Best Places to Travel in 2021: 5 Beach Destinations to Visit Next Year
Where to travel in 2021 will be a tough decision to make, if even a decision at all (depending on the state of the world in the next few months). One type of vacation that may make social distancing easier is a beach getaway. By its very nature, this type of vacation usually involves a lot of time spent outdoors and doesn’t have the same claustrophobic feeling that a city trip sometimes has.
That being said, travel is going to look a lot different going forward, thanks to new safety, testing and cleaning practices. There are many signs that point to the world bouncing back in the coming year. There’s a significant amount of pent up demand for an industry which has been nearly wiped out by the pandemic. Although it’s still too early to tell what 2021 will bring, we like to remain optimistic, which is why we’re bringing you the best beach travel destinations for 2021.
1. The Maldives
This serene, tropical nation is made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotel resorts, with white sandy beaches, underwater villas and restaurants and bright blue waters. The island nation is likely trending because it is currently open to travellers from any country (visitors must produce a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure). In addition to being a naturally socially distant getaway, the destination has enacted strict COVID procedures and all of the islands’ resorts and accommodations are taking precautions.
2. The Mayan Riviera, Mexico
Once a string of small fishing villages, the strip that now makes up the Yucatan Peninsula is a family-friendly vacation spot that offers a little bit of everything. Whether you’re looking for white-sand beaches, scenic ruins, fun-filled cenotes or lush jungles, you’ll find it in the Mayan Riviera. It also has a creative art scene, rich history, or interesting architecture. The culture of Mexico is vibrant and alive, the people are energetic and passionate, and the cuisine has fire to match. A few stops to hit on your future road trip through the riviera include Playa Del Carmen, where you can walk around La Quinta Avenida to shop and people watch, and Tulum, where you can stay at an ecolodge, take a yoga class, and embrace the bohemian lifestyle. A few other spots to check out include the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an, Chichen Itza, Xcaret, and Cenote Dos Ojos. Take a ferry to the picturesque island of Cozumel and spend a day hopping from beach to beach.
3. Paxos and Antipaxos, Greece
In Paxos, one of the least commercial Greek Islands in the Ionian sea, you’ll find a clear aquamarine sea and pebble beaches. It’s truly an artist’s paradise and the local people are so welcoming you feel at home straight away! This small island is only 7 miles and can easily be explored by foot, bike, car or boat. Paxos is the perfect place to wind down, drink a frappe (iced coffee) in one of the seafront cafes, watch a local fisherman bring his catch in to sell or queue in the local bakery for your fresh bread baked in a wood oven and listen to the locals arguing!
4. Byron Bay, Australia
Byron Bay, a coastal town in New South Wales, Australia, is known for its beaches, surfing, and scuba-diving sites. The epitome of the Australian beach lifestyle, Byron Bay is the ultimate seaside destination on many a backpacker’s bucket list. Sitting on the most easterly point of Australia, the coastal idyll has carved out a reputation as being a meeting point for hippies, gypsies and creative souls. It’s where you can catch some waves in the morning, let out your artistic side during the day and kick back in the afternoon with a bottle of beer, locally and independently brewed. For beach lovers, there are nine beaches to choose from, with Main Beach being the most popular one. There are hidden gems for travellers to explore as well, such as the Belongil, Wategos or Tallow Beach. Adventurous travellers must not miss the chance to go diving or snorkelling at Julian Rocks in Cape Byron Marine Park. Regarded as one of Australia’s top diving sites, the clear waters in this area host more than 1000 recorded species of marine life, including dolphins, manta ray, and scorpion fish! The gentle, resident sea turtles are a major draw for snorkelling in Julian Rocks, and will surely delight all travellers. Activities include visiting the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, the Maritime Museum or the Byron Bay Markets. The unique weekend markets are where travellers can enjoy freshly baked goods and snacks, buy crafts and homewares, and enjoy local bands playing live!
5. Kauai, Hawaii
Few places on Earth possess the sublime beauty of Hawaii's island Kauai. Kauai has been called the “Garden Isle” for its beautiful rainforests. Kauai’s thunderous landscape, lush waterfalls, and spiritual core can make for the trip of a lifetime. With dramatic cliffs and canyons, and stunning coasts, this Hawaiian island is the perfect destination for those who love beaches, hiking and outdoor exploration. For the best beaches, visit Kauai’s Hanalei Bay or Anini Beach on the north shore. The Queen’s Bath tide pool is a unique sight, where travellers can marvel at the natural pools carved into lava rock formations rising out of the ocean during low tide. For the best snorkelling spot, head to Lawa’i Beach on Kauai’s south shore, and keep an eye out for colourful schools of butterflyfish and parrotfish! There are many natural treks for couples to conquer. Get your jogging shoes on, and prepare to take on the scenic 17-kilometre Kalalau Trail. Make a stop at the beautiful Hanakapi’ai Falls during your trek. For fans of Jurassic Park, check out Manawaiopuna Falls, which was featured in the first movie. The Sleeping Giant Trail is another hiking trail to look out for.