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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 beach getaways 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. The beach has continually been ranked as one of the best beaches in Greece by travel blogs, travelers, and sites like CNN and Trip Advisor. 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 a paradise getaway for those looking to enjoy Greece’s vibrant blue waters. The beach is best if you visit in the late afternoon, around 4 pm. Be sure to stay for a sunset that will stay in your memory for ages, too.
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. According to TripAdvisor, Tikehau is one of the best beaches you could spend your days in. 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. The beach is one of the best beaches to disconnect from the world. 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. According to Conde Nast Traveler, the beach was ranked one of the best in the world in 2017. 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 beach was ranked one of the best beaches in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor and 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. Be sure to plan your trip between December and April to enjoy the best of the beach’s bars, restaurants, and fun.
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. The beach is consistently ranked as a favorite by visitors on TripAdvisor. 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. Playa Biesanz is ranked one of the top beaches by visitors and is easily one of the best beaches for snorkeling. 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. Anse Lazio was ranked one of the top 25 beaches in the world by Trip Advisor, coming in at number 15. 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. The beach was also named one of the top ten beaches in the world by Trip Advisor in 2017. Check out the snorkeling at this beach as well, to see some unique sea life, some of it only in the Galapagos. December to May in the Galapagos is the hottest time of year, so be sure to plan your trip from June to November to avoid the extreme heat.
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 a favorite spot to pick out the prettiest sea shells, go for a swim, enjoy a nice picnic, or explore the lighthouse. The beach was ranked a top beach in the US by CNN in 2018. 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. Be sure to plan your trip to Lighthouse Beach in the fall or early winter.
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. Conde Nast Traveler ranked this spot one of the best 20 beaches in the world in 2017, and it’s easy to see why. 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. Waianapanapa State Park is also a great spot for a sunset or a sunrise, featuring glowing skies above the perfect blue waves. While in the park, don’t miss out on the hiking trails. Top trails include the King’s Highway and Kipapa O Kihapiilani Trail.