As a travel agent, you probably think I travel all the time. Oh, how I wish I could. But who would take care of my clients and book their trips if I was traveling? And my dog would miss me. And then, there’s that pesky part time job that pays the bills during slow travel months. Instead, I spend a lot of time reading travel magazines – both mainstream and industry publications; taking webinars and classes offered by tourist bureaus, hotel/resort companies, The Travel Institute, etc.; and of course, watching The Travel Channel.
This past weekend we had a rare, for us this summer, beautiful warm weekend. Normally I would spend the whole weekend outside enjoying the sun, but this weekend I was suffering from a toothache and 2 sleepless nights. I did get some pain meds from my dentist on Saturday (thank you so much, Dr. Fisher!) but still had very little energy by Sunday afternoon. So, I turned on the Travel Channel and they had two great back to back episodes that featured beaches in the United States. Since I specialize in tropical destinations and beach vacations I tuned right in, and took notes. I wanted to share some of what I learned.
The first episode was on Extreme Beach Experiences and first aired in 2007. Here are some beaches you might want to check out depending on your interests.
Sand Dollar Beach at Big Sur,CA. This made the list for Surf Kayaking which utilizes a modified kayak to ride the waves like you would in surfing. It looked pretty amazing and I would love to go to watch, but don’t think I would try it. This is on a beautiful, long stretch of beach at Big Sur, and you find the entrance at Los Padres National Forest. The best time to go is September.
Extreme Happy Hour can be experiences at Shooters Waterfront Café inFort Lauderdale on the Intercoastal waterway. This sounds like a pretty happening place if you are into a party – million dollar yachts, fresh seafood, daily specials, entertainment, special events and best of all, great people watching!
How about some Extreme Snorkeling on the North Shore of Oahu. North Shore Shark Adventures will take you out (best time is early morning) to “swim with the sharks”. Don’t worry, you will be safe in the shark cage they put you in before they start throwing bloody bait into the ocean around you to attract the sharks. I think this is something I might be willing to try.
Newport Beach, CA offers extreme body boarding at “The Wedge”. The waves break at a depth of 1 – 2 feet so if you wipe out, you may seriously wipe out. One of my friends told me the did this when she was a bit younger, and it is pretty crazy. I might watch, but won’t partake.
For extreme sports, Huntington Beach, CA has it all. The Travel Channel said they have Beach Games during the first 2 weeks of July, but I can’t find it on their calendar. However, there are tons of events going on all the time – surfing, volleyball, skateboarding contests, music & entertainment. Huntington Beachhas been known as “Surf City, USA”. Definitely a fun place to spend a few days anytime.
You might also want to try some extreme swimming (read very cold) at the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. You can also do extreme salmon fishing on a river near here where your guide will be equipped with a loaded gun in case a brown bear wants to challenge you for your catch (this one you can do as an excursion from your cruise).
The second episode I watched was about the 10 best Florida beaches. This originally aired in 2003 so some things may have changed in the last 8 years. But, I would still love to visit a few of these beaches. I’ll just list them briefly:
#10,Daytona Beach– 23 miles long, best for activities such as surfing; rides and fun on the boardwalk; biking, ATV’s or golf cart rides on the beach; or just drive your car onto the beach til you find your spot and spend the day. #9, Sanibel Island – one of the best places for shell collecting in the world – great sunsets, relaxing, and friendly people. #8, Panama Beach – best for Spring Break – 500,000 come then – 26 miles long – 19,000 hotel rooms and the businesses cater to the Spring Break party crowd during March – the other 11 months it’s a quiet, cozy beach town. #7, Sandspur Beach on Bahia Honda Key – secluded, quiet, relaxing – 3 miles of beach. #6, Smathers Beach on Key West– this spot is closer to Havana than toMiami– it was built with imported sand from theBahamas– volleyball, sunsets, nightlife on famous Duval Street. #5, Clearwater Beach near St. Petersburg on the gulf is a boaters paradise with soft, white sand. #4, Lovers Key – secluded for romance – boating, canoeing, biking – outside Fort Myers. #3, Palm Beach– the playground of the rich and famous – high end shops – rub elbows with the wealthy. #2, Siesta Key Beach on the gulf coast near Sarasota– the white, sugary sand is the softest you will find – volleyball, swimming, watersports – and sand sculptures. #1 is no surprise –South Beach, Miami.
So, that’s how this travel agent spend the last, beautiful, sunny weekend we had here in thePacific Northwest!