Picture this... sunkissed skin, sinking into the soft sand around you, waves crashing quietly in the distance, the sea breeze ever so lightly cooling you down. I'm not going to lie, beach vacations are usually at the top of my bucket list. Since all beaches are completely different, it is important to find the beach best suited for you. Some are sandy, some rocky, some you hike to, and some just a couple steps from the car. It also depends on what kind of a swimmer you are and what activities you like to do at the beach. Allow me to take you through what I think are the top 10 beaches around the world.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu Hawaii
"Lani Kai" directly translates to "Heavenly Ocean" which could not be a more fitting name for this beach. The beach is known for the best views of the Mokalua Islands, a sight (I think) everyone should see in their lifetime. The water is crystal clear and astonishingly turquoise, allowing you to see all types of sea creatures as you swim. The beach is known for a few Tiger Shark sightings, but typically farther out into the ocean far from any swimming areas. A sea turtle sighting, however, is very common! In terms of parking... good luck. The beach is surrounded by tight roads and residential areas, so finding parking is not always the easiest. Go early in the day for more parking opportunities, or be ready to walk.
My Lanikai story.
My sister used to live only about 10 minutes from Lanikai beach, giving us ample opportunity to visit the best beaches on Oahu. Her house sat upon a meandering river that led directly into the ocean, so we woke up early one morning, grabbed our paddleboards, and set out to paddle to the Mokalua Islands. It was a peaceful ride paddling over coral reefs, fish communities, and even a couple sea turtles on the way. The only hard part was getting on the island. The current rips around the islands creating massive waves that'll rip you down in a second. Timing it just right, we quickly paddled onto the island. I share this story because it was one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen in my lifetime. There aren't any boats that go to the islands, so I recommend renting a kayak or paddleboard to get you there (it's too far to swim).
Castaway Island, Fiji
Breathtakingly soft, white-sand beaches, easy snorkeling access, multi colored coral gardens, rainforest, and bright blue water- what more could you want in a beach vacation? Officially names Qalito Island, Castaway Island is home to a four-star resort surrounded by the most incredible beaches. The resort offers numerous activities you can do all around the island so there's something for everyone you travel with. Popular activities include boat tours, waterskiing, surfing, jet skiing and more! If you're less of an adrenaline junky, the resort has beautiful spas that offer massages, facials, and other cosmetic treatments.
Rangali Island Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives
The Maldives are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The pristine white sand next to the clear blue water is a sight you cannot miss. If you like traveling to places that celebrities vacation to, this might be the place for you. The Kardashians not only vacation here regularly, but have filmed various episodes of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" here as well. The famous family stays in the Conrad Resort where one night in a water bungalow will most likely cost more than your round trip flight... but don't worry, there are other lodging options in the resort. Be sure to splurge one night at the Underwater Cafe for once in a lifetime dining views.
Water Island, St. Thomas
This small, secluded island is perfect if you want a quiet getaway. There are no cars on the island, so depending where you stay, you might have access to a golf cart ot get around the island. To get to the island, you'll need to take a short ferry from St. Thomas. The ferry runs back and forth throughout the day, so make sure you get the timing right, depending on when you want to go. You have to pay to use the ferry each time, so make sure you have cash with you- they don't accept credit cards on board. Once you're on the island, your golf cart will take you to any beach at any time. The snorkeling is spectacular and the beaches are clean with crystal clear water. There is one small beach restaurant on the island, Heidi's Honeymoon Grill, serving classic American food and amazing Jamaican food. Since it's the only restaurant on the island, it's a little pricey, so I recommend getting groceries in St. Thomas and cooking at home.
Marina Grande, Positano
The Amalfi Coast in and of itself is a sight to see. Beautiful houses rest upon cliffs overlooking beautiful water and astonishing beaches. The Marina Grande is one of the most popular beaches in Positano due to it's breathtaking views of the brightly colored village, impeccable mountain views, and beautiful water. The sunsets in Positano are definitely some of the best in the world, so hit the beach later in the day for some insane views. Since this beach is so popular, it definitely gets crowded... very crowded. Therefore, finding the right time to hit the beach is important- i'd stick to early morning or late afternoon to beat the midday rush. Positano is an amazing place to visit so while you're there, try to get a couple beach days in.
Try to bring beach chairs, the beach is pretty rocky and with the large crowds, it can be hard to find the perfect sandy spot.
Railay Beach, Krabi Thailand
Located next to the Andaman Sea, Railay beach is home to pillowy soft sand, transparent greenish water, staggering cliffs, and lush jungle. The region is composed of for main beaches, so you have a new place to visit each day. For a spectacular once in a lifetime experience, head to Phra Nang Beach where you'll be amazed by small islands, interesting caves, and coral reefs you can explore. A popular beach in the area is Railay West for its close proximity to a variety of restaurants, bars, resorts and shops. Want to know the best part? Hotels in Thailand range from about $10-$40 a night. To be clear, I'm not talking about a little shack in the jungle- no... 4 and 5 star resorts are this cheap. So sure, the flight might be pricey, but once you're there, you'll spend less than you ever have on vacation. Here are some options in the area.
Sanur Beach, Bali
The beaches of Bali are by far in the top 10. This Indonesian island has beautiful green water, soft white sands, and absolutely legendary sunsets. Wherever you stay, direct beach access is extremely common, so you never have to worry about driving to beaches. There are numerous five-star resorts situated throughout the island. If you happen to stay somewhere without beach access, Sanur Beach should be at the top of your list. The beach offers an extremely laid back atmosphere, calm water, and soft sand. If you're looking for a more exciting beach, head to Kuta Beach as it is perfect for surfing and more rowdy crowds.
Canneto Beach, Cinque Terre Italy
So, Cinque Terre is not exactly known for their beaches... but maybe that's why the beaches seem so appealing! Canneto Beach is relatively unknown to outsiders, making it one of the locals' best kept secrets. This tiny beach is beautiful, secluded, and relaxing. The catch? It's only accessible by sea. However, the journey pays off when you get there since there's a good chance you'll have the beach to yourself. This rustic paradise is wild and untouched, making it a truly rare experience in Cinque Terre. The only sounds you'll hear are the waves crashing on the shore. If you choose to do so, you can kayak from Riomaggiore to Canneto Beach, but it's recommended that you bring someone else with you so alternate paddling- it's quite the distance so bringing an experienced kayaker may be beneficial. If you're not the kayaking type, I suggest renting a motor boat from Riomaggiore, head south for about 20 minutes until you see a beautiful waterfall cascading down to the beach- this is Canneto.
There's truly nothing like a good beach vacation. There are numerous paradise locations all around the world and a beach suited for every type of person. Whether you're looking to relax or engage in constant activity, each of these top beaches offer something a little different for every beach goer. So, sit back, relax, and succumb to the opportunity to plan your next beach travel adventure.
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