Some beach spots get all the glory. Cancun, Miami and Maui are natural shoe-ins as places that people first think of when they’re planning a tropical getaway. As a result, these luxurious respites tend to have busy seasons during winter and spring, when snowbirds from all over North America are looking to escape the snowy and rainy seasons. If you’re one of those travellers who would rather find a quiet place to relax then be surrounded by hundreds of fellow tourists, then some lesser-known locales might be a better option for you. Here are a few to consider:
San Juan Islands
Looking for a unique spot to stay for short breaks in the spring or summer? Just a quick ferry or plane ride away from Victoria, Vancouver and other Canadian cities is Washington’s San Juan Islands. The quiet area is popular among residents in Washington, but has yet to develop a mass appeal among U.S. and Canadian travellers. While islands might make you think of tropical, exotic scenery, these islands are quite different from the norm. Covered in lush evergreen forests, farmland, hiking trails and family-run shops and restaurants, this cozy hideaway truly has a small-town feel. You can enjoy a handful of outdoor activities while staying here, such as sailing, hiking, swimming and even whale watching during migration season.
Far from popular Portuguese cities like Lisbon, Salema is a small fisherman’s town in South Portugal, where a wide beach between two steep cliffs resides. Much of the country’s coastline has been dominated by luxury resorts and high-rise buildings, but not Salema. Only one main street runs through town and one of the busiest food stores is the local outdoor market. Instead of finding a five-star hotel here, you can follow the simple vibe of the village and stay in a “quatro,” or a room with a bathroom in a private home.
While Jamaica might have a solid reputation as a popular beach spot, some stretches of sand are hidden treasures, like the aptly named Treasure Beach. Almost 10 kilometres of unspoiled coastline make up this beautiful part of Jamaica’s shore, and the privacy here is unbeatable. You can meet locals at the family-run restaurants in the area or stay at a guesthouse and discover the best spots to go hiking or take long stroll on the beach.