Escape to the Beach then Escape from the Beach

 

 

World Winder has returned home just in time for the holiday season and December weather.  During fourteen months of travel through South America and Europe we managed to avoid traveling in wintry climates.

Now that we are layering up for our first New York winter in two years it is starting to get brisk and windy outside.  We’re not quite at the point where your face hurts as you breathe, but we might be there soon.  When it gets cold like that, many of us on the east  coast of the US begin mindless daydreaming of beach getaways.  Some crave the familiar shores of Florida or the Caribbean islands.  Others pine for Hawaii or Australia as dream beach destinations.

Unfortunately many travelers from the east coast rarely creep away from the beach or poolside when they do take these journeys.  They fail to take in the myriad attractions found near seaside locations.  They become fixtures on the resort, calling dibs on loungers with their towels, as they slurp up an all-inclusive meal.  Maybe they feel each ray of sun they soak and every calorie they ingest will protect them until the spring.

I differ from the majority of my east coast brethren when it come to a beach getaway.  My earliest experiences with the sea involved family trips to the Jersey Shore.  We’d go every summer.  We’d spend time playing in the sand and jumping salty waves.  However, we’d also check out rides on the piers, games on the boardwalk, and miniature golf on a mountainous course.  My parents helped me appreciate a balanced style of travel which Melissa and I embody today.  Since we crave this balance, Melissa and I are always searching for ideal destinations that combine our love for the sea with other pursuits.  Here are some great places to consider for your next beach holiday.

 

elephant soccer ball

There is more to do on Ko Samui besides worshipping the sun.

Great destinations with more to do

Ko Samui, Thailand

Ko Samui is Thailand’s third largest island.  Flights land at Samui airport.  It is also possible to reach Ko Samui via the mainland by a ferry from Surat Thani.  An abundance of beaches line the circumference of Ko Samui with accommodations for every bracket of traveler.

It’s easy to laze away your entire vacation on Ko Samui, but adventure beckons for those who wish to explore.  There are numerous companies that offer tours that criss-cross the island allowing visitors to get close to nature.  Animal shows featuring elephants that play sports and monkey musicians are popular.  Sea tours to nearby marine parks offer options like seakayaking, snorkeling, and hikes on nearby islands.

 

Goa, India

Goa is a hotspot in India which attracts over two million visitors annually.  Flights to Goa are serviced by over a dozen airlines.  Draws include balmy beaches, nightlife, and historical sights.  Travelers snap sunset shots at ruined forts and moonlight cruises.

Goa was an outpost of Portugal for centuries.  This colonial influence can be witnessed in the form of crumbling architecture and fusion cuisines.  World Heritage Sites on Goa include the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, and Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.  Travelers can also take beach breaks to visit a spice plantation or tour local markets.

 

animal eating

Animals are easy to find near the sea.

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Playa Tamarindo is a surfer’s paradise located on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica.  Flights into Liberia Airport are the most convenient for getting to Playa Tamarindo, but some prefer to fly into the capital, San Jose.

Instead of simply staring at the sea, many visitors to Playa Tamarindo jump right in.  Surfing lessons are available for all levels.  Other sea-worthy activities include sportfishing and rafting on nearby rivers.  Visitors can tour the terrain on a Casagua horse, a famed breed from the Guanacaste Province.  Zip-line tours afford adventurous types to view life like a howler monkey.  If you’d prefer to admire the foliage on two feet, consider a canopy tour over sturdy metal bridges.

About Neil Friedman

A Wheel of Fortune winner and former motivational speaker, Neil Friedman is a freelance writer, videographer and certified teacher of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). He has journeyed to over 35 countries and 30 U.S. States and lived in various parts of New York, Japan, and South America. He is currently on a two-year trip to parts of South America, Asia, and Europe. Connect with Neil on  Google+ . Twitter: @WorldWinder and Facebook.com/WorldWinder
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