It’s no secret - we’re obsessed with being on the beach. That also means we’ve traveled far and wide to find the best beaches around the world. In short: We. Know. Beaches.
The beach is vacation. Rolling waves. Soft sands. Cool, clear waters that wash away the everyday. Strap on a face mask and wonder at colorful reef fish illuminated by tropical sunshine. While away the hours stretched out under a shady umbrella with your favorite book or magazine. Pick up an ocean activity or three, because it’s time to play.
But any stretch of oceanfront won’t do. If you’re ready to make your escape to your dream beach vacation, we’ve got your ultimate list — 14 of the World's Best Beaches:
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
There is simply no beach like Waikiki Beach. It may be known as a surfer’s paradise, but Waikiki Beach has something for everyone. Take part in traditional Hawaiian vow renewals on the beach in the morning, then swim, learn to surf or sail in the afternoon. Scope out sea turtles from your lanai, play games on the soft sand or hit the streets for some serious shopping. It’s all just steps away.
Once a place of rejuvenation for Hawaiian royalty, play flourishes here now. Napping under a beach umbrella can be a wonderful way to spend a day, but Waikiki Beach is all about getting out in the water. So jump in the rolling waves, paddle out on a surfboard or hop on that Outrigger canoe and become one with the energy and life of Waikiki Beach.
Kaanapali Beach, Maui
3 miles of white sand, clear water and wow. Everyone has plenty of space to do their thing at Kaanapali Beach. Paddle boarders and snorkelers float past turtles in crystal clear water. Catamarans zip along the horizon watching for whales. Explorers take a few steps off the sand to find food and fun at the lively Whalers Village open-air shopping center. And nearly every day ends in the same unforgettable way—with the sun setting over the top of neighbor island Lanai in a glorious symphony of color. What a finale.
Castaway Island Beach, Fiji
More than a beach, it’s a whole private island. The experience of unwinding on a pristine private island is one you’ll talk about for a long, long time. The only challenge you’ll encounter once you arrive is deciding between exploring the vibrant coral reef on a glass bottom boat, parasailing above the azure South Pacific, jet skiing across the crystal clear waters, or just lounging with a cocktail while the kids have their own beach club fun. In the water or out of it, your Castaway Island adventure will deliver a lifetime of memories.
Tumon Bay, Guam
Tumon Bay offers beachgoers the kind of beach that both families and couples love. Relax for the day on exquisitely soft white sands, swim and snorkel in calm, warm brilliant aqua waters or take a stroll down the beach with a side-stop at one of the local restaurants or boutique shops that line the bay. And then at day’s end, find yourself beachside once more as yet another breathtaking sunset colors the sea and sky.
Fall in love with the sunny south side. The white sands of Poipu Beach are warmed with perfect weather nearly all year round. Snorkelers and families with small kids can dip into the shallow bay sheltered from waves by lava rock. Easy waves create a dream day for boogie boarders and swimmers, while endangered Hawaiian monk seals often nap and sunbathe nearby. And if doing a lot of nothing all day sounds good, there’s no better place to stretch out your towel and soak in the sun and the view.
Bel Ombre Beach, Mauritius
Sun, sea and sand—perfected. Bel Ombre Beach is why people come to Mauritius. Here you can check out from your everyday routine and escape to miles and miles of golden sand met by hypnotic waters that range from shades of turquoise blue to emerald green. Blue skies are a backdrop to kite and windsurfers—a popular spot due to proximity to open waters and a protective coral reef. And small crowds on the beach means there’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy a quiet day of postcard-perfect beach tranquility.
Napili Beach, Maui
It’s hard to stop staring at the spectacular views of Moloka‘i across the channel, but when you can, enjoy world-class snorkeling as only Maui can deliver.
The Coral Coast, Fiji
A slice of scenic paradise. Brilliant white sand beaches, thatched umbrellas and quiet bays dot the southern shores of Viti Levu. Just off the shoreline, a large coral reef invites snorkelers and divers to come have the underwater adventure of a lifetime. Past the reef, the South Pacific drops off to a dramatic deep blue that’s framed by lush vegetation on either side. No wonder this stretch of beach is where so many choose to say “I do.”
Kapalua Bay, Maui
Get some serious facetime with sea turtles. Spend time on this western Maui beach and we think you’ll see why Kapalua Beach is ranked as the best beach in America. [source: Dr. Beach, 2018 rankings]
The soft sandy beach slopes into the crescent-shaped bay, inviting beachgoers into the sea to splash, swim, surf or snorkel. An eccentric mix of ocean breakers roll in, sometimes gentle lap-at-your-ankles waves but other times, wild enough to give the boogie-boarders some awesome action. Chill out for a day of fun and sea turtle spotting next to the local beachgoers who know a good thing when they have it.
Anaeho‘omalu Bay (A-bay), Big Island of Hawai‘i
Tranquil days and picture perfect sunsets. Dotted by a grove of coconut trees that somehow always cast the perfect amount of shade, Anaehoomalu Bay (often called A-Bay) is home to snorkeling, canoe trips, glass bottom boat rides and truly breathtaking sunsets. Find a spot under the palms and stay all day. When the gentle breeze kicks up, A-Bay is known for some of the best kite surfing on the Big Island.
Bangtao Beach, Thailand
Get a daily dose of total serenity. Over 4 miles of soft, luxurious beach stretch wide open to the waves that roll under the surfboards, catamarans, kayaks and paddleboards at home in the warm waters. Even the adventurous go-getters out windsurfing look fully relaxed as they’re lifted into the air by the island breezes. The beach is west facing, which makes it perfect for finding a spot on the sand to settle in and enjoy the spectacular sunsets you’ll remember forever.
Lae Nani Beach, Kauai
Head to the north end of Wailua Bay and you'll find yourself on a small strip of beach locals call Lae Nani Beach. This palm-fringed gem has a unique ocean pool with a natural stone breakwater, ideal for small children. It's a popular spot for turtle watching and surfing, as well.
Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll Beaches, Maldives
The ultimate spot to get away from reality. If you find yourself standing on this beautiful stretch of beach, you’ll know, without a doubt, that you are one of the world’s luckiest travelers. No matter what time of year your towel hits the sand, you’ll be met by plenty of sunshine and warm waters. The stunning beauty of this luxury beach can only be matched by the amazing view underwater. Snorkelers on this coral island getaway may spot hawksbill sea turtles, tuna, sharks and parrotfish. Ready, set, exhale and enjoy.
Hanuman Bay, Thailand
On Thailand’s second-largest island of Koh Samui you’ll find one of the most romantic beaches on Earth, an unforgettable place of renewal. The perfect place for a beachside couple’s massage.
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