Beaches of Your Dreams… the place to explore the beaches of the world

Here about the beach I wander’d, nourishing a youth sublime
With the fairy tales of science, and the long result of Time.
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Little captures the human imagination and fantasy like a beach. It’s the place where you can play, even if you’re 80, feel an integral part of the planet sift through your toes as you walk its length, and an escapist destination when the thought of a vacation comes to mind.

Beaches are dreams. A romantic stroll along a Caribbean beach at sunset with your lover. A picnic on the rocky periphery of the beach in Bar Harbor, Maine. A lobster dinner with the local wine on the beach at Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Beaches answer to our exhaustion from working too hard, our whims, our need for sun and heat in winter, our sense of freedom, our draw to large bodies of water (from which most scientists believe we emerged millions of years ago) and our need for something completely opposite to the house where we live, the street it is on and the land-locked places most of us reside.

We do special things on beaches that we seldom do, or don’t do at all, in other places. We play volleyball and swim. We get married. We build castles of the imagination. And we sit on the grains of shifting eternity; a beach is never the same from moment to moment, or from millennia to millennia. Its change is constant, its lure like no other.

We live on a wet planet. About two-thirds of Earth is comprised of water; 97% of that is saline. There are 217,490 miles (350,016 kilometers) of coastlines in the world, As a result, we have thousands of miles of beaches, from white sand bordering azure waters in the tropics to rocky beaches in the North Atlantic; virtually every country that is not land-locked has a beach of some type.

Every continent on the planet has beaches, some more than others. Even Antarctica has nine beaches, although not the sort for a parasol, picnic and swim. Several beaches vie for the top spot as the longest, but at 158 miles (254 kilometers) Praia do Cassino beach, near Rio Grande, Brazil, is the impressive winner.

Beaches are one of the oldest natural elements on Earth. They border lakes, oceans and seas, and they have been shifted, buffeted by tides and winds, over millions of years as the planet has evolved. Their composition depends on their location and what geographic influences they have had over time. Pink-sand beaches are most often coral-based, the result of eons of erosion in reefs. Certain dark or even black beaches contain broken-down lava particulate, creating an incredible color contrast with sky and water. Some white beaches are largely made of shells, battered by the ocean currents for thousands of years, crushed by other forces such as large animals pounding on them as they walk. Beaches can be composed of rock, pebbles or gravel, or shell, coral and sand, or a combination. We have all been to beaches where there is a ring of peripheral rocks, a wide swath of pebbles and then, right at the water’s edge, soft silty sand.

With 125,517 miles (about 202,000 kilometers) of coastline, Canada boasts the longest shoreline in the world. But Canada rests between lines of latitude that range from temperate to arctic, and so its beaches are just as diverse. The sunny beaches of east-coast Prince Edward Island benefit from unusually warm water from the Gulf Steam, and Kitsilano Beach, far away on the western coast of the country is completely influenced by the size and tendencies of the Pacific Ocean. Also home to the Great Lakes region (shared with the United States of America), Canada has thousands of freshwater beaches dotted along its many lakes, and a more rare thing… Along the wide, deep St. Lawrence River, also shared with the U.S.A., are riverside beaches.

Beaches are generally regarded as being developed (think Miami Beach or the beaches of Monte Carlo) or “wild”, meaning they are perhaps remote, not encircled by hotels and other tourist accouterments, and sometimes quite small, seldom visited by tourists. There is a beach for everyone, regardless of their dream beach. And that is why the term “beach” conjures wistful thoughts. And that is why we bring you has a two-part mission. To guide you in stirring your imagination by presenting a world-class collection of beaches, developed and wild, where you can travel in the limitless bounds of your imagination, and to help you plan and undertake trips, be they vacations, photography safaris, necessary solitude, side excursions while on a business junket, or an hour’s drive from home for an afternoon away from all that comprises your regular routine.

We’ll suggest great places to stay, eat and shop near the beach where you decide to go. Where data is available, we’ll provide a quick reference to each beach, including the type of sand, type of body of water, proximity to cities, emergency services, reviews and other facts that can help you narrow down your perfect beach holiday.

If beaches are part of your dreams — and they are an eternal part of ours — from Croatia to Africa, from Hawaii to India, here is where you can view and get to know the beaches of our planet, and plan to visit the ones that embrace your imagination and just won’t let go. Tennyson was right; beaches are the fairy tales of science.

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