Take 10 Tuesday: Best Beach Cities

Even though I just got back from a beach vacation, I concede that the best beaches are made even better when they are matched with a great city nearby. While a beach can provide a welcome relief from life’s stresses, you need to match it with the nightlife, dining options, activities and culture of a nearby city. National Geographic has chosen their favorite Top 10 Beach Cities and we’ve got the scoop on the great activities in these coastal cities.

1. Barcelona, Spain

Barceloneta beach

Not only does Barcelona face the Mediterranean Sea, it has one amazing beach to enjoy the Sea on. Head to Ciutat Vella, also known as District 1, to enjoy Barceloneta beach. The beach is nearly a mile long, features shops and dining along its boardwalk, and has some amazing views of the sea. Ciutat Vella is also the oldest part of the city with UNESCO World Heritage sites, basilicas, Gothic houses and an aquarium.

2. Cape Town, South Africa

False bay

Cape Town is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. There are more beaches here than most cities and one popular spot is the Eastern coast of False Bay. Here you get the marine life and warm waters of the Indian Ocean but it’s shielded by harsh waves by natural land barriers and tidal pools fill the shoreline. Don’t miss Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for a top-rated tourist spot.

3. Honolulu, Hawaii

The city of Honolulu is right up against the ocean here in Hawaii. Waikiki Beach is a beautiful beach and within walking distance of the top designers and markets in town. Don’t miss Diamond Head crater while at this location to get an idea of how stunning the beach and city are from above.

4. Nice, France

Nice Harbor

It’s hard to go wrong with the French Riviera and Nice is no exception. Beaches here are more for looking at than swimming in but the Mediterranean Sea keeps the climate here wonderful. If you bring a cushiony chair, the pebble beaches are perfect for working on your tan. For attractions, check out Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau) for its amazing views.

5. Miami Beach, Florida

Try to beat this beauty

While Miami Beach has a beautiful beach, it’s outshone by its city counterpart and its active nightlife. There are music festivals, clubs, spring break trips, and beach parties up and down the coast. Check out our post on planning a Miami Beach Spring Break for more details.

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nova moda...

While many of the beaches here are great for swimming, don’t forget to check out Barra de Tijuca to enjoy some surfing. Copacabana is another popular beach with its New Year’s Eve celebration being one of its finest moments. Stick to Zona Sul in town for the best tourist areas and beaches.

7. Santa Monica, California

View Towards Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles

Stick to the beach and the pier and you’ll love Santa Monica. Sure, there’s plenty to see beyond the ocean and the pier but the slow pace and nostalgia of the pairing will make Santa Monica a treasured classic in your mind. You’ll have an amusement park and ferris wheel at your disposal as well as dining, shopping, street performers, and swimming.

8. Sydney, Australia

XMas Day 2008 Bondi Beach 09

Bondi Beach is the favorite beach of locals and tourists alike. You can swim, enjoy coastal walks, surf, snorkel, scuba dive, and even whale watch depending on the seasons. Stick around the area to enjoy Centennial Park and the Botanic Park.

9. Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel-Aviv beach

Tel Aviv is a city that doesn’t sleep. From Friday night beach parties, 4 amusement parks, plenty of shopping and nightclubs, there’s a bit of something for every party lover here. Gordon Beach is the top beach pick for Tel Aviv and with its large sandy shoreline you might skip the water and embrace the sun. Don’t worry swimming lovers, the Mediterranean is perfect here.

10. Vancouver, British Columbia

Kits Beach 034

Despite this being Canada, Vancouver can be very warm during the summer along the Pacific Coast. If you choose to visit instead in the other seasons, expect mild wet weather most of the year. Vancouver is perfect for hiking, outdoor nature walks, and boating.

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I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.
  • Donna Sheridan

    If you’re planning to have vacation, take it a beach vacation. A lot of best beaches are matched with a great city nearby. The beach can give us peace of mind and from life’s stress.

  • http://metrohomeloans.com Andrew M. Sumpter

    Beach is the one of the best place in the world!!! a place were you can relax and give us a peace of mind…. Nice photos!!! this is the place were i wish to go….