Comparing beaches is like comparing apples and… coconuts. Some prefer a bustling social scene, others demand quality shade palms to snooze away the day.
One thing all beachgoers can agree on is the importance of safe and swimmable seas.
Splash out on a visit to one of our 20 can’t-miss tropical dips.
Tulum Beach, Mexico
The Riviera Maya is home to a dozen beaches that could make this list — the soft white sand and clear aqua waters of Maroma Beach (10m north of Playa del Carmen) and the turtle haven of jungle-fringed Akumal Beach (21m south of Playa del Carmen) being two notable favorites.
But not many beaches can offer not only a view of the surf and swells, but well-preserved ancient Mayan ruins.
Makena Beach (Big Beach), Maui
Travel past Wailea’s perfectly manicured upscale resort grounds to a 1.5 mile golden shore piece of paradise in Makena State Park.
There are no commercial services on the undeveloped beach, so be sure to stop by the chilled fruit stand or handful of food trucks waiting to serve up “ono” eats in the parking lot for refreshments. Visitors come to sunbathe or body surf with a view of Molokini Crater.
Elbow Beach, Bermuda
The pink sand of Bermuda’s beaches earns its blush thanks to the wealth of red foraminifera growing below the coral reefs. This glowing hue only further sets off the brilliant turquoise waters capped by white foam.
Nearly every beach on the island is gorgeous, but when ships are in, the most popular shores can be too congested to enjoy.
Koh Kradan — Trang, Thailand
Thailand has numerous overdone beach destinations, like Koh Samui and Kho Panang, but with a little research (or connecting with the right local longtail boat) heading off the beaten path for a day of relaxation can be done.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
Topping many a “best beach” list, this sugary sand entry to the Gulf of Mexico’s mellow waters offers a nice mix of natural beauty and social fun.
SUP, kayaks, boogie and skimboards are a few ways to enjoy the sea. Early birds might miss the worm, but certainly score on the seashell front if they hit the sand before 7 a.m.
St. Francois Beach, Corsica
Although not celebrated as the ultimate beach destination, Corsica’s lovely St. Francois Beach is a unique sandy spot to experience — particularly for those visiting the island by ship.
The beach lies just a few minutes stroll from the port on the palm-lined promenade of Boulevard Lantivy below the historic citadel of Ajaccio. The narrow strip of beach extends below the sea wall around the cove offering plenty of room to stretch out to catch a few rays or dip into the deep blue Terranian Sea.
Medano Beach, Los Cabos
Although not top of the world in the pure sense of beach quality, this lovely and rare swimmable stretch of shore offers a lot of social currency as a prime hotspot for visitors to this region of Baja.
Stylish SUR Beach House is a great spot for handcraft cocktails and sushi, with beach chairs, umbrellas and a talented roaming masseuse offering complementary shoulder and foot rubs just a few perks.
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