Ski season may be about the physical challenge, but beach season is for unwinding with a warm breeze and a cold beer. At least, that’s the theory. The long summer vacation months are also an invitation from nature to load up the surfboards and head to the coast, ready to pit wits against the breakers. Typically, where there are long strips of golden sand, there will be touches of luxury.
We’ve picked out the top locations and resorts that offer something extra, including those that are a little further afield, but certainly worth the trip. Discover our list of top luxury resorts and perfect beaches for your next summer vacation.
Carry on to the southeastern tip of Long Island, some 30 minutes beyond The Hamptons, and you’ll reach Montauk, one of the best surfing spots on the East Coast. The steady breakers and consistent swell around Turtles and Ditch Plains are popular with locals in the winter months, but in summer everyone gets a ride on Montauk’s sandbar, reef and point breaks.
If you’re coming for the day, Montauk is only 125 miles from Penn Station on the Long Island Railroad. Stay over and you’ll need to book well in advance as this stretch of coast fills up in summer. Head to Surf Lodge for what has been dubbed the hottest nightspot in The Hamptons or pamper yourself to the extreme at Gurney’s Montauk Resort, the town’s only five-star resort and beach club.
It’s only a two-hour flight from LAX, but Los Cabos on the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula is a world away. In fact, a trip here gives you two towns to sample, just 30 miles apart. Head to Cabo San Lucas for surfing, golf, luxury resorts, and nightlife, or San Jose del Cabo for arts and culture.
While there are numerous gorgeous beaches to choose from, be warned that strong Sea of Cortez undercurrents make some unsuitable for swimming. Try Medano Beach in San Lucas, Chileno Beach or the calm, protected snorkeling around Santa Maria Beach. Playa del Amor is hard to miss — it’s the location of the distinctive El Arco landmark, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
From June to August, surfing season hits its peak. The attraction here is swell from both north and south, with beach breaks on the Pacific coast and endless point breaks on the Eastern Cape. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, the Cabo Surf Hotel is a popular surfing spot.
We could have picked any of the Hawaiian islands for a summer surfing vacation, but Kauai has a particular charm as a less-crowded destination with some fabulous rainforests.
Beginner surfers can start off in the protected waters of Anahola Bay, or sign up for surf school on the two-mile-long Hanalei Bay. Experienced wave riders come for the pounding North Shore breaks, although these typically build around November to February. These conditions aren’t for the faint-hearted, so Poipu Beach on the South Shore can be a more manageable alternative.
If you really want to get away from it all, but don’t want to compromise on comfort, Costa Rica’s west coast is calling.
Perched on the edge of rainforest, jungle trails and unspoiled beaches, you’ll find the Kalon Surf luxury resort near the town of Dominical. It’s a Bali-style mansion with infinity pool, great views along the beach (especially at sunset), and a total devotion to converting newbies into confident wave riders through the Surf Camp.
Vogue, GQ, Forbes and more have all flagged this quiet strip of the Osa Peninsula as the ultimate surf and fitness destination.
In a country not traditionally known for its beaches, Mancora is a remarkable outlier.
This strip of golden sand on the Northern Pacific coast is where city dwellers from Lima come to relax. For surfers, there’s a steady, consistent swell in warm water.
Fly into Lima and take a connecting flight to Piura, Talara or Tumbes. After a drive along country roads to the coast, you might not be expecting to find luxury resorts, but Las Arennas, Hotel DCO and more promise an impeccable experience.
Nick Marshall for Perfect Moment