This time of year, I’m always inspired to plan a warm vacation. If you live some place cold like me, you probably find yourself daydreaming about a beach vacation… many, many times a day. However, if that’s not in the cards, I’ll settle for a movie. Here are three great vacations you can take in real life, or just pretend from the comfort of your couch.
Movie Vacation: Dr. No
Take yourself on a virtual Jamaican vacation by watching Dr. No, set partially on Oracabessa’s James Bond Beach.
Real Vacation: Oracabessa, Jamaica
Located 10 miles west of Ocho Rios, Oracabessa is a tropical paradise. Today, this small town (population 4,100) is less built up than some of the other Jamaican tourist destinations. However, it’s still close to an airport and a short drive from the Ochio Rios Scotchies location, regarded as some of the best jerk chicken and pork on the island.
Fun fact: James Bond creator Ian Fleming first visited Jamaica in the early 1940s, vowing to live the rest of his life there. He did, and it’s where he wrote all the 007 books. Bond fans can actually stay at Fleming’s Oracabessa estate. GoldenEye resort opened in 2011, featuring stylish one-room beach huts, larger villas, and even Fleming’s own home, complete with two guest houses, private pools and your own staff. Lounge on stunning Low Cay all day. Rum cocktails certainly sound better Bond’s dry martini, but I’m sure you could get one if you want. Guests love to paddleboard, hike and bike on the property, but a stay at GoldenEye must include a game of Backgammon.
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Movie vacation: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Craving a Hawaiian vacation without the long flight? Check out Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, and Russell Brand, this romantic comedy, set at the North Shore’s Turtle Bay Resort, will have you laughing so hard, you’ll forget it’s only two degrees outside.
Real Vacation: North Shore – Oahu, Hawaii
One of the most magical spots in the archipelago is Oahu’s North Shore. A siren song to surfers and beach bums alike, the North Shore’s seven-mile stretch of beach is world famous for its epic waves, beautiful resorts and delicious and refreshing foods, like poke and Hawaiian shaved ice.
Spend an afternoon watching expert surfers ride huge waves at Waimea Bay, or picnic, play and walk the sandy shoreline at Haleʻiwa Beach Park. Near Waimea Bay, you’ll find historic Pu’uomahuka, ruins from the largest heiau (a traditional Hawaiian temple) in the state. There’s also James Campbell Wildlife Refuge, one of the last remaining natural wetlands on O‘ahu, The Refuge provides habitat for endangered and native Hawaiian species, like the monk seal, Hawaiian green turtle, the short-horned owl and many waterbirds.
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Movie Vacation: The Birdcage
Okay, so there’s no tropical or sand and surf scenes in this hilarious film, but no other film quite captures the flamboyance of South Beach like The Birdcage. As club owner and its star, respectively, Robin Williams and Nathan Lane make for the perfect opposites-attract couple. Add in some family drama, opposing political views and a housekeeper named Agador Spartacus, and you’ve got movie magic. It’s like people-watching on South Beach without leaving your couch.
Real Vacation: Miami
Oh, how I love Miami. Serious sunshine, excellent cuisine (hello, Cuban food!) and very fun nightlife. And I have to say, there’s nothing more fun than people-watching on Ocean Drive, or trying to pick out the person wearing the least amount of covering on their perfectly tanned, toned body.
I’ve stayed at the Delano a few times and adore it. Located right on South Beach, this Art Deco hotel delivers serious style and sophistication. Relax poolside, snacking on ceviche with an ice cold mojito in-hand, or head straight out from the hotel to the beach. You’ll find lots of great dining within walking distance, including the Royal Palm’s restaurant Byblos, a bright, colorful and elegant homage to Mediterranean cuisine.
If the see-and-be-seen vibe of South Beach doesn’t do it for you, here’s a more low-key alternative just down the road. It’s like a whole different world!
What’s your favorite beach movie? Share in the comments!