Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Best Beach Vacations

Please welcome Julie Howard, talking about her best beach vacations and highlighting her latest book. 

In honor of July 4 weekend, I’m writing about my top five beach vacations EVER.

I’ve been to a lot of beaches. A California native, I consider myself an expert. I’ve been from the Mexico border all the way up to Oregon – and why stop? – past the Canadian border and into Alaska. I’ve been to Monte Carlo and Spain, Greece and Hawaii, Mexico and Italy. There’s a lot of water in this world and that means stunning beaches everywhere.

But travel is personal and we view life through our own filter. I can only tell you which beach vacations of mine were the best. Here they are:

1.    Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii. If you never watched the movie South Pacific, you need to search Netflix or your library right away. The beautiful scenery from this movie is from this beach and it looks exactlythe same. The steep green cliffs meeting the blue water lapping the white sand is stunning. My family did a long-awaited reunion there a few years ago and this enriches my memory of this vacation. We ate grilled yellowfin tuna my husband and son caught, hiked to waterfalls, lazed on the beach, and enjoyed time together. Perfect!
2.    MacKerricher State Park, northern California. We camped in this park, 150 miles north of San Francisco, when our kids were young. Nearby were giant redwoods, tidal pools, hiking trails, and always, always, the sound of surf hitting the shore. We went horseback riding during the day and roasted gooey marshmallows at night over a crackling campfire. The place offered enough beauty to fill my soul while being family friendly too.
3.    La Paz, Mexico. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the place where my husband proposed. We boated out to an island one evening for dinner and shared our dreams for the future. Maybe this was a test to make sure our plans aligned, but by dessert we were engaged. I’ll never forget the beach, the town, or the traditional old church in the town square.
4.    Glass Beach, Oregon. There are “sea glass beaches” in several locations but the one we stopped at a couple of years ago in Lincoln City was amazing! The beach was made up of polished glass pebbles, in all the colors of the rainbow. I joined others in sifting through the small rocks – the green ones were my favorites – and collecting a handful to take home. They remain on my counter as a reminder of this visit.
5.    Not all beaches are along the ocean. One of my favorite beaches is along Redfish Lake in my home state of Idaho. This pristine mountain lake, the story goes, gained its name because the salmon runs used to be so plentiful that the lake would turn red with their mature bodies when the fish returned to spawn. Redfish Lake sits high in the Sawtooth Mountains and some of the tallest jagged peaks are visible from the lake’s edge. The lake is snow fed and the water, while cold for swimming, is crystal clear. A gorgeous stop-over if you’re ever in Idaho. It’s a local favorite.

The remote and haunting Sawtooth Mountains is also the setting for my Wild Crime series. Book Two, Crime Times Two, is on sale for 99 cents for just a few more days! 

When divorce is out of the question, can murder be forgiven?

Blurb from “Crime Times Two” 
Meredith knows three things: First, the man in the library begged her to help him. Second, he was afraid of his wife. Third, now he’s dead.
While the evidence first points to a natural death, Meredith is certain there’s more to discover. People are tight-lipped in this small mountain village, and the man’s wife isn't talking either. Then a second death occurs, with remarkable similarities. It’s time to talk about murder. 
As a slow-burning relationship heats up in her own life, Meredith struggles with concepts of love and hate, belief and suspicion, and absolution and guilt. Nothing is clear cut…
She must decide: Is guilt, like evil, something you can choose to believe in?

Excerpt from “Crime Times Two”:

Jowls quivered under the man’s weak chin, and Meredith noted the stained and frayed shirt of someone who spent a lot of time alone in dark rooms, sending out a better version of himself into the virtual world. His eyes were anxious and beseeching at her as though she should have a clear understanding of him and his life.
Somehow, over the past hour and a half they’d been sitting next to each other – him playing video games and sharing his life story and her ignoring him the best she could – she had become his confessor and friend.
Meredith gave him what she hoped was an impartial-though-quasi-friendly smile. She reached for her purse and papers and rose from her chair. “Well. Nice talking with you.”
The man was lost in his own train of thought and seemed only slightly aware that Meredith was leaving.
He shook his head, morose.
“To make a long story short,” he summed up, “I think my wife is trying to kill me.”

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series and Spirited Quest. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at

Twitter @_juliemhoward

Sale Links


  1. As a fan of beaches, I've always wanted to visit Glass Beach, Oregon, Julie. Just reading this post makes me yearn to go right now. Enjoyed the excerpt from your new release. Wishing you continued success!

  2. Hey Julie! I like beaches too. Glass Beach is on my bucket list! I've visited some of your other favorites. Loved your blurb and excerpt for Crimes Times Two. The book is patiently waiting on my ipad to be read. Wishing you lots of sales!

  3. I'm a fan of the idea of beaches. I love sitting by the ocean, watching the waves, hearing the rustle and sometimes roar of the water, and imagining all sorts of stories. But getting sand all over everything--not so much. Best of luck with Crimes Times Two!!

  4. Being a Gulf Coast Florida girl, I'm addicted to white sugar sand and warm salt water. All beaches are beautiful in some way though. I wouldn't mind seeing the one in Oregan someday.

  5. I enjoyed your Blog. Your descriptions of your favourite beaches made me want to go to each and every one. Thanks for sharing.