The 25 Best Beaches in the World to Put on Your Must-Visit List
Looking for turquoise water, long stretches of sand and swaying palm trees? You've come to the right place. These are the best beaches around the world for surf, sun and fun.
The world’s best beaches
Picture this: The crystal blue waters are lapping at a serene beach, the sand feels like silk and the palm trees are gently swaying. There’s gorgeous surf as far as the eye can see, the sun is shining and you are happy in the knowledge that you are at one of the best beaches in the world.
How can you find such paradise? In 2023, TripAdvisor released their Traveler’s Choice Awards, where they analyzed millions of reviews submitted by global travelers over the past 12 months. They evaluated both the quality and quantity of ratings for beach experiences and then created this fail-proof list of the absolute best beaches in the world. You can also learn more from us about the best beach in every state.
From the warm aqua water of Hawaii to the black sand of Iceland—and let’s not forget the best Florida beaches and the best beaches in California— these global options literally have a beach for everyone. Whether you want to stay in affordable beachfront hotels, the best all-inclusive resorts or you’re looking for cheap beach vacations, all you have to do is choose your favorite.
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Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
TripAdvisor named this stunning stretch of sand the No. 1 beach in the world, but it is not easy to get to. It’s on a volcanic island more than 200 miles from Brazil’s northeast coast, and the beach is only accessible by ladder. But after that, it’s all easy beach life as you enjoy the stunning turquoise waters and white sand beach surrounded by verdant tree-covered cliffs. This beach is also known for its vast array of wildlife.
What to do: Dive or snorkel in the warm clear waters for glimpses of sea turtles, rays, dolphins and reef sharks.
Where to stay: NANNAI Noronha Solar dos Ventos has a perfect location on a white sand beach with stellar views of the water. Reviewers on the TripAdvisor site all agree about the resort property: There’s excellent service from start to finish, impeccable rooms and delicious food at the onsite restaurant.
Eagle Beach, Aruba
Aruba is known for its year-round temps of 82 degrees and sunny skies, as well as fabulous sand and surf—all of which come together at stunning Eagle Beach to give it the No. 2 spot. The beach is also famed for its divi-divi trees, which have twisted trunks that tilt its greenery into a low swoop that makes a perfect shady beach canopy. Did you know there are beaches without sand as well?
What to do: There’s a plethora of water sports here to try out, including kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and windsurfing.
Where to stay: With just 72 rooms and suites, each facing the ocean or lush gardens, Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa is among the most private all-inclusive resorts in Aruba. Just outside your room lies a quiet stretch of Eagle Beach, one of the best beaches on the island, and the resort offers an optional all-inclusive package that includes all meals and an open bar.
Cable Beach, Broome, Australia
According to TripAdvisor traveler tips about this sunny spot in Western Australia, “Cable Beach is an iconic place in Broome with pristine white sand that stretches for many miles.” It’s popular with locals and tourists alike who enjoy activities ranging from swimming and sunbathing to walking and running. It’s also a perfect place to relax.
What to do: Plan to stay at—or return to—the beach when the sun starts to go down, since the beach is known for its beautiful sunsets.
Where to stay: Cocos Beach Bungalows won TripAdvisor’s 2023 Best of the Best award from travelers for its spacious two- and three-bedroom bungalow accommodations. All bungalows have full kitchens and are separated by gardens for a leafy and peaceful stay. And the property is just a 10-minute walk from the beach.
Reynisfjara Beach, Vik, Iceland
If the dramatic rock formations towering over the black sand beach look familiar, it’s probably because Game of Thrones also thought this scenery-stealing stretch of sand was noteworthy. However, with ice-cold water and waves that can reach up to 131 feet, this is a beach for admiring and photo taking—not swimming. While you’re in Iceland, you can also check out one of the world’s strangest food museums.
What to do: Reynisfjara Beach is popular with birdwatchers for the various types of seabirds spotted nearby, most famously, puffins.
Where to stay: Tucked into the sandstone cliffs and directly across from the beach, the Hótel Vík í Mýrdal has a completely glass facade, so you’re sure to get views of the water—and maybe even a spot a puffin or two—before you even step foot outside. The clean and spacious modern rooms and on-site restaurant are a few of the reasons this property was a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice award winner for 2023.
Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
This idyllic, 13-mile stretch of the Caribbean coastline boasts warm, shallow water that stretches into the sea, allowing beachgoers to walk out quite far while remaining above water. Lavish resorts can be found up and down Grace Bay Beach, each one offering everything from parasailing to catamaran cruises. But with a beach this gorgeous, the best thing to do may be relaxing under the shade of a casuarina tree.
What to do: Swimming and snorkeling are popular here, and avid divers love the mammoth undersea coral wall off Grand Turk.
Where to stay: Those craving a boutique hotel stay need not look further than The Palms Turks and Caicos. Spanning 12 acres, this resort features a 25,000-square-foot spa, tennis courts and complimentary non-motorized water sports such as Hobie Cats, snorkeling gear and kayaks. Children ages 12 and under stay for free and have access to the Conch Kritters kids club.
Praia da Falesia, Olhos de Agua, Portugal
“Stunning” is the word TripAdvisor commenters use over and over again to describe the ocher cliffs plunging down to golden beaches in the Algarve’s most picturesque beach area—and one of the best beaches in the world. You can rent loungers for a relaxing day on the sand before you dive into the calm and warm aqua waters.
What to do: Hiking lovers can walk along the shore to explore the picturesque caves and orange-hued cliffs that have been molded into tall columns by the wind and surf over millennium.
Where to stay: The 3HB Clube Humbria is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Portugal. It has large apartment-style accommodations and is especially popular with families who appreciate the in-unit kitchens, mini water park, separate kids and teens club and playground on the property. They also have two large pools across the street from the soft sands of the beach.
Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
One of the top beaches in Asia, Radhanagar Beach is situated between Vijaynagar Beach and Dolphin Yatri Niwas, and it offers the perfect combination of sun and shade. With lush trees that line one side of the beach, this is a great spot for families looking for some shade for the little ones. And if you can’t travel that far, these are some of the other best beaches to visit with your family this summer.
What to do: There is world-class diving in the cerulean seas off this coral ringed island.
Where to stay: It’s hard to beat the location and setting of the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, directly on Radhanagar Beach, surrounded by mangroves and comprising 46 private acres of lush gardens and shady coconut and palm trees. There are 54 villas—plus multiple restaurants—and a large pool if you want a break from the beach.
Spiaggia dei Conigli, Lampedusa, Islands of Sicily, Italy
This southern Italian beach with its aqua waters and soft sand reminds some people of the Caribbean. TripAdvisor writes, “For a beautiful, small beach with no waves, warm crystal clear water, fish, soft white sand and a ton of sun on a small, friendly Italian island, this is the place!” The only downside: The 15-minute walk down a dirt path to reach the sand.
What to do: Hire a motorboat for a tour of the island along the coast, especially at sunset.
Where to stay: El Mosaico del Sol has a perfect five-star rating on TripAdvisor. Almost all the reviews mention gracious owner Renato, who “will pick up and drop off at the airport, show you around town, provide a rental scooter, recommend restaurants and anything else you may need—all included in the price of the room.” The hotel has bright and clean rooms, a pool, a rooftop lounge area and a perfect location near the center of Lampedusa.
Varadero Beach, Varadero, Cuba
This is considered the best beach in Cuba—and one of the best beaches in the world—as much for its crystal aqua water and wide sand beaches as for the fabulous array of hotels and restaurants nearby. Extra bonus: Plenty of shady palapas (banana leaf umbrellas) to relax under with a rum-enhanced beverage.
What to do: Soft white sand and some of the clearest water on earth make this a prime beach for swimming and floating in the calm, warm waters.
Where to stay: Iberostar Selection Varadero, located right on Varadero Beach, offers five restaurants and bars, plus a Cuban cigar lounge and nighttime entertainment featuring a Cuban orchestra. There’s also an enormous pool complex for even more fun in the sun.
Ka’anapali Beach, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Ka’anapali Beach comes in at No. 10 on the international list but takes the No. 1 spot in the U.S. With three miles of powder white sand and crystal-clear water, this palm-tree-lined island paradise is just about as perfect as it gets.
What to do: There’s fantastic snorkeling in the transparent water at Black Rock, surfing on breaks further south and swimming in gentle waters along the most popular sections of the beach between the two. (Find out more reasons Maui is considered the best Hawaiian island.)
Where to stay: Lovingly referred to as “Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel,” the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel prides itself on the stewardship of Hawaiian culture and is one of the longest-standing independent properties on Ka’anapali Beach. The hotel also offers myriad complimentary activities for hotel guests—everything from pineapple cutting to hula lessons.
Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida
The only Florida entry in this year’s top beaches list, this sandy expanse is located on a barrier island in southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s a favorite beach vacation for families for the smooth white sand that’s as soft as talcum powder. It’s not the regular sand you’re used to either—it’s 99% pure quartz, washed down from the Appalachian Mountains and always cool to the touch. Part of a county park, the beach offers plenty of room for building sandcastles or kicking back with a good beach read without bumping into your neighbor. It’s common to see dolphins playing just offshore.
What to do: While daytime here is lovely, check out the beach when the sun goes down too. Book a sunset sail with a local guide, or visit on a Sunday, when the Siesta Key Drum Circle kicks off one hour before sunset.
Where to stay: The Siesta Key Palms Resort gives you everything you want from a Florida beach vacation: tropical gardens, kid and adult pools, tiki torches, fire pits and hammocks—all within half a mile of the beach.
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
The walking path to this quiet beach on Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles and the only other U.S. beach in the top 25, may be a bit hidden. But those who travel there are in for a treat. The surreal sun-bleached trees seem to emerge right from the sand—not to mention their branches look perfect for a hammock. At low tide, there’s ample opportunity for young explorers to search for sea life and shells.
What to do: Rent a bike to cruise along 25 miles of trails or venture over to The Georgia Sea Turtle Center to view turtle rehabilitation in action.
Where to stay: Located on the Atlantic Ocean with a quarter-mile of private beach, Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island is the perfect location for a relaxing beach getaway that provides family fun for everyone. The hotel has an oceanfront swimming pool, whirlpool, kiddie pool, two outdoor fire pits, a kids club and ocean-themed playground, plus three restaurants.
Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia
Getting to this city beach is half the fun, as you can reach beautiful Manly Beach via a scenic 30-minute ferry ride from Sydney’s Circular Quay. Once you arrive, this spot has it all: white sand, turquoise water, surf that ranges from gentle to surf-able waves and hundreds of spots to grab food and drinks. You can also shop till you drop at boutiques just beyond the majestic pines that frame this special beach.
What to do: Get ready to hang 10 at the beach known as the birthplace of surfing in Australia. Don’t surf? Try snorkeling or swimming instead—the water’s great here for all active pursuits.
Where to stay: The Manly Pacific hotel just finished a two-year, $30 million rejuvenation, now making it the freshest place to stay at the beach. In addition to 213 redesigned rooms, there’s a rooftop pool and bar, a sundeck with an infrared sauna and a new bar in the lobby.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
You come, of course, for the seven miles of tropical Caribbean beach, with its soft white sand and stunning azure water. But you’ll want to stay on to feed, swim and even pet friendly stingrays in the crystal-clear waters at Stingray City.
What to do: Take an evening boat ride to spot bioluminescence, water that sparkles in electric hues of green and blue from naturally occurring algae bloom. You can also visit Cayman Turtle Farm and swim with yearling green sea turtles.
Where to stay: Kimpton Seafire Resort offers kid-friendly eats, activities and access to the island’s first coastal walking and biking boardwalk—all right on the beach.
La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Donostia, Spain
Right in the bustling and beautiful city of San Sebastian, this crescent-shaped beach on the northern coast of Spain, with pristine golden sand, is praised by TripAdvisor reviewers. Although you can easily pop into San Sebastian, the beach is surrounded by a marine walk that hugs it on both sides of the entrance to the bay. If you’re thinking of booking a flight soon, see the best time to buy plane tickets.
What to do: San Sebastian is known for its foodie scene, so after you spend time relaxing on the beach, try some of the traditional northern Spanish tapas called pintxos. Cafés that specialize in these small savory bites can be found as you walk through the Old Town area, or Parte Vieja.
Where to stay: The NH Collection San Sebastián Aránzazu is nestled in the old part of town, close to La Concha Beach and walking distance to some of the area’s best restaurants. Large, bright rooms give you plenty of space, and the buffet breakfast here is a feast that can keep you fueled for your beach-day activities.
Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida, Bali
With its multiple shades of turquoise, aqua and sapphire waters—surrounded by granite cliffs and verdant rainforest—Kelingking Beach, just off the southeast coast of Bali, looks like it stepped out of a movie about hidden magical beaches.
What to do: Snorkel along the pristine coral reefs to watch a rainbow of fish, and possibly even a giant ray, swim by.
Where to stay: The Hyatt Regency Bali has a beachfront location and 22 acres of beautiful tropical gardens. Each of the 363 comfortable rooms has modern Balinese touches, and you can choose views of either the lush gardens or the Indian Ocean. The property features three swimming pools, a white sand beach, two restaurants and a spa.
Playa de Muro Beach, Mallorca, Spain
This nearly four-mile-long beach has calm, shallow waters, which makes it a perfect spot for families. There’s also a long pier that reaches out from the beach into the sea, and there are cafes, bars and play areas circling the beach. You can rent sun beds, umbrellas and personal lockers, plus there are also free showers. And, according to TripAdvisor, it’s one of the safest beaches in the world, with plenty of lifeguards on duty and a thorough rescue system in place.
What to do: The placid waters here are popular for parasailing and jet skiing.
Where to stay: In addition to having a prime position on Playa de Muro, Grupotel Parc Natural & Spa hotel is directly across the street from the greenery of S’Albufera Natural Park, which offers shaded paths for strolling. The hotel has a large, beautifully landscaped pool and rooms that TripAdvisor reviewers say are modern, attractive and incredibly clean.
Playa Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park—considered Costa Rica’s crown jewel—has both lush tropical rainforests and this dazzling white sand beach, not to mention three-toed sloths and white-faced Capuchin monkeys. The snow-white coastline has been called one of the most peaceful places on earth with sounds of the sea mingled with the musical sounds of the rainforest’s native fauna.
What to do: Explore the national park with a guide to get up close with monkeys, sloths, iguanas and birds.
Where to stay: Manuel Antonio’s only luxury beachfront resort, Arenas Del Mar sits tucked between a verdant rain forest and the Pacific Ocean within a private, 11-acre nature reserve, which serves as an important corridor for the area’s wildlife.
Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although Rio may have a reputation as a frenetic city, this pristine beach in the middle of it is a world unto itself. You’ll see people sunbathing, playing beach volleyball and even dancing to samba tunes—all with views of the deep, blue sea ahead and lush green mountains in the background.
What to do: For those unafraid of heights, take a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for 360-degree views of downtown Rio, the famous Ipanema beach and the Rio-Niterói Bridge crossing Guanabara Bay.
Where to stay: The Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort sits directly on the beach and offers a tropical resort setting in busy Rio. You’ll have direct access to the sand and surf, plus access to a large pool, landscaped gardens and a range of restaurants and spa experiences to truly make you feel like you’re in a beach oasis.
Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania
With beautiful white sand, clear crystal water, palm trees and perfectly calm surf during both low and high tide, Nungwi Beach feels like a tropical paradise. There are bars and restaurants right on the beach, so you can sip a tropical cocktail and watch the rippling water of the Indian Ocean or the technicolor sunset with your toes in the sand.
What to do: Go sailing on a dhow, a traditional wooden boat, to enjoy the gentle surf and spot sea turtles and dolphins.
Where to stay: Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar is an intimate property and one of the best luxury all-inclusives in the world. It has a unique history: It was originally designed for Benny Andersson of pop sensation ABBA. As a result, the boutique hotel has a mix of Scandinavian minimalism and tropical decor. All the rooms have private plunge pools and terraces, and there’s an infinity pool and beachside access to the clear water and white sand.
Falassarna Beach, Crete, Greece
On the western coast of Crete, just a short drive from Kissamos, Falassarna Beach is known for its beautiful mix of colors: powdery white and gorgeous pink sand beaches and clear aqua water protected by a jet-black cove. The beach is also a protected nature reserve that’s home to dozens of plant varieties.
What to do: Plan to stay until evening to watch the sunset reflect off the pink sand for a spectacular end to a beach day.
Where to stay: Panorama Hotel lives up to its name with fantastic views of Falassarna Beach and the ocean. There’s a large pool and one of the best-reviewed restaurants in the area (that also provides complimentary breakfast in the morning). Ask for a room in the new wing for more space and terraces that overlook the beach.
Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa, Cyprus
The crystal clear waters in the Ayia Napa area of Cyprus, one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, make it an ideal beach destination for snorkelers and swimmers. The soft golden sand is connected to spectacular caves by a coastal pathway. The beach is equally popular with families who enjoy the gentle surf and crowds who come for the festive atmosphere of music, food and drinks.
What to do: If you’re interested in seeing beautiful sea caves, you won’t want to miss the ones at Ayia Napa, where you can explore hidden caverns, tunnels and rock bridges by foot at low tide. The caves’ cliffs are also a hot spot for jumping into the azure sea.
Where to stay: TripAdvisor’s top-rated property in Nissi Beach, the Amarande hotel combines ultra-modern design with ideal views of the sea for a perfect five-star rating. Expect contemporary rooms with an array of high-tech touches, multiple infinity pools and elevated food and beverage options. A gourmet breakfast is included in the room price.
Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Just a few miles north of Cancun’s city center you’ll find the laid-back island vibes of Isla Mujeres. Stretching for five miles along the island’s northern shore, this sugar-white beach is a popular spot for sun and fun, including snorkeling in the warm indigo water.
What to do: A catamaran tour of Isla Mujeres is a great way to see the peaceful island.
Where to stay: Casa del los Suenos is the winner of a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice gold seal for being “The Best of the Best.” The resort, the site says, has “breathtaking views and an inviting atmosphere… as well as its warm and attentive staff.” In addition to a restaurant, where a complimentary breakfast is served, there are three pools and a private pier where you can jump right into the clear blue water.
Magens Bay, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Also named one of the top 10 beaches in the world by National Geographic, horseshoe-shaped Magens Bay beach is protected from the wind and tides. The calm, sapphire water is popular for kayaking and water sports, as well as swimming and sunning. The beach is a popular stop for cruise ship guests, and there’s a charge to enter the main beach, but the “fringe” areas at the sides of the sand are quieter.
What to do: Take a break from the beach to visit the island’s cultural highlights including Fort Christian, built in 1680; the second-oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere; and Danish-French Impressionist painter Camille Pissaro’s childhood home.
Where to stay: The Picara Pearl Villa & Suites Magens Bay offers oceanfront views from expansive suites and private villas. The property is nestled in the secluded Peterborg Peninsula near Picara Point, directly above Magens Bay, so you’ll get all the scenery without the crowds.
Balos Lagoon, Kissamos, Crete, Greece
If you’re searching for the quintessential blue lagoon, this is what you’ve been dreaming of. To reach the Kool-Aid blue waters though, you’ll have to put in a little bit of effort. You can take a ferry or a cliff-hugging car or bus ride, and then there’s a nearly one-mile walk. But it’s absolutely worth the journey for the breathtaking views.
What to do: Since you’ll be wearing your walking shoes to get to the beach, explore a bit more on the coastal path here for stunning views of the gorgeous sea and surrounding cliffs.
Where to stay: The Nautilus Bay Hotel has both an outdoor pool and easy access to a sandy stretch of lovely beach. Bright, roomy apartment-style accommodations have kitchenettes to stash snacks (and breakfast is included too). Plus rooms all have furnished balconies with Mediterranean views.