An Urban Oasis: Best City Beaches

Most of yesterday’s cliffhanging beaches were wonderfully windswept and remote. Today’s list of city beaches are just a little more charged up. Here are five seaside cities that combine sun-kissed relaxation with a surefire energetic twist.

1. Ipanema Beach (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil)

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As if you had any doubt Rio would take first place on the list. The eternal allure of the 1,600-meter-long, 90-meter deep stretch of white sand that lines the coast is unparalleled. Here’s what you’re getting yourself into: Ipanema is considered Rio’s cleanest beach by city natives. You can enjoy killer Brazilian food and drink without ever leaving your beach chair — everything from icy-cold caipirinhas to fried sticks of halloumi cheese.

2. Barceloneta Beach (Barcelona, Spain)

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Lined with palm trees, bars and cafes, the atmosphere here is pretty hard to beat. Though Barcelona’s Beaches aren’t at the top of the list of breathtakingly beautiful, the history, food, feel, and fun-factor give Barceloneta it’s undeniable appeal. The beach itself is ruled by Peix, a 60-meter-long abstract golden fish sculpture by Frank Gehry, and it’s cleaned daily by 200-some workers, so no broken glass to ruin your day. Of course, as the sun sinks down, local DJs spin some pretty chill tunes on the sand.

3. Clifton Beaches (Cape Town, South Africa)

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First off, the beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag for excellent environmental standards by the International Foundation for Environmental Education. So basically, these are some of the cleanest beaches in the world. The coast itself is basically breathtaking, boasting firey sunsets over the water (even if the Atlantic ocean stays a little chilly throughout the year). 1st Beach is for the local elites; 2nd Beach attracts a sizable gay community; 3rd Beach is more family orientated, and 4th Beach is where it’s at for everyone – a lively, hip seaside spot to top off that tan.

4. Brighton Beach (Brighton, UK)

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“London on the Sea” as it’s called, may be a far cry from those typical tropical tropes, but Brighton Beach offers and endless supply of charm and energy – even when it’s chilly out. Ice-cream stands, sticks of rock candy, and carnival rides collect along the coast, and Brighton Lanes, those quintessentially quaint streets packed with little shops are a short walking-distance away.

5. Waikiki Beach (Honolulu, Hawaii)

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We knew you were all like, come on, how can you put England on the list without Hawaii? So here it is. Honolulu is, of course, one of top holiday destinations in the United States, and for good reason. (And not just those silly shirts) The blue waters and views of the Diamond Head crater from Waikiki make up for the high-tourism aura, all hula-skirts and coconuts aside.

About the Author: Elsie Sing


Elsie is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; her writing has appeared in a few university publications, under tables and on the sides of trains. She likes taking Polaroid pictures and planning rooftop picnics.