Whether you’re planning a surf trip, weekend getaway, or crossing something off your bucket list, a beach vacation is always a good idea for one’s soul. From the gulf coast of Florida to the west bank of Myanmar, mother nature’s beaches are truly inspiring.
With the right weather conditions, scenery, and people, all of your troubles seem to disappear when your toes are buried in sand and a sea breeze is tossing your hair. To inspire your next big adventure, here are some of the most beautiful beaches from around the world.
Maya Bay On Koh Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
There’s a reason the 2000 drama The Beach was filmed on Koh Phi Phi’s infamous Maya Bay in Thailand. The beach is tucked away in a cove of moss-covered rocks on one of Thailand’s tiny southern islands, a hot tourist destination for anyone in search of warm, clear waters and white sand.
This area is also known for its diving, scuba, and snorkeling, due to the abundance of sea creatures that call the bay their home. The only issue with this beach is once you’re there, you might not want to leave! It is the textbook definition of beauty.
Monterosso Al Mare, Italy
If you’re in Italy and don’t care for pebble beaches, then be sure to visit Monterosso Al Mare. It is the only sandy beach in the Cinque Terre chain of towns. This beach is popular due to its location. Tucked in a tiny cove, the beach rarely gets wind, making for an enjoyable experience.
Add on the mountainous landscape behind the beach, the quaint town, and the azure water, and you have one of the more beautiful landscapes in the country. You’re not going to want to miss a chance to sunbathe on this Italian Riviera beach!
Walvis Bay, Namibia
You’re going to have to visit Walvis Bay, Namibia, to believe this beach. The ocean tide comes right up to the shores of the Namibia desert, making it one of the more incredible sites on Earth. This beach is also home to ‘Dune 7,’ a sand dune that was dubbed the tallest in the world by the Namibia Ministry of Environment and Tourism due to its 1,256-foot tall stature.
The Skeleton Coast is one of the more Instagram-worthy beach spots, and not just because of the desert-ocean combination. The area is also teeming with wildlife. Here, you’ll find flamingos, whales, and, if you’re lucky, black Rhinoceros’!
Navagio Beach, Greece
On the coast of Zakynthos, Greece, there is an exposed cove known as Navagio Beach. The cape is a popular destination due to its tiny beach of white sand, beautiful turquoise waters, the surrounding cliffs, and, of course, the big rusted ship that’s been on the beach since 1980.
The story goes that a freight liner, the MV Panagiotis, was attempting to smuggle illegal contraband from Greece to Turkey. On the way, they hit bad weather, and in an attempt to flee the law, left the ship stranded on Navagio Beach. It’s been there ever since. The beach is aptly nicknamed both Shipwreck Beach and Smuggler’s Cove.
Zlatni Rat Beach, Croatia
Nicknamed the Golden Horn or Golden Cape because of its unusual shape, Zlatni Rat Beach in Croatia is located on the coast of Brac Island. The exact form of the spit of land changes with the tide, but if you’re lucky enough to find yourself here, you won’t be disappointed. The beach consists mainly of pebbles, with the aqua blue Adriatic sea washing upon its shores.
Recently, the beach has become popular with windsurfers due to the westerly wind known as a Maestral. Zlatni Rat Beach has been listed numerous times as one of the top beaches to visit in Europe.
The Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
The Baths on Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean have many wonders that need to be explored. Granite has eroded to form natural arches, tunnels, and tide pools that are fun to explore, especially for those who enjoy tiny ecosystems. There are also underwater caves that are hot snorkeling destinations for anyone who isn’t afraid of cramped spaces.
Once you tire of exploring the surrounding area, the white sandy beach is the perfect location to soak up some sunlight. The calm water is also the ideal spot to float and not worry about a thing.
Grace Bay, Turks And Caicos
Grace Bay is said to be that “hallmark of the Turks & Caicos Islands,” and it’s not hard to see why. The beach is second to none, being named the world’s most gorgeous beach by TripAdvisor in 2018. Not much has changed since then.
The beach stretches for about three miles, and a beautiful barrier reef about a mile out in the clear blue water is to thank for the calm ocean. Its lack of waves makes the area perfect for water sports, such as paddle boarding, jet skiing, and sailing. This is one beach that is definitely worth a visit.
Siesta Key Beach, Florida
Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida, is one of those beaches that will have you enduring a lousy sunburn because you can’t make yourself leave the soft flour sand and azure water. Unlike most beaches, Siesta’s sand is made up of 99 percent quartz, meaning it never gets hot, and beach-goers don’t have to worry about burning their feet running to the water.
The best part about this beach is the sandbars that build-up in the calm, crystal waters. It’s the perfect place to look for seashells and go diving for sand dollars. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see dolphins in the surf!
Reynisfjara’s Black Sand Beach, Iceland
When the phrase ‘beach vacation’ comes up in conversation, Iceland is most likely the last place on anyone’s mind. But it shouldn’t be! The black sand beach in Reynisfjara, Iceland, is considered to be world-famous, with it’s roaring waves and dramatic basalt stacks that jut out of the ocean, making the area a pure form of ‘wild’.
The sand is black due to volcanic rock eroding down over long periods of time. This beach, in particular, is made up of something called volcanic basalt. Reynisfjara is a non-tropical beach that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
The beaches of Tulum, Mexico, are unlike any others found in the country. That’s because the town is a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city, meaning ruins are overlooking the crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea. The ruins are located on a 39-foot tall cliff on the Yucatan Peninsula, giving a scenic view of the surrounding beach.
But enough about ancient ruins. With white powder sand, slight breezes coming off the water, and glassy water, it’s safe to say it’s a little slice of paradise.
Whitsundays, an island off Queensland, Australia, is a popular tourist location for those adventurous souls who wish to dive the Great Barrier Reef. The chain is also a top-rated yachting destination. With the painting-like quality of the white sand, aquamarine water, vegetation, and hilly landscape, it’s not hard to see why people flock to the area.
Lindsay Berish, an experienced backpacker, says, “Whitsunday in Australia is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever stepped foot on.” This beach is the perfect getaway for those who love sailing, camping or are just in need of some overall tranquility in their life.
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
El Nido is located on the Filipino island of Palawan. The entire city is known for its many white-sand beaches and clear blue lagoon waters. It’s the perfect place to sit back, relax, and sip on one of the famous Filipino fresh-fruit smoothies (we recommend mango) or a fresh coconut.
Some of the more famous beaches are Corong Corong, Marimegmeg, Duil, and Star beach. Each has its secrets, but they all have something in common. They’re all excellent places for diving and the perfect setting for a world-class sunset over the water.
El Cabo San Juan De La Guia Beach, Colombia
Cabo San Juan de la Guia in Colombia is the perfect beach for the outdoorsy type. Aside from the breathtaking cape, the area has spectacular camping, hammocks swaying between palm trees in the shade, and a lookout on a rock at the end of the beach to give a panoramic view of the area.
There is also thick vegetation on the outskirts of the beach, giving the ocean a beautiful green-blue reflection. The perfect combination for people who love to swim and snorkel. Oh, did we mention that getting to this picturesque cape requires a two-hour jungle hike? Get ready to see some monkeys!
Koh Racha Yai, Thailand
Koh Racha Yai is one of Thailand’s worst kept secrets. Why, you might ask? To get to the gorgeous island and its beaches, you have to take a 20-25 minute speedboat. It’s worth the trip, though. Koh Racha Yai is home to one of the most incredible coral reefs in Thailand.
Tac on the bluest waters that are streaming with various wildlife, and you have some of the best diving out there. Koh Racha Yai’s inhabited island is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, one that you’re going to want to visit in your lifetime.
Durdle Door, Dorset, England
While the beach is still magnificent and one of the best in England, people tend to travel to the Durdle Door beach to see the natural limestone archway, caves, and cliffs that surround the sandy beach. Not necessarily to have a relaxing beach day!
The arch was created about 10,000 years ago when the ocean waves finally pierced through the Portland limestone after years of erosion. In 2001, Durdle Door was named one of the natural wonders of the world by the UNESCO, alongside the Great Barrier Reef.
Anse Source D’Argent, Seychelles
Anse Source d’Argent in Seychelles is known for being one of the most photographed beaches in the entire world. It’s not hard to see why. The white sand beach is jeweled with granite boulders, tranquil crystal clear waters, and is surrounded by coconut palm trees. To get to the beach is another adventure altogether.
Beachgoers have to hike through the old L ‘Union Estate coconut plantation to gain access to the water. Pro tip: it does cost money to go through the plantation, and once you pay, be sure to keep your pass on you. This is one of those times where the cost is totally worth the reward!
Cala Goloritzè, Sardinia, Italy
Cala Goloritzè is a beach that is a bit off the beaten path. If you’re willing to take a nice hike, the beach awaits you after about an hour and a half. Otherwise, the only way to get to the pebble and sand beach is to rent a boat.
The beach was created in 1962 after a landslide took out parts of the surrounding cliffs, one of the main attractions of the cove. Rock climbers tend to flock to the area because of the peak that stretches 143 meters about the beach. It also makes for some good entertainment while soaking up the sun and floating in the water!
Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
Ngapali Beach in Myanmar is considered to be the most famous seaside resort in the country. However, don’t let that fool you. The beach is surprisingly quiet and peaceful for a place that is said to be so well known.
Since the beach is located on the west side of the country, Ngapali is the perfect place to sit back and marvel at a beautiful sunset. This beach is definitely one to go to for a relaxing vacation away from all responsibilities that don’t include sipping on adult beverages, sunbathing, or swimming in the warm ocean.
Bells Beach, Australia
If you’re a surfer, then you’re going to want to put Australia’s Bells Beach on your list of beaches to visit. Bells is home to the Rip Curl Pro, the longest-running professional surf competition in the world. Even if you’re not one with Mother Ocean, it is a great place to watch local surfers and, if you’re lucky, some pros in action.
As a lot of the beach is cliff-face, you’re not going to want to miss out on the scenic views from the top car park. Cruise up, park, and sit on the hood of your car with some friends to watch the sunset over the surfers.
Kuta, Lombok, Indonesia
Lombok is an island off the coast of Bali, Indonesia. The island is known for its many beaches, one being Kuta, located on the southern coast. Kuta spans about seven and a half kilometers and is flanked by mountain ranges. It’s pretty much an upgrade from Bali’s beach of the same name.
Here, the sand is whiter, the beach is cleaner, and the water is so clear you can see the reef from the land. It is the perfect spot for water activities such as snorkeling or surfing. Or, if you feel like lounging, grab a coconut from a local vendor and enjoy the scenery!