Bodrum is perfectly situated for 1-day trips to Ephesus (usually Wed and Sat), Pamukkale (Mon and Fri), Dalyan/Kaunos (Thurs and Sun) and Miletus/Priene/Didyma (daily). The trips are scheduled to coincide with local market days in the respective destinations. All are easily arranged through local travel agents for around $50 per person each (private tours are more).
If beachgoing is the main event, a tour of the Bodrum Peninsula will offer a glimpse of fantastic bays and (as of yet) authentic seaside villages. On the northern end of the peninsula and only 8km (5 miles) from Bodrum is the stunning bay Torba, where fishermen haul in their nets and you can stroll along the beach to the remains of an old Byzantine monastery. It's home to both sand and pebble beaches, and a solid handful of tony boutique resorts shaded by olive trees. The wooden decks jut out over the bay at Kala Beach (at the Torbahan Hotel, Sahil Yolu 191, tel. 0252/367-1073).
The simple hillside village and serene bay of Göltürkbükü, long a favored hideaway of Turkey's jet set, has, to date, made room for a steady stream of travelers onto this little "secret" destination. Lining the bay is a parade of exclusive, 10TL cup-of-coffee beach clubs that offer luxurious cushioned wooden piers draped in sailcloth, fitness areas, grassy lounge areas and free Wi-Fi. A day pass costs 50TL on weekdays, and the pass is then used to purchase food and drinks. Beware, though, a bottle of water goes for 5TL to 7TL, and alcoholic drinks can seriously break the bank. Still, for 50TL, a leisurely day hob-nobbing with the oiled and entitled is one of Bodrum's more guiltless pleasures.
For now, the favorite sunspots are at Ada Beach (tel. 0252/377-5266), Maki Hotel and Beach (tel. 0252/377-6105), Maça Kizi Beach (tel. 0252/377-6272), Bianca Beach Club (tel. 0252/357-7474), and Havana Beach Club (tel. 0252/357-8250), all located in Göltürkbükü.
Over in Yalikavak just outside of the town center you'll find equally pristine coves and beach clubs attracting the Proletariat not seduced by the glitter of Göltürkbükü. On the north side of the Yalikavak peninsula is Dodo Beach (tel] 0252/385-3838). A day pass costs 20TL (10TL for children), which goes towards the cost of food, drink or watersports. Yalilavak's other popular beach club is Xuma Beach (tel. 0252/385-4775), but like its counterparts over in Göltürkbükü, the entrance fee (55TL) is high. There's also a town beach (called the Belediye Halk Plaj) at the end of the market street in the center of Yalikavak, with lounges, umbrellas, and all the local charm you could ask for.
With a newish, state-of-the-art yacht marina that caters to those on the high end of the tax bracket, Turgutreis is meant to fill the gap for yachters traveling between Kusadasi and Bodrum. The sandy beach is less spectacular than others on the peninsula, but it's quiet, and a sheltered waterfront promenade lined with restaurants and souvenir shops makes for an easy and enjoyable day out.
If you want to avoid the jet-set scene altogether, empty your bottle of sunscreen over at the long stretch of tranquil beach at Ortakent the village -- as its name "middle city" suggests -- sits at the middle of the peninsula. A grassy lawn gives way to the sand and sea at Yahsi (pretty) Beach.
At the westernmost tip of the Bodrum Peninsula is the enchanting fishermen's cove of Gümüslük, site of the ancient city of Myndos, now partially visible just under the surface of the water. The village increases in charm in the evening, when area residents choose their favorite waterside fish restaurant (the best is Gusta; tel. 0252/394-4228) from the many lining the cove. Thanks to its archaeological value, Gümüslük has rejected the onslaught of "progress," and will hopefully remain as remote, charming, and scenic in the future as it is today (no building is permitted!). The remains of ancient harbor walls are scattered at the base of the headlands just to the north and west of the village; bring a snorkel to explore the site to which Brutus and Cassius escaped in 44 B.C. after having murdered Julius Caesar. Guarding the entrance to the cove and harboring its own set of ruins is Rabbit Island, connected to the mainland by way of a sunken ancient city wall that allows visitors to wade over from the town center. There's also an inviting beach at the far end of the village.
Other great beach destinations are Akyarlar, the choice of advanced windsurfers due to the strong winds; and scenic Bitez Bay, full of windsurfing traffic and a long sandy beach.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.