Sure, St. Tropez has a certain draw — if you're into the jet-set lifestyle and the odd chance you'll bump into a celebrity while shopping or dining at this glitzy seaside resort in the South of France.
I'll take it for the sunshine and chances to frolic on the beaches and in the blue waters. You can keep all that high-end fancy stuff to yourself, thank you very much.
On my recent arrival to St. Tropez, on Regent's Seven Seas Explorer, I came ashore, slipped past the crowds in the restaurants and stores and made my way to a hidden gem: the Sentier du Littoral.
This spectacular coastal path winds about 20 miles from just outside the harbor in St. Tropez to a beach at Cavalaire-sur-Mer. You just need to go a few miles along the path to experience a range of outdoor activities to fill your day. The route is well-marked. You pick it up at the edge of the commercial streets and alleys as you work your way toward the left of the busy spaces filled with tourists shopping and dining along the water.
If you get an early start, you can do all of this during your day on St. Tropez's Sentier du Littoral.
Hike or run like a boss
Take the path for about two or three miles on an out-and-back journey. It follows the winding peninsula coastline, and you are treated to numerous views of the Mediterranean waters along the way. The hike is not strenuous but can be technical as you scramble over rocky outcroppings. The path passes through a fascinating cemetery on the sea and also past gorgeous hillside homes and stretches of bamboo thickets and forested areas.
Dip into secret swimming holes
Getting a little hot on your hike? You'll notice a few spots that you can get down to the water and slide right in for a little cooling off period in the crystal-clear water. It's nice to know you've found a special secluded place just around the corner from the busier beaches and hectic streets. You might catch local children swimming, snorkeling or fishing along the way, too.
Check the beach scene
You'll pass several beaches, complete with loungers, beach bars and restaurants. Go for a swim here, too, and maybe grab a cold drink. Prices are outrageous, though. We splurged and spent 14 euros each for a strong mojito. Hey, I like to stick to my traditions of trying a recommended drink at a destination I visit. So, I sucked it up and plopped down my moolah for the refreshing cocktail. Pricy mojitos seem a little colder and more refreshing just after a sweaty hike under a blazing sun — and they taste better when the scenery includes beautiful blue waters and topless French women.
Paddle or kayak
The closest beach to the harbor as you make your way to join the coastal path features outfitters who will rent you a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Jump in before your hike or cap your day of active adventures with an hour or two exploring the bay by paddle power.
Savor crepes, mussels or paella
OK, now that you've expended so much energy on the trails and splashing around in the waters under a hot sun that you have to refuel. Venture back to town and follow your nose. Dozens of spectacular eateries fill the streets or line the waterfront. What could be better than to sample the savory or sweet creations at a quaint crepery or diving into a pile of plump mussels or trying authentic paella (a rice and seafood dish) while you're visiting the South of France?
This article originally appeared on TravelPulse and is republished with the author's permission.