With gas prices sky rocketing and the price of plan tickets getting totally ridiculous, we here at Latina got bummed at the prospect of a summer without a some sort of vacation. Then it hit us! There's a ton of stuff to do right in your area if you just know where to look.
Welcome to the summer of the staycation, we'll be breaking down some great tips on how to get away from it all without leaving the comfort of your own city! This week, we're starting off with a round up of the best beaches across the US that cater to us through a great mix Latin history, music and style.
ORCHARD BEACH, NY
New York City’s Boricua community represents at Orchard Beach in the Bronx. Reachable by public transportation, the 1 mile crescent shaped beach has been a Latino hangout since back in the day when Hector Lavoe used to play outdoor concerts near the water. Besides sunbathing and swimming, beach-goers partake in everything from dominos to nighttime salsa dancing every Saturday and Sunday night in the summer. Latino Flavor and Seafood Cafe supply the plátanos and camarones. A summer concert series will feature a number of acts en español, with Tito Nieves rumored to be the opening performer this summer. For those who want to make it an overnight experience, City Island is just across the water and has a Victorian B&B with rooms under $150 a night.
SOUTH BEACH, FL
In some ways “La Reina” of Latino beaches in the United States, South Beach has long attracted the glitterati from all over Latin America. While the Cuban influence is still heavy, South Beach is no doubt a Pan- Latino experience with an elegance and style that rivals posh Punta del Este in Uruguay. In the morning a good café con leche is never too far away, and the city is packed with clubs offering Latin music of all stripes, from Reggaeton to Jazz. Of course a trip to Calle Ocho, the main strip in Miami’s Little Havana, is a great activity when your skin needs a break from the sun. The center of the Cuban exile community, it is filled with restaurants, markets, cafes, and museums.
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
Discovered by the Spaniards in 1519 and birthplace to Tejana singer Selena, Corpus Christi has nearly half a millennium of Latino history. The beaches range from a “scene” to pristine, and there are a wide variety of hotels to accommodate any budget. With nearly 64% of the population having Latino heritage, and only a few hours from the Mexico, local eateries are known to deliver when it comes to enchiladas and tacos. Local mariachis play regularly, and there is no shortage of places to dance Salsa or Merengue. And if the 16th of September means as much to you as the 4th of July, Corpus Christi is known for having one of the biggest Mexican Independence Day celebrations in the United States.
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
For history buffs or those who would rather be on the other side of the Atlantic, St. Augustine is it. The oldest continuously settled city in the United States, the city was in the hands of the Spanish from the mid 16th to the mid 18th century. The Españoles left their mark, including missions, forts, prisons, and a charming town that announced Spain’s dominion in the New World. The beachfront resorts on St. Augustine beach will give you time to contemplate all you learned about the city’s complicated past. And for those seeking to reverse the aging effects of the sun, perhaps a trip to Ponce De Leon’s Fountain of Youth will do the trick.
When Baja California is out of reach, Alta California is not such a bad second runner-up. In between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara sits the white-sanded Ventura County, a less crowded, less expensive option to its coastal neighbors. Hotels like the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard rival most Cabo San Lucas hacienda style resorts, and Mexican restaurants in the nearby city of Ventura are decades-old family operations crowded with loyal locals. The Mission San Buenaventura has been a part of three ruling nations – Spain, Mexico, and now the United States – and the Olivas Adobe, once the most impressive house in the area, belonged to a Mexican hacendero whose cattle farm fed those who rushed to California for the gold. A day trip inland will bring you to the valleys of Camarillo where large concentrations of Latino farmworkers have transformed 50’s era American towns into pueblitos.
By Elissa Strauss