Keep me from blowin' away while I write about Trip Advisor's best beaches
There's a storm brewin' up in Toronto. A whopper. And I don't mean the federal election - bah da boom. As I finish these notes in my handy sunroom in north Toronto, the winds are howling like a wounded Canadiens fan. I'm actually afraid one of my maple trees might come crashing down, as they're both about a hundred years old and we've had lots of rain lately. This happened a couple years back. We had a big rain storm and then it cleared up and I went and sat outside in my back yard. I came in for a minute and, whomp, a branch as thick as a telephone pole can crashing down and split the chair I had been sitting in clean in half. It was about 40-feet long and reached all across my back yard, resting on the fence but causing no damage except the chair. Oh, and a Japanese maple that it also cleaved in half. Still. to this day, that little maple only grows on one side.
But enough of that. I wanted to mention a pretty decent Trip Advisor survey of top beaches in the world. I often find Trip Advisor pretty American-centric - filled with folks who are surprised not to find ice machines in their pension in Italy - but this is a pretty decent list. For world beaches, this is what the readers/users/raters came up with:
1. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
2. Boracay, Philippines (see photo at left)
3. Palm/Eagle Beach, Aruba
4. Negril, Jamaica
5. Tulum, Mexico
6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
7. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
9. Cape May, New Jersey
10. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
For U.S. beaches, it was:
1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
2. Cape May, New Jersey
3. Panama City Beach, Florida
4. Miami Beach, Florida
5. Sanibel Island, Florida
6. Clearwater, Florida
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
8. Captiva Island, Florida
9. Poipu, Hawaii
10. Siesta Key, Florida
I like the world list. I've heard great things about Boracay and it's hard to argue with Jamaica. Millions flock to Punta Cana every year and I've been to the beaches at nearby Cap Cana, so that makes sense.
I don't much care for the U.S. list. Honolulu? I guess they mean Waikiki, which is famous and pretty but it's not even close to being the best beach on Oahu, let alone anywhere in Hawaii. Poipu, number nine (see photo at right), deserves a good spot. But where's Kaanapali on Maui or, better yet, the best beach in the world for my money, Napili (also Maui?). Of course, you can make the point that most tourists only get to Honolulu/Waikiki, so it's hard to fault them for not knowing about Waimea or Sandy Beach or the other great ones on Oahu or the other islands.
And, hey, not to get too provincial about it, but a born-and-raised California dude is wondering how the west coast got shut out? Malibu's overrated but Santa Monica is great and Newport (better yet, next-door Corona del Mar) and Laguna beaches are some of the best you'll find anywhere.
There's nothing here from Europe, and you can't tell me that beaches such as those in Portugal and Spain, let alone the Greek islands, don't deserve some mention. The seacoast and beaches north of Barcelona are magic, especially spots such as Tossa del Mar. There's also the French Riviera, which has awesome (if rocky) beaches in places such as St. Jean Cap Ferrat.
I'll tell my kids to shield their eyes here lest they be embarrassed - again - by their father, but the best European beach I ever saw was on the island of Paros in Greece. It was about a half-hour walk from my small hotel on the waterfront in the main town, but it was in a gloriously quiet part of the island with hardly a soul. I was lying there in May, 1984 (I think) when two young and very beautiful women came by and laid out their towels. Great. Then they got up and stripped down to nothing. Gulp. Then they started rubbing suntan oil on each other. Yowsa.
You wouldn't think a memory like that would stick with a guy but somehow I can still recall some of the details...