Oaxaca’s beautiful, little-developed Pacific coast is home to several varied, relaxed beach destinations, and a near-empty shoreline strung with long golden beaches and lagoons full of wildlife. Offshore are turtles (this is a major global sea-turtle nesting area), dolphins and whales, plus diving, snorkeling, sportfishing and some of North America's best surfing swells.
Summer's cheat sheet: choosing a beach in Cape Cod
Ah, Cape Cod, America's postcard-perfect summertime destination: sand dunes covered with wild beach rose, happy kids frolicking in the waves and sailboats drifting peacefully off the coast...
One need not be a millionaire to visit Nantucket, but it couldn't hurt. This compact island, 30 miles south of Cape Cod, grew rich from whaling in the 19th century. In recent decades it's seen a rebirth as a summer getaway for CEOs, society types and other well-heeled visitors from Boston and New York. It's easy to see why.
Thanks to 20km of sandy beaches, Mazatlán became one of Mexico’s most alluring and inviting beach destinations in the mid-20th century, before it lurched past its prime into a mid-market, package-tourist category. Recently, however, Mazatlán's historic core – referred to as 'tropical neoclassical' – has been restored and peopled by the creative class.
The Alabama border is just a few miles down the road, which helps explain the vibe of Pensacola, a city that jumbles laid-back Southern syrup with Florida brashness. With lively beaches, a Spanish-style downtown, and a thrumming military culture, this is by far the most interesting city in the Panhandle.
Kouchibouguac National Park
Beaches, lagoons and offshore sand dunes extend for 25km here, inviting strolling, bird-watching and clam-digging. The park encompasses hectares of forest and salt marshes, crisscrossed or skirted by bike paths, hiking trails and groomed cross-country ski tracks.
Isla Holbox (hol-bosh) has sandy streets, colorful Caribbean buildings, lazing, sun-drunk dogs, and sand so fine its texture is nearly clay. The greenish waters are a unique color from the mixing of ocean currents, and on land there's a mixing too: of locals and tourists, the latter hoping to escape the hubbub of Cancún.
The name Boca Raton may mean 'mouth of the rat,' but there's nothing ratty about this proud-to-be-posh coastal town. What began as a sleepy residential community was transformed in the mid-1920s by architect Addison Mizner, who relied on his love of Spanish architecture to build the place into a fancy-pants town.
Barra de Potosí
The small fishing village of Barra de Potosí is about 26km southeast of Zihuatanejo. It’s located at the far tip of Playa Larga's seemingly endless palm-fringed, sandy-white beach, and at the mouth of the brackish Laguna de Potosí, a saltwater lagoon about 6.5km long and home to hundreds of species of birds, including herons, kingfishers, cormorants and pelicans.
Beautiful beaches and art deco delights are just some of Miami’s many charms – there's also the blazing nightlife, tropical gardens, lively arts scene and sizzling cuisine. Architectural Jewel Box Even if there was no beach, Miami would still have undeniable allure. The gorgeous 1930s hotels lining Ocean Dr are part of the world’s greatest collection of art deco buildings.