Not everyone likes the waves and even people who do like body-surfing and boogie-boarding don't want their week in the sun ruined by red flags.
Luckily, the world is full of gorgeous beaches for those who'd rather float in calm, clear waters. Here are some of the world's best quiet-water vacation spots.
If Negril's Seven Mile Beach doesn't immediately pique your interest, remember that that name also means seven miles of quiet, clear water. This long beach is lined with resorts ranging from all-inclusive to family fun. About an hour from Montego Bay, Negril's white sands give the Caribbean Sea its beautiful shade of turquoise. Though it will be difficult to pull yourself away from those waters, the town is also known for its cliff diving and waterfalls. You can even tour the warm shallows on horseback. And from its place on the western corner of Jamaica, Negril has a front-row seat as, each night, the sun and its reflection in the still sea meet before slipping together below the horizon.
Blue, clear water will meet you in Holetown, another Caribbean calm-water hotspot on the western coast of Barbados. This town encourages eating out at the local restaurants and snorkeling. Swim with sea turtles and coral reefs off of the northern beaches or in the Folkstone Marine Park. A few miles away, in Saint Thomas, explore the Flower Forest or, in Bathsheba, visit the Andromeda Botanic Gardens.
Head an hour south of Cancún and you'll find Akumal, whose name means "Place of the Turtle" in Mayan. Akumal Beach has the vibe of a local spot rather than a resort beach. Its water is mellow and clear enough to spot sea turtles swimming just past the shallows. Enjoy it floating on your back or snorkeling underwater. Nearby, the Aktun Chen cave is an exciting place to see stunning rock formations around the mystical-looking water.
West Bay Beach on the coast of Roatan features the idyllic white sand and calm Caribbean waters that make the region famous. You can scuba dive, parasail and take fishing charters right from the beach or simply relax with a cocktail watching the sun dance in the water. Roatan is also the place for zip-lining, hiking, bird watching, visiting monkeys, and more.
Los Algodones Beach in Guaymas is a top spot for calm waters in the Mexican state of Sonora. Scuba diving in the Sea of Cortez is an adventure while, on dry land, the area is known for hiking, zip-lining, rappelling and horseback riding. The sunsets over the sea are magnificent and pair well with your favorite tequila.
Photo: Fred Hsu - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Siesta Key, FloridaSiesta Beach brings the soft, white sands and clear water of the Caribbean to the States. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the beach earned the title "#1 Beach in the U.S." for three years. Its water is calm and the nearby Point of Rocks is the perfect place to watch the sunset. Just up from the beach on Ocean Boulevard is the village packed with restaurants, bars and shops. And a short drive away is St. Armands Circle, a wide roundabout lined with high-end stores, eateries, and bars.
Tom Twardzik is a travel writer for the Journiest. He also covers music, film, TV and gaming for Popdust, social issues and current events for The Liberty Project and personal finance for Paypath. Read more on his page and follow him on Twitter.