20 Gorgeous Beaches with the Clearest Water in the World
You don't need a crystal ball to tell you where your next vacation will be when you have these clear water beaches waiting for you once it's safe to travel again. Learn more—and get lost in these stunning photos!
Clear beaches galore
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are so gorgeous because of its pristine, almost transparent water. Sadly, in the hyper-polluted world of today, beaches with water this clear look almost otherworldly—but it does exist! Unfortunately, the United States doesn’t boast much in the way of clear beaches (though one American beach does make the list!). But there are still plenty of stunning places with clear water worldwide where the clarity of the water is downright breathtaking. For more natural marvels, plan a trip to one of these 12 stunning black sand beaches you didn’t know existed.
Ypao Beach, Tumon Guam
The American territory Guam is filled with stunning jungles, breathtaking mountains, and of course, stunning beaches. While the island is filled with incredible hidden gems, the Ypao Beach is easy to access, and in close proximity to Tumon’s vibrant cityscape. Despite the plethora of nearby amenities, this long, luxurious beach is the perfect hideaway from the nearby hustle and bustle of the city. Snorkeling in Tumon Bay can’t be beat, and there is both a sandy paradise and grass-covered space on the shore to enjoy any beach day activities you could want. Guam is also home to the Mariana Trench, just one of the 14 mysteries of the ocean science can’t yet explain.
La Chiva, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Set in the middle of the islands National Wildlife Refuge, this stretch of coastline, formerly known as Blue Beach, is a true paradise in the heart of Puerto Rico. This beach won’t be overcrowded, the only access points are 21 tiny turnoffs on an unpaved road far off the beaten path. This beach is a great spot for snorkeling, walking along in the sandy coastline, and is well known for its incredible gradient of blues.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Lani Kai translates to “heavenly ocean” and it’s no wonder they chose that name for this stretch of beach. This beach can be a bit tricky to find, but that’s part of what makes it such a paradise, away from the bustle of tourist traffic in Oahu. The breathtaking blue water will captivate you but don’t expect miles of sandy beaches to walk nearby, much of the beach has been eroded and spacious sand is not what you’ll find here. That being said, a beach is mainly known for its water, and this one is perfect for your kayak, paddleboard, and swimming needs! There’s a reason this beach is on the list of the most-visited beaches in the world.
Seagrass Bay, Laucala Island, Fiji
If you’re headed to Fiji, Seagrass Bay in Laucala Island is a must-see, but there’s only one way to see it. This beach is part of a private island, less than an hour flight away from Fiji’s main island, Nadi. In order to experience the breathtaking magic of Seagrass Bay, you’ll need to stay at the all-inclusive, truly spectacular Laucala Island Resort. This private island experience is billed as an alternate universe and it has earned a rare perfect rating on TripAdvisor.
Crater Lake, Oregon, USA
Looking for those spectacular blue hues a little closer to home? You’ll be blown away by Oregon’s own Crater Lake. In the heart of the Cascade Mountains in Southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is an incredible traveler’s paradise, but its namesake, Crater Lake is definitely the crowning jewel. This beautiful lake can often be covered by clouds so be sure to check out one of the live webcams of Crater Lake before you start hiking out to know what conditions will be like. Love watching wildlife through live cams? You’ll love these animal cams from zoos and aquariums around the world.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
The oldest national park in Croatia is well known for its series of turquoise lakes split up by vibrant green barriers. One of the most stunning views on earth, reaching these waters requires a bit of a hike, but when do you ever find the most perfect paradise spots directly on the beaten path? While most lovers of these lakes recommend going in summertime, winter visits to this water will still offer breathtaking views…just with a bit less foliage. You’ll also spot Croatia in the photos of the world’s most beautiful countries.
Banana Beach, Koh Hey Island, Phuket Thailand
How have we made it this far down the list without a visit to Thailand? The entire country of Thailand is known for its breathtaking tropical beaches, and Banana Beach on Koh Hey Island is no exception. Perhaps the vibrant green jungle that serves as the background for this beach makes the water look even bluer, but that doesn’t mean the crystal clear waters of this beach aren’t a spectacular sight to see in its own right. The name comes from the prevalent banana boat rides available here, and the beach is also a great place to try snorkeling, go swimming, or even sea kayaking. There’s a single restaurant on the beach as well, but despite the incredible adventuring potential, this beach is generally much less crowded than many of Thailand’s popular tourist spots.
Five Flower Lake, Jiuzhaigou National Park, China
Next on our travel bucket list? Five Flower Lake. The valley that this lake calls home is part of a UNESCO heritage site, and we can definitely understand why! The lake is 16 feet deep, but with crystal clear water, you’ll have no trouble spotting the bottom. This lake is considered holy by the locals. A hot spring that feeds the lake means it doesn’t freeze, even in the coldest winter months. While most of the time this lake is a clear, sapphire blue, the color does alter, and on various trips to this shore you may find the water to look emerald green, amber, and even coral. We’ll have to add this one to our list of the most colorful natural wonders on Earth.
Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada
Travel North to the Canadian Rockies to find this gem of a lake, tucked away in Banff National Park. An easy 3.8-mile round-trip hike will get you to these stunning blue waters near the Icefields Parkway. The best time to visit this lake is in the summer, when glacial rock flour flows into the water, creating its unique, turquoise glow. Want to extend your trip to Peyto Lake? Here are the most popular travel destinations in Canada.
Honopu Beach Kauai, Hawaii
It’s two for the price of one here! Honopu beach is actually two beaches, split up by a magnificent giant natural rock arch. The bad news: You cannot drive, hike, or boat to these gorgeous shores, your only option is a semi-difficult swim. Experts recommend swimming when the tide is low and rip tides are less common. If you are a skilled swimmer and make this trek you will not be disappointed! The views of the water and the peaceful, low traffic beach are not to be missed if you can make it there. Makes you want to take a beach vacation, right?
Porto Katsiki, Lefkada, Greece
Porto Katsiki Beach (which was formerly said to only be accessible by goats, hence its Greek translation of “Goat Port”) is located on an island called Lefkada in the Ionian Sea. It can only be reached by taking narrow roads, which are usually congested with traffic, followed by walking down a small, winding staircase alongside a cliff. A taxi-boat is perhaps the least complex way to reach this secluded paradise. But rest assured, the journey is worthwhile, as it’s one of the most stunning places with clear water. In fact, it is considered to be one of the ten best beaches in the Mediterranean and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Devil’s Bay can be reached by boat, an easy walk down a path, or a 30-minute hike through the Baths, which requires a great deal of climbing and crawling around granite boulders. Regardless of how you get there, these crystal clear beaches will make you wonder why you’ve never visited before. The boulders at Devil’s Bay also make the clear water beaches unique, forming arches, grottos, tidal pools, tunnels, and, of course, the maze on the way down. They also make for an interesting dive around and down the sides of the boulders that are partially submerged in the water.
Ipil Beach, El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines
Ipil Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, is known to be free of tourists. Many travelers find that they are the only ones on the beach during their visit, with the exception of some locals. In addition to one of the most stunning clear beaches, visitors can expect to see monkeys, a plethora of chromatic coral, palm trees, and friendly turtles. The backdrop of the mountains makes for incredible scenery, and the sunset is said to be remarkable. That said, it’s a good idea to know about some hidden beach dangers you should take seriously.
Fulhadhoo, Goidhoo, Maldives
Fulhadhoo is an island located in the middle of the alluring Indian Ocean. This island is ideal for those who truly want clear beaches where they can see life through a native islander’s eyes. Located two hours away by speedboat from the Maldivian mainland, with no tourist attractions and only one hotel, its clear water beaches are a true tropical getaway. With that in mind, travelers must abide by the natives’ rules, which include no bikinis allowed outside of the west beach and the consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited. Surrounded by palm trees, coral reefs, colorful fish, and other marine life, you’ll be finding every reason to keep exploring the Maldives.
Dam Trau, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Vietnam
Dam Trau Beach is fairly close to an airport, so visitors can expect to see some occasional low-flying planes. Otherwise, the beach is surrounded by parts of a tropical jungle, a forest plentiful with bamboo and pine trees, offering visitors an enchanting feel of being in their own little world. Dam Trau can be reached by a rather bumpy and muddy road, which ultimately opens up to an incredible view of the sea, three small beach restaurants, hammocks, fine white sand, and little to no tourists. If you love places with clear water and the remote beauty of Dam Trau, these are some more of the most beautiful beaches in the world to add to your bucket list.
Tropic of Cancer Beach, Little Exuma, Bahamas
Tropic of Cancer Beach (also known as Pelican Beach) is the longest of the clear water beaches on Little Exuma, with a span of over a mile. It can be reached after venturing down a long, dirt road. The water is especially transparent with no obstructions like coral or rocks. With a lack of vendors and tourists (due to its hidden location), this beach is a true oasis.
Elephant Beach, Havelock Island, India
Perhaps best known for its water sports, Elephant Beach is definitely a destination for adventure-seekers who want the serenity of clear water beaches. Here are some of the excursions you can try: scuba diving, snorkeling (the vibrant reef starts at just five feet deep), trekking, riding in a seaplane, fishing, glass-bottomed boat rides, and even sea walking (where visitors are provided with a helmet to breathe underwater while they explore the seafloor). If you’re planning a trip with your relatives, these are the best beaches to visit with your family during the summer.
Rabbit Beach, Sicily, Italy
Rated the best beach in the world by TripAdvisor in 2013, this island in Italy is located 105 miles away from the mainland. Aside from its beauty and its status as one of the most impressive places with clear water, history is engraved in its rocky grottos. Once inhabited by Arabs, Greeks, and Romans, scuba-diving in these waters could lead to the discovery of historic remains. History isn’t just located at the bottom of the ocean though; visitors can spot prehistoric huts ashore and hike through astounding, lush trails. Fun fact: There aren’t actually that many rabbits.
Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
Originally known as Agios Georgios, Shipwreck Beach (also known as Navagio Beach) is quite literally a beach with a shipwreck washed ashore. While the mysterious shipwreck (with many legends surrounding its placement) is what predominantly lures in the crowds, the beach’s clear waters are another draw. The only way to reach Zakynthos’ clear beaches is by sea, but the view from the hiking trails and the tourist platform at the top of the cliffs above is what’s really spellbinding.
Hanauma Bay, Honolulu, Hawaii
Rated the number one beach in the United States in 2013, Hanauma Bay, with some of the clearest water in the United States, should be obligatory on your beach bucket list. Created by a volcanic eruption tens of thousands of years ago and located on Oahu Island, this bay is a marine life conservation area. Prior to first-timers entering the bay area, everyone is required to watch a nine-minute video about conserving marine life and preservation. About 3,000 visitors (it used to be 10,000 or more before there was a population control rule put into place) make their way to Honolulu every day to spend time with the exotic marine life, tranquil waves, and glistening white sand—and the reason is clear (just like the water). Now that you’ve seen the most beautiful clear beaches from around the world, you can stay local and enjoy the best beach in every U.S. state.