You won't find beaches lined with palm trees in Aruba; rather, look for the hardy but stooped Divi, which always bow southwest in acknowledgement of the trade winds that blow across Aruba from the west. Casual beachgoers can find the calm, sandy shores they seek on the island's west side, while more adventurous souls can head east for pounding surf of Dos Playas.
Named one of the world's best beaches, and the best family beach by The Travel Channel, Palm Beach also is home to many of Aruba's big hotels and resorts. The resorts line the sand, there's shopping, movies, and nightclubs just across the street, and most major watersports and tours operate from here, including pirate ship adventures, jet skiing, and much more.
Another family friendly strip, Boca Cataina also has close-in reef snorkeling and is lined with shady beach huts, known locally as "palapas." This is Aruba's premier spot for cuddling with your partner and watching the sunset.
Named the top beach in the Caribbean by USA Today, Eagle Beach is an idyllic Caribbean scene: miles of powdery sand lapped by gentle surf. It's a popular spot for water sports, which can be organized through the hotels across the street.
Located on the island's less-traveled east side, Baby Beach is a popular spot for families looking to get away from the crowds; it has clear, shallow waters that are perfect for wading with kids. The only drawback is visual -- an oil refinery looms in the background, spewing smoke high into the blue Caribbean sky.
A windsurfer's paradise, Handicurari is home to the annual Hi-Winds Pro Am Windsurfing Competition and is a great place to get acquainted with this high-energy sport. For bathers, the water is very shallow, and the winds also make this a great place to fly a kite!
A favorite of surfers, Dos Playas is located in Arikok National Park and is famed for the challenging surf funneled into a bay surrounded by high cliffs. In addition to surfers you'll find body-boarders and body-surfers riding the waves here -- just use caution because it can get pretty rough out there. Expect 3-6 foot waves even when there are no storms offshore.