Best Beach Vacation Search – Find a beach for your next vacation or day off
Travelers like to find new places to explore. Judging by the trends in online searches, most want to go to the beach. If that sounds like you, do you know how to find a new beach for your next vacation or day out? This article will teach you how to use free tools to prepare for a visit to a beach you’ve never seen before.
Your day at the beach begins with an online search, using one or all of these techniques:
- Submit the word “beach” and the name of a town, city, or state into your favorite search engine. Results will include directories of “things to do” (some with directions and detailed reviews), official local government pages, and personal pages with reviews and directions.
- Find beach cities on a mapping website such as Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps or MapQuest. For example, send “Miami, Florida” and the map will zoom to the specified location. If you have a rental house, condo, or hotel in mind, submit the street address and scroll the map (or zoom out) to find the closest body of water.
- Explore a beach directory like http://www.morebeach.com or http://www.AreWeThereYetMap.com. The owners of these sites have already located good beaches for you to visit. You’ll find lists of beaches organized by region, along with maps, street addresses, and links to more information.
To see the beaches in more detail, change the website’s map type to “satellite”. If the site you are on does not offer satellite photos, try another site. Then zoom in to the street level and look for:
- Rental location: How close to the beach are your options for rental houses, condos, and hotels? Can you walk there or will you have to drive?
- Public parking: Where is it and how many spaces are available (ie how many total, not how many are occupied in the photo)? The cars are easy to see, so scroll the map to find rows of them. Change the map type to “hybrid” and make a note of the street names in relation to parking lots and on-street parking.
- Beach access: How far is it from the parking lot or drop off points to the arena? Make sure to only bring as much gear as you can carry.
- Beach length: Does the beach go on for miles or is it a small sandy spot useful mainly for locals? Many beaches are closed at each end by large rocks, trees, or grass.
- Beach width: How much space is there between the grass/rocks/parking lot and the water? Of course, in the ocean, the tides will change this trait every hour. Sandy shorelines look white or light tan merging with the blue-green water, while rocky slopes and retaining walls look dark and grainy against the water.
- Boats: Are ships seen along the shoreline? Don’t swim in a marina or other high-traffic waterway.
- Lifeguard towers: The towers can be difficult to see. Look for round or square roofs and rectangular shadows, often the same distance from each other in the arena. If possible, swim near lifeguards, especially when bringing children.
- Coral reefs: Green and brown blotchy areas in the water near the shoreline May indicates a reef, giving you the chance to see a fascinating ecosystem of coral structures, colorful fish, and other wildlife. Bring your snorkel and mask, but don’t touch the coral or you’ll damage the reef-building polyp colonies.
- Seaweed: On the other hand, the areas with green and brown spots could simply be seaweed.
After your search, you’ll have a good idea of how to get to your chosen beach and what to expect when you get there. Check the weather and tide reports before you head out and you’ll be ready for a great day at the beach. Have fun!