5 Alternative Ways to Spend an Afternoon at the Beach

If you live in the city or struggle to find the time to make a trip to the beach, you are probably happy to spend the time that you do get relaxing in the sun, reading books, paddling in the sea or playing with your family. You probably look forward to ice creams and strolls in the warm shallow waters. The idea of doing almost nothing can be most appealing.

If, however, you rent an oceanfront vacation home, or you live by the beach full time, you might have had enough of lying about in the sand. You might long for something a little more interesting. Here are five alternative ways to spend an afternoon at the beach.

Get in the Water

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Credit – https://unsplash.com/photos/S-ldf8jqZLg

Unless you are a keen surfer, your trips to the beach probably include very little time in the water. Most of us stick to the sand and rarely go in above our knees. If you are getting a bit bored of the sand, why not throw yourself into the water. Go for a swim in the sea, which can feel very different to swimming in a swimming pool. Or, have a go at some water sports like water skiing or paddle boarding.

Try Some Seafood

Seafood is best by the sea. It’s fresh, it’s expertly cooked or prepared, and there’s more variety than anywhere else. If you usually stick to foods that you know at your days on the beach, why not try something different?

If you a house at the beach, why not try cooking some seafood or preparing some sushi for yourself? Take a look at the best seafood recipes online, buy the freshest ingredients and spend time experimenting with flavors and techniques.

Paint

There’s something about being out in the fresh air that makes us all feel a little more creative, and the scenery around the sea gives you plenty to draw inspiration from. Take a good look around you, set up an easel or take a sketchbook and have a go at painting or drawing what you can see.

If painting isn’t your thing, grab a camera and go for a walk around the sand dunes and rock pools. Take some photos of nature and enjoy getting back in touch with the world around you while exploring your creativity.

Go Fishing

Some people love fishing. Others, just don’t get it. The idea of sitting for hours waiting for a bite just doesn’t appeal. But, fishing at sea is a little different. It’s bigger. It’s more adventurous and more exciting. If you’ve never tried it, sea fishing might not be what you expect and is certainly worth trying.

Build a Sandcastle

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Credit – https://unsplash.com/photos/0dxDl52u58Y

Building sandcastles is something that kids love, but adults rarely do. Let your inner child out and get building. It can be relaxing and interesting. It’s a free way to get creative, and you’ll probably find that it gets you talking to a lot of passers-by. Many beaches host sandcastle building contests that you could enter. Just remember, you’re not tied to castles. You can build a vast range of structures with sand. You just need your imagination.

St. George Island

St. George Island State Park

After camping in the beautiful mountains and national forests along the Blue Ridge Park (Blue Ridge Parkway , Great Smoky Mountains National Park) we were in search of some heat and sun. We Looked at the map, in search of our new destination that wouldn’t take us too far off the direction towards New Orleans. We found St. George Island, located off Florida’s gulf coast, perfect! We headed to St. George Island State Park to set up camp, the busiest camping site we had encountered so far on our trip. While it was a little warmer, the sun remained behind the clouds for our trip,but we could still enjoy the beauty of this island, after all, it ranks as one of the top beaches in the US!

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California dreaming

Road trip down highway 1

We made it to continental USA!  First stop, the charming San Fransisco, we spent a few days exploring and absorbing the great food, city vibes, stunning scenery and hiking some beautiful state parks. In amongst exploring, we brought a van, removed the back seats and transformed it into a bedroom ready for the road trip across the country! Starting point, California and to finish in New York City!  The first part of this trip was a road trip through California.

From San Fransisco we decided to take the most scenic route to reach Los Angeles, highway 1 (Pacific coast highway). The views along the Pacific coast were breathtaking, California is a beautiful state. Our first stop was Big Sur, and what a surprise we got here…colonies of elephant seals laying out on the beach! Did not expect to witness this, and it only occurs a few months annually for the elephant seals to birth, mate and molt.  So grateful to witness. After Big Sur, the next big stop was Santa Barbara. What a gorgeous place!! Ocean and Mountain views. The final destination was Los Angeles, before hitting the city center we ventured first to Malibu, this place is stunning. Next was the famous Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, so picturesque and just like in the movies! We spent a couple of days exploring LA, visiting Venice beach, downtown LA,  the Hollywood walk of fame and hiked as close to the Hollywood sign as possible. An amazing road trip, visiting some beautiful places.

From LA we drove to Joshua Tree national park, this place is breathtaking and will be featured in a different post. I have loved everything about California that I have seen so far. Cannot wait to visit this dreamy state again, hopefully soon.

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Honolulu

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Oahu

Before reaching continental USA, we took the opportunity to have a seven day stopover in Hawaii. Breaking up the flight from Melbourne to California. And, what a wonderful seven days this was. Oahu ‘the gathering place’ is a beautiful Island, providing amazing sunsets, white sand beaches, culture, the hustle of city life, and the beauty of Island life. Beaches, forests, gardens, scenic views, a nature lovers paradise.

 

Highlights and must sees

  • Diamond head state monument: A Volcanic tuff cone.  This is a great hike, once you reach the top you can witness breathing taking panoramic views!
  • Manoa falls: Hike through a lush green forest to view this beautiful waterfall.
  • Iolani Palace: A beautiful historical landmark. The Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
  • Waikiki: The main touristy area for the Island. Famous beaches with high rise hotels and resorts. Perfect for shopping,  and a range of restaurants  along the beach.
  • Pearl harbour, USS Arizona: A national memorial.
  • National memorial cemetery of the Pacific: 
  • Honolulu museum of art: The largest single collection of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the US.
  • Waimea bay: Beautiful beach and a popular surfing area.
  • Kailua beach park: Breathtaking turquoise waters. With calm water, this beach is great for swimming.
  • Polynesian cultural center: A Polynesian-themed theme park and museum.
  • Hanauma bay natural preserve: 

 

Oahu is a U.S Island located in the Pacific ocean. The third largest Island of the Hawaiian Island chain. The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is located on the south shore, and is the main gateway to Hawaii. Temperatures are warm year round, with two main season, wet  (November to March) and dry (April to October). We stayed in a hotel close to Waikiki beach and could easily entertain ourselves walking around and exploring this area. We also rented a car to get around Oahu to see more of the beautiful beaches and sights. The seven days on Oahu was a great introduction to Hawaii, with a mix of relaxation on the beach and exploring the sights and culture of the Island. I would love to see the other Islands and spend more time on exploring the stunning Hawaiian Island chain.

 

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Kota Kinabalu

Gateway to Borneo

Kota Kinabalu also referred to as KK is located on the northwest coast of Borneo, in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Kota Kinabalu, which was once formally known as Jesselton is the state capital of Sabah. The location is an ideal base to explore the northern region of Borneo.

Borneo

Borneo is the third largest (non continental) island in the world. Located in South East Asia, and surrounded by the south China sea to the north and northwest. The Island is divided by three separate countries. Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. Brunei has the smallest portion of the Island. The Malaysian part of the Borneo is split between two different states, Sabah and Sarawak. The Indonesian state of Kalimantan controls the largest portion of Borneo.

Borneo is a nature lovers playground. The majority of the island is covered by dense rainforest, with a great richness of species diversity. This rainforest is one of the oldest rainforests in the world! Estimated to be 140 million years old. Home to a range of unique fauna and flora, and the center of evolution and distribution of many species. It is understandable that a lot of ecological research is conducted here. With this, Borneo is also home to a number of sustainable, conservation and responsible travel projects. The Island of Borneo is a really unique and magical place.

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Four days in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu was our first introduction to this amazingly unique island. Spending four days in this city was truly wonderful, the only negative was that it was not enough time! We stayed at a backpackers hostel, close to the center of the city. As we arrived in the afternoon, our first day was spent walking around and taking in the atmosphere of the city. Our first evening was spent at the night market, then on to an all you can eat buffet – and buckets of beers, the price was ridiculously cheap. The next morning, we woke up and started to explore more of the city. In addition to visiting the  sights and attractions of KK, the majority of our stay was spent island hopping, which included snorkeling and hiking adventures.

City highlights and attractions

KK water font and times square

With crystal clear waters and sunny skies the waterfront is gorgeous to walk along. Times square represents the commercial downtown area of Kota Kinabalu.

Sabah state mosque

Located close to the city center, the mosque is worth a viewing. The architectural design is very impressive.

Signal hill observatory tower

Provides gorgeous views of the city at the highest point.

Atkinson clock tower

This is the oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu. The towers sits on a hill overlooking the city.

Central market

A vibrant and busy market located on the waterfront. A great place to explore and take in the atmosphere of the city.

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Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

The Tunku Abdul Rahman park is a marine park with a cluster of five islands (Gaya, Manukan, Sapi, Sulug and Mamutik) located off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. These islands are easily accessible. The distance ranges from three to eight kilometers off the coast, and you can take a 15-20 minute speedboat ride from the Jesselton point ferry terminal.  Plus, all of the islands are a short boat ride from each other. Island hopping was the highlight of our time in Kota Kinabalu.  We were able to visit many stunning beaches, go snorkeling, hike through jungle trails and see some pretty impressive animal and plant species.

Kota Kinabalu, with its tropical islands and stunning landscape is a nature lovers playground, and is rapidly becoming a more popular tourist destination, due to the city being a cultural hub with natural beauty. Kota Kinabalu was the perfect introduction to the island of Borneo. I am so eager to return and explore even more of the Island. I would love to experience a wilderness trip, absorbing the true remoteness and adventure that Borneo can offer.

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Nha Trang

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Riviera of the south China sea

Nha Trang is a coastal resort city, located on the south central coast of Vietnam.  This city is also the capital of the Khanh Hoa province. Nha Trang is well known for its beaches and water activities. The coastline stretches for six kilometers, with the palm trees, sandy beaches and mountain backdrop, Nha Trang is so stunning. 19 islands are located off the Nha Trang coast, so this destination is also perfect for island hopping and scuba diving experiences. Historically the city was known as Kauthara and is now often described as the Riviera of the south China sea!

Nha Trang has been a popular backpackers destination for years, and has recently became popular for luxury travel too. With its cosmopolitan feel and high energy, it is easy to see why Nha Trang is so popular.  Beautiful beaches, trendy restaurants and chic boutiques Nha Trang makes for the perfect getaway destination, and was a nice change of scenery on our backpacking journey.

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We departed Hoi An and took the over night bus travelling for ten hours to reach Nha Trang, Vietnam’s premiere beach destination.  We arrived very early in the morning, and relaxed on the beach until our accommodation was ready. We stayed in Nha Trang for four nights at a backpacker hostel. Meeting more backpackers to party with during the night. Nha Trang is well known for its nightlight and it did not disappoint, with options ranging from local dive bars to luxury restaurants and cocktail bars.

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Highlights and must sees

Island hopping

With 19 Islands just off the coast of Nha Trang, Island is a popular is an easy and enjoyable activity to do here. The options to snorkel and scuba dive are also great.

Vinpearl amusement park

This unusual large scale theme park is located on an island just across from the Nha Trang beach!

Thap Ba hot springs

A hot thermal mud center offering mud baths, and other spa facilities such as massages, it is a great way to relax and unwind.

Nha Trang cathedral

Beautiful architecture and also the largest church in the city.

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Po Ngar temple complex

Another rewarding experience  while you are visiting Nha Trang is to take a break from the beaches and nightlife and visit the Po Ngar temple complex. A charming complex to walk around and explore history. These temples were built by the Cham people (The cham people once ruled the central section of Vietnam) between the 8th and 11th century. Another outstanding visit to a historical site, during our travels of Vietnam.

After relaxing and exploring the city of Nha Trang it was time to continue our journy, next stop Saigon

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