7 Incredible Beach Vacations to Give (Instead of Traditional Gifts) This Holiday Season
Walk the Amalfi Coast
The best way to see Italy’s spectacular Amalfi coast is slowly, and that means both walking and then lingering over Aperol Spritzes and fresh seafood and pasta in cliffside restaurants. Butterfield & Robinson understands this, which is why its six-day, Amalfi Coast Walking trip is a superb way to see this bucket-list destination. From Capri’s rugged cliff tops, Ravello’s mountain trails scented with wild rosemary, and the renowned Path of the Gods above Positano, you’ll see Italy the way it should be seen. And in the wise company of B&R’s excellent guides, you’ll debrief on private boats, stretched out next to luxury hotel pools, and in a delicious string of restaurants. Join an already-scheduled excursion or have B&R arrange a private trip for you, or customize an itinerary just for you in its Go Bespoke program.
Trip: Amalfi Coast Walking
Dates: April 15-20, May 27-June 1, June 10-15, September 2-7, Septermber 16-21, September 30-October 5, 2018
Price: Rates start at $6,995 per person
Book it: www.butterfield.com or 866-551-9090
Shown here: Spiaggia Grande beach in Positano
Do SUP and Yoga in Mexico
A quick hop from easy-to-get-to Cancun in Mexico, Isla Holbox is the dreamy little Yucatan island where you’ll retreat for seven days of SUP, yoga, and of course, SUP yoga with SUP Yoga Tulum. Based at the eco-chic Casa del Viento Holbox, you’ll open your day with morning meditation at the beach and close with sunset paddle sessions, and have the chance to do some boat touring and snorkeling in addition to daily studio yoga, SUP classes, and SUP yoga classes. Heaven, in other words. Which is another name for Isla Holbox anyway.
Trip and Dates: SUP Yoga Tulum’s one-week retreats occur once a month, on slightly different dates, from October-June
Price: Rates start at $1,799 for shared accommodation, $2,299 for private accommodation
Book it: supyogatulum.com or 52-1-984-134-9721
Shown here: Yoga meets SUP on the waters of Isla Holbox
Play With Your Family on Maui and Lanai
Do Hawaii actively with your whole clan on this six-day active getaway that’s designed for families by the longtime experts at Backroads. Get everyone walking, hiking, biking, kayaking, and snorkeling at levels that work for them, plus let the kids discover traditional Hawaiian culture by learning some hula and making fresh-flower leis. Highlights include pedaling Maui’s western coastline and scanning for whales, kayaking and snorkeling in search of dolphins and sea turtles in Makena Bay, tropical wine tasting (sparkling pineapple dessert wines, and yes, for adults only!), and coming together every night over dinner to share stories.
Trip: Maui & Lanai Family Multisport Adventure Tour
Dates: March 3-11, March 25-30, April 8-13, December 23-27, December 27-31, 2018
Rates and Booking: backroads.com or 800-462-2848
Shown here: Makena Bay, Maui
Kayak British Columbia’s Gulf Islands
With the US dollar strong overseas, there’s never been a better time to travel to Canada, and the Gulf Islands off British Columbia’s coast will captivate you with their riches both aesthetic and culinary (local and organic produce, cheese, and lamb; wild salmon; and BC wines, for example). You can island hop via BC’s ferry system, or do them up in soft-adventure style with Island Escapades’ kayak expeditions. Popular trips include the two-day “A Taste of the Gulf Islands” and the four-day “Rum Expedition.” Get ready to fall in love with the islands you may have never heard of… until now. Island Escapades also offers day trips and will customize excursions.
Trip: Island Escapades kayak excursions
Dates: June-September 2018
Price: Rates start at $450 for A Taste of the Gulf Islands
Book it: islandescapades.com or 888-529-2567
Shown here: Kayaking off of Salt Spring Island
Track Sea Turtles in the Bahamas
Help the Earthwatch Institute help several endangered species of sea turtle by taking part in ongoing research trips in the beautiful Bahamas. Your base will be slender Eleuthera Island, where you’ll work alongside research scientists as you track and monitor green and hawksbill sea turtles by swimming with them and actually helping to temporarily catch them for assessment and release. At night you’ll help analyze data and sit in on research talks. And you’ll sleep the sleep of the noble, knowing you’re helping protect some of the most fascinating and threatened animals on the planet.
Trip and Dates: Earthwatch Institute’s Tracking Sea Turtles in the Bahamas expeditions are nine days, and run eight times from February through September in 2018.
Price: Rates start at $2,895
Book it: earthwatch.org or 800-776-0188
Shown here: Up close and personal with a sea turtle in the Bahamas
Do a Surfing Safari in South Africa
Because this is your (gift recipient’s) bucket list we’re talking about here: a three-day “Stoked on the Southern Cape” Surf Roadtrip with Stoked School of Surf based in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s your own Endless Summer on one of the most beautiful and fascinating coasts in the world. You’ll road trip to digs in a seaside village and sightsee between surf lessons for three sun-and-surf-filled days. Highlights include seeing the southernmost tip of the African continent, a session of sunset sand-boarding, and a South African braai (barbecue). Don’t worry if you’ve never surfed: Stoked stocks special, softer boards for beginners.
Trip and Dates: Stoked School of Surf’s “Stoked on the Southern Cape” Surf Roadtrip has dates scheduled up until April 2018.
Price: Rates start at $266
Book it: stokedsurfschool.com or 27-82-412-8781
Shown here: Stoked’s road to the surf, in South Africa
Hang Out At a Great Beach Resort
Sometimes the best getaway is the simplest getaway: a great beach, a great hotel or resort, maybe a great pool for good measure, and lots of free time. Book a long weekend escape to Puerto Rico’s Dorado Beach, Mexico’s Belmond Maroma on the Riviera Maya, or Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Or consider making a whole week of it, heading to Jade Mountain on Saint Lucia, Amanyara on Turks & Caicos, or Cap Juluca on Antigua? Or get out your bucket list and head to Laucala in Fiji? No matter where you land, there’s sand, water, and a chance to enjoy that potent chemistry together. Mission accomplished, in other words. For more great beach hotel inspiration, check out our Top 10 Best Beach Hotels in the World.
Shown here: Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in Dorado, Puerto Rico