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Red, White and Ocean BLUE

July 02, 2019

There are 244 years of traditions and celebrations in honor of our independence from England on the Fourth of July.  We all come together to rock our cheesy red, white and blue ensembles, light sparklers, over endulge on American barbeque and head to the beach for the holiday weekend.  America has its share of picturesque beaches so get your best swimwear ready and leave the passport at home.   A major bonus of staying in the states is not requiring a passport.  There are a few people, a rare breed, that do not have passports.  This is particularly great for you, if you’re one of them.  So whether you’re limited to a destination or just wanting to enjoy the land of the stars and stripes, I am sharing some popular beach resorts where G World Travel clients and myself have enjoyed ourselves.  

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Florida

The Sunshine State holds almost half of the country’s best beaches but that isn’t really a surprise to any of us.  Filled with culture, world class shopping, fine dining and obviously, gorgeous beaches, Florida is the perfect spot for a quick getaway.  Only 2.5 hours from New York and with so many airlines offering direct flights, Florida is a no brainer.  With so many great beach towns, it was only fitting to break down the destination by coast.

East Coast

Miami aka Little Cuba, puts the pulse into Florida.  The W South Beach has everything one could want for a weekend of partying.  The location is ideal and it’s one of the only hotels on the beach in South Beach.  Pack your best bikini because there is quite the pool scene, complete with DJ’s and a packed crowd.  The Miami Beach Edition is a short drive north to Miami Beach, set on 3.5-acres of beachfront.  The hotel is more like a resort with an on-site nightclub, indoor ice skating rink and bowling alley.  You can also relax at one of the pools, treat yourself to a spa day or find your zen moment in the “relaxation lounge”.  The Fontainebleau has been around for some time and yet is still one of the hottest beach hotels in Miami.  Home to the infamous Liv nightclub and some of the best pool scenes in the area.  Take my advice and head to Scarpetta, the hotel’s award winning Italian restaurant.  Every time I’m in Miami, I make a stop here! The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne manages to dodge the crowds with its private beach that seems a world away.  This resort is super-kid friendly and offers a fabulous kids’ program.  

Southeast

Take a step into a European Palace, right in Palm Beach.  The Breakers Palm Beach Hotel is one of my favorite properties in Florida.  The architecture, the grounds, the acclaimed restaurants and the private beach, make this property noteworthy.  Relax at one of the four pools, one being dedicated to adults only.  And, if you feel like splurging, the pool cabanas are worth every penny.  Each cabana is equipped with a flat screen TV, bathroom, shower, refrigerator, personal food & beverage service, complimentary wifi and more.  Not far from The Breakers is another luxury property, the Eau Palm, set on a pristine beach with a world-class spa and fine-dining.  Every amenity is top-notch, even the rooms were designed by Jonathan Adler.  The kids’ club house is a parents’ dream… I mean kids’ dream!  From toddler to teen, the kids will be super busy at the art studio, teddy bear stuffing station, beauty salon, fashion runway, DJ booth, TV area, and there is also a real stage!

The Gulf of Mexico

In St. Pete, the Don Cesar hotel aka The Pink Palace is set on a beautiful beach and is a great choice for families.  There is even an adorable 50’s style ice cream parlor with creative flavors to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Another beachfront property on the Gulf of Mexico worth noting is the JW Marriott.  The beachfront hotel is set on a sugary white sand beach, that could fool into believing you’re in The Caribbean.  The hotel is great for children with a sprawling pool area and dedicated kids’ club but for those seeking a more low-key stay, take advantage of the new adults-only section.  The Serene Tower is just what the doctor ordered for some well needed R&R.  The Resort at Longboat Key Club has 13-mile sandy beach with a never ending list of available water-sports.  There’s even a full-service marina offering jet-ski and boat rentals.   For those seeking a real luxury stay, check out the Ritz Carlton Naples.  The hotel is set on one of the nicer beaches in the area and if you prefer the pool, lounge at one of two salt-water pools.  Top-notch services include 7 restaurants, a massive spa, gaming room for the kids and a nature-lovers sea creature program which is a bonus for those who are traveling with kids.

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California

The Golden State is easily one of the most diverse states in the country, it has it all!  From deserts to forests, mountains and vineyards, the Hollywood walk of fame and Mickey Mouse, oh and of course the beaches.  Paradise Point is located on a tropical private island, OK, so not exactly.  The resort is located in San Diego BUT you’ll feel as though you traveled to a private island.   The hotel is on a man-made aquatic park surrounded by palm trees, lagoons, and waterfalls.  It features bungalow-style cottages along a mile-long stretch of beach.  While Paradise Point gives us a tropical vibe, Pelican Hill is a bit more refined, upscale and grand.  You’ll pinch yourself when you get there, it’s a dream!  Located on the Newport Coast, between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, perched up on lush hilltop, Pelican Hill is a place you travel to for an epic trip, not to just hang your coat for a night.  I mean, if you’re into the whole, being chauffeured around in a black Cadillac, spending your days in a private cabana equipped with personalized beverages, flat screen tv’s and minibars, and taking private helicopter tours to the vineyards, than yes, this is for you.  For something a bit more relaxed, Shutters on The Beach in Santa Monica is a cozy spot with direct access to the pier, beach and boardwalk.  Shutters on The Beach and the luxurious Hotel Casa Del Mar are the only two hotels with spectacular stretch of sandy beach in Santa Monica.  Hotel Casa Del Mar is home to the award-winning Catch restaurant and offers guests surfing lessons and yoga on the beach. 

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Hawaii

The only state made up of only islands, Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful, scenic beaches in the USA.  ALOHA! Waiki’s first hotel, the oceanfront Moana Surfrider combines historic charm with the best stretch of sand on Waikiki Beach.  Travel to the North Shore of Waikiki, the Turtle Bay hotel is isolated on five miles of shoreline, great restaurants, horseback riding, a heliport and more.  Travel tip: This is the only island with non-stop flights from the tri-state area.  However, it is totally worth it to suck it up and hop over to Maui and Kauai.  Maui has a lot going for it.  It’s the prom queen of Hawaiian islands and two of my favorite hotels are here, The Andaz, the newest hotel on the Wailea coastline and The Four Seasons, because, well, its the Four Seasons.  Enough said.  The Andaz is sleek and sexy without being obnoxious, a new look for the island, and the beach is superior to most other beachfronts on the island.  The Four Seasons is also set on famed WaIlea beach.  Go big or go home are my thoughts on this property.  The creme brûlée French toast is a must for breakfast!  For a more slower pace, Kauai is your place.  The island is super lush, exotic and mountainous, so there is no surprise it has some of the best views and The St Regis Princeville delivers a dramatic view on the north shore. The Big Island has a generally rocky coastline but the Fairmont is one of the few with soft white sand.  Make sure to sneak off for a spa treatment here! The outdoor bungalows are the perfect spot for self-care. 

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Puerto Rico

Back in full bloom after the ugly Hurricane Maria peered her nasty self to the island in 2017, Puerto Rico has some great beaches. While many are off the beaten path, the El Conquistador Resort offers guests access to a private island, Palomino Island. The island can only be accessed via a quick ferry ride and is only to guests staying at the hotel. The secluded island feels like it’s a world away. Hence, why this hidden gem is my favorite beach spot in PR. The El Conquistador is finishing up its final stages of rehab but it will be back better than ever. A big draw for families, the hotel will still offer the kid-friendly pools with water park, waterslides, lazy river, kids’ pool and more.  As for my pick for a beachfront hotel, The Ritz Carlton is a cut above the rest with a price-tag that reflects it.  However,  you get what you pay for and between the service, the grounds, the restaurants and being it is set on one of the better beaches in the area, it is understandable.  Vieques, an island off the mainland, is in my opinion Puerto Rico’s best kept secret.  The little island can be reached by ferry or a hopper plane.  Hotels here are making a slow comeback but until their reopening, it is worth a day trip to!

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