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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
If you are a trendy urban nomad, a jetlagged jet-setter or travelling with the tots, you should find all your needs and expectations met in Dubai. Tiny but turbo-charged, the city-state is a highly developed tourism destination that offers world-class shopping, lodging, eating, sports and relaxation. Make the most of sunny skies with a trip to the beach - favourites are Jumeirah and Palm Beach - but public beaches are at a premium. Top-end hotels own most of the sand so bronzing can come at a cost.

Miami, USA
What makes Miami beautiful, from the bodies on the beach to the structure of the skyline, is diversity. Every neighbourhood has its own stereotypes and its own exceptions to those rules. This is true of the city's stretches of sand, too. Yes, South Beach is where the pretty people are, but they are gawked at by seething mobs of tourists. North Miami Beach is where real people live. Windsurfers should head to Hobie or Virginia Key beach and for a view over all of Miami's many beaches, helicopter tours take off from Watson Island - connected to downtown Miami by the MacArthur Causeway.

Brighton and Hove, England
Brighton is the most vibrant seaside resort in England. Just an hour from London, it is a thriving, cosmopolitan city with a Bohemian spirit; home to an exuberant gay community, a dynamic student population and a healthy number of ageing and new-age hippies, as well as traditional candyfloss fun. The beach is made up of pebbles, not sand, but that does not stop the crowds heading here in their droves. Whether it is midday sunbathing or midnight partying, Brighton beach seems to be in use at all times.

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© 2011 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Lonely Planet’s 10 best beach cities’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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