After stopping by Gizo town, we were only a short boat ride away from what the best dive shop in the Solomon Islands raves on about as the ‘not to miss’ island hop stop, Njari Island.
You step off the boat welcomed by an array of sea creatures and corals beneath you as the jetty leads you to the tiny island. The radiant water teases you on the other side of the island only a couple of steps away but don’t get too distracted just yet as I assure you the sand bar just beyond the trees is worth the wait.
Not only is Njari Islands one of the highest rated dive stops in the entire world but with the purest sands that feels as though you’re walking on a cloud, with the occasional chunk of coral reminding you you’re still on a beach, flawless water proudly twinkles a kaleidoscope of blues and lined with lush trees providing the perfect amount of shade, you will never want to leave.
Whether you are a diving enthusiast, love a good snorkel, want to frolic in breathtakingly clear and calm waters or lounge around on an island all to yourself, Njari Island in the Solomon Islands is perfect.
Contributed by Dana from Wanderingdonut
Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic
Contributed by Michele from Atastefortravel
Pattaya Beach is the main tourist beach on Koh Lipe and is where you will most likely arrive. The sand is soft and powdery white, whilst the water is crystal clear, warm and calm. Everything is just perfect for swimming.
When you’ve had enough of swimming or relaxing on the beach there are plenty of little beach restaurants and bars for some yummy thai food. At night when the sun goes down some of the bars have fire dancing shows which is pretty cool.
For a those a little more adventurous you can take out some kayaks and go exploring around the island, you can even snorkel off the beach, but the snorkeling is much better on the other side of the island.
The only way to reach Pattaya is by boat from mainland Thailand Honeymoon Packages or from Langkawi in Malaysia. There is no jetty on Koh Lipe rather people are ferried from the bigger boats into small long boats onto the beach. Make sure you pack light as you do need to carry your luggage through knee high water.
For those staying on Pattaya Beach, for budget accommodation stay at Green View Bungalows, or if you prefer something more luxurious consider Akira Lipe Resort.
Contributed by Melissa from Thriftyfamilytravels
Los Muertos Beach
Los Muertos Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, and probably also in the world. It is located in the Natural Park Cabo de Gata in the province of Almeria. The beach itself is remote enough that you need to hike for at least 15 minutes to get there. A steep hike with constant views of the beautiful white beach in front of you; the goal of the hike getting closer and closer.
“Playa de Los Muertos” means “Beach of the dead” in Spanish. The name of the beach is said to come from the difficult route you have to do to get down there. Though I did not think it was as hard to hike down the route as I had read up front, it requires good footwear. Also, it is probably not the beach you want to bring too much stuff to. A daypack with the essential should be enough. Bring enough water, some food or snack, your swimwear, and a towel. Further, the beach is made of white pebbles so unless you want a foot spa walking on them, bring some flip flops or beach shoes. The water becomes deep straight away, so if you travel with small kids you have to look after them.
Cintsa, South Africa
South Africa is a country well known for its amazing safaris, fabulous food and wine as well as the gorgeous city of Cape Town. So it is not very often that visitors to South Africa plan a beach holiday.
To be honest, the beach resorts are not wide spread nor easy to reach which ensures that IF you plan a beach holiday in South Africa, most of the times you will have the entire beach to yourself.
One particular area that takes time and effort to get there as a foreigner, is the Wild Coast of South Africa. It is not close to any international airport which means that you will always need a domestic flight then rent a car or book a transfer and add another 1 or so to your travel time.
Cintsa Beach on the Wild Coast of South Africa is fairly close to East London Airport, about 40 km from the airport. Cintsa is a sleepy sea side town with the closest super market about 10km away.
It is a popular holiday destination for South Africans so during the South African School holidays it might get a little bit busy but outside of those holidays, you will have incredibly affordable rates at sea side accommodation and have the entire beach to yourself (even during the school holidays, when we visited, the beach wasn’t packed because it is SO long).
If you’re looking for things to do in Cintsa you won’t find much because people really come here to just enjoy the beach. There’s a very shallow lagoon which is great if you have small children. There are no waves and they can just splash around.
The beach lends itself for those incredible loooooong beach walks with soft sand between your toes, wind in your hair and playing with the tides.
Location: Cintsa, South Africa
Contributed by Jessy from PlanetPilgrims
Baie Lazare, Seychelles
It is unknown for the majority of tourists and there is no huge resort nearby. That’s why you won’t meet many people on it and you can literally have it all to yourself. The waters of the sea are azure, with colors from emerald green to deep blue. The sand is fine and you can always find shade under one of the many palms on the beach. Activities you can have fun with on Baie Lazare beach include snorkeling to spot the rick underwater world, climbing palm trees, hanging your laundry and reuniting with nature at its purest form.
Baie Lazare is located in the south part of the main Seychelles island – Mahe. It takes about 35 minutes by car from Seychelles International Airport. Everything is so close on the island. You can reach the beach with your own rental car or by taxi. Unfortunately, there are still no nearby bus stations.
You won’t find Baie Lazare beach on many top Seychelles beaches lists. And this is actually a good thing – as long as the crowds are not existent on the beach, it will remain the purest, cleanest, one of the most secluded, pristine, and magical beaches on Seychelles.
Sri Lanka was named Lonely Planet’s number 1 country to visit in 2019, and it’s not hard to see why. This tiny island located off the eastern tip of India has so many diverse landscapes and activities to do. In the Southern part of the Island, Mirissa Beach is a popular beach town filled with beachside restaurants and lots of things to do.
There are tons of water activities to do on Mirissa beach like diving, snorkelling, and even blue whale watching! You can do any of these activities for less than $40!
It’s really easy to get here from Colombo. If you have the budget, you could get an uber or hire a private driver. Alternatively, From Colombo Fort station you can get a train to Weligama train station and from there it’s less than a 10-minute drive to Mirissa Beach. Grab a tuk-tuk outside the station and be sure to haggle the price a bit, because they will be inflated!
Mirissa Beach is a long stretch of beach, with beautiful water and the perfect waves for body boarding and surfing. Tons of restaurants line the beach so finding something to eat is easy. Happy Hours start between 1-4pm and go on all night. Drinks cost less than $2 and if you want some rotis for a snack they’ll only set you back around $0.30 USD. They are delicious! For dinner at a “tourist place,” you’ll only pay around $9. We “splurged” and got a beach front, a candlelit dinner with 2 fresh lobsters, 12 fresh prawns, 2 beers and sides for $25 USD.
On the left side of the beach, there is Parrot Rock. It’s a small island that you can easily climb up. There’s a sketchy bridge you have to climb, but it works and I made it so you’ll be fine! From the top you have a 360 panoramic view of the area. Its a fun way place to explore and get some different views.
Mirissa Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in the world because it’s stunning, affordable and there’s a variety of fun things to do here.
Location: Mirissa Beach
Contributed by Naomi from Eatloveexplore
Bekal Beach, Kerala
Bekal beach and fort is located in Kerala state of South India. This beach is one of the most beautiful ones in the world as it has unspoiled natural brilliance around it. The mossy rocks on the beach, greenery surrounding it, including in the fort add to the magnificence of the setting. Bekal is a small town in Kerala, meaning many tourists do not know about it and the locals are the only people who are here. It is a rare gem with a historical fort sporting majestically against the coast. Movie shoots often happen at this fort blocking access to public to parts of the fort. This fort was a setting in the famous Bollywood movie ‘Bombay’ too.
Though Bekal is a year-round beauty, visiting this spot from September through March is especially magical as everything is gorgeously green as far as the eye can see. The unpolluted blue waters of the sea here mesmerize visitors immensely. As mentioned earlier, Bekal is a small town and has limited transportation methods. You should get a train or bus to Kasargod or Kanhagad, (bigger towns near Bekal) and from there catch a taxi or bus to reach Bekal.
Once you are in Bekal, check out the Bekal Fort before you do anything else. Next things to do are Bekal beach park and Kappil beach. If you have more time on your hands or do not want a regular hotel stay for your trip, check out the houseboat stay options in the area. Houseboats are a great way to explore this beautiful God’s own country.
Location: Bekal Beach
Contributed by Priyadarshini from Glorioussunrise
If you plan on traveling to this incredible beach, be sure to exercise caution near the shore and keep a safe distance from the water. The roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean are quite powerful and have claimed several lives over the years. The undercurrent is extremely strong, and at no point is it safe to swim at Reynisfjara beach. However, don’t let this stop you from experiencing the breathtaking views at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If you fancy a delicious meal, the Black Beach Restaurant on-site serves up tasty burgers, soups, and drinks.
Bolonia Beach, Spain
If you like miles of largely untouched golden sand then Bolonia is the beach for you. It’s had very little development and there are only a few ‘chiringuitos’ (wooden beach bar/restaurants) for when you’ve worked up an appetite.
The beach is backed by pine forests with walking trails which lead into the Estrecho Natural Park, and at the northern end is a huge sand dune which is reportedly one of the largest in Europe. A climb to the top of the dune is a must and you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views south to the beach, north over the pines, as well as across to Morocco. If you’re lucky you’ll also get to spot vultures circling overhead.
When the ‘levante’ (easterly wind) is blowing the kite surfers head here to play in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. For those less adventurous the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia are always worth exploring (free entry to EU citizens who show their passport or ID card, otherwise there is a small admission charge) and an hour or so here will show you everything you need to know about Bolonia’s past as a fish salting community.
Located on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, Bolonia can only be reached by car by turning off the N340 (which runs from Tarifa towards Vejer de la Frontera) and following the CA-8202 for several miles between two rocky outcrops. Its location means that, although it can get busy during summer weekends, at other times you’ll find that the only others sharing the beach with you are of the bovine variety as it’s not unusual to see cows wandering up and down the sand!
Grand Anse, Grenada
The stunning seven-mile long Grand Anse Beach is Grenada’s most famous beach and often rank among the top 10 beaches in the world. Last year, it was named Best Caribbean Beach in USA Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards. When you cast your eyes upon the two-miles of immaculate ivory sand, embraced by shimmering turquoise shores and shaded by coconut and sea-almond trees, it’s clear to see why this is such a popular beach.
As Grand Anse Beach is perched to the south-west of Grenada, it’s shielded from the gusty winds and strong currents that can be found elsewhere on the island. Dotted along the sand, you’ll find a string of bars, restaurants and luxury resorts to suit a range of budgets, from the five-star luxury of Silversands and Spice Island Beach Resort, to the low-key living offered by Seabreeze Hotel.
From the dive centre located on the beach – the Aquanauts Centre – you can also visit a number of Grenada’s diving attractions, including the Underwater Sculpture Museum and one of the Caribbean’s biggest ship wrecks – sunken Italian luxury liner, Bianca C.
Just a ten-minute drive away from Maurice Bishop International Airport, Grand Anse is very easy to get to. You can also reach the beach via a water taxi from the capital, St. George’s.
Once at the beach, sun loungers and umbrellas are available for rent for a small fee.
Location: Grand Anse Beach
Contributed by Kacie from The Rare Welsh Bit
Cottesloe Beach, Perth
Cottesloe Beach is only 20 minutes from the centre of town and is easily accessible by car, train and bus. There is plenty of free parking and the public transport is cheap (a few dollars per person) and frequent.
It is a favourite beach with the locals who enjoy its white sandy beach, crystal clear water and green grassy picnic areas. The large Norfolk Pine Trees that line the Esplanade offer plenty of shade on a hot sunny day. The cafes and restaurants that line the road offer a variety of dining options that cater for all tastes.
On still summer mornings the water is glassy and calm, sparkling blue – perfect for floating in the water while you look up at the clear blue sky. The Main Beach in front of the art deco Indiana Restaurant is perfect for this.
It is also one of the best locations in Perth for snorkelling. Head to the Northern part of the beach and keep your eyes open for the leafy sea dragons who call the area home.
When the surf is in it also attracts surfers, who head to the southern end of the beach near the rocky reef.
Being on the West Coast means that the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. My suggestion is to grab some fish and chips from across the road and settle in of an evening to see something incredible.
In March, Cottesloe beach turns into an outdoor art gallery as it hosts the annual Sculptures By The Sea. This is a fun and free event which is definitely worth checking out.
Location: Cottesloe Beach
Contributed by Rochelle from Lovefamilylifetravel
Durdle Door, UK
Durdle door beach is in Dorset Uk and is part of the stunning Jurassic coast. It is Dorset’s most ionic and photographed landmarks.
Access to the pebble and shingle Durdle door beach is on foot via a path and steps over the hill from the Car Park which is located on the cliff top at Durdle Door Holiday Park.
Its free to access the beach but car park charges will apply. It is possible to follow the Jurassic coast path where you can join at numerous points. If you’re feeling up to it the whole route is 95 miles and runs from Dorset to Devon.
The walk down to Durdle door is not for the faint hearted or in my case the unfit. The way down is easy and the views are some of the most beautiful i have ever seen. Make sure you take them all in on the way down because on the way back up you might be too wiped to notice.
Once you round the corner and Durdle door comes into sight you will see why its one of the best beaches to visit.
The magnificent natural limestone arch was formed when the power of the waves eroded the rock and formed a hole through the middle. On a calm day you can swim out to the arch or just paddle with Durdle door as your backdrop.
It’s not a typical activity packed beach with the water-sports and cafes its a thinking beach as i like to call it. A place where you can go, just breath and be happy.
If you think Durdle door is stunning during the day wait until you should see it at sunset.
Location: Durdle Door
Contributed by Lisa from Thefamilyticket
Costa Rei, Italy
Costa Rei is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. It’s a very long stretch of fine, golden sand and incredibly clear waters, occasionally dotted by beautiful rock formations that contribute to its charme.
The beach is easily accessible in several points, so ideal for families with children and for disabled people. It is very well serviced with a few kiosks where you can get a drink, gelato or a light meal; and rent any equipment you may need for your day at the beach, such as umbrella and sun beds. Some bigger kiosks also offer pedal boat rental and organize daily boat expeditions to explore the coast; or activities such as the fun tube.
When the wind blows, Costa Rei becomes the perfect spot for wind and kite surfing. However, keep in mind that on those occasions sand flies everywhere so you may be better off going to one of the nearby, more protected beaches.
Costa Rei tends to get crowded in the summer months – much like the rest of Sardinian beaches. However, it never gets overwhelming. If you care to enjoy the beach by yourself, plan to visit in June or in the second half of September – though not at ther weekend.
Costa Rei is located on the eastern coast of the island, it’s at about 1 hour drive from Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, and can be easily reached driving along the new SS125 road or, for a longer journey that offers incredible views, in about 1 hour and 45 minutes along the coastal route. Though the best way to get there is independently with your own car, it’s also easy to reach by public transportation, with regular daily buses leaving from Cagliari central bus station.
Location: Beach Costa Rei
Contributed by Claudia from Myadventuresacrosstheworld
Bay of Fires, Australia
If you love to get away from it all then this beach is perfect for you.
Koh Rong Samloem
Kynance Cove, Cornwall UK
Kynance Cove is a National Trust-managed beach on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, south west England. If you visit Kynance Cove at low tide, there are wonderful tidal pools to splash in, caves to explore, giant rock stacks protruding from the waves and stretches of sand to relax on. There is a history of smuggling in Cornwall and it’s easy to imagine smugglers hiding their contraband goods in the dark caves at Kynance Cove.
Kynance Cove today is a popular beach despite its remote location. To reach the beach, visitors require a car: it’s a drive of around six hours from London or you can fly to Exeter (2.5 hours drive) or Newquay (1.5 hours drive) and hire a car. There are lots of lovely cottages to rent in the area. Steps from a car park lead down through the cliffs past a small café to the beach. Ensure you arrive early in summertime as the car park fills up quickly. You should also time your visit with low tide: much of the beach is reclaimed by the sea when the tide comes in. Visitors are often seen racing across the beach with their belongings to avoid being cut off: parts of the beach become inaccessible at high tide.
Kynance Cove is part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve, it is surrounded by peaceful heathland, wildflowers and incredible coastal scenery. The reserve is home to rare plants and is an important habitat for a range of wildlife.
Location: Kynance Cove, United Kingdom
Contributed by Annabel from Smudgedpostcard
Silver Sands of Morar, Mallaig, UK
Laniakea Beach is located on Oahu Hawaii’s north shore. Laniakea means “wide sky” in Hawaiian. It’s a 10 minute drive from Haleiwa Town and an hour drive from Waikiki. However, you might miss it if you’re not looking! It is easy to drive right past this beautiful beach because there are no marked signs. It’s also relatively small in size. Parking is just across the street, but you’ll be lucky if you can find a spot. Otherwise, you can park by the side of the road.
This beach is popular among tourists because of its beauty and reputation for wildlife. It is also known as Turtle Beach because of the green sea turtles who often visit here. Laniakea beach is one of the best places on the island of Oahu to spot turtles. The turtles are protected under Hawaiian laws. You’ll often find volunteers setting up rope barriers to protect the turtles. It is important to respect the turtles and give them their space. Volunteers happily answer questions about the turtles, so don’t hesitate to talk to them!
Green Sea turtles are attracted to Laniakea beach because its rocky bluff grows plenty of seaweed for them to munch on. That being said, the rocky patches make Laniakea beach difficult for swimming. Although, it is a very popular beach for surfers. Especially during winter time, the waves on Oahu’s North Shore are monstrous. Sometimes 30+ feet high! If you plan on swimming in the water, spring and summer are the best times to go. While parts are rocky, there are also sandy regions perfect for longing and relaxing.
Location: Laniakea Beach
Contributed by Valentina from Valentinasdestinations
As one of the most photographed attractions in the Aegean Sea, Sarakiniko Beach will take your breath away. This unique beach is Mother Nature’s creation, through and through, and made up almost entirely out of volcanic rock and other geological material.
If you’re looking for a sand beach, this one definitely isn’t it, unless you count the patch of sand at the end of the inlet that separates the beach in two halves. However, what it lacks in sand, it makes up for in splendor. It’s unique landscape often earns a comparison to a “lunar landscape”.
Hanging out at Sarakiniko beach is an adventure. Walk around the beach from side to side and explore its various nooks and crannies – there’s even a shipwreck around! Go cliff diving, explore the old mine tunnels underneath the beach, or just simply relax and enjoy.
The beach is located on the northern side of Milos island and is perfectly positioned for enjoying sunsets and sunrises, and for stargazing. And, best of all, it’s free to enjoy! That also means that there isn’t anything organized (i.e., sun loungers, bars, etc.), so bring food and water with you! The only thing nearby is a food truck occasionally stationed at the entrance, and it’s far enough that you won’t want to go to it for a snack.
Due to its position, Sarakiniko beach gets hit hard by northern winds, and as such, it’s not the best for lounging or swimming during high winds (though you can still go see it). Keep your weather app handy and plan accordingly! On sunny days, aim to get here early so you can choose your spots, as one of Milos’ darlings, the beach gets busy, fast.
For those short on time, consider taking a walking tour of the best sites in Milos, which stops by for a visit. Alternatively, you can pass it by boat if you’re taking a sailing trip around Milos, or on a special kayak tour.
Location: Sarakiniko, Milos
Contributed by Ioana from Theworldismyplayground
South West Bay Beach, Providencia Island, Colombia
Contributed by Roger from ExpertWorldTravel
Diani Beach, Kenya
Diani Beach on the Kenyan south coast is an uninterrupted stretch of sand so white it hurts your eyes. Framed by swaying palms and the turquoise blue seas of the Indian Ocean. It is an instagrammmers dream. Camels wander along the sands, dolphins leap in the waves and further out whale sharks glide along some of the best diving in the world. Diani beach stretches for 10km before meeting the tidal reef at Tiwi in the north. Towards the south the white strands stretch uninterrupted towards Tanzania.
There are a few boutique hotels, high end restaurants and laid back beach bars along the beach at Diani, but this is off the beaten track territory. Diani may be the busiest beach in Kenya but its still sleepy and remarkably rural. Book a cottage or villa on the seafront and spend your days with your toes in the sand…. Diani is for relaxing rather than partying.
Getting there: The closest international airport is Mombasa, a 2 hour drive away, but if travelling from the capital Nairobi then fly to Ukunda which is right in Diani.
Staying there: A sleepy shack on the beach can be found for as little as 40 USD through Airbnb whereas a night but high end hotels can start at 400 USD.
What to do: snooze in hammocks in the shade of the palms. If the wind is up visit one of the Kite surfing schools. Dive at the reef and see turtles, Whaleshark and whale, chill at Nomads with the local Dawa cocktail.
Location: Diani Beach
Contributed by Dana from Livetravelkenya
Lonely Beach, Koh Chang
Contributed by Chittra from Masalabox
Destin Beach, Florida
Destin Beach in the Pandhandle of Florida is a very popular beach for locals and travelers alike. Known to the locals as the A1A coastal, Destin Beach is part of the Emerald Coast. It gets its name because of the beautiful color of the water, as it takes on a clear emerald green color. It also has some of the whitest beaches in the world. Between the beautiful colors of the beach and 12 beach access points, it’s no wonder that 4 million visitors come to Destin beach each year!
There are many activities along the emerald coast, from Destin you can kayak, windsail, jet ski or boat. If you visit during the month of October you can participate in the annual Destin Fishing Rodeo and the annual Destin Seafood Festival.
Destin Beach is located in Florida, and is technically considered an island, though it is now connected to the main land after hurricanes and water level changes. Part of the beach in Destin is designated as a a state park, Henderson Beach State Park. You can access Destin any number of ways. Many people arrive by boat, but most people arrive by car across the bridge connected the mainland to the peninsula. You can also arrive by plane, with the closest airport less than 2 hours from the beaches.
Destin has been named by the locals as “the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” in the world, as they claim to have the largest fishing vessel fleet in Florida. It is truly a bustling tourist attraction that has a rich local culture all year round. If you are interested in visiting Destin you can expect to pay around $200 for a room in the off season and upwards of $350 during the best parts of the year. Many condominiums and houses are available for rental as well.
Contributed by Charisty from FireDeptFamily
Contributed by Leanne from Theglobetrottergp
Seventy Five Mile Beach
It’s no secret the beaches in Australia are some of the most beautiful in the world and choosing a favourite would be incredibly difficult. However, after 12 months in Australia (and several beach days later) there was one which stood out – 75 Mile beach on Fraser Island. It is considered one of the most iconic beaches in Australia because it is used as both a highway and a runway.
One of the best things to do on Fraser Island is hire a 4WD and travel upto 80km/h along 75 Mile beach or alternatively take to the sky on a intimate Air Fraser flight which takes off from the sand. Either choice is an incredible experience, with both providing epic views of the powerful waves and unique landscape of Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world.
Wildlife is also in abundance on 75 Mile Beach with the native dingo frequenting the area as well rays and a large shark population. Needless to say, swimming is not advised because of this, however there are numerous stunning fresh water lakes nearby to swim in instead. If you time your visit between August and October you may also witness whales migrating from 75 Mile Beach, providing further reason it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Fraser Island is located off the coast of mainland Queensland and is accesible via a short ferry ride from either Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach. If you do not wish to drive along 75 Mile Beach yourself there are numerous tour operators who offer this experience of a life time.
Black Sand Beach, Hawaii
Along the Road to Hana is the unique Black Sand Beach in Hawaii. To get to this beach in the Waianapanapa State Park of Maui, you will want to rent a car. The famous Road to Hana has over 600 curves in the road and is a drive that lasts about 2.5 hours as you cross over one lane bridges and visit waterfalls and lava tubes along the way. As you drive along the Hana Highway, at 53 miles in, you will be able to pull over and experience this exceptional beach made of black sand. Just make sure to start your journey back to your hotel before sunset – otherwise you will have to drive the Hana Highway in the dark!
The sand is black from the volcanic minerals and lava from past eruptions. There are a variety of things to do during your stop at the Black Sand Beach. You can climb through a small cave to see a lava tube. Even if the weather isn’t good enough for swimming, you can try the Kipapa O Kihapiilani Trail to get an overview of the beach. The trail is easy enough for families, though it is not paved. The natural sea arches and cliffs are phenomenal to watch as the ocean crashes against the shore, and the forest and freshwater caves are a bonus at this park. Before you start your journey on the Road to Hana, consider bringing your lunch for a picnic on the beach. You can easily spend a while watching the waves here.
Holkham Beach, North Norfolk, UK
Dog friendly all year round, the wide expanse means that even at times a sense of space and solitude can be found here, Arrive early at the beach and you may even get the stretch to yourself! Holkham beach attracts those wanting a long, peaceful walk, in contrast with busier neighbouring Wells-by-the-Sea which offers eating, shopping and toilet facilities close to the beach. Chosen as the beach featured in ‘Shakespeare in Love’, Gwyneth Paltrow has walked these shores. You may be also be lucky enough to see the pounding of hooves on the beach as the riders exercise their horses- this is fabulous to watch. Holkham beach is simply stunning.
Ao Phra Nang Beach, Thailand
Shell Island Florida
Visiting the natural beauty of Shell Island will complete your trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. A short boat ride from the mainland takes you to this undeveloped 700-acre barrier island that lies between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews State Park. Actually is a continuation of the state park, so people are allowed to visit and stay for the entire day.
What makes the beaches of Shell Island so special is the sugar sand. Instead of sand made from crushed shells and corals, sugar sand is made from quartz crystals. It’s the whitest, puffiest sand you’ll ever see. Miles and miles of white sand beaches and tall sand dunes await visitors at Shell Island.
You have to reach Shell Island by boat, but St Andrew’s State Park runs shuttle service that’s fast and super convenient. Also, almost every boat tour of the bay stops by Shell Island. Our favorite was the dolphin/snorkeling tours where you could snorkel with wild dolphins before your visit to Shell Island.
Once you reach Shell Island, you can fill your day with adventure or do nothing at all. We loved snorkeling along the rocks of the jetty. We found lots of shells walking along the beaches. Crossing the dunes was interesting, not only because they were beautiful, but you could actually hear the sand squeak beneath your feet. A small concession stand provided snacks and the opportunity to rent kayaks. We couldn’t believe how many pictures we took. Everywhere we looked, we found an Instagrammable views.
Contributed by Jennifer from Colemanconcierge
Porto Santo, Portugal
Porto Santo is a tiny Portuguese Island located on the Atlantic Ocean. It charms tourists with its stunning white sand beaches and beautiful pristine waters. The main beach is almost 9km long and spreads along almost the entire southern coast of the island. In other parts of Porto Santo, you can find sandy beaches with some dark volcanic rocks, which are equally beautiful.
There are many hotels, restaurants and beach bars located along the beach to make your stay comfortable. If you prefer more active holidays and some of the activities you can try while visiting Porto Santo are surfing, paddle surfing, sailing, horse riding and dolphin watching. Our favourite ones are snorkelling and diving tours.
How to get to Porto Santo?
There is an airport connecting Porto Santo with some of the European cities and Funchal. Another way of getting to Porto Santo, chosen by most tourists, is a ferry from a bigger island of the archipelago – Madeira. Since Madeira Island, in spite of being marvellous, isn’t known for its beaches, most tourist visit Porto Santo just to relax and swim during their Madeira holidays.
The daily ferry cruise between Madeira and Porto Santo takes around 2.5 hours. The off-season price of a round trip per adult is 48,60 € and from April to September- 59,44 €. Child ticket costs 24,30 € (off-season) / 29,72 € (during the high season).
Contributed by Edyta from Sayyestomadeira
Playa Puerto Villamil
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their incredible wildlife, and rightly so. But they are also home to some of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen! One of our favourites is Playa Puerto Villamil which is found right in the main town on Isla Isabela.
This white sand beach extends for over 3km and is the perfect place to enjoy colourful sunsets after a busy day of exploring. The powdery soft sand gives way to some of the clearest blue waters we’ve seen.
The beach is unquestionably beautiful, but that’s not all that makes it special. While it’s never crowded, there’s a good chance you’ll be sharing that sand with a few marine iguanas. Manta rays, turtles and sea lions are also often seen close to shore. The sheltered bay at the town end of the beach is a good place to snorkel and is backed by a popular marine iguana breeding ground.
The sea lions and rays aren’t the only ones who can surf the waves at Puerto Villamil. This is the perfect beach to learn how to surf and there are a few surf shops in town that offer lessons and rentals.
While the beach is right in town, Isla Isabela takes a little work to reach. Most visitors flying into the Galapagos Islands begin their vacation in Isla Santa Cruz. From here it is a 2-hour speed boat ferry to get to Isla Isabela that will cost $30. If you arrive in San Cristobal, you first have to take the ferry to Santa Cruz, before boarding the boat for Isabela. There is an additional $10 Galapagos National Park entrance fee when you arrive at the dock in Isla Isabela. But don’t worry, you won’t regret the time or effort it takes to get there!
Contributed by Claire from Pastthepotholes
Among the things that make the beach at Odeceixe special are the swirling patterns of shallow water that spread across the sandy expanse between the mouth of the River Seixe and the Atlantic Ocean. Depending on the tide, this creates a lagoon effect with calm water that’s safe for paddling. The ocean is choppier, lending itself to surfing – there’s even a surf school here for those who want to partake.
To either side of the beach, you’ve got rugged cliffs and rock formations in the sea. Aside from the appeal of the sand and water, the views from the clifftops are spectacular as you get to fully appreciate the patterns created by the river on the sandy beach. You can admire these at leisure from the row of cafés near the steps to the beach. Follow the clifftops south along the Rota Vicentina hiking trail and you’ll be rewarded with dramatic rock formations that resemble dragons.
Odeceixe beach is 3 kilometres west of the village of Odeceixe in the Alentejo region of Portugal and in summer months, i.e. June to September, there’s a special tourist train linking the two. Outside this period, you can walk, cycle or drive, following the river to its conclusion. Driving time from Lisbon is just under 3 hours but if you don’t have a car, there are buses from Sete Rios station in Lisbon that will get you to Odeceixe in around 3.5 hours.
Contributed by Julie from Juliedawnfox
Isla Holbox, Mexico
Isla Holbox is one of the best kept secrets in Mexico. This hidden gem, reachable only by ferry and small plane, is adventurous travel for those seeking sustainable, eco-friendly beach destinations. The natural, unspoiled beach stretches for miles. Isla Holbox is part of the Yum Balam Nature Preserve, where you can spy flamingos, hundreds of birds, whale sharks, sea turtles, and scores of marine life.
When you’ve had your fill of sun-bathing on the beach, hop on a kayak or boat for exploring or fishing, or take up kite-boarding. OR, head back to your hotel pool and bar. You and yours will love moving simply about this cafe-free island by foot, bicycle or golf cart taxi. And local dining and flavors are a real treat. The freshest, most flavorful guacamole we’ve ever tasted.
Isla Holbox, an island in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, is found on the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. We flew into Cancun and arranged for a private transfer — car, ferry, then golf cart —from the airport to our sweet boutique hotel on the island. Our hotel was happy to make the transfer arrangements for us for one flat fee. There are local buses and group shuttles if you want a cheaper option. From Cancun, you will be driven to Chiquilá to catch the ferry to Holbox. Then a golf cart taxi can drive you to your hotel, AirBnB, or hostel. Plan on about 2.5 hours for travel from Cancun to Holbox.
Most people only visit Holbox for a day or two. We stayed for an entire week and loved every minute. As a couple, we spent about $3000 total on airfare, transportation, mid-range hotel, local dining, and activities. We had plenty of time for rest, relaxation and adventure. We encourage you to put your feet up in a hammock and stay a while on Isla Holbox .
Contributed by Tanya from Radfamilytravel