The World's Best Beaches
Any beach is a good place to relax, soak in the sun, build sandcastles with the kids, and enjoy azure waters. Not all beaches are the same though and the best beaches in the world offer all this plus the most stunning views. I've scoured the internet and pulled information from sources such as TripAdvisor, Frommer's, Conde Nast, and National Geographic to find these six beaches consistently in the top ten of the world's best beaches. From all corners of the world, travelers voted and editors chose beaches that are exotic, beautiful, and offer a local taste like no other beaches. Now sit back and enjoy, and possibly make plans to add one of these to your next vacation.
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
While Ipanema was made famous by the '60s song about a beautiful girl, it is also the home of world famous bikinis, including the tiny tanga bikini. Because of it's trend-setting ways, or perhaps despite them, Ipanema has long been considered one of the world's best and most beautiful beaches. Two kilometers of white sandy beach is ringed by touring cliffs at either end and beachfront hotels, apartments, shops and restaurants in between, and let's not forget all the beautiful bodies lounging on the beach
Ipanema is considered one of the most fun beaches as well, but there is a certain etiquette that should be followed...or risk being called a gringo. Everyone wears a tiny bikini. Get used to it. Do as the natives do and wear one also. One of other piece of important beach etiquette: bring nothing with you but a beach towel and sunscreen. Roving vendors on the beach will sell anything else you need. Beachgoers in Ipanema do not bring backpacks full of gadgets and games or coolers full of drinks and food. All of that can be purchased on the beach.
Tulum, Mexico is most famous for the breath-taking Mayan ruins which are visited by millions each year. And though there is a small beach located at the ruins, some of it is protected for nesting sea turtles. But just to the south of the ruins, a large powdery white beach welcomes vacationers with a wide beach, shady palm trees, and clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Resorts along the seashore boast semi-private beaches while other parts are completely public, and all of it easy on the eyes and on the feet.
Further south visitors will find the Sian Kaan beaches, a collection of raw and natural beaches found within a 1.3 million acre wilderness area. These beaches are primitive and uninhabited, some of them protected and others open for the public. It's a perfect place to see the real beaches of the area, to encounter how the area must have appeared in the time of the Mayans when the ruins at Tulum were young and just inhabited.
Books for the Beach
Keep the Kids on Your Beach Vacation
Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Bondi Beach is located approximately 5 miles from Sydney and is one of Australia's most popular and well-known beaches. It is just over half a mile in length but is a very wide and sandy beach which offers lots of room for sunbathers, swimmers and surfers. The northern end of the beach is rated relatively mild, a 4 on a scale of 10 with 10 being the most hazardous. The southern end, however, is rated higher at a 7, mostly due to a strong rip current the locals call the "Backpacker's Express". This end of the beach is popular with surfers though swimmers are allowed as well though only between the yellow and red flags set up by lifesavers.
Bondi Beach is also famous for the large number of restaurants, cafes and bars located nearby, probably a good thing as Bondi can become extremely crowded with locals and tourists. Crowds often spill into these restaurants and bars as well as adjacent Bondi Park.
The Hamptons, New York, USA
When one thinks of the best beaches in the world, a beach in New York usually doesn't spring to mind. After all, it has no palm trees or crystal clear waters full of brilliantly colored fish. But the beaches of The Hamptons are consistently cited as some of the world's best for many reasons.
First, The Hamptons has long been a popular vacation and resort spot for the rich and famous. This part of Long Island features some of the most expensive residences in the entire country. Additionally, the beaches here are long and wide with sandy beaches that perfect for walking and enjoying in the spring, summer and fall. Even in the winter, with a coating of snow, the beach still looks like...well, a beach. The shoreline along this entire area is relatively unspoiled, in large part to the wealthy residents who have not allowed major development, and sand dunes and beach grasses still line the inner reaches of the beach before sand gives way to higher land. In fact, the beaches here are so lovely that Dr. Beach has rated them in the top ten of his best beach list for several years.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Providenciales is the most popular island of the Turks and Caicos, having been developed into a mega tourist destination with oceanfront resorts, shopping, restaurants, and world-class water sports. For several years running, Provo (as it is affectionately nicknamed) has been named "Best Beach" by Conde Nast and the World Travel Awards. The most popular and most beautiful beach on Providenciales is Grace Bay Beach. This beach stretches for 12 breath-taking miles along Provo's northern shore. It makes the list of top beaches in the world for it's friendly beauty, pillowy sands, and turquoise waters teeming with life. The beach and waters are protected by a natural reef that is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers.
On Provo's southern shore, the adventure-minded will find what Islands Magazine describes as "Beneath the radar: untouched and off the beaten path..." This is Chalk Sound, a large lake with gorgeous waters dotted with cays, or small islets. The sound is now Chalk Sound National Park, an attempt to protect and preserve the unique qualities of the sound as well as its flora and fauna. Chalk Sound, coupled with Grace Bay and all of the beautiful beaches in between, make Provo one of the top beaches and one of the top island destinations in the world.
Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia
One of Australia's most beautiful beaches, Whitehaven Beach stretches for over 5 miles along Whitsunday Island. Many unique characteristics of this beach make it a popular destination and have won it several awards. In 2008 it was named Queensland's Cleanest Beach and in 2010 it was named top Eco Friendly Beach in the World by CNN.
Whitehaven is comprised of a very fine sand that is 98% pure silica; however, the local rocks are not made up of silica. Some theories place the sand on the beach over the course of millions of years, brought there by prevailing sea currents. Whitehaven's sand also does not heat in the sun, remaining a comfortable cool temperature for bare feet. Besides these characteristics, Whitehaven's inlet with its multitude of shades of blue and the protected crescent shape make it a beach worth vacationing on.
These beautiful beaches also made several top beach lists. Each features unique seascapes and landscapes as well as thriving local culture that draws tourists and helps those tourists make lasting memories.
Matira Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue, Seychelles
Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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