For some travelers, the perfect beach trip consists of white sand and blue waters. For others, a family-friendly atmosphere defines a beach’s excellence. And yet for others, an off-the-grid setting is a top factor. In truth, there isn’t one ideal strip of sand that would suit everyone. Still, our ranking of the Best Beaches in the World showcases what makes a beach stand out: ambiance, accessibility, affordability and approval among experts and travelers. Before you grab your towel and hit the sands, check out which places top our list, and vote for your favorites.
#1 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: It’s hard to compete with the coral sands of Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. Brimming with luxury hotels and casual restaurants, the Cayman Islands leave travelers with little to complain about. Head south to Eden Rock for some spectacular shore dives.
#2 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: This isolated isle offers coconut-lined beaches, a lush jungle and small inlets where you can admire colorful fish and coral reefs. For crystal clear waters and calm waves, visit Matira Beach. And don’t forget to check out the fascinating aquatic life at the Bora Bora Lagoonarium.
#3 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: With endless miles of white- and chocolate-sand beaches and swaying palm trees, Kauai lulls beachgoers with its natural beauty and laid-back charm. Po’ipu Beach, Hanakapi’ai Beach and Lumahai Beach are just a few of this island’s stunning shorelines.
#4 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: If your ideal beach includes warm waters filled with tropical fish, look no further than the Maldives. You’ll have your pick of more than 3,000 coral reefs to explore. And when you’re not snorkeling or scuba diving, you’ll find plenty of palm-lined beaches on which to sprawl.
#5 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: Seychelles’ Anse Source d’Argent stands out as one of the world’s finest beaches. Located on La Digue Island in the Indian Ocean, this beach is easily recognized by its massive boulders. But you shouldn’t overlook the island of Praslin, which also boasts unspoiled sands.
#6 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: Sparkling white-sands and laid-back vibes make Anguilla a top spot for sun seekers. And with more than 33 beaches to choose from, including Shoal Bay East and Rendezvous Bay, beachgoers can find plenty of spots to lay down a towel.
Turks & Caicos
#7 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: Located on the eastern edge of Providenciales, Grace Bay Beach is popular for its calm water, powdery sands and classic Caribbean scenery. If you can’t snag a spot there, try Pillory Beach on Grand Turk, which offers gentle waters that are suitable for snorkeling.
#8 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: Fiji’s cerulean waters and chalky white sands offer a postcard-perfect setting. While sun worshippers seek out secluded beaches along the Coral Coast, surfers and divers can check out Taveuni’s Rainbow Reef and Vuna Reef or explore the luminous lagoons of The Yasawas.
#9 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: Just off the coast of Florida, near Fort Myers, this low-key isle lures beachcombers in search of colorful seashells and scenic beaches. Visit Bowman’s Beach to find unique shells strewn across the sand. Cap off your day with a tripto Captiva Island to watch the sunset.
#10 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: Bordered by green hills and ancient temples, Bali’s beaches make for a stunning photo op. Kuta and Sanur’s unspoiled sands draw travelers far and wide, while the Bukit Peninsula’s reef breaks and striking seaside cliffs appeal to adventurous types ready to ride the waves.
#11 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: With Corfu’s dramatic rock formations and picturesque sands, it’s easy to see why Shakespeare chose the isle as the backdrop for his play, “The Tempest.” After soaking up Glyfada’s sun and splendor, explore the olive-filled countryside.
Playa del Carmen
#12 in Best Beaches in the World
Why go: Travelers flock to “Playa” each year for its lively atmosphere. Running alongside the town’s main thoroughfare, La Quinta Avenida, the beach is backed by vibrant shops and eateries. After people-watching along La Quinta, claim a spot along the beach’s northern end.