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12 Jaw-Dropping Vacation Spots That Will Leave You Awestruck

12 Jaw-Dropping Vacation Spots That Will Leave You Awestruck

When is a beach not just the shore? When it takes your breath away at every turn! If you’re looking for a new beach to explore, why not try one or two of the 12 listed below? Each has its own appeal, and all afford the opportunity to discover a new area.

1. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

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    No passport? No problem! Lanikai Beach is in the United States, although it feels like you’ve stepped onto another planet. It’s a very small beach located near Kailua – it’s only a half-mile long, but it’s as pristine as they come. It’s constantly highlighted as a tranquil place where you can get away from all the stressors of daily living. You’ll feel close to nature here, not to mention encircled by pure splendor.

    2. Playa Norte, Mexico

    Isla Mujeres, Christmas 2009

      Snorkeling enthusiasts and folks who like to play hard at the beach will appreciate Playa Norte. This Mexican beach area offers a warm lagoon with crystalline waters. Not only is it perfect for floating with fish, but it’s the perfect place to boat as well.

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      3. Cabbage Beach, Paradise Island, Bahamas

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        According to U.S. News and World Reports, Cabbage Beach is quite possibly the most popular Bahamian beach. This means you’ll find other tourists lounging there, but don’t worry: There’s plenty of beach to discover, and you’ll never feel crowded! Rent a beach chair and read that book you’ve been putting off, or take a swim in the balmy, blue waters.

        4. Bandon Beach, Oregon

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          Looking to go to a beach for some peace and quiet? Bandon Beach in Oregon is definitely the spot for dreamers, writers, poets, artists and thinkers. You’ll be mesmerized by the stunning environment and marine sounds as you wander around the surf or just sit on a rock and let nature inspire you.

          5. Ocean City, New Jersey

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            Sometimes the beach that you’ve loved your whole life is one of the top places in the world. Such is the case with Ocean City, where miles of boardwalks accompany immaculate beaches. Do a little bit of footwork and you’ll soon find pockets of beach that are untouched by human hands and just waiting for you to discover them. Don’t forget to watch the sunrise in the morning here, it’s a sight to behold!

            6. Venice Beach, California

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              Venice Beach is one of those California “must sees.” Not only will you be able to do a little people-watching, but you can enjoy family-friendly fun and shopping while you’re there. Plan on bringing your camera fully charged, because you’ll definitely want to snap shots of the local beach characters who delight the crowds.

              7. Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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                While not always known for its beaches, Canada does have a few that will have you doing a double take. Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward Island is one of those treasures of the Great White North. There are miles of ecological wonders just waiting to be discovered in this paradise. Even during the off-season when it’s too cold to swim comfortably, you’ll be serenaded by the lapping waters and incredible surroundings.

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                8. Panama City Beach, Florida

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                  Located along the Gulf Coast, Panama City Beach is clearly one of the top travel beaches. There, the sand is white, the Gulf waters are typically warm and there’s even a park next to the beach area. You’ll quickly forget you’re in a city, and you will only be able to focus on the relaxed ambience.

                  9. Warwick Long Bay, Bermuda

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                    Want to take a trip to the land that time forgot? Warwick Long Bay in Bermuda could be your beach destination. The coral reefs there are stunning, and you can even ride horses up and down this half-mile stretch of beach. Bring your swimsuit for a quick dip; it will refresh both your body and soul.

                    10. Hidden Beach, The Marieta Islands, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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                      The Hidden Beach in Mexico is exactly as its name implies – an out-of-the-way nirvana where you can even swim in the buff in some areas. This makes it ideal for couples and singles, although kids are probably best left at home.

                      11. Plage de St. Jean, St. Barths, French Caribbean

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                        The north beach area, known locally as Plage de St. Jean, is a magnet for swimmers and sailing fanatics. Although it’s a popular beach, it still keeps a strong tether on its inherent charm. You won’t be counting down the days until the end of your visit here; in fact, you might like the atmosphere so much that you wind up making this region the site of your second home.

                        12. South Beach, Miami, Florida

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                          If you haven’t heard of South Beach, you need to find out as much about it as possible. This is the go-to beach for people who want the driving nightlife of Miami and the sun-sational beaches of southern Florida. South Beach is a place to be seen; don’t be surprised if you spot a Hollywood starlet basking on the sand. At night, you can cruise the soft, sandy beach with a loved one and enjoy the beauty of a tropical sunset.

                          Of course, every beach has its own unique qualities. The key is to find the one that speaks to you and to keep exploring new beaches that will help you unleash new levels of enjoyment.

                          Featured photo credit: Keith Robinson via flickr.com

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                          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                          Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                          Video Summary

                          Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                          There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                          This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                          Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                          In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                          One Exercise, multiple benefits

                          There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                          By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                          When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                          Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                          In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                          What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                          What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                            1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                            Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                            • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                            • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                            • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                            • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                            2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                              Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                              Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                              3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                  Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                  A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                  A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                  On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                  5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                    Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                    6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                      Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                      7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                        Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                        How to hold a plank position

                                        1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                        2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                        3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                        4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                        5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                        6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                        7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                        Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                        Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                          How to improve your plank time gradually

                                          1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                          2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                          3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                          Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                          Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                          You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                          • Prolapse
                                          • After prolapse surgery
                                          • Pelvic pain conditions
                                          • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                          • Previous childbirth
                                          • Overweight

                                          Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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