The Best Beach Vacations

Great Beach Vacations for the entire family

This guide to the best beach vacations is based on our personal, firsthand experience during several trips to warm weather vacation destinations from around the world.  We have visited each location several times, learning more with each new adventure.

Through our travels to a new destination, the first trip is always a learning experience.  We made some good choices, and most certainly there were those places that got categorized as mistakes and we will never want to experience again.  It usually takes several vacations to the same destination to feel comfortable driving without a map or GPS,  identifying those favorite restaurants, knowing when the best time of the year is to visit and finding the best hotel or resort.

Cancun, Maui and St John are among our favorites.  However, we absolutely fell in love with Costa Rica after our third trip and decided to leave sunny San Diego and move to Costa Rica's Guanacaste's province and the beach town of Playa Flamingo.  We have created GoingPuraVida that documents our research, planning and transition to the land of Pura Vida.  Costa Rica will also allow us quicker access to new vacation destinations in the Caribbean and South America, so stay tuned for more.

We hope that you find this website useful and will learn from our many mistakes and enjoy some of our favorite experiences.




#1 Best Beach Vacations - Maui Hawaii

Maui Hawaii is one of the best beach vacation destinations for the entire family.  Follow my guide about selecting the part of the island that is best suited for you. You can get sun, wind or stay in a rain forest. Learn the best spots and activities for your lifestyle. While the weather is great year round, there are better times to visit than others. I will explain the best luxury resorts, great shopping areas and the best restaurants on the island.  There is a wide variety of adventures and things to do, from visiting the top of the 10,000+ foot Haleakala volcano, to the rain forests along the drive to Hana, Maui has something for everyone.

Explore Maui
View of Kaanapali Maui and the calm Pacific Ocean from the Westin Ocean Resort VillasMorning in Kaanapali

#2 Best Beach Vacations - Cancun Mexico

Cancun is definitely one the most relaxing and enjoyable beach vacations that we have experienced.  We have taken approximately 10 vacations to Cancun over the last 12 or so years.

Enjoy the beautiful beaches with talcum powder white sand and warm water all year long.  Cancun offers numerous high end luxury resorts and great restaurants. Cancun is also a great place to take the entire family and offers several day parks within a 90 minute drive.

There are definitely times of the year to avoid Cancun due to weather and the threat of hurricanes and/or large crowds that gather during spring  break.  Learn all about the best time to visit.

Explore Cancun
Sun rises over the Caribbean with a view from our resort balcony in Cancun at the Westin Lagunamar Resort and SpaSunrise from the Westin Lagunamar

#3 Best Beach Vacations - St John USVI

I have been to St John US Virgin Islands three times and have loved every trip.  If you are looking for gorgeous, uncrowded, secluded beaches with crystal clear water, this is one of the best beach vacation destinations in the world.

Due to the relatively small size of the island, with two-thirds of it deemed as a US national park, most of the accommodations are luxury resorts versus your standard hotel chain therefore it is an expensive place to vacation, but worth every penny.

For us, being from San Diego, it is a pretty long journey, but well worth the time investment.  Travel from the east coast is much quicker but still a good 4 hour flight from Atlanta.

I will show you the best beaches, snorkeling and diving areas plus suggestions for how to get around.  Learn all about the best time to visit, check out the current weather conditions and 7 day forecast plus take a live look with one of several streaming webcam feeds.

Explore St John
The turquoise waters surrounding St John's Trunk BayTrunk Bay

Catalina California

Catalina Island, located about 25 miles off the Los Angeles coast, might not be for everybody, but it is like you left the busy world behind you. This is a great day trip or 3 day vacation destination for people looking to unplug and kick back. Like most Southern California destinations, the weather is beautiful and there are some really fun things to do. Being an island there are only two ways to get there, by ferry or fly.  I will share the best of what I have learned during my trips.

Explore Catalina
View of Catalina's Avalon Harbor from the rolling hills aboveAvalon Harbor

Caribbean Cruise

Caribbean Cruise - Follow me on a seven day Princess Cruise, aboard the Ruby Princess as we depart Ft Lauderdale, Florida and visit Princess Cays in the Bahamas, St Marteen, St Thomas and Grand Turk.  We departed in February and the weather was absolutely amazing, not too hot, very little rain and very smooth seas, making it perfect for the adventures that we went on.  Read about our trip and see the beauty that each island has to offer.

Explore the Carribean
Beautiful February day in the Caribbean at Princess CaysPrincess Cays

San Diego California

San Diego, deemed as America‚Äôs finest city, is a great place to spend the day or a week. Being a San Diego native, I know all the sites and attractions within the city and county.  San Diego is the only place that I know of where you can surf in the morning, play in the snow on a 7000 foot mountain in the afternoon and end up in the desert in brilliant 80 degree sunshine.  However, the weather is better at certain times of the year, especially along the coast.  From the Hotel Del Coronado to the vacation resorts of La Jolla and Del Mar, San Diego is known as a destination for the best beach vacations for the entire family.

Explore San Diego
Beautiful February beach day at San Diego's La Jolla shoresLa Jolla Shores

Laguna Beach California

Laguna Beach, nestled in the tranquility of rolling hills, overlooking the Pacific.  This is a beautiful beach community that is separated from the rest of Southern California with barely a hint that you are anywhere close to two of the largest cities in the United States, Los Angeles and San Diego.  Perfect weather combined with small beach city atmosphere, make this one of the best beach vacations to enjoy a full week or weekend getaway.  Visit one the great restaurants perched on cliffs, high above the Pacific, and enjoy that perfect sunset dinner. 

Explore Laguna Beach
Stunning sunset in Laguna BeachLaguna Beach Sunset in September

Key West

The Island of Key West in just over 4 square miles in size and is the last island at the end of the Florida Keys.  This is a favorite vacation spot for those looking to get away from the big city and traffic, yet still relatively close to mainland Florida and Miami.  Learn all about this fun town

Explore Key West
Southernmost point landmark in Key WestKey West Southernmost Point

November Averages

Hi/Lo
Rainfall
Water Temp

Cancun
84/72
3.80"
80

Catalina
70/50
1.19"
64

Key West
80/72
2.64"
75

Laguna Beach
71/48
1.22"
62

Maui
81/70
3.28"
78

San Diego
69/54
1.01"
61

St John
87/75
5.23"
81

November Outlook

November is transition month. St JohnKey West and Cancun are near the end of hurricane season but the threat of storms still exists.  Temperatures, rainfall and humidity are starting to subside. Prime season starts in December and runs through March.  San DiegoCatalina and Laguna Beach start to enter the rainy season but there will still be plenty of beautiful days as the night and morning low clouds and fog are, for the most part, gone until spring.  Maui starts to see increased rainfall but days are comfortable and the water is still warm.

My November Favorite

My November favorite is Maui.  Kids are in school and the holiday crowds have not arrived yet.  Temperatures have dropped from summertime's mid to high 80s, to the lower 80s.  Rainfall is just enough to be soothing but not too much to ruin your outdoor plans.

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