iReport: My favorite beach

iReport: My favorite beach

Seven iReporters share their best beach memories

In this iReport assignment, we enlisted your most beloved strands of sand.

From white to black, from postcard views to unknown stretches on a South Pacific island, these are the beaches you recommended.

Been to another amazing beach we haven't mentioned? Tell us about it in the comments section below.


Islands of Kona, Hawaii, United States

All the time to take the perfect picture.

Lee Gunderson, a photographer in Calgary, visits beaches on Kona two to three times a year. He recommends the beaches on Kukio Bay and Kahaluu Bay.

He writes:

“I have visited amost every bay on the Island of Kona over the past 20 years. And have found these two to be pretty nice for grandchildren to be able to see turtles in their environment.

"Many people going to Hawaii never see turtles, but if you know where to go and what to look for, you will see them with ease.

"The underwater photo opportunities are wonderful and the beauty is incredible. 

"Kahaluu Bay is only 20 minutes from Kailua-Kona and has crystal clear waters for photos. The state park has record numbers of tropical fish on view and babies can swim out to see the fish -- with float vests of course. Some days we'll see 20-30 mothers and their babies sunning there on the rocks.

"It is one of my favorite places for underwater photography. The water is clear, turtles abound and the big reef means no sharks -- that's important as turtles are their favorite food. I can shoot without worrying about a bite.

"Kukio Bay, on the other hand, is great for families. Go to the Four Seasons Resort's entrance and ask for the private beach access. They will let you in.

"The beach is used by locals for weddings.

"Just don't bug the turtles and keep six meters away. They are there nesting by the hundreds."

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Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Not your usual beach, but spectacular nonetheless.Sara Ruedy's favorite beach is in Iceland as it offers her a whole new experience.

Ruedy writes:

“My travel mantra is to ask the locals where to go. So it was easy to find out about Jökulsárlón from the locals.

"It is a glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland, formed after a glacier on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean began receding, dropping icebergs along the way.

"In summer, the icebergs melt and roll down the mouth of the lagoon’s exit, directly into the Atlantic Ocean.

"It is an incredibly different beach experience -- standing on the black volcanic sand, hearing the crackle of melting icebergs, and watching as massive icebergs rush by into the ocean.

"With a glacier and snow capped mountains behind you and the ocean churning around you, it is an incredibly unique experience.

"At the Jökulsárlón lagoon, a local boat company can take you on a small boat where you come face to face with the icebergs.

"I’d also advise traveling in May to June, which is just prior to peak season. Prices are cheaper, the weather is ideal (albeit still cold) and you can go hours without ever seeing anyone, making it feel as if the island is all yours.

"Getting there could not be simpler -- start in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, and take Route One east for almost 260 kilometers. As this is Iceland’s only main road, you can’t, and shouldn’t, miss it."

Santa Monica Beach and Pier, California, United States

Santa Monica, where Marie Sager's memories are made.

Marie Sager says Santa Monica Beach and Pier always has a special place in her memory. She visited the beach last summer and took the picture above.

She writes:

“The Santa Monica Beach and Pier have memories that stretch way back to when my Dad would take me to the pier when they had a ballroom. I was nine years old.

"I can still remember dancing with my Dad to 'The Tennessee Waltz.' I would stand on his feet and he would whirl me around the dance floor. I truly felt like a Princess.

"My sons and now, my grandchildren continually get to enjoy this picturesque place and make memories of their own.

"The highlight of Santa Monica Beach is that you can ride your bike, roller blade, skateboard on the paved path along the Beach to Venice Beach and beyond. A big plus."

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Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, United States

Pristine white sand, beautiful sunset and entertaining people-watching opportunities.

Jutka T. Emoke Barabas has lived in Hawaii for 27 years. She lives across from Waikiki Beach. Although she visits the beach every evening, she says, “I never ever get tired of it.”

Barabas writes:

"I visited many beaches all around the globe, but Waikiki is one of the most beautiful -- it is always safe and clean with a gorgeous strip of white sand  with very gentle waves most of the time.

"I love the friendly atmosphere, the laid-back lifestyle, the sweet scent of the tropical flowers in the air, the Hawaiian music, the happy laughter of the children. We always have weddings to admire and a big fireworks show every Friday. It is breathtaking!

"But what I like the most is that I can meet very interesting people from all corners of the world, and everybody seems to live by our special Hawaiian Aloha Spirit.

"There is always some fun going on along the beach.

"I remember [the couple in the picture] were from the mainland United States and just had a really great time.

"The groom wanted to throw the bride into the water, but the new mother-in-law stepped in just in time. I was so lucky to witness fun moments like this -- the essence of Waikiki.

"I think of Waikiki as the most wonderful, magical place where we can leave our worries behind and just enjoy life and the beauty of nature.

"But remember to bring lots of sun cream! I always see tourists who impersonate lobsters."

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Haapai, Tonga

Tucked away in Tonga, Jill Thornton did not swim but got into weaving with the locals.

Jill Thornton visited Holopeka village and its beach in 2007. For Thornton, it is “a wonderfully hidden treasure” in the small island kingdom of Tonga.

She writes:

“While the white sand beaches of Fiji, just next door, are swamped with tourists and resorts, this tiny piece of Tonga remains unspoiled.

"It was so untouched, and it felt like, besides the locals, we had it all to ourselves. The magical moments and memories that came with that beach were priceless.

"I was on the island of Haapai with a married couple. The wife and I were walking through the village on our first day, and that was when we saw three Tongan women sitting in front of a house with a huge pile of reeds, cutting the soft edges off.

"Via a game of charades, we asked if we could help them. Even though we couldn't speak Tongan and they couldn't speak English, it was so much fun being a part of their lives with them.

"The next day, we came back and helped them lash the reeds together in groups, and the day after that, we helped them tie the reed groupings to long ropes in the sea.

"It was a fantastic experience, and by the end of our two-week stay, the ladies really loved us even though few words were shared. They asked if I was married, and then told me I was too old because I was single -- that was about as much English as they knew, haha."

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Kotobikihama Beach, Kyoto, Japan

Non-stop orchestra, conducted by nature.

Chieko Ohkuma says the Kotobikihama Beach in Kyo-tango city, north Kyoto, may look poorer than tropical beaches, but it's better for those who want to spend some quiet time with nature.

Ohkuma writes:

“It was a nice and cloudy afternoon and the temperature was a little bit cold for swimming. Even though it opens officially for swimming on July 1, the beach might not be crowded.

"There are not so much people and the nature there was preserved in a very good condition.

"I was helping my son, a seven-year-old sea creature enthusiast, to hunt shells and investigate living creatures in the pool.

Unlike other gorgeous tropical resorts, this beach has no vendors, no music, no water-sports services, but has two special features: invisible sound system and 24-hour-open natural aquarium.

"When we walk on the dry sand, it makes a crying sound. The sound gets louder if you step on it strongly. It's really fun.

"I also enjoyed watching each pool full of sea creatures in the high tide pool fields. The water is very clear because it is replaced every minute by waves.”

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Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Some people don't wear bathing suits in Sri Lanka, but they enjoy the beach no less.

For Shari Atukorala, the beach of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka means “spectacular.”

She writes:

“No, I have not visited the Caribbean nor the South Pacific, but I have visited the beautiful Trincomalee beach in Sri Lanka, somewhere around 2008, just after the war ended in Sri Lanka.

"I love the pristine white sand which seemed, to me, so pure.

"There were very few people at this beach, maybe because this part of Trinco had just opened for the public, but I must say I enjoyed the quiet calm seas and clean beaches of Trincomalee.

"It was a great time to swing away my cares in a hammock at the beaches of Trincomalee.

"I love the sounds of the wind and sea waves lapping against the boulders and rocks and to watch a far distant ship sailing the blue waters.”

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