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Lalani’s Favorite Beaches for Summer

Lalani’s 5 Favorite Beaches…

Asking me to pick my 5 favorite beaches is tricky.  I am from Hawaii.  Oahu to be specific.  I lived there for the first 14 years of my life ( well technically I was born in Oregon, but I don’t remember it at all).  My very first memory is walking with my dad to the beach.  I think I was about 18 months old.   We lived 3 blocks from the beach until I was six years old.  I don’t think I even swam in a pool until I was 6 or 7.   So, this is a loaded question.  I could give you my top 50 beaches in Hawaii alone.  However, for the sake of everyone who doesn’t live in Hawaii and doesn’t want to buy a plane ticket just to get to a beach I will mix it up a little.  Just know, that really and truly…all of my favorite beaches are Hawaiian;)

1. Makaha Beach; Oahu, Hawaii

This is my home beach.  I learned to swim here, and spent countless hours catching waves on my dad’s back as a little girl here.  I would recognize this beach and these waves anywhere.  My grandpa lived right next to this beach until last December when he passed away.  It is beautiful, but not in a touristy, resorty way.  It is beautiful in a very Hawaiian way.   If you decide to go, you will be treated to an authentically Hawaiian experience.  You cannot get a Piña Colada within a 10 mile radius of this beach.  However, the sand and water are amazing, and the waves when they are pumping are something that every world class surfer wants to be on.  Oh, and one more thing…the sunsets are out of this world.

2. Anini Beach; Kauai, Hawaii

As you all know, I LOVE Kauai.  It is my favorite Hawaiian Island.  Anini Beach is my favorite beach on Kauai.  I love it here.  It is perfect for kids and families…and never very crowded.  The water is crystal clear and so calm.  Kids can play for hours and never get bored.  You can snorkel with sea turtles and look for shells.  The beach isn’t very wide and so you can sit in the shade of the coconut trees. 

3. St Pete’s Beach, Florida

St Pete’s Beach is on a little tiny piece of land across the bay from Tampa. It is an easy drive from both Tampa as well as Clearwater.  I went to St Pete’s with my parents and Caroline when she was about 15 months old.  We had flown in a day before Nate and my boys and were really just killing time until they arrived.   I was shocked.  It is beautiful.  

St Pete’s sits on the gulf side of Florida.  The water is the perfect temperature and so calm.  The beach has the most beautiful fine, white powdery sand.  Finally, St. Pete’s is the perfect little beach town; complete with a wooden boardwalk, beach cruiser bikes, darling beach houses and mom and pop restaurants selling fresh fish and ice cream.  If you are looking for the perfect beach destination for the entire family, get on VRBO or Airbnb and book a beach house in St Pete’s.  You will love it.

4. Moonlight Beach; Encinitas, California

So, I am an only child.  I have 3 cousins on my dad’s side of the family.   Raquel, Nicole and Tyler are closest thing that I have to siblings. The reason that we are close,  is that every summer from the time that I was 8 until I was 16 my parents sent me to stay with them at their house in Encinitas, California.  Encinitas is a cute (not so little anymore) beach town in North County which is about 25 miles north of San Diego.  When I was a kid, I loved Southern California.  It had SO many things that I couldn’t get in Hawaii. I also loved having siblings for 6 weeks every year.  My summers with them were the best.  

I still remember the first time we went to the beach.  First, you have to remember that I am from Hawaii.  It was June, which in Southern California is sonomous with June gloom.  It was 68 degrees and cloudy!! Who goes to the beach in that kind of weather??  That is  a cold winter day on Oahu.  My aunt said that we were going to the beach, so even though I thought they were all nuts, I went.  When we got there the sand and water were not Hawaiian sand or water, but… my little cousins loved it, and if they loved it, I figured I should love it too.  I eventually got over the water temperature and the clouds.

 Now, living in Arizona, there is nothing better than June gloom and 68 degrees during the summer.  Moonlight beach is still a favorite place for me and my family.  It is a great family beach and you can walk up the hill to downtown Encinitas.  There are lots of great houses or condos to rent and there is even the best playground right on the beach for  the kids.  Make sure to stop by VG’s and get some donuts on your way to the beach.  We love it there and know you will too.

5. Carolina Beach; Wilmington, North Carolina

When I was a junior in college, I transferred to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.  I was tired of being out west and needed a change.   Even though I had never been further east than Louisiana; I really wanted something different. I literally chose 10 schools, called the institute directors at each one, and then picked the school that I felt best about.  It happened to be N.C. State.  I got on the airplane knowing not a single person in the entire state of North Carolina.  The experience changed my life completely.   To this day, it was one of my best decisions ever.  

When I got to Raleigh, I was  really lonely the first few weeks.  However, I started going to church at the student ward at N.C. State.   Shortly after school started, there was a trip to Carolina Beach that some of the kids from church organized.  Carolina Beach is near the town of Wilmington, NC and is about an hour and a half from Raleigh.  I decided to go and had the best time. I ended up making lifelong friends with some of those girls and the rest is history.  

Now on to the beach;  Carolina Beach sits on the Atlantic Ocean and you have beautiful, warm water from early spring until late fall.  In addition, the sand is amazing;clean and soft.  The town is quaint and  perfect for kids, families or lonely college students.  All of North Carolina is beautiful and Carolina Beach is no exception.   I really think everyone should experience North Carolina beaches at least once in their life.

Honorable Mentions…

Here are a few more of my favorites;

– Lanikai Beach; Oahu, Hawaii. 

Its voted in the top 10 best beaches year after year for a reason

– Isla Mujeres; Quintana Roo, Mexico

This beach is on a little island off the coast of Cancun.  It is beautiful 

– Sandy Beach; Rocky Point, Mexico

So similar to Hawaiian Beaches but only a 3 hour drive from Phoenix

– Waimea Bay; Oahu, Hawaii

I just really love it here. Its on the North Shore, just down the street from where my mom grew up.  Its an iconic North Shore beach, with a major North Shore vibe.  Go in the winter and just take it all in. 

 

 

 

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