The ocean is in me. It runs through my veins. My love of the sea began as a young girl when my dad took me sailing. He was always happiest on the water, and I think of him whenever I am on the water. Sailing connects me to my father—and to the sea.
I grew to love the ocean even more when I was a teen and my family lived in Sandbridge. I remember walking on the beach, seeking answers to life’s questions but finding only shells, small colorful bits whose ancient secrets lay buried in the sand.
Fast forward a few decades and my love affair with the ocean—with all bodies of water—continues. Lakes, streams, bays, waterfalls, rivers: each has its own pulsing current, inviting us to dip in our toes. But the ocean’s edge is where I feel most at home. Maybe because the sea is such a mystery, and unknown dreams lurk on distant horizons.
Whenever I travel, I seek out beaches and relive my youth as I walk along the shore, still pondering life’s questions.
Here are a few beaches I know and love.
Favorite Gulf Beach:
Rosemary Beach, Florida
Known for fine, powdery sand—like sugar—Florida’s Gulf beaches regularly receive “Best Beach” accolades and awards. The Panhandle’s beaches are especially fine, and I like Rosemary Beach best. This planned community has a small-town feel but a luxury vibe. Rental properties range from carriage homes to multifamily properties, many with beach views and all luxuriously appointed.
Favorite Tropical Beach:
St. George, Grenada
Grand Anse Beach, a brilliant white crescent on Grenada’s southwest coast, stretches for three miles, bordered by the sapphire-blue Caribbean Sea. This remote tropical island offers a laid-back vibe and spectacular nature—think waterfalls and jungles—but the beach is my favorite, especially at sunset when the sun dips down in a tangerine sky. Don’t miss their famous rum punch, perfect for sipping as you stroll along the shore.
Favorite Family Beach:
Cape Charles, VA
Peaceful Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore feels like it’s stuck in the 20th century, and that’s what makes the town so charming. Its west-facing beach borders the Chesapeake Bay and offers perfect tiny waves and shallow water for children to play in. Plan to bring a picnic supper and watch the sun set languidly in the western sky. Best part? Parking is free!
Favorite Beach for Nature Lovers:
Cute little Chincoteague, also on the Eastern Shore, is the ideal base to explore one of Virginia’s most pristine beaches: Assateague Island National Seashore. This barrier island straddles the Maryland line and offers visitors a glimpse of nature in its purest form. Besides wide, sandy beaches, hiking trails penetrate deep into maritime forests, through salt marshes and along coastal bays. If you’re lucky, you’ll see wild ponies grazing in the marshlands.
Favorite Mediterranean Beach:
Exotic, international, stunning—these adjectives don’t begin to do justice to this palm-tree-fringed city in the south of France. Its pebble beach faces south and curves around the Bay of Angels. A wide boardwalk parallels the shore, where elegant French families amble alongside bikini-clad babes. The Old Town is close by, and the Cours Saleya Market is a must-visit. Try the pissaladière, a pizza of sorts with olives, onions, and anchovies.
Favorite Fishing Beach:
Cape Hatteras, NC
Every chance she gets, my friend Jeri, an avid fisherwoman, heads to her favorite spot to cast for fish—The Point in Buxton on Hatteras Island. She says the Outer Banks’ proximity to the Gulf Stream means it’s a treasure trove of tasty fish—puppy drum, croaker, bluefish, and striper. “I love the small village feeling in Buxton,” says Jeri. “Sun, surf, and fishing—what more could you want?”
Favorite All-Around Beach:
Virginia Beach, VA
Even though there are fewer sand dunes and sea oats to be found, I still love Sandbridge. Its peaceful vibe and mellow beaches are perfectly suited for families and couples. If you’re seeking excitement, head to the bustling resort area, where restaurants and activities abound. My favorite stretch of sand is the North End from 45th-88th streets. The beaches are wide and less crowded, and it just feels cozy. Street parking at the North End is free, but get there early.