7 epic beach destinations you've never heard of
Waves roll in one after another, palm trees sway in the breeze, gulls circle silently and time seems to stand still. A secluded beach is the perfect place to reconnect with friends and family, or maybe just reconnect with yourself. You'll find pristine, quiet beaches in every corner of the globe, but the very best might just be the ones you've never heard of.
Hit the surf at Muriwai Beach, New Zealand
Despite being less than 40 minutes from Auckland, Muriwai Beach is practically unknown except to locals who have dubbed it one of the best surf spots in New Zealand. Soak up the sun in a sheltered cove, forage the black-sand beach for mussels at low tide or take advantage of the consistent beach break that makes Maori Bay such a renowned surfing destination. Get there early in the day to grab a coffee or have breakfast at Sand Dunz Beach Cafe, just outside the main beach parking lot.
A far cry from the tourist destinations that have taken over some corners of Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barts, Saline Beach is one-third of a mile of untouched sand with nothing but lush vegetation on one side and crystal-clear Caribbean water on the other. Maybe it's the five-minute hike from the parking area that keeps some people away, but there's a good chance you'll have the beach all to yourself when you get there. Hop on a direct flight from Houston to Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of the neighboring island of St. Martin, and from there it's just a beautiful 40-minute ferry ride to St. Barts.
Sample local flavors at Cirali Beach, Turkey
You can thank the loggerhead turtles for the untouched expanse of white sand that is Cirali Beach. Development is banned here because these endangered sea turtles live and nest along the shore, making this one of Turkey's most pristine beaches. The surrounding landscape is nothing to shrug about either — towering mountains overlook the Mediterranean Sea. A mere 90 minutes from Antalya Airport, the village of Cirali has a great selection of restaurants serving traditional Turkish fare like kebobs and pide, a Turkish variation on pizza.
Go wild on Georgia's Cumberland Island
Cumberland Island National Seashore lies less than a mile from the Georgia coast, yet this undeveloped island feels hundreds of miles — and maybe hundreds of years — from civilization. It's a place where Spanish moss hangs from gnarled oak trees and wild horses roam 18 miles of windswept beach. Pack your rod and reel for some incredible surf fishing in the Atlantic Ocean or take a few hours to explore Cumberland Island's maze of remote hiking trails. You can even bring a tent and camp on the beach overnight. The city of St. Marys, Georgia, is just a half hour from Jacksonville International Airport; from there it's just a short kayak trip or ferry ride to Cumberland Island.
Discover Bali's hidden beach
Bali's beaches are, for the most part, no secret. This Indonesian province is practically synonymous with sand and surf, yet one of the true hidden gems of the Indian Ocean lies at Green Bowl Beach. Accessible by stone steps and practically invisible from the cliffs above, it's no stretch to call Green Bowl Beach “hidden." Once you brave the steps, the beach becomes the perfect secluded hideaway for snorkelers, explorers and surfing fanatics. High tide nearly erases Green Bowl Beach most afternoons, so pack a light picnic and enjoy the beach early in the day, and then head back topside where you'll find a few small shops with cold drinks and fresh young coconuts for sale. Don't miss out on the beautiful cliff-top Uluwatu Temple, which hosts nightly kecak music and fire-dance performances.
Explore the remote coast of Minorca
Considerably more low-key than its island neighbors of Mallorca and Ibiza, Minorca —accessible by ferry from Barcelona — is surrounded by the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The island boasts a coastline that alternates between rugged limestone cliffs and sheltered, turquoise-colored bays. A 45-minute drive along the coast to the Cap de Favártix lighthouse offers ample views of the coast's more forbidding seashore, but just south of the lighthouse you'll find two of Minorca's most scenic and secluded beaches: Cala Presili and Platja d'en Tortuga. Both beaches are completely undeveloped with roadside parking within a few minutes walk from the water. Pack a few blankets and a picnic lunch, take a dip in the quiet waters, or look for wildflowers blooming above the beachside dunes.
Escape the Crowds Near Sydney, Australia
Sydney has a lot of well-known beaches that draw huge crowds on summer days, but some of the area's best beaches are less famous. Milk Beach, in the wealthy Sydney suburb of Vaucluse, offers white sand, rugged rock formations and a perfect vantage point from which to watch the sun set over Sydney. You can access the beach through the grounds of the historic Strickland House, an 1850s mansion that is open to the public. If you have a little extra time, take a day trip across Sydney Harbor to Store Beach, a tiny out-of-the-way spot that harbors a colony of endangered fairy penguins — the smallest penguins in the world.
In an age when there are few blank places left on the map, there's no experience more rewarding than discovering a perfect getaway and having it all to yourself. Whether your destination is a far-flung beach resort or your own private tropical paradise, United and our Star Alliance partners are dedicated to getting you there. Visit united.com or use the United app to start planning today.
Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.
I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.