Salty sea air and warm sand between your toes. No summer is complete without a trip (or many trips) to the beach. Are you trying to find your new favorite shoreline at which to build sandcastles and ride curling waves? Here is our list of the best beaches around the world that are still somewhat of a secret!
Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland
The famous Isle of Skye can capture your heart the first time you visit Scotland, but take a ferry to the Isle of Harris–a place where you can really push the pause button. On a sunny day, Luskentyre Beach glistens with the most turquoise water you will ever lay eyes on. You will want to take in all of its beauty and you may not want to get back on the ferry to return. If you love cycling, bring your bike to enjoy a 3-mile single track road to admire the stunning colors of Luskentyre Beach.
Stay: Have you stayed at an HGV Scotland property? You are in for a luxurious wilderness retreat of a lifetime!
Rockaway Beach – Queens, New York City
No summer in New York City is complete without a subway ride to Rockaway Beach, one of New York’s finest and most fun beach towns. It offers a fantastic sandy shore, bars, restaurants, food trucks, and shopping. Rockaway Beach is also one of the best places to go when you are craving tacos. Try Tacoway Beach – it won’t disappoint!
Stay: Choose from three Hilton Grand Vacations properties in Manhattan. This beach is just a short subway ride away!
Kailua Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
With the magic of Waikiki, the sea life of Hanauma Bay, and the glory of the North Shore, it’s hard to think of any of Oahu’s beaches as “underrated.” Kailua Beach is a beach park near the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay, and is often an empty, hidden paradise. Kaneohe Bay is a quiet base and beach town, meaning you won’t find many tourists. From the shore, you will still be blown away by the beauty of the Pacific waters, white sand, and a lush green mountainous backdrop. The waves are relatively calm, so bring your paddleboards!
Stay: Choose from five Hilton Grand Vacations properties in Waikiki.
Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, CA (San Diego)
San Diego beaches aren’t a secret, but Moonlight Beach, in the beachtown of Encinitas, could seem overlooked. The beach is covered with some of the softest sand around, perfect for playing with kids. The ocean views are stunning in both directions and smooth cement sidewalks are perfect for skating. The ‘moonlight’ in the name of this beach comes from the fact that local residents used to come to the area for midnight picnics in the early 1900’s.
Stay: Choose from three properties in Carlsbad (San Diego). Moonlight Beach is just south of these resorts.
Glass Beach, Ft. Bragg, CA
North of Mendocino, on the coast of Northern California, there’s a beach turned from trash to treasure. For centuries, glass, cans, and other trash were dumped off the cliffs into the ocean. Mother Nature responded to this abuse with a nice surprise in the form of smooth colored sea glass in a rainbow of colors. It’s simply beautiful. Feel free to search through the sea glass, but you aren’t allowed to take any as souvenirs. Be sure to visit the Sea Glass Museum, owned and operated by Capt. Cass Forrington, a retired sea captain.
Stay: Enjoy the beautiful drive over the Golden Gate Bridge driving up California’s Highway 1 to Ft. Bragg. Stay at Club Donatello in San Francisco.
Sullivan’s Island Beach, South Carolina
Over the bridge from Charleston, South Carolina, sitting between Isle of Palms and Folly Beach, is Sullivan’s Island. At just 3.3 square miles, what Sullivan’s Island lacks in sheer size, it more than makes up for in beauty and charm. Imagine the sound of wooden front porch doors clanging, kids building the ultimate sand castles, and adults enjoying a Mason jar filled with a Firefly Sweet Tea cocktail. Whether you’re soaking up Revolutionary War history at beachside Fort Moultrie, kiteboarding, or taking in the views of the lighthouse, Sullivan’s Island promises that time spent on its sand is special. After a day of playing in the ocean, dine al fresco on the porch at Poe’s Tavern, named after writer Edgar Allan Poe, who lived on Sullivan’s Island.
Stay: Have you heard that HGV is opening the Liberty Place Charleston by Hilton Club?
One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Pure, natural beauty awaits you on the tiny island of Aitutaki, tucked far into the Pacific Ocean. Photographs can never convey the breathtaking beauty that is Aitutaki – the nearest island neighbor of the capital island, Rarotonga. Warm, crystal waters fill a triangular, shaped turquoise blue lagoon – so blue you’d think someone had painted it that way. Everywhere you look, you will be blown away by One Foot Island. After snorkeling and walking through the soft sand shore, take the lagoon boat cruise to soak in the culture of the island. Note: Bring your passport to get a One Foot Island passport stamp on arrival.
Stay: While there isn’t a Hilton property in the Cook Islands, you can use your points through PartnerPerks to take a Paul Gauguin cruise to this untouched island destination and enjoy one of the best beaches around.