Who says you have to hurry to the hotel after you land? If you’re on vacation, your ultimate goal is likely to relax and have some fun. As the famous saying goes, "Life's far too short not to have a little umbrella in your drink.” They are best served cold on a sandy beach with pristine and warm waters.
So why delay this delightful experience by hurrying to the hotel and spending time in traffic? Your room is booked, so no one will take it. Keep your sanity by avoiding the roads and head straight to the nearest beach for some quality time.
Whether it’s popular shorelines that attract travelers or more secluded coasts for couples on a romantic retreat, some airports have it all nearby. Reducing the airport-to-beach commuting time seems like a good idea when you barely have a weekend to get away and detox from a frantic work week.
So pack as many bathing suits as you can and don’t waste another minute hiding from the sun. Feel free to book a flight late at night so you have an extra full day of vacation even if you have to check out at 10 a.m.
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How does 10 minutes between the Amtrak and the sand sound? This is how long it’ll take you to go to Newport Beach from John Wayne Airport (SNA). The beach is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. People can enjoy bike paths, surfing, and volleyball. There are plenty of bars and restaurants on the shoreline. There are even some picnic tables and fire pits.
Gravelly Point is right off the George Washington Parkway, just minutes away from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). People often recommend it as a nice beach location but the highlight is watching planes land and take off; they fly as low as 100 feet directly overhead. The runway is just 400 feet away from the beach. Playing soccer, football, exercising, and running though the Mt. Vernon trail are other popular activities.
Kalapaki's picturesque beachfront is what you need if you’re not looking for a posh trip. It’s also six minutes (2.2 miles) from the Lihue Airport, according to Google Maps. You can literally walk there with your bags. Surfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking are favorite water sports here. Volleyball fans will be delighted because Kalapaki Beach has three regulation world class beach volleyball courts.
The trip from the airport to the beach is about 15 minutes with a car. The beach has swimming baths and a promenade with barbeque areas and playgrounds. If you want to stay active while exploring the cosmic Pacific Ocean, walk the 3.7-mile Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. From May to November, you can spot whales from the sandstone headlands along the way.
Bogmalo Beach is just about 2.5 miles from Dabolim Airport and about 5.6 miles from the port town of Vasco da Gama. There is even a casino, part of the Bogmallo Beach luxury resort. There are several bars and restaurants on the shore you can hide and enjoy a cool cocktail when it gets too hot under the sun. The curving beach is about a mile long.
It will take you about 17 minutes to walk from Kahului Airport to Kanaha Beach Park, according to Google Maps. The distance in between is just about a mile. The beach’s site says that “breathtaking views of the West Maui Mountains and ‘Îao Valley await visitors.” Aside from the regular beach activities, picnicking in the shade of the tall trees is allowed.
About half a mile long, Smathers Beach is the largest public beach in Key West. It’s about a mile away from the Key West International Airport. If you want to drive from there, which will take about two minutes, there is lots of parking available. The sand is soft and the water is warm. Most reviews on TripAdvisor rank it as “excellent.” If you want to mingle with the locals, Smathers is the beach to go.
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The beach is a five-minute drive from the Phuket International Airport. Since this is Thailand, you know you’ll have plenty of great bars and food options. The Nai Yang Beach is not an exception. You’ll find many picnic areas, souvenir and food vendors, relaxed atmosphere, and friendly people. The beach is a popular tourist attraction but somehow stays quiet. Kite-surfing is popular with visitors.
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Avoid the craziness of Los Angeles and find escape at Manhattan Beach, just 15 minutes away with a car. You may even get lucky and spot dolphins while walking to the pier. The beach is famous but not too crowded, except on special occasions. Everything nearby is very expensive, but the water and sand are clean and the views of waves and surfers are worth it. You’re free to go rollerblading on the boardwalk just like in the movies.
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The drive from San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport to the Playa de Isla Verde beach is no more than 10 minutes, according to Google Maps. The municipal beach in the capital is a main attraction for visitors. The shore has a great urban ambiance with all the restaurants, small cafes, and bars all over. The tall palms and pristine sand will make your selfie way more interesting.
Going from a plane where you can’t even stretch your legs to a white-sand beach and pleasant waves is a worthy swap. The beach is off the beaten path along the Kohala coast. You’ll have to walk to the shore across lava, which is all the more interesting. Your reward is shades, tide pools, no crowds, and clean water. Bodyboarding and snorkeling are among visitors’ favorite activities.
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Getting from Grantley Adams International Airport to the Long Bay is going to take you about 13 minutes with a car. The secluded beach areas have three bays, each absolutely beautiful and separated by a sea-cliff. You’ll be able to see the legendary Sam Lord’s Castle, a beautiful Georgian mansion built in 1820 by the notorious buccaneer Samuel Hall Lord. He is rumored to have acquired his fortune by plundering ships, which he lured onto the reefs off the coast, by hanging lanterns in the coconut trees. Captains mistook these lights for Bridgetown and wrecked their ships on the reefs. The sand is soft and white, the water is pristine, and the weather is just right.
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Dutchman’s Bay is just 10 minutes away from the VC Bird International Airport. It is by far the best place in the area to go windsurfing. When the wind is even fairly strong, you’ll find the locals there. It’s especially entertaining during championships. Bars, cafes and restaurants are all close when you need a break from the water.
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According to Google Maps, it will take about 15 minutes to drive from the airport to the most famous beach in the city without a lot of traffic. It can get very crowded some days but it’s worth the experience. Other than swimming, you can enjoy windsurfing and kite surfing. Sailing is also an option. The beach huts are countless; you’ll never be far from a refreshing drink.