With the world on pause and sheltered in place, now is the time to dream. Yes, we will travel again—but for now, it’s all about wanderlust. Whether you’re dreaming of a quick weekend getaway, the ultimate surf, or spending this time at home to dream up the trip of a lifetime, a pristine beach is always a good idea. To get you inspired, here are some of the world’s most beautiful beaches from South Beach to Sri Lanka.
Railay Beach, Thailand
Cut off from the rest of the mainland of Krabi province by high limestone cliffs, Railay Beach is only accessible by boat, making it one of Thailand’s most peaceful and beautiful beaches.
Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Australia’s East Coast is home to some legendary beaches—Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays is particularly heavenly. Over on the West Coast, Turquoise Bay in the Cape Range National Park is equally gorgeous. Just watch out for those sharks.
Ruby Beach, Washington
While the coastal section of Olympic National Park is rockier than it is sandy, it’s still worth visiting Ruby Beach for the views alone.
Monterosso Al Mare, Italy
Home to the Cinque Terre’s only sand beach, Monterosso al Mare is the spot to post up for a long day of sunbathing on the Italian Riviera.
Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
One of the best places for snorkeling on Kauai’s north shore, the coral reefs at Tunnels Beach are suitable for divers of all skill levels.
Durdle Door, England
Set upon the Jurassic Coast between Swanage and Weymouth, this natural limestone arch is the perfect secluded cove for your next Insta-worthy travel diary.
Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles
There are too many beautiful white sand beaches in Seychelles to even count, but Source d’Argent on La Digue is known for being one of the best.
The ancient Mayan ruins overlooking the white sand beaches and bright blue waters of Tulum feel a world away from Cancun, which happens to be just a two hour drive north.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
The 235-foot-tall Haystack Rock dominates the shoreline of the Oregon Coast at Cannon Beach, which is also home to a host of art galleries and restaurants.
Cala Goloritzè, Sardinia
For those who prefer to get off the beaten track, let the gleaming gem of Cala Goloritzè be your reward. Accessible by boat or an athletic hike, this tiny beach is a dream spot for climbers (the nearly-150 meter rock spire just up the beach offer spectacular views) as well as for those who just enjoy a pristine private spot to lounge.
Walvis Bay, Namibia
The massive sand dunes alone are reason to book a trip to Walvis Bay. But you’ll also want to come to this beach on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast for the wildlife—you’re likely to spot flamingos, seals, whales and even hyenas here.
Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
With the rise of tourism in Myanmar, there are plenty of places to stay in this beach town on the Bay of Bengal–but don’t fear that it’s lost its charm, it still maintains its sleepy fishing village vibe.
Baker Beach, San Francisco
While San Francisco might not be the sunny beach town you would imagine to see on a list like this, Baker Beach is worth visiting for the spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Fair warning: the northernmost end of the beach is clothing optional.
Bells Beach, Australia
This sandy coast is home to the world’s longest-running surf competition, and showcases some of the biggest rip curls you’ll ever see. High cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop to the natural amphitheater of this gorgeous Australian oasis.
The Baths, British Virgin Islands
Large granite boulders line the coast at the southern tip of Virgin Gorda, forming shallow pools that make The Baths an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling.
Clifton Beach, South Africa
The luxe beach houses here might try to overshadow this coastline, but the beach itself is still the most beautiful part of this Cape Town suburb.
Tangalle Beach, Sri Lanka
If you’re looking for untouched beaches, head to southeast Sri Lanka to enjoy the wide open sands of Tangalle Beach.
Praia Dona Ana, Portugal
Surrounded by cliffs, this small beach outside of Lagos is one of the most beautiful in Portugal’s Algarve region.
Trunk Bay, St. John USVI
Even though Trunk Bay is St. John’s most visited beach, this quarter mile stretch of pristine white sand on the island’s north shore is worth braving the occasional crowd.
Rhossili Bay, Wales
The UK has some gorgeous beaches—even if the weather isn’t ideal for sunbathing. Rhossili Bay on the tip of Gower Peninsula in Swansea is particularly pretty–just look at those blooms.
Polihale Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
It’s hard to pick just one amazing beach in Hawaii, but Polihale Beach on Kauai’s west coast is perfect for those seeking a bit of isolation and calm.
Usedom Island, Germany
Don’t think of Germany when you think of beach vacations? Think again. Located just off Germany’s northern coast in the Baltic Sea, Usedom Island is home to miles of white sand beach covered in classic wicker beach chairs that Berliners flock to in the summer.
Maya Bay Beach, Thailand
After this secluded beach on Phi Phi Island was featured in the 1999 movie The Beach it became wildly popular with tourists. Visit in the early morning to avoid the crowds.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
In the Hawaiian language, Lanikai translates to “heavenly sea” which is a fitting name for a beach with such calm and tranquil waters.
South Beach, Miami
Known as much for its nightlife as it is for its white sands, South Beach is an easy weekend getaway for anyone living on the East Coast.
Kaputas Beach, Turkey
Greece and Italy might get more attention when it comes to Mediterranean beaches, but Turkey’s southwestern coast is home to some beautiful options including the small sandy cove at Kaputas Beach.
Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos
With 12 miles of white sand beaches and the clearest water you’ll likely ever encounter, there’s no question why this beach on the north shore of the island of Providenciales made this list.
Champagne Beach, Vanuatu
If you’re looking to go off the grid, head to this remote white sand beach on Espiritu Santo Island in the South Pacific.
Anakena Beach, Easter Island
An unusual site on the otherwise rocky coast of Easter Island, the white sand beach at Anakena is also home to several Maoi statues carved by the Rapa Nui people.
La Playa Escondida, Mexico
You’ll need to take an hour-long boat ride to the Marietas Islands to get to this hidden beach off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, but the trek is worth it. Where else can you sunbath on a beach that is entirely enclosed within a cave that has a massive hole in its roof?
Playa Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has over 750 miles of shoreline, but Playa Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast is one of the most popular.
Black Sand Beach, Iceland
Iceland might not conjure up images of a beach vacation, but the black sand beaches of its southernmost town, Vik, are worth exploring.
Zlatni Rat Beach, Croatia
Located on the southern coast of Brac Island, Zlatni Rat Beach is nicknamed the Golden Horn for its unusual shape that juts out into the Adriatic Sea.
One Foot Island Beach, Cook Islands
Also called Tapuaetai, One Foot Island is exactly the place you want to be if you’re looking for miles of secluded beaches
Baia do Sancho, Brazil
Located 200 miles off Brazil’s coast on Fernando de Noronha island, Baia do Sancho is only accessible via boat or by hiking down a narrow staircase from surrounding cliffs making it secluded and virtually untouched.
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Tucked away on the northern tip of Palawan island, El Nido is home to off-the-beaten path beaches surrounded by limestone cliffs.
Maho Beach, St. John
Less bustling than neighboring Trunk Bay but equally beautiful, Maho cements its status as one of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ finest white sand beaches. The calm, relatively shallow waters are also a prime feeding ground for sea turtles and rays, making it a thrilling spot for snorkelers of all skill levels.
Koekohe Beach, New Zealand
According to Maori legend, the marble-like Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach are the remains of the ancient Araiteuru canoe that crashed into the Otago coast.
Cabo San Juan de la Guia Beach, Colombia
While it isn’t the easiest to get to, Cabo San Juan de la Guia Beach in Tayrona National Nature Park is worth the trek through the jungle to get there.
Navagio Beach, Greece
Located in a remote cove on Zakynthos in Greece’s Ionian Islands, Navagio Beach gets its nickname—Shipwreck Beach—because of the ship that ran aground here in the 1980’s.
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