Love beaches but can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes? You’re not alone. Activity-based beach breaks are an increasingly popular way to combine sun, sea and sand with adrenaline and adventure. From scuba diving to surfing, we’ve selected some of the world’s best places to get your beach fix without getting bored.
Thrill-seekers love the speed and air-time of shooting across the waves attached to a sail – all you need is a consistent wind. Basic skills can be learnt in a few hours and it’s guaranteed to give you a good workout. Backed by dramatic cliffs, Famara Beach House is a stylish pad for 2-4 overlooking one of Lanzarote’s top kitesurfing spots.
Tranquil Tarifa Beach Villa – on Spain’s notoriously windy Costa de la Luz – makes an excellent group hideaway (sleeps 4-7).
For a beautiful base in the Aegean, IncirliEv is a short drive from Çark Beach, which has an average of 330 windy days each year!
Surfers have long travelled the globe in search of the best breaks – which just happen to be in some of the world’s most stunning locations. Costa Rica’s Nosara Beach has all the white sand and surf you could dream of, and laid-back Harmony Hotel is the ideal place for those with an eco-conscience.
Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, few hotels are better located than hipW15 Weligama, on Weligama Beach, with a gentle offshore break that’s ideal for beginners.
But you don’t have to head long-haul to find decent waves and a stylish surf shack: Cornwall’s very own Pentire Penthouse – overlooking surf Mecca Fistral Beach – is up there with the best of them.
There are few activities more relaxing than sitting in a kayak and watching the sun set, or paddling to an uninhabited island and exploring its secret beaches. In the Andaman Islands, Barefoot at Havelock runs kayak safaris through calm mangrove creeks and moonlight excursions with dazzling bioluminescence under a star-filled sky.
With its rocky coves, cliffs and crystal-clear water, Croatia is another place begging to be explored by kayak: you’ll be spoilt for choice on car-free Sveti Klement with 2 great beachside bases: The Fisherman’s House surrounded by pine trees, and bohemian Palmizana nearby.
Whether you’re a seasoned diver or casual snorkeller, exploring the world beneath the waves is one of life’s great privileges. Anse Chastanet near Soufriere in St Lucia has to be one of the most scenic places to learn, with pristine reefs just offshore and a backdrop of the world-famous Pitons.
Equally idyllic is Malaysia’s Batu Batu resort, on a private island ringed by white-sand beaches and unpoilt coral, or Matemwe Beach in Zanzibar, which offers colourful drift dives from the deck of a traditional dhow.