5 great family vacations on the west coast of the Pacific
Russia’s Pacific coast stretches thousands of miles from north to south, from the Bering Strait to the Kuril Islands. The nature of the Far East is striking in its variety of natural zones – arctic deserts, tundra, coniferous forests, coniferous-birch forests, coniferous-broadleaved forests, and even subtropical forests in the very south. The Far East appears to most people from other regions of Russia as an eternally cold land. Yes, the north, Chukotka is an Arctic desert, but the south of Primorsky Krai is located at the latitude of Abkhazia. The following Far Eastern regions are on the Pacific coast: Chukotka on the coast of the Bering Sea, the Kamchatka Peninsula, which is washed by the waters of the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean, Magadan Region and Khabarovsk Territory, which face the Sea of Okhotsk, Sakhalin Island also in the Sea of Okhotsk and Primorsky Territory, which has access to the Sea of Japan. The nature, climate, flora and fauna, attractions and opportunities of these regions are so diverse that it is necessary to talk about each separately.
To the very north of the Pacific coast is Chukotka. This is a very large, remote and harsh area of our country, which is almost all above the Arctic Circle. There are only two seasons here – a short summer and winter, lasting almost ten months. There is the polar night and the polar day. The local relief is mostly plateaus, above which high mountain ranges rise.
Kamchatka Peninsula has an area of about 470 000 sq. km, its length is 1200 km and several European countries could fit on its territory. Kamchatka boasts more than 300 volcanoes, including 36 active ones, and the famous Valley of Geysers. Kamchatka has a mild maritime climate with slight temperature variations from +13°C in July to -16°C in January. In the eastern part of the island, the weather is very variable and often changes. Summers are cool with frequent rains and fog, while winters are mild with frequent thaws. It is the coldest in the center of the peninsula. There is no severe frost on the coast. Precipitation is abundant here – on the eastern coast up to 260 cm per year.
In the Magadan region the winter is six to eight months long. The winter is frosty. Snow lies from early December to the end of May. There are often strong winds in the winter, and snow drifts sometimes reach enormous sizes. Summer lasts two months, but nature has time to bloom. The change of seasons is rapid with rain, snow, frequent storms, and fog.
On the coast of Khabarovsk Krai, the climate is temperate. It is influenced by the close proximity of the sea and the topography. The autumn and winter period is long. The natural conditions are influenced by the proximity of the sea and the nature of the relief. Away from the coast the climate is more severe – in winter the temperature can reach minus 30-40 degrees. In summer it is +15 to +25.
The climate of Sakhalin belongs to the moderate monsoonal climate. However, regardless of the season, the weather differs greatly in the north and south of the island. Summers are very humid with frequent precipitation. On the west coast, summers are warmer due to the proximity of the Tsushima Current.
Winters are cold with heavy snowfalls, and in the south there are also powerful storms and hurricane winds. The island is separated from the mainland by the Tatar Strait and from the Japanese islands by the La Perouse Strait. There are mountains in the south and the extreme north of Sakhalin, and lowlands in between.
The coast of Primorski Krai faces the Sea of Japan, so the climate there is humid and monsoonal. The weather in winter is cold, down to -15 degrees, with little snow. Spring is cloudy with fog and rain. Summer is cloudy with rains and showers. Autumn is called “golden” in Primorye – the weather is dry, warm and sunny. The cold comes in early November.
The nature of all regions of the Pacific coast of Russia is very diverse.
Chukotka is located in an area of tundra, forest tundra and deciduous taiga. Almost half of the area is occupied by high mountain tundra, stone deserts and semi-deserts. However, more than nine hundred species of higher plants grow in Chukotka, including a large number of flowers, more than four hundred species of mosses and lichens. In the Bering Sea there are more than 400 species of fish, fifty of which are commercially viable. Four species of crabs, four species of shrimps and two species of mollusks are also commercial. Up to thirty species of fish live in freshwater inland waters – salmon, char, whitefish, grayling, smelt, teal and burbot. Many birds – about 220 species – ducks, geese, swans. On the shore “bird markets” – guillemots, eiders and gulls. A variety of animals – polar and brown bears, reindeer, sable, lynx, wolf, fox, wolverine, ermine, hare, fox, mink and others. There are walruses, seals and whales in the sea.
On Kamchatka, nature is preserved almost in its original form. This is a country of volcanoes, alpine meadows, taiga and tundra, mountains, valleys and sea bays. The nature of the peninsula is unique. In winter frosts, flowers bloom and the grass grows green near the hot springs, and in the hot summer there are piles of snow on the tops of the extinct volcanoes. The rivers in Kamchatka are born in glaciers, that is why they are clear and transparent and the fish come to spawn in them. The grass grows taller than human height. The coasts of the peninsula are cut by countless bays. There are a variety of animals and plants in the forests, among which the Kamchatka bear is the most famous.
In the Magadan region, most of the territory is occupied by mountains and highlands of medium height. Cold winds blow here all year round. Conditions are more moderate on the coast, but in the interior of the region the climate is continental. Winter lasts about 5.5 months on the coast, and up to 7.5 months inland. Frosts can be as low as – 50°, with heavy snows. The average temperature in July is + 12°. Because of the harsh conditions there are not many species of animals, and they all have thick fur. There live here ermine, hare, wild reindeer, brown bear, fox, wolf, wolverine, moose, lynx, chipmunks, lemmings, foxes and other animals. Birds are scarce in winter; only grouse and snowy owls are seen. In spring, ducks come to the lakes and “bird markets” form on the coast. Rivers and lakes have a lot of fish.
The topography of Khabarovsk Krai is mostly mountainous – more than sixty percent of the territory is occupied by slopes and mountain ranges. The climate is temperate. Winters are quite cold, but summers are long and hot. Picturesque landscape, many species of rare plants. Maple, fir, oak, Daurian rhododendron, eleuterococcus and pointed yew grow here.
The forests are inhabited by foxes, wolves, lynx, Amur tiger, Manchurian hare, Manchurian deer, roe deer, brown and Himalayan bears, deer, wild boar, elk, musk deer. Of fur-bearing animals there are squirrels, wolverines, weasels, muskrats, otters. various birds – grouse, nutcrackers, waxtails, grouse, pheasants. On reservoirs – geese, mergansers, ducks. One can even meet Indian cuckoo, Usurian pheasant, blue flycatcher, mute and stone thrush.
The major part of Sakhalin Island is covered with taiga forests. This taiga is unique in terms of species diversity – about two hundred plant species. The main plant of the island is the Gmelin’s larch. A unique feature of the local flora is a combination of southern and northern plants – in the south of the island together you can see tropical lianas, larches, hornbeams, cherry trees. Elderberry and mountain ash among the polar birches, near the firs – lemongrass and rhododendron, cedars are neighbors with cork trees. A lush mix – firs and flowering hydrangeas, rose hips, aralia, honeysuckle in thickets of tall ferns. Animals are the same as on the mainland: weasels, ermines, brown bears, three kinds of foxes, hares, squirrels, river otters, musk deer. There are up to seven hundred (!) bird species – guillemots, spoonbills, hatchets, gulls, geese, mallards, kamenushka, pintails and long-tailed ducks. Swans inhabit the island’s most remote lakes. On Sakhalin there is one of the world’s largest rookeries of seals. There are sea otters and several species of seals. Sperm whales, killer whales, beluga whales and blue whales often come ashore.
The nature of Primorsky Krai is incredibly rich and various, here there are about 250 species of trees and bushes and more than 4000 kinds of plants. Primorsky Krai is unique in the number of plants that are found nowhere else – Amur velvet, shrub birch, aralia, Komarov’s lotus. More than two-thirds of the region is occupied by taiga. Due to the mountainous relief, seven high-altitude belts with different compositions of trees and plants were formed. Species of different geographical origin are neighbors in Primorsky Krai – Manchurian fauna, plants of subtropics and Siberia. There are many red-listed species in the region, including the famous Amur tigers.
Due to the natural and national diversity, traditional food in different regions of the Pacific coast is also very diverse.
In Chukotka, traditional national dishes are stroganina from meat and fish, dolbanina from meat, fish, yukola (dry unsalted fish), dumplings with broth, prerem (boiled and frozen venison), opane (soup), kergipat (undercooked meat in its own juice), frozen kidneys, etc.
In Kamchatka – Telno of fish (fish cutlets with stuffing), Kamchatka soup, caviar, fish salad with berries, yukola (dried fish). Search engines find 182 (!) restaurants in Kamchatka, mostly in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. The first ones to come up are Korea House, Da Vinci, Cinnabon, San Marino, and Harets Pub.
In the Magadan region the traditional national dishes of the Evenks are Uman (raw bone marrow from tubular bones of deer), Nimyn – blood porridge (deer blood is boiled and dressed with deer fat), Boiled blood with blueberries, Squirrel meat, Kulni (boiled cranberries, shiksha with red caviar), sour fish heads, Portia – unsalted fishmeal. Well, for those who do not like these exotics, they can order Kiev cutlets or schnitzel… There are dozens of restaurants and cafes in Magadan – Torro Grill, Pronto, Kavinskaya Valley, Terrace, Golden Lagoon, Steak House and others.
Traditional dishes in Khabarovsk Krai: Taksa – fish pate, Byansi – fish dumplings, Nettle soup, Far East salad with salted fish, Fern with beef, rampson with tomato paste. There are more than 500 restaurants and cafes in Khabarovsk Krai, most in Khabarovsk – Flowers, Satsivi, Luga, Pani Fazani, Muscat Whale, Amur and others.
In Primorsky Krai, fish, fish roe, shrimp, crabs, and seaweed are the main ingredients in most traditional dishes. The local cuisine is also influenced by the proximity of Japan, Korea, and China. There are more than one thousand restaurants and cafes in Primorsky Krai, and 656 of them are located in Vladivostok – Zuma, Ogonyok Farmer’s Restaurant, Studio, Mumiy Troll Music Bar and others.
Traditional dishes of Sakhalin residents are: pink salmon soup, game soup, caviar soup, way (seaweed in fish broth). Also yukola dishes (dried and dried meat of fish or reindeer): finely chopped yukola, yukola kebab, dried yukola. Fish dishes: shish kebab of fish, boiled goby, boiled insides of chum salmon. Seals dishes: boiled meat, brisket shashlik, boiled small intestine. Fish and berry dishes: mos (sweet jelly), crushed cranberries with boiled fish, izkh chari (blueberries with milk), cloudberry with fish. There are 255 restaurants and cafes on Sakhalin – Pak Degam, Nihon Metai, Bermuda Triangle, Furusato, Prince Bagration, and others. Mostly in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
How to get there?
You can get to Chukotka exclusively by plane. You can go by sea from Vladivostok in summer, but by dry cargo ship. You can fly to Chukotka through three airports: Anadyr from Moscow. From Anadyr there are local flights of local airlines. The second airport is Pevek. From here there are helicopter flights to the villages of the Chaun district, at Cape Schmidt, as well as an airlift to Anadyr. Bilibino is operated from Magadan by medium-range AN-24 helicopters.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is 11876 km from Moscow, you can fly only by plane. Flights from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Novosibirsk, Magadan, Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Irkutsk, as well as from the United States and China.
You can get to the capital of the Magadan region by plane, by car and by water transport. There is no railroad to Magadan. The most convenient way is by plane, there are regular flights from Moscow, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Krasnodar. You can also get there by car, but it is long and risky because the weather can make the trip impassable.
The flight from Moscow to Khabarovsk takes seven to eight hours. One can also go from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok, Blagoveshchensk, Moscow, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, and trains from Penza, Novokuznetsk, Sovetskaya Gavan and other cities go through Khabarovsk. Federal highways “Amur” and “Ussuri” and regional R454 pass through Khabarovsk. But the distance from Moscow is 8300 kilometers and the trip will not be easy.
The easiest way to Vladivostok is by plane, but it will still take nine hours. Flights will be a variety not only from Moscow. The airport is 38 kilometers from the city, and you can get to Vladivostok by bus, cab or train. It takes six days to get from Moscow to Vladivostok by fast train. You can also go by road, but it is 10,000 km and ten days of travel, and it is desirable to go in a group of cars.
The most convenient direct flight to Sakhalin is from Moscow or St. Petersburg. There are also four passenger airports on Sakhalin, from which there are regular flights: (from Moscow – 131 hour journey), then in Khabarovsk change to a train to Vanino station (about 1 day), from Vanino by ferry to Sakhalin. There is a variant to Vanino by motor transport – from Moscow to Khabarovsk, then 509 km through Lidoga to Vanino. You can take a ferry to Vanino with your car.
In Chukotka, good roads only in the towns of Anadyr and Egvikinot. There are roads in the towns of Blibino and Pevek. Between settlements, the roads are only unpaved, mostly winter roads. In summer not on cross-country vehicles it is possible to go on good dirt roads in small areas between cities and villages – satellites – for 20-40 kilometers. Other local communication is by helicopters from three local airports.
On Kamchatka Peninsula there are no railroads, automobile roads are quite few, but they are quite good. The main route of Kamchatka runs from north to south from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Ust-Kamchatsky. Several roads branch off the highway, connecting its cities and towns of the peninsula. Most attractions are not far from the Kamchatka capital, so there are no problems with roads.
The road network in the Magadan region is underdeveloped. The federal highway “Kolyma” runs through the region – it connects Yakutia and Magadan, a total length of 2000 kilometers, of which 1200 kilometers falls on Yakutia, and 834 kilometers is in the Magadan region.
In Khabarovsk Krai, the road network is concentrated mainly in the south. There are over 6,000 km of roads, 97% of which are paved. In addition to the federal highways “Ussuri” and “Amur”, there is a developed network of regional roads. The length of railroads, including sections of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Mainline, is more than 2,000 km. Vanino – Kholmsk ferry operates between the coast of the region and Sakhalin. The largest airport is Khabarovsk. There are also airports in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, Okhotsk and Sovetskaya Gavan.
On Sakhalin, the only intra-island air communication is between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Okhoi. Almost all major towns on Sakhalin are connected by road and by bus. Rail services are available on a small section of the western coast of the island and on most of the eastern coast. Ships leave the island for the Kuril Islands and Japan.
In Primorsky Krai, all cities and towns are connected with Vladivostok by good roads. Passenger boats and ferries leave from the sea station in Vladivostok at any time of year to the islands of Primorsky Krai and coastal settlements. There are domestic flights on the routes: Vladivostok – Plastun, Vladivostok – Kavalerovo, Kavalerovo – Plastun, and also back. Also, two or three times a week helicopters MI-8 fly from Terney settlement to the most distant districts of the region.
Types of recreation on the Pacific coast
Beach recreation in these areas is widespread, starting in June. Just by this time the water gets warm enough to reach an acceptable temperature. Locals call the beaches bays. Very common recreation of savages with tents. And for lovers of privacy there are hard-to-reach bays, where the average man won’t go. They are located near Vladivostok, behind the pioneer camp “Ocean”.
If you are more interested in a civilized holiday with all the comforts, then you will have plenty to choose from. Along the coast there are a lot of tourist bases. You should book rooms in advance. In order not to waste time looking for it, create a tender HERE. Use BOTH to create a tender tour
One of the best beaches near Vladivostok that can be reached by public transportation is Shamora. Its length is three kilometers and it has different depths, which is convenient for both family recreation and for fans of swimming.
Although the water rarely gets warmer than 23 degrees, one of the favorite activities of this area is diving. Primorye is considered one of the best places in Russia for diving.
Another type of recreation is surfing. Although the local waves are not so high, but this is where many beginners come to practice their skills. Especially desperate challenge even the winter sea.
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Top 11 best places to vacation by the ocean
Those who have been near the ocean say that its energy is different from the sea. It’s hard to explain in words what the difference really is. But when you’re near the ocean, you can feel the power and the incredible, breathtaking expanse with your whole soul. There are bigger waves and stronger winds. And then there’s that amazing sound! If the sea – rustles and waves, then the ocean – hums. It’s like it breathes with power. On the ocean, you want to be free, to create, to love and enjoy life. You can experience all this in dozens of countries around the world. I offer you a list of the most atmospheric ones.
The Island of Bali, Indonesia.
An amazing place for lovers of exotics and outdoor activities! Dizzying views, rainforests, lush waterfalls, and even volcanoes – that’s all Bali, the most famous resort in Indonesia. Tourists here almost more than the methinks residents. Bali is washed by the Indian Ocean on the south, and the inter-island sea of the Pacific Ocean on the north. The island is incredibly popular with surfers around the world, as it has great waves!
You can find everything for everybody on Bali: quiet, picturesque beaches for sunbathers and great surf spots, quiet authentic villages and bustling entertainment venues, wraparound pools and dive centers, vegan restaurants and steakhouses. By the way, there’s even a place where you can swim with dolphins.
It is said that if you come to Bali once you will either fall in love with the island for life or never come back.
Cape Town, South Africa
Located on a peninsula that separates the cold Atlantic Ocean from the warm Indian Ocean, Cape Town is a strip of about 20 beaches. Clifton’s beaches are famous for offering colorful sunsets and high mountain ranges. Further north are places for surfers. On the east coast of Falls Bay, where the water is warmer, you can find great spots for a relaxing beach vacation.
Goa is the most cultured and most suitable resort for European tourists in India. The coastline of Goa offers 40 wonderful tropical beaches, a total length of 110 km. The resort is conventionally divided into Southern part (elite and rather expensive) and Northern part – affordable and “breakaway”.
Canary Islands, Spain
The Canary Islands include such popular resorts as Tenerife and Gomera. The coastlines are washed by the Atlantic Ocean. Tourists come here for tranquility and strange, even otherworldly landscapes. Here you can enjoy a healing retreat away from civilization, swim on a beach with black volcanic sand.
Another resort on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a long strip of comfortable sandy beaches, about 150 km long, from east to west of Portugal! The west is famous for its sharp rocky scenery, while the eastern part is quite gentle.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The ancestor city of the Brazilian Carnival and the “Girls of Ipanema”. Also notable for its 40 kilometers of beaches! On Copacabana beach you can find bronzed cariocas in revealing swimsuits and, of course, surfers. Rio is also the fashionable district of Ipanema, which is surrounded by the rocky peaks of the Doyce Irmans. It’s an amazing place!
In the 19th century, Hawaii was considered a secluded resort for the selebrities. Now more and more tourists from all over the world fly to Honolulu to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the place. Here the pristine beaches dissolve in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, and there are also surf spots with big waves. Honolulu is located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, and has a volcanic nature. Here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the crater of the volcano Diamond Head.
Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is separated from Miami by Biscayne Bay and is an island with a 14 kilometers long line of Atlantic sand beaches. South Beach, the center of this oceanfront paradise, is a trendy hangout.
Santa Monica, California
Ocean breezes and progressive partying reign supreme on the sandy shoreline. Santa Monica is a magnet for the denizens of Hollywood. In the 1920s, tycoons and stars “hung out” here at the Casa Del Mar Club, today celebrities hide from the paparazzi behind sunglasses and the shutters of chic beach hotels. Besides swimming in the ocean, tourists can play volleyball, watch sea lions, and just go rollerblading along the waterfront.
Sydney is framed by a dozen beaches, but the world-famous Bondi Beach with its golden sand is considered a symbol of the carefree Australian way of life. Australia has stunningly beautiful beaches with high waves, which is why the country is considered a surfing mecca. Show me an Australian who doesn’t know how to surf?
From family friendly beaches to secluded nudist areas, this gritty Canadian metropolis boasts 10 beaches for a variety of enjoyment. From here, you can enjoy gorgeous views of Vancouver’s urban jungle and the peaks of the North Shore Mountains. For the outdoors, Kitsilano, which is a 6-minute drive from downtown, is the place to be. There’s a free tennis court and basketball court.
Wherever you go, the ocean is beautiful everywhere! If you’re inspired by one of these places, you can plan your vacation in advance and look for low-cost charter flights on Clickavia.