Beaches baby



David Whitley reckons we put far too much emphasis on whether a destination has good beaches. Do you agree? 


The sex appeal of a destination is often based on the quality of its beaches. The marketing images used are of the golden, or white, or even sometime pink sand. If a place has great beaches, it is seen as inherently desirable – the link between holiday and beach is firmly engrained in our collective psyche.


I can admire a good beach. I can easily assess why one beach may be better than another. I can often enjoy some time spent on the beach. But on the whole, I find beaches massively overrated. Let’s face it – they are rather ill-suited to the two purposes they are most often used for.


The first use is lying down in the sun. Contrary to popular belief, this is not something that can be done exclusively on a beach. It can be done by a hotel pool, in a park, on a lightly-inclined hillside and basically anywhere else that doesn’t have something blocking the sunlight.


In terms of what you’re lying on, too, beaches are pretty terrible. The sand gets in your clothes, your hair your bags and all over your skin. It also cakes your feet as you try and walk back from the sea. It’s, frankly, a pain in the backside. And literally if you’re on a nudist beach…


The other key selling point of a beach is swimming. Again, this can be something it’s not particularly brilliant for. If the water is calm, then you’re OK, but when the surf starts pounding you have to get out way beyond it and then contend with some fairly hefty swells. Throw in seaweed, jellyfish, rocks to stand upon and saltwater to swallow, then the hotel pool seems increasingly more alluring.


Of course, the real appeal of going in the sea isn’t swimming at all. It’s about cooling off and – if there is some surf – playing in it.


That’s enjoyable, but is it really a major reason for picking a holiday destination? I’m far more interested in what there is to do. And, from a scenic setting perspective, I’ll go for mountains and desert – and even lakes – over beaches. I’ll get far more enjoyment out of any of them; but plonk me on the beach, and I’m likely to be bored within a couple of hours, no matter what colour and how pure it is.

However if you do enjoy a good beach, we have lots of options via the Pacific here



Published by Stuart Lodge