Soft sand, the sound of gentle waves, a refreshing swim, and all the colors of the ocean. There is truly nothing better or more relaxing than a beach vacation. Whether the waves rise up far above your head or are so calm you could fall asleep in them, or whether the sand is soft and white or black and rocky, a picturesque beach is calling your name. To help you plan your beach trip, or just daydream about the prettiest beaches, we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches around the world.
1. Navagio Beach, Greece
This small but breathtaking beach can be reached only by boat, on the island of Zakynthos, off of the coast of Greece. Navagio Beach is characterized by the ship left in the middle of the yellow sand beach. The ship is said to have been abandoned after stormy weather and bad visibility left the ship stranded on the shore. Now, the beach, enveloped by a semi-circle of limestone cliffs, is paradise getaway for those looking to enjoy Greece’s vibrant blue waters.
2. Tikehau Island, French Polynesia
This is the definition of paradise. Tikehau is an atoll in French Polynesia, made up of tiny islets and beaches for you to escape from the rest of the world. The clear, calm waters of French Polynesia make Tikehau a perfect place for scuba diving or snorkeling. Most of the residents of Tikehau live on the southern side, leaving parts of the area virtually untouched. Check out the pink sand beaches, aviaries, or secluded beaches for a true off the grid experience.
3. Bathsheba Beach, Barbados
Head to a Caribbean beach that looks more like something off of a postcard. Bathsheba, on the northern side of the island, is known for its rocky beach and rough waters. Surfers from around the world flock to Bathsheba to ride the waves that are often only suitable for experienced surfers. Not experienced enough? Not to worry. Bathsheba beach is an ideal getaway to just relax and take a break from the rest of the world. The town itself is a small fishing village, home to a botanical garden, community center, and plenty of outdoor adventures.
4. La Chiva Beach, Puerto Rico
La Playa is calling you. La Chiva Beach, in Vieques, Puerto Rico, is home to the softest white sand and clearest ocean water you’ve seen. The clear water means snorkeling here gives you views of the most colorful fish and ocean life all in their natural habitat. Farther out, the water becomes a deeper, more vibrant blue, giving the beach the nickname “Blue Beach.” If you need a break from the beach, check out the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge nearby.
5. Cadlao Island, Philippines
El Nido, the best place for island hopping in the Philippines, is home to various beautiful beaches around the Bacuit Archipelago, including Cadlao Island. Cadlao’s clear, calm waters make it the best place to swim or snorkel, or just relax in the sand. Explore the coral gardens of Cadlao lagoon, a shallow swimming area excellent for snorkeling, or kayak to and from El Nido’s main beaches for some more challenging water adventures.
6. Playa Biesanz, Costa Rica
A hidden beach right at the end of a hike through a national park? Yes, please. Yes, you do need to hike to Playa Biesanz, but the tranquil vibes of this quiet rainforest beach make the trek absolutely worth it. The bright blue waters and white sand make it a great spot for walks or water sports. The walk to the beach through Manuel Antonio National Park is equally as thrilling, filled with monkeys, reptiles, and insects you won’t find at home.
7. Anse Lazio, Seychelles
This picture perfect beach in Praslin, Seychelles is so beautiful, it looks like something straight out of your dreams. The beach offers good snorkeling in the clear, blue waters by the rocky points at the ends of the beach, while the rest of this lush paradise offers excellent rest and relaxation along the palm tree-lined shore. The beach can get crowded at times, but if you stay for the sunset, you’ll be more likely to find the beach close to empty.
8. Galapagos Beach, Tortuga Bay, Ecuador
Make some new friends at Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay. The Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador, are known for the large animal populations you’ll find, including the Galapagos Tortoise, Galapagos Pink Land Iguana, Galapagos Penguin, and Blue-Footed Booby, a bird with blue feet. The beach at Tortuga Bay is ideal for surf lessons or relaxing amongst the iguanas that call the white sand beach their home. Check out the snorkeling at this beach as well, to see some unique sea life, some of it only in the Galapagos.
9. Lighthouse Beach Park, Florida
The Sunshine State’s beaches are truly a sunny gem of the United States and Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida is no exception. This cozy, family-friendly beach is the perfect spot to pick out your favorite sea shells, go for a swim, enjoy a nice picnic, or explore the lighthouse. The Sanibel Lighthouse was built in 1884 and still works today. The other main attraction of the beach is the pier, where fishers try their luck for the catch of the day, and others catch the beautiful views out over the water when the sun goes down.
10. Waianapanapa Beach, Hawaii
A black sand beach? Yes. Waianapanapa Beach, on Maui’s eastern shores, is actually made up of lava pebbles, giving it its signature jet black look. Waianapanapa’s classic clear blue waves are great for swimming, snorkeling, or surfing, or just hanging out on the black sand. Check out the rest of Waianapanapa State Park, while you’re there, and find the tide pools that occasionally turn red.