When you need a getaway, your mind likely wanders to an image of yourself sitting on a tropical beach somewhere exotic, like Fiji or Bora Bora, sipping a drink and gazing at the deep blue sea. This scenario doesn’t have to be just a fantasy, you can make it happen! And the best part? You don’t have to travel halfway round the world to find these natural beauties, some are right in our own backyard (Florida, anyone?). Here are some of the best beaches to book a vacation to right now.
1) Lanikai Beach – Hawaii
Lanikai Beach, on Oahu’s northeastern shore, has been named one of Hawaii’s best beaches by Hawaii Magazine. Due to the offshore coral reef, the water is super calm throughout the year, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling, as well as sailing and windsurfing.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
2) Siesta Beach – Florida
Located on Florida’s Siesta Key, near downtown Sarasota, this stunning strand regularly tops “best of” lists due to its soft white-quartz sand (which stays cool even when the temps soar). Siesta also has lifeguard stands and a shaded picnic area.
Where to Stay: Hotel Indigo Sarasota, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
3) Trunk Bay – U.S. Virgin Islands
Widely considered one of the best beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Trunk Bay is the pride of St. John, one of the top Caribbean islands, according to Travel & Leisure. Located in Virgin Islands National Park, this spectacular strand is known for its azure waters, soft white sands, and 225-yard-long underwater snorkeling trail – keep an eye out for parrotfish and sea turtles.
Where to Stay: Gallows Point Resort, Hotel Cruz Bay
4) Eagle Beach – Aruba
One of Aruba’s most breathtaking beaches, Eagle Beach is known for having wide beaches with sugar-soft white sand. When you feel like being active, you can go kayaking or try stand up paddle boarding. After your workout, take a refreshing dip.
Where to Stay: MVC Eagle Beach, Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino
5) Bora Bora – French Polynesia
The island of Bora Bora is famous for its jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches like Matira, which has calm azure waters and shallow lagoons. One of the best ways to experience the lagoons is to stay in a resort that offers fabulous over-the-water bungalows.
Where to Stay: Conrad Bora Bora Nui, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
6) Nassau – Bahamas
Nassau’s beaches are spectacular, but the real draw of this Bahamian island is the scuba diving, where visibility can reach up to 100 feet. Top spots for exploring include Trinity Cave and the Blue Hole, a deep natural hole with huge schools of fish.
Where to Stay: Atlantis Paradise Island, Sandals Royal Bahamian
7) Miami Beach – Florida
Get a tan during the day on Miami’s beaches, party at night, then sweat out your sins under the sun the next day. South Beach’s clubs attract world-renowned DJs, and the beaches are full of attractive people, making this a hub for nightlifers and beach-lovers.
Where to Stay: Beacon Hotel South Beach, The Betsy – South Beach
8) Mission Beach – California
For a family-friendly vacation consider San Diego’s Mission Beach. It has miles of lifeguard-patrolled beaches, and the waters are calm, so they’re perfect for beginner swimmers. On cloudy days, there are tons of other attractions nearby, such as the San Diego Zoo.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, La Valencia Hotel
9) Culebra – Puerto Rico
This tiny island, 17 miles off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, doesn’t have big resorts or fancy restaurants. However, there’s some amazing snorkeling on the beaches in Luis Peña Channel Natural Reserve. Keep an eye out for stingrays and sea turtles.
Where to Stay: Hillbay View Villas
10) Pinney’s Beach – Nevis
The little-known island of Nevis has been getting some attention lately as it was where founding father Alexander Hamilton was born, but those who’ve visited know that it also has gorgeous strands. The best beach is 4-mile-long Pinney’s, with just a sprinkling of businesses, including Sunshine’s beach bar.
Where to Stay: Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Montpelier Plantation
11) Sanibel Island – Florida
Sanibel Island is a low-key spot on Florida’s west coast that’s known for its beautiful shells. People come from all over to do the “Sanibel stoop,” which is what island dwellers call combing the beaches for one-of-a-kind nautical finds.
Where to Stay: West Wind Inn, Sundial Beach Resort and Spa
12) Puerto Vallarta – Mexico
This Mexican resort town appeals to everyone from couples to spring breakers. They all appreciate that Puerto Vallarta’s many bars and clubs are always busy. There are also plenty of water sports, including banana boat rides and parasailing.
Where to Stay: Garlands del Rio, Hacienda San Angel
13) Long Bay Beach – Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos is known for its world-class fishing. The waters surrounding the island chain are filled with blue marlins, making this a great year-round fishing spot. Long Bay can have rough surf at times, but this also makes it a great place for kiteboarding.
Where to Stay: Grace Bay Suites, The Oasis at Grace Bay
14) Hanalei Bay – Hawaii
Hawaii has some of the world’s best beaches, especially when it comes to surfing. In fact, some of the best surfers in the world are from Kauai, and Hanalei Bay has some of the best conditions – the surf is consistent, and there are waves for all levels.
Where to Stay: Kauai Shores Hotel, Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
15) Pensacola Beach – Florida
Choosing a beach in Florida may seem like a task, but Pensacola is one of the more affordable towns in the state, and award-winning Pensacola Beach is a quick 20-minute jaunt from the city center. There are also local hangouts to grab lunch nearby, too.
Where to Stay: SpringHill Suites Pensacola, Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach
16) Harrismith Beach – Barbados
This hidden gem of a beach on the island of Barbados is the perfect place for a secluded day of rest and relaxation. To get to it, you must descend a flight of stone steps that have been carved into a cliff overlooking the sea. Once you arrive, you’ll enjoy pure seclusion.
Where to Stay: The Atlantis Hotel, Cobblers Cove
17) Gulf Shores – Alabama
In addition to gorgeous white-sand beaches, Gulf Shores hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the Hangout Music Festival and an annual National Shrimp Festival, so there’s plenty to do apart from working on your tan.
Where to Stay: Perdido Beach Resort, San Carlos 401
18) Horseshoe Bay Beach – Bermuda
The island of Bermuda is famous for its pink-sand beaches, and one of the most spectacular is Horseshoe Bay, located on the south shore. Expect bathtub-warm turquoise water and pink-hued sand at this crescent-shaped beauty.
Where to Stay: Fairmont Southampton, Elbow Beach
19) Carmel Beach – California
Crescent-shaped Carmel Beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of California’s most beautiful beaches. Dogs are allowed off-leash, there’s beach volleyball, and there are even wood-burning fire pits where you can have cheese and wine as you settle in to watch the sunset.
Where to Stay: Quail Lodge & Golf Club, L’Auberge Carmel
20) Punalu’u Black Sand Beach – Hawaii
Located on the Big Island, Punalu’u is the most famous of Hawaii’s jet-hued strands. In addition to a long, wide stretch of black sand dotted with volcanic rocks, you can often see endangered green and hawksbill turtles sunning themselves.
Where to Stay: Hilton Waikoloa Village, The Fairmont Orchid
21) Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida
Located off the coast of Key West is Dry Tortugas National Park, a small island that’s home to miles of untouched beaches (the island is only accessible by boat or water plane). At this remote spot, you’ll find some of South Florida’s best snorkeling.
Where to Stay: The Gates Hotel Key West, The Marker Waterfront Resort
22) Copacabana Beach – Brazil
Rio de Janeiro has several popular beaches, including Ipanema Beach, but the most famous of all is Copacabana Beach. Catch some rays, play a few games of beach volleyball, check out the sand sculptures, and sip a chopp (draft beer) at one of the many beach bars.
Where to Stay: JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro, Belmond Copacabana Palace
23) Seminyak Beach – Indonesia
Seminyak is one of the top beaches on the island of Bali, named as one of U.S. News & World Report‘s best places to visit in 2018. More relaxed than Kuta, Seminyak has beach clubs like Hot Potato and Ku De Ta, where you can rent a chair, sip a few Bintang beers, swim in the Indian Ocean, and enjoy amazing sunsets.
Where to Stay: The Oberoi Bali, Luna2
24) Makena Beach – Hawaii
Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach, is just that – a wide (500 feet in some areas), mile-long stretch of golden sand, between two black lava outcroppings on Maui’s southwestern shore. Spend the day snorkeling, taking a stroll, or just catching some rays. Plus, there are no businesses to detract from the beach’s natural beauty, making it one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii.
Where to Stay: West Wind Inn, Sundial Beach Resort and Spa
25) Santa Monica Beach – California
Santa Monica Beach is one of Los Angeles County’s most beautiful strands, and its iconic pier is known throughout the state. In addition to an amusement park (a ride on the Ferris wheel is a must), you’ll also find an aquarium, a historic carousel, and snack stands.
Where to Stay: Wyndham Santa Monica at the Pier, Doubletree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica
26) Seven Mile Beach – Cayman Islands
Located on Grand Cayman’s western shore, Seven Mile Beach is one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated strands. It goes on forever (yes, it’s 7 miles), and, while you’ll find luxury resorts and seafood restaurants, there are also plenty of quiet stretches for peaceful strolls.
Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Resort Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
27) Railay Beach – Thailand
Thailand’s Krabi province has long been on beach lovers’ radars, especially Railay Beach. This photo-worthy strand, reached via long-tail boat from Ao Nang, is framed by stunning limestone cliffs, and it has many secret coves you can explore by kayak.
Where to Stay: Sea Sand Resort, Railay Beach Resort & Spa
28) Playa Juanillo – Dominican Republic
Located on the Dominican Republic’s east coast in the exclusive Cap Cana resort area is this tranquil beach, known for its white sand, towering palms, and shallow water. The beach isn’t built up, but there’s a small eatery, Little John, where you can lunch on mahi-mahi sandwiches and rum punches.
Where to Stay: Sanctuary Cap Cana
29) Es Cavallet Beach – Spain
Ibiza has plenty of beautiful beaches, including Es Cavallet Beach, a long, sandy stretch surrounded by sand dunes, where, on a clear day, you can see the neighboring island of Formentera. Keep in mind, that Es Cavallet is one of the island’s official nudist beaches!
Where to Stay: Sir Joan Hotel
30) Sand Harbor Beach – Nevada
Located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor is a super scenic beach within Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. This lake beach is known for its crystal-clear water (good for swimming) and unique rock formations. Nearby are picnic sites equipped with barbecues.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort
31) Cape Cod National Seashore – Massachusetts
Cape Cod has plenty of beautiful beaches. Two of the top ones are within the Cape Cod National Seashore, stretching 40 miles along the Atlantic, include Wellfleet’s Marconi Beach (the site where the first wireless signal was sent across the Atlantic in 1903) and Provincetown’s Race Point Beach, known for its spectacular sunsets.
Where to Stay: Harbor Hotel Provincetown, Chatham Bars Inn
32) The Hamptons – New York
The Hamptons, the fabled string of charming towns along Long Island’s South Fork, has stellar beaches. A few can’t-miss strands include Southampton’s Coopers Beach, East Hampton’s Main Beach, and Montauk’s Ditch Plains Beach (a popular spot for surfers).
Where to Stay: Baron’s Cove, Gurney’s Montauk Resort
33) Pampelonne Beach – France
The crown jewel of beaches along the French Riviera is Pampelonne, the busiest and longest stretch in glamorous St. Tropez. Bring a towel and stake out a spot in the public area, or spend the day at one of the see-and-be-seen beach clubs like Le Club 55.
Where to Stay: Hotel des Lices, Hotel Byblos
34) Bondi Beach – Australia
This famous Australian beach is just a 20-minute drive from Sydney, making it the perfect day trip. The wide, crescent-shaped strand is known for its surf, which attracts big-time surfers. You’ll want to linger over a long lunch in one of Bondi’s waterfront restaurants.
Where to Stay: The Grace Sydney, The Westin Sydney
35) Outer Banks – North Carolina
Some of the best beaches on the East Coast can be found in the Outer Banks, a 130-mile-long barrier island chain off the coast of North Carolina. You’ll find pristine strands in the towns of Duck, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills, which is where the Wright Brothers took their first flight over the area’s sand dunes, but only Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach made Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches 2018 list.
Where to Stay: Best Western Ocean Reef Suites, Sanderling Resort
36) Sand Beach – Maine
It’s a fact: Maine’s beaches are cold, but that doesn’t take away from their beauty. One of the state’s top strands is Sand Beach, located within Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. This golden-sand beach is the perfect spot to unwind after a hike.
Where to Stay: Atlantic Oceanside Hotel, Bar Harbor Inn
More: Stylish Beach Bags For Your Next Tropical Getaway!
37) Spiaggia di Sansone – Italy
Located on the island of Elba, Spiaggia di Sansone, or Sansone Beach, is a stunner of a strand framed by sheer white cliffs and translucent blueish-green waters. It’s a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. Fun fact: Napoleon was exiled to this Tuscan island in 1814.
Where to Stay: Hotel Hermitage, Hotel Biodola
38) Reynisfjara Beach – Iceland
Located near the village of Vik, Reynisfjara Beach is one of the most popular strands in Iceland. This stunning black-pebble beach is known for a pyramid-like rock formation of basalt columns, as well as jagged rocks jutting out from the sea – little wonder it was recently named as one of the top black-sand beaches in the world.
Where to Stay: Hotel Holt, Sandhotel
39) Huntington Beach – California
One of the most famous beaches in California is Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City USA.” Watch surfers glide across the Pacific Ocean’s waves from the shore or from the the town’s iconic pier (be sure to have lunch at the old-school diner Ruby’s), then cool off by taking a dip.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel, Paséa Hotel & Spa
40) Condado Beach – Puerto Rico
While Puerto Rico has plenty of secluded strands, one of the island’s best is also its most popular. Condado Beach is a buzzing coastal resort in San Juan lined with high-rise hotels, waterfront restaurants, and cocktail bars. Plus, historic Old San Juan, with its craft shops and historic fort, is just 10 minutes away by taxi.
Where to Stay: Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort
41) Driftwood Beach – Georgia
Jekyll Island, off the Georgian coast, is a favorite of nature lovers, who appreciate the island’s 10 miles of unspoiled shoreline. For many, the prettiest beach is Driftwood, which is lined with ancient tree trunks and large pieces of driftwood – keep the camera ready!
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, Hampton Inn & Suites Jekyll Island
42) Cannon Beach – Oregon
Cannon Beach is not only one of the best beaches in Oregon, but one of the best in the entire Pacific Northwest (it’s less than two hours from Portland). The beach has numerous tide pools, and photographers have a field day taking snaps of Haystack Rock, a 235-foot-tall rock formation where puffins often congregate.
Where to Stay: Stephanie Inn, The Ocean Lodge
43) Cape May – New Jersey
One of the loveliest towns along the 130-mile-long Jersey shore, Cape May is a national treasure due to its beautiful Victorian homes (many of which have been turned into charming inns and B&Bs) that are just steps from the shoreline.
Where to Stay: Congress Hall, La Mer Beachfront Inn
44) Harbour Cliff Beach – England
Fans of the BBC series Broadchurch know that the stunner of a beach featured in the show is in the village of West Bay in Dorset. Known for its massive sandstone cliffs and rust-colored sand, Harbour Cliff Beach, along the so-called Jurassic Coast in southeastern England, is quite the sight.
Where to Stay: The Bull Hotel, The Green House
45) Manuel Antonio Beach – Costa Rica
One of Costa Rica’s most photographed beaches is Playa Manuel Antonio, a gorgeous beach within a national park of the same name. Spend the morning hiking through the park’s rainforest (keep an eye out for capuchin monkeys), then take a dip in the warm Pacific Ocean waters of this crescent-shaped beauty.
Where to Stay: Oxygen Jungle Villas, Los Altos Resort
46) Ruby Beach – Washington
Considered one of the most beautiful beaches along the Olympic coastline, Washington’s Ruby Beach is a wild and rugged stretch located within Olympia National Park. This rocky beach is known for its large rock islands, called sea stacks, and oversized pieces of driftwood lining the shore.
Where to Stay: Kalaloch Lodge, Miller Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast
47) Perissa Beach – Greek Islands
This black-sand beauty is one of the finest beaches on Santorini. Located on the island’s south coast, Perissa is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, and it’s lined with hotels and tavernas. You can easily spend the day here swimming in the Aegean and lunching on fresh grilled fish and a feta salad.
Where to Stay: Santorini Heights, Grace Santorini
48) Myrtle Beach – South Carolina
For a shore vacation everyone can enjoy, there’s Myrtle Beach, with its famous 60-mile stretch of beach called the Grand Strand. It also has numerous golf courses and Broadway at the Beach, offering everything from zip lines and amusement park rides to seafood restaurants and live music.
Where to Stay: Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes
49) Anakena Beach – Chile
Anakena is the best beach on Easter Island, the mysterious Chilean outpost that’s home to moai, the ancient large-headed figures carved by the indigenous Rapa Nui people. Anakena not only has a beautiful crescent-shaped beach with fine coral sand and calm waters, but two moai as well.
Where to Stay: explora Rapa Nui, Hotel Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa
50) Pfeiffer Beach – California
Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach, reached via unpaved road off Highway 1, is lauded for its purple-hued sand (due to manganese garnet deposits) and the Pfeiffer keyhole rock, where the sun’s rays filter through a natural archway, creating a tunnel of light. It’s as mesmerizing as it sounds!
Where to Stay: Glen Oaks Big Sur, Ventana Big Sur
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