SOUTHLAKE, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 1, 2005–Beach-goers swarm
popular seaside getaways all year long looking for everything from
rest and relaxation to action and adventure. Last year alone the
Travel Industry Association reported that 105 million people headed to
the beach, prompting a key question for vacationers: Where can
solitude-seekers find their moment in the sun among the crowds?
Travelocity’s editors have selected the top 10 lesser-known beach
retreats that might have slipped through most travelers’ radars. From
local U.S. shores to more exotic Caribbean waters and beyond, this
coastal collection features hidden sands that are ripe for discovery.
“Each year beach vacations rank among the most popular leisure
getaways for travelers throughout the country,” said Travelocity
editor-at-large Amy Ziff. “Vacationers seeking a final summer escape
this Labor Day or planning a sunny getaway for this winter will find
that these lesser-known coastal retreats offer beauty and charm
without the crowds of the more touristy spots.”
Bonita Springs, Florida
Barefoot Beach Preserve: Venture through one of Naples’ most
exclusive neighborhoods, down a long, windy road to Little Hickory
Island, home of the Barefoot Beach Preserve. On this barrier island,
travelers can enjoy one of Southwest Florida’s most natural areas.
Five distinct habitats within the preserve create a peaceful
atmosphere with everything from beaches and sand dunes to dense jungle
and nesting sea turtles.
Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii
Barking Sands Beach: With its singing sands and towering dunes,
the only thing that separates Barking Sands Beach from the Mojave is
the presence of waves so powerful that even the strongest swimmers
don’t dare test these waters. Both scenery and seclusion attract
beachgoers to this stretch of Polihale State Park. In fact, it’s so
off-the-beaten-path that the paved road ends miles before the beach
begins, and those wishing to experience this 15-mile stretch of beach
must first pass through a military installation. Once visitors arrive,
one glance at the sunset is all it takes to make the “trouble”
Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Beachwalker Park: With more than 10 miles of unspoiled coastline,
Beachwalker Park sits peacefully on the western end of one of the
country’s most beautiful barrier islands. Atypical of the promenades
envisioned by most beachgoers, travelers won’t find seaside parties
and t-shirt vendors here. Instead, the park’s boardwalk winds through
live oaks, pines, palmettos, and yucca plants, inviting vacationers to
enjoy nature at its best.
Nicholas Canyon County Beach: Take a sharp turn off the scenic
Pacific Coast Highway, down a dirt road to this very local, nearly
hidden beach (blink, and you’ll miss the sign). Nicholas Canyon is
popular with surfers for its “nectar” breaks. But the long, narrow
stretch of sand also provides plenty of room for beachside activities.
Bring a towel and nap under the sun or pick up SoCal fish tacos along
the road for a “when in Rome” picnic with a view. The rocky part of
the beach is a prime spot for fishing–a great place to catch carp and
white seabass while exchanging tall-tales of the one that got away.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge: Named for its abundance of
wild pea vines, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has been a
birder’s paradise since it was established in 1938. Nearly 300 species
of bird and duck call this 12-mile stretch from Oregon Inlet to
Rodanthe home. Many visitors also seek the peace and solitude of its
pristine beaches for shelling, beachcombing and strolling along the
Friday Harbor, Wash.
San Juan Islands: Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan make up what is known
as the San Juan Islands, just off the coast of Washington state. These
distinctly different paradises all offer 247 days of sunshine annually
and half of the rain Seattle receives. Friday Harbor, a historic
fishing village, welcomes visitors to San Juan’s rocky shores and
sandy beaches. Go from late April through September to observe the
island’s most famous residents-a pod of about 80 Orca whales that are
best seen from Lime Kiln Point State Park, AKA “Whale Watch Park.”
Southwater Caye: This simply charming island off the coast of the
culture-rich fishing village of Dangriga offers little to be desired
and much to be admired. Stand on the sandy white beaches of Southwater
Caye, and gaze at nothing but clear blue waters. With its vast sea
grass beds, shallow coral reefs and abundance of marine habitats, it’s
no wonder this island serves as the hub of Southwater Caye Marine
Park, a protected area of the Belize barrier reef. In fact, visitors
get so close to the barrier reef, they can actually swim right out to
Wa’Omoni Beach Park: Known as the Caribbean’s last frontier, the
nations of Antigua and Barbuda boast unspoiled beaches and exclusive
resorts. Stay in Antigua, but head to Barbuda for a day trip.
Can’t-miss pink and white beaches line the Barbuda coast, showing off
its virtually uninterrupted sandy contour. Protected by barrier reefs,
the smooth Southwestern shore stretches for more than 10 unbroken
miles, while the island’s Eastern shore offers ideal beachcombing
conditions with a more rugged edge facing the Atlantic waters. At
Wa’Omoni Beach Park, enjoy the Frigate Bird Sanctuary or snorkel for
Bellanas Beach: Welcomed by Bellanas Bay, the blue, green and
turquoise waters of the Caribbean create the picture-perfect blue
lagoon. A tropical oasis shared only by Guanica’s 1,570-acre Dry
Forest and more than half of all the species of birds that live in
Puerto Rico, this two-mile stretch of beach beckons visitors with its
unequivocal beauty and soft, white sands. Explore Bellanas Beach in
all its glory, but, please leave only your footprints behind.
British Virgin Islands
Loblolly Bay Beach: While most of the British Virgin Islands are
characterized by green hills and mountainous landscapes, the island of
Anegada offers a different view. The ocean once submerged this flat
coral atoll, which lingers just a few feet above sea level, showing
off 12 miles of powdery white sand. One of the island’s most treasured
beaches, Loblolly Bay Beach, boasts a 360-degree lookout and a 50-foot
walkout into the ocean. Hint: If visitors really want to enjoy the
scenery, grab a tropical concoction from one of the two seaside bars
and relax on a hammock within the sea grapes that fringe the shore.
Travelocity is committed to being the traveler’s champion –
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great prices and powerful shopping technology has made Travelocity the
fifth largest travel agency in the U.S. – booking $4.9 billion in
travel in 2004. Based in Southlake, Texas, Travelocity also owns and
operates Travelocity Business(SM), Travelocity Europe and
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Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE:TSG), a
world leader in travel commerce.
Amanda Borichevsky, 972-488-4790
Andrea Collins, 212-551-3528