It has been quite some time since I have been able to get away for a weekend at the beach. If it wasn’t for a recent move, I would have made this the year but that, unfortunately, isn’t the case. So to help myself get over my lack of vacation, I have decided to revisit some of my favorite beaches in gaming. What better way to spend a day at the beach than in a dark room pretending I am getting sun burn with sand between my toes?
These beaches may not all be the most picture-perfect scenes out there but they bring a feeling with them that is at the core of every beachfront adventure: distraction. There can only be one per series, or this might have been completely overrun by one or two games. Now that that is out of the way, let’s soak up some digital sun.
Vault 118 – Fallout 4
Fallout 4’s first round of meaty DLC brought with it a rainy, cold, and misty island off the coast of the Commonwealth. If the player is able to find the secret entrance at the Cliff’s Edge Hotel, they will be greeted with a new vault and a murder mystery to solve.
During my time investigating these isolated robots, I discovered a little pseudo beach with an image of a sailboat on the wall. All the regular beach fixens were there, like chairs, wooden walkways, umbrellas, and drinks. It was a little sad, but I’m sure that the little beach brought some enjoyment to the society living underground.
What is there to say shout GTA V’s beaches? Vespucci beach is like any modern commercial beach, with tourists lining the waterline with towels and umbrellas. Sailboats are crossing over the horizon, and maybe even a plane will soar overhead. It really is picturesque.
Until it gets caught up in whatever mayhem the player is participating in then it becomes a warzone. However, the world of GTA is yours, so if you want a quiet day at the beach, take Michael down to the shore for a little stroll to ease the stress or take your efforts online and prevent anyone from having fun in the sun.
Gelato Beach – Mario Sunshine
The entire Isle Delphino setting is one big resort with multiple beach locations but the location that takes the cake is definitely Gelato Beach. Simply because it has a juice bar and I love that. Though it does have a nice little hiking trail and sand castles to help complete the look—as well as the lighthouse that leads to the sand bird in the sky.
There is a lot to see and do on Isle Delfino but if you are looking for that traditional beach experience, Gelato Beach is what you are looking for. If only it didn’t have an infestation of cataquacks then maybe it might be the go-to hangout spot for everyone.
Treasure Trove Cove – Banjo Kazooie
A little pirate-themed adventure for the bear and bird duo. Treasure Trove Cove has a little bit of everything from a docked pirate ship to angry landmines and the overly friendly Snacker the Shark. Banjo and Kazooie have a lot to explore in this early level and a lot to see.
There are sandcastles to explore and a giant hermit crab bathing in the sun. Compared to later levels, this early example of Banjo level design is a relatively simple one that gets players more comfortable using their abilities to access hidden jiggies. Plus, that soundtrack is one of the best in the entire series.
Slateport Beach – Pokemon Emerald,
The Hoenn region is known for one thing: water. There are many water routes, and thus there are a few beaches, but I think the best one is the port in Slateport. The beach is covered with reclining beach chairs, umbrellas, and swimmers looking for a pokemon battle.
As a kid, I loved to just stand on the shore and pretend I was having a day off of being a pokemon trainer. Getting a tan while Wingull flew overhead like I was in my own version of the anime. Even the future champion needs a beach day every once and a while.
The Island – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Beaches and Animal Crossing go hand in hand and the latest iteration of the franchise arguably has the best implementation simply because there is so much. New Horizons gives everyone their own island to curate, and that means you have three and a quarter beaches to decorate to your tastes.
Whether you want to create a beach party setting or a surfer’s paradise, there are options to make your beach however you prefer. Islanders can fish and rescue shipwrecked birds from the ocean’s grasp. You can even go diving for creatures now with one of the post-launch updates that Nintendo made to the game. Now more than ever, this beach shines as a brilliant example of using the geography in the game to its highest potential.
The World is Your Ocean – Sea of Thieves
Pretty much any beach is a winner in Sea of Thieves as they all offer loot, enemies, and the opportunity to prove yourself as a pirate who can excel on land and sea. There are riddles to solves where the player will have to use their knowledge of the game, geography, and their own common sense in order to locate the buried treasure and secrets.
This is one of the few games in this list that allows the player complete freedom at sea as well as on land, and that makes a huge difference in the use of the horizon in the game. There will be boats (or monsters) of enemies and friendlies coasting along the edge of the sea in the distance. It all can feel so real, like you really are just sitting on the shore loading up on supplies before you head back out on the big blue sea. Just don’t forget the rum.
Rook Islands – Far Cry 3
The whole plot of Far Cry 3 starts off after you and a bunch of friends head off for spring break in the islands. However, everything goes bad, and the player is left to liberate the island themselves with access to a variety of vehicles like a helicopter to get over the waves or a patrol boat. Even better, you can go swimming through the waters and hunt for fish and sharks!
You could make your own Jaws scene and take out an old clunker of a boat to hunt down the most dangerous of the digital creatures. It can be your own little safari as long as enemy troops don’t stumble upon your little excursion.
Battleship Bay – Bioshock Infinite
Battleship Bay is Columbia’s attempt at creating a beach and boardwalk in the sky. There is an artificial beach with sand and changing tents, while the boardwalk has an arcade and an ice cream shop. It is a really nice reprieve after almost being drowned by Song Bird, and it gives you and Elizabeth a little time together to just enjoy yourselves before the game becomes nothing more than a nonstop shooting gallery from then on.
There have definitely been days where I pretended to take a seat in one of the beach chairs and looked out on the artificial ocean with glee as if I really was down by the shore and not thousands of feet in the air or just sitting in my room.
N. Sanity Beach – Crash Bandicoot
The beginning of everything Crash Bandicoot. This level only spends a minimal amount of time at the water and quickly has Crash running away from the luxurious sight. In fact, chances are, if this was your first time strapping on the bandicoot’s shoes, it might have been the most stressful day at the beach you have ever experienced.
With the unique 2.5 D platforming that the series is known for being introduced here with giant red crabs ready to pinch your toes and hungry plants ready to take a bit out of your nose, there is a lot to be worried about here. However, that doesn’t make this beach day any less fun than if you were simply sitting in your chair with a book.