ever since I touched down in Southern California a couple hours ago, and before then, when we were emailing coast to coast. Who could pass this up?

There’s just one small thing: Forget not knowing how to surf, I barely know how to swim. And come to think of it, I don’t own a bathing suit. Plus, I have a bad lower back. Other than that, this sounds like one great idea.

At least Travis thinks so. He’s even got us booked in a tandem-surfing competition, slated for the very next day. Swami’s 19th Invitational Surf Contest is an annual event put on by Swami’s Surfing Association at Cardiff Reef, CA. As the guardians of “sun, sea and surf since 1964,” this is one of the oldest surfing clubs in all of California, and … I’m starting to freak.

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A year after Hurricane Sandy: The Jersey Shore is open for business. (All Photos: Jersey Shore)

The Jersey Shore is open and ready for business. A year after Hurricane Sandy, the 270 miles of shoreline along New Jersey’s coast have seen a resurgence in visitors. This past summer, most of the Jersey Shore’s shops and restaurants were open to travelers. In Monmouth County alone, which saw the brunt of Sandy’s wrath alongside neighboring Ocean County, nearly all the waterfront restaurants have reopened, with new ribbon cuttings almost weekly, attended by the likes of New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.

“We have to celebrate that we’ve come this far,” says Bob Hilton, executive director of the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau. A big reason for the Shore’s revitalization has been the arrival of 40,000 new travelers, from places like Virginia, New York, Ohio, Philadelphia and as far north as Canada, who’ve come out of a mixture of curiosity, support and travel discounts. Travelers are finding that, despite the number of displaced families and business that have yet to resettle in the area, the majority of the Shore’s tourism attractions are back up and running. In fact, some areas, such as Atlantic City, saw minimal damage and were open the day after Sandy’s touchdown.

So as news reports on Sandy’s 1-year anniversary saturate your newsfeed, we’ve sifted through the hysteria and the hype — here’s what travelers can really find in visiting the Jersey Shore’s 4 counties:

Monmouth County
Home to 27 miles of oceanfront beaches, and 26 miles of bayfront beaches, Monmouth County encompasses Jersey Shore’s northernmost tip. Visit Monmouth’s 3 working lighthouses, including the oldest one in the US, Sandy Hook Lighthouse; enjoy a round of golf at 8 courses; and horse racing at Monmouth Park Racetrack. Popular restaurants in Highlands, NJ, include Bahrs Landing and Inlet Café (both on the waterfront), as well as Windansea, Chilangos and Havana Tropical Café. Plus stroll the revitalized Spring Lake, Belmar and Asbury Park boardwalks.

Ribbon-cutting: One of the many businesses in Monmouth County reopening.

Ocean County
Despite a dip in its beach rental market, and the recent Seaside boardwalk fire, Ocean County has been coming back strong thanks to a packed festival season — October sees about 60 events happening throughout Ocean County, including, for the Halloween-minded, Fright Fest at Great Adventure and Haunted Seaport, as well as lively parades such as Toms River Halloween Parade — the biggest Halloween parade in the country, on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Cape May
On the Jersey Shore’s southernmost tip, Cape May was largely unaffected by Sandy. Attractions include the Physick Estate, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, and come Christmastime, the decoration of local bed-and-breakfasts, like the Queen Victoria, with different holiday themes. For New Year’s, the boardwalk will see 70 different entertainment venues, spread over 2 days, with plenty of fireworks and a New Year’s Day plunge into the Atlantic.

Jersey Shore’s boardwalks: This past summer, most shops and restaurants reopened to travelers.

Atlantic City
Everything is open in Atlantic City – it’s been that way since the day after Sandy hit shore. Among the highlights is the new Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville complex, which opened this past summer, as well as new stores in The Pier Shops at Caesars including Bare Feet Boutique, Shoe Be Do, Cellairis, BLO/OUT Blow Dry Bar, Auntie Ann’s and Cinnabon. Plus, you’ll find Empire Burger takeout on the Boardwalk, operated by Phillip’s Seafood. In addition, 5 new dining outlets opened at Tropicana’s Marketplace (on the boardwalk side). In Tropicana’s The Quarter, Broadway Burger Bar also opened.

New addition: Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville complex opened this past summer.

What’s your favorite Jersey Shore attraction? Tell us in the comments box below.

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Visit the aristocrat of beaches, Cape May, New Jersey.

Discover the birthplace of Miss America, Historic Atlantic City.

Take a tour of the Jersey Shore’s Communities.

Photography by The Wakaya Club & Spa

Life doesn’t get much better than your own private getaway on Fiji. Unless, of course, you’re enjoying island life from one of just 10 private bures. More »

Photography by The James Royal Palm

Miami is pure seduction. Indulge in instant gratification with a stay at the James Royal Palm on Collins Avenue. More »

Photography by Mikhail Lavrenov / Spaces Images / Aurora Photos

Though Monaco is best known for its glitterati, you don’t have to be a jetsetter to ogle the stunning vista of Monaco Harbor. More »

Photography by Michael Hanson / Aurora Photos

Kayak, swim with the manatees, dive or snorkel. You can do it all in the crystalline waters of Belize. Ambergris Caye. More »

Photography by Matthew Wakem / Aurora Photos

Located just 8 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula, this sleepy island contrasts sharply with the buzz of nearby Cancun. More »

Gearing up for a beach weekend to celebrate summer’s last hurrah? We hate to rain on your Labor Day beach plans, but with hurricane season in full swing there are a few beaches you might want to avoid. We checked in with the meteorologists at weathertrends360 to get their forecast for the holiday weekend – here are the beaches with the highest risk for storms:

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast for the majority of the weekend. While there may be a day of drier weather, the forecast is definitely not in favor of a sun-filled weekend. If you do get rain, there are still plenty of things to do in Myrtle Beach with the family inside, like touring Ripley’s Aquarium.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Like Myrtle Beach, the Outer Banks are expected to have more wet days than dry, which could put a damper on the holiday weekend. If you’re stuck indoors, feast on the area’s freshest seafood at Nag’s Head Austin Fish Company or cozy up with clam chowder at Roadside Bar and Grill, a restaurant tucked inside the oldest house in Duck.

Southern Florida

Taking a trip to southern Florida during hurricane season is always a risk, and it’s definitely one we would rather not take this year. With a forecast of above-average tropical activity, it’s best to leave the southern Florida destinations for another year (or another time of year). One of our picks for where to travel in November is Florida. If you can wait for the beach until then, you’ll be rewarded with picture-perfect skies and fewer crowds.

New Orleans

Showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast over the weekend, and like southern Florida, it’s always risky taking a trip to this city on the Gulf during hurricane season. If you are in the Big Easy with stormy weather, you can always head for cover and hear live music most hours of the day at New Orleans’ Coolest Live Music Venues.

South Padre Island, Texas

Planning a trip to South Padre Island over Labor Day? Wet weather over the weekend could keep beachgoers indoors more than they would like. If the weather is iffy, consider a weekend off the beach in Austin or San Antonio, where there’s plenty to do indoors.

 

But it’s not all bad news! Weathertrends360 also gave us their forecast for the best beaches this Labor Day weekend.  One of their top picks? The Jersey Shore. Show your support for the area that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Enjoy sunny skies on beaches that have been rapidly rebuilt with the “Jersey Strong” motto.

Where else has a low risk for strong summer storms? Check out weathertrends360 full list of the Best Beaches for Labor Day Weekend.

For more short and long-term weather forecasts, use weathertrends360′s forecast tool.

 

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