Florida

Summer is such a gift: the warm weather, the laid-back vibe, the beachy music, the opportunity for more travel, the sunsets. Here at Oyster, we’re really big fans of the latter two, and we often get to enjoy them both at the same time. (Not to say that we don’t love watching the sun sink down into the Hudson from our home base in New York City, but there’s something particularly special about taking in the sunset from an exotic locale.) We’ve watched the sun bid adieu to the day in numerous destinations around the world, and we’ve picked out the seven summer sunsets you’ve just GOT to see.

1. Aruba

Aruba

Photo Credit: David Stanley

Home to some of the best sunsets in the Caribbean, this Dutch island knows how to make the most of its outrageous sunsets.  From beachfront dining to sunset cruises, there are endless opportunities to take it all in.  And due to Aruba’s location that’s (generally) outside of the hurricane belt, consistently warm and sunny weather can be experienced year round, so you don’t even have to rush to get there this summer!  Be sure to check out California Lighthouse on the island’s northwest tip for a one-of-a-kind vantage point.    

Where to Stay: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino  

Located on Aruba’s famed Palm Beach on the island’s western coast, The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is the ideal place to watch the setting sun.  Since many rooms include large, comfortable balconies, you don’t even need to leave your chair to see the magic happen.   

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Fun, sun, and…scuba? For many, a trip to the beach just isn’t complete without the possibility of a deep sea dive. Whether you want to explore ship wrecks, meet creatures of the deep, or wonder at gorgeous coral formations, scuba diving can be a fun and athletic opportunity while you’re on vacation. Getting certified is crucial before attempting a dive, and if you choose to give it a go, we’ve compiled some of the best dive sites in North America for you to visit. Some may not realize just how many dive sites await in our own backyard!

1. Dive: Half Moon Caye, Belize

Half Moon Caye in Belize offers divers the chance to go on a wall dive–a dive in which the vertical facades of the earth’s landmasses are explored. The depths at Half Moon Caye (and really at any wall dive) are tremendous, giving you the very correct feeling that you are staring into an abyss. The waters at Half Moon Caye are particularly clear, despite the depth, so you will be able to see all manner of wildlife, including loggerhead turtles, rays, barracuda, and eels.

Stay: Portofino Beach Resort 

portofino

The professional dive shop on-site at the romantic and secluded Portofino Beach Resort is a major draw for adventure seekers. Read More »

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Summertime will soon be upon us — this week has already seen highs of 82 degrees in NYC! — and we can’t wait for long days spent strolling along the boardwalk. From Atlantic City to Santa Cruz, beach bums will strut their stuff down those sandy pathways, either taking in the views or letting loose on beachside coasters (or both!). Foodies will delight in summer treats such as saltwater taffy and Nathan’s hot dogs, and visitors can also play games, have their fortunes told, hit up unique shopping grounds, or just people-watch as the summer heat brings out some truly interesting characters. So bust out your flip-flops, spread on the SPF, and head to one of these boardwalks near you for some spring and summer fun in the sun.

1. Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey

The Atlantic City Boardwalk is the oldest in the United States and the longest in the world.

First opened in 1870 and now spanning 5.5 miles, the Atlantic City Boardwalk is both the oldest in America and the longest in the world, garnering plenty of attention from East Coast visitors. Travelers fantasize about the Art Deco glamour and glitzy shows of Nucky Thompson‘s heyday while munching on saltwater taffy from the James Candy Company (in business since the early 1900s) or indulging in an order of deep-fried oreos. Others may try their luck in one of the many casinos that dot the boardwalk. Though Atlantic City was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, loyalists are helping this shore spot bounce back with a vengeance.

Where to Stay: Mainstays such as Caesars bring back loyal guests, while boardwalk newbie Revel has been a hot topic in the tabloids (Beyonce performed her first post-baby show here, and Kanye announced that baby momma Kim Kardashian was expecting during his performance at the resort).

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It may not be the Caribbean, but with this view, who on the San Juan Islands could complain about it?

An “island getaway” doesn’t necessarily translate into washing up on the shores of the Caribbean. Plenty of other islands in the U.S. boast the same laid-back, secluded feel that you can find in Barbados or Jamaica, but often come at a fraction of those sky-high all-inclusive rates; you’ll at least save some cash on airfare! For perhaps unconventional, but nonetheless awesome, island stays, check out our top picks for value, sun, and fun!

 

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Some destinations always come to mind when people think of beach getaways: Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, Miami’s South Beach, and the crowded sands in Cancun. Some spots, however, are often overlooked and it makes them that much better. Fewer people, untouched nature, you name it; underrated beach destinations are hidden gems that can be just what you’re looking for. Check out our list of nine underrated beach destinations — and make a trip before the secret is out!

Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Vieques Island is surrounded by gorgeous, clear waters.

This unique little island offers travelers pure, undeveloped land, mainly thanks to the US Navy’s former use of a good portion of the island. The Navy left in 2003, however, and the land it once occupied is now a national wildlife refuge. Tourists to Puerto Rico often don’t leave the mainland as it takes an extra puddle-jumper to get to Vieques and there are few tourist attractions. Instead, attractions are nature-oriented: The island’s stunning, untouched white-sand beaches and famous bioluminescent bay are the highlights, but it also features walking trails, 300-year-old trees, and some of the top snorkeling spots in the country.

Where to Stay: The quaint Inn on the Blue Horizon is a smaller, more affordable option compared to the nearby W Vieques. The inn features phenomenal ocean views, pretty Mediterranean-style architecture, and wild horses roaming the grounds.

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Happy St. Patty's Day!

Image by Yuri Kuzin/iStock Photo.

Erin Go Bragh, everyone! (FYI: That means “Ireland Forever.”) With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you’re definitely in need of a watering hole to throw back a Guinness (or two, or three) this weekend — or at least an Irish pub to fill up on some Black & White pudding. We’re pretty excited about all the beef stew and Bailey’s we plan on imbibing on March 17th; if you still need a place to celebrate, try out one of these Irish pubs in a city near you. From the Emerald Isle itself all the way to the DR, we promise a good time — and at least a few Irish Car Bombs.
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Hollywood isn't just a place in Los Angeles...

We’re heading to Hollywood! Hollywood, Florida, that is. Because if you can’t find what you’re looking for at the Westin Diplomat megaresort, we’re not sure it exists. Sure, the hotel may lack the personality and charm of its smaller competitors, but it more than makes up for it with extensive features. Highlights include an 18-hole golf course, two huge outdoor pools with cabanas, a full-service spa (currently off-site, but an on-site spa will open this spring), six distinct restaurants, and direct access to a lovely stretch of public beach. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.

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If you’ve ever planned a wedding — or have known a person who planned a wedding, or have known a person who knew a person who planned a wedding — you know that they don’t come cheap. There’s the flowers, the band, the dress, the menu; it may be the best day of your life but it also may be one of the most expensive, especially if you’re pining for a destination wedding on the sand. But don’t worry: We here at Oyster are all about “making it work” [Ed. note: Is Tim Gunn still a thing? We certainly hope so] and we’ve found four beach destinations that won’t empty your — or your guests’ — wallets. From Belize to Destin, you can have your cake (beachside) and afford it, too!

Beach Wedding Destination #1: Dominican Republic

This 16th-century cathedral in La Romano would be a beautiful spot for an intimate exhange of "I dos."

This 16th-century cathedral in La Romano would be a beautiful spot for an intimate exchange of "I dos."

The Dominican Republic almost always makes the list of affordable beach destinations. Not only is it relatively easy to get to — with direct flights leaving from the U.S. and Europe daily – but it is filled with all-inclusive resorts, many of which offer affordable package deals. Plus, conveniently for couples on a tight budget, wedding peak season falls largely during the D.R.’s off season, which means cheaper flights, cheaper room rates, and more tranquil hotel atmospheres for your big day. Sure, June through September can be very hot and humid, and hurricanes are a possibility in the later months, but c’mon, what’re the chances?!

Where to Stay: Now Larimar

The white sand beach at the Now Larimar provides the perfect setting for a casual wedding.

The white-sand beach at the Now Larimar provides the perfect setting for a casual wedding.

This all-inclusive property in Punta Cana has an upscale vibe while still offering affordable rates — one of the many reasons why it’s a popular choice for weddings, and hosts up to several a day. With a recently renovated spa and a dedicated wedding coordination team, the hotel offers three wedding packages, all of which include the help of the wedding planner, the bouquet, and the cake — and as we just got back from a recent visit to the resort, we can vouch for its tasty desserts! Check back at Oyster.com soon to see new photos of the Now Larimar, including more beautiful shots of the beach, pools, spa, and rooms!

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