If you’re wondering where we’ll be this summer, well… it’s pretty simple. You can likely find us basking in the sunshine on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The thing about going to the beach is that as much as they are similar, none are exactly the same. Meaning that the art of beach-hopping is as much about becoming a connoisseur as say, savoring bourbon or wine.
With travel and tourism at an all-time high post-pandemic and with new measures in place to protect flight passengers, now is the perfect time to savor the sunshine, sand, and sea spray. So we asked some of our favorite travel writers and influencers to reveal their best-kept beach destinations around the world, so you can start prepping and planning your next beach getaway. From the idyllic and secluded Kalalau Beach to the softest sand in Siesta Key, let these recommendations leap to the top of your own tropical travel list.
VICKI DENIG (@vickidenig): BALOS BEACH, GREECE
Balos Beach is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Accessible only by foot via a walking path, the lagoon is tucked away on the northwestern side of the island of Crete, promising turquoise-hued waters, white sand beaches, and an unforgettable good time.
Pro tip: While snack stands are available around the beach, pack a heftier meal if planning to spend the day – and definitely bring sneakers for the trek down to the sand!
MIKALA LUGEN (@mikalalugen): KALALAU BEACH, KAUAI
For my 24th birthday, I spent four days with no service (which I loved) and hiked the Nāpali Coast on the island of Kauai. Known as one of the world’s most dangerous hikes, the Kalalau Trail traverses 11 miles of lush valleys and towering sea cliffs that have killed quite a number of people who don’t watch their steps. While it was one of the hardest physical challenges I’ve endured, taking that first step onto Kalalau Beach is something I’ll never forget. It’s only accessible by foot and leads you to one of the world’s most remote beaches, surrounded and blocked by sheer, fluted pali.
Here you can do literally anything – including running across the beach naked, if you so desire – because it’s completely secluded. My friends and I spent my birthday morning here and I felt completely cradled by and in awe of Mother Nature. No wonder why Jurassic Park was filmed here, it truly looks like something out of a movie.
NOAMI GREVEMBERG (@irietoaurora): GRAND RIVIERE BEACH, TRINIDAD
As a proud Trinidadian, I can’t help but gush about my favorite beach destination—Grand Riviere. Nestled within this serene fishing community on the northeastern coast of the island lies a hidden gem that has stolen my heart—the annual arrival of leatherback turtles. Let me take you on a journey to this enchanting beach, where nature’s spectacle unfolds.
What sets Grand Riviere Beach apart is the overwhelming abundance of these gentle giants. It’s the only place on Earth where you can witness such a remarkable concentration of leatherback turtles.
But it’s not just about witnessing nature’s marvels. Grand Riviere offers a deeper connection. Guided by passionate locals and dedicated ecologists, folks can learn about the tireless efforts to protect these incredible creatures and their nesting grounds. This shared dedication to conservation and preservation resonates with my own values, amplifying my love for this beach and its inhabitants.
Grand Riviere’s beach is where my soul finds solace. It’s a place where I can escape the chaos of daily life and immerse myself in the harmony of nature. The leatherback turtles symbolize resilience and the timeless cycles of life and remind me of the interconnectedness of all living beings and the importance of cherishing our environment. It’s a beacon of hope and inspiration, of the power we hold as humans to protect and preserve the wonders of our planet.
Grand Riviere is more than just a beach—it’s a sanctuary of natural marvels.
OLGA MASLIANKO (@honest.trip): KAILUA BEACH PARK, OAHU, HAWAII
Kailua Beach Park is hands down one of my all-time favorite spots to unwind and have a blast! Located on the eastern side of Oahu, Hawaii, it’s a total gem. The beach itself is like a dream, with soft, powdery sand that stretches on for miles and water so clear and turquoise it’s like a postcard.
The best part? It’s awesome for the whole family! You can swim, snorkel, or even rent a kayak and explore the gentle waves. The beautiful mountains and cool breezes make the scene even more magical. Whenever I’m there, I feel like I’ve found my own personal paradise. So, if you’re looking for a relaxed and exciting getaway with your loved ones, Kailua Beach Park is the place to be!
HANNAH & NICK (@saltinourhair): PUNTA UVA, COSTA RICA
Punta Uva is a tucked-away beach on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. It is a beach as raw as it comes, a spot that’s mostly known by the local Costa Ricans. We love it for its pristine white-sand beach with palm trees that dangle over the clear blue waters. It’s a one-of-a-kind beach due to the wildlife spotted in this area, like sloths and macaws. Just pure nature!
At Punta Uva, it’s about pure relaxation and taking in the remote environment. Closeby is a kayak rental that you can take up the river to spot even more wildlife. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, is the nearest large town to Punta Uva and a fantastic place to spend your beach holiday.
JESSICA KELLY (@adventures.are.waiting): SIESTA KEY BEACH, FLORIDA
In my career as a travel journalist, I’ve been so fortunate to have seen so many beautiful beaches all over the world. From the Cayman Islands and Central America, to Bermuda and Hawaii, there are incredible beaches with crystal clear water and amazing snorkeling. But one beach in particular will always hold a special place in my heart.
I’ve been going to Siesta Key Beach since I was a kid with my family, and my parents were going with friends way before my sisters and I were even born. What keeps my family and I coming back is not just the beach, but the sense of community in the village filled with tacky souvenir shops and oyster specials, live music, and bad karaoke coming from the dive bars. The laid-back beach village is a great place to unwind with family and friends.
In addition to the area itself being a vibe, the beach has turquoise waters and the softest sand. I think what really makes it special is the sand. Most beaches have sand consisting of coral, rocks, shells, and quartz. The sand at Siesta Key Beach is so soft it’s like stepping on cooking flour. It’s so light and fluffy, that when I posted a video of myself walking through the sand barefoot, I had messages asking why I was walking through snow barefoot. The sand is 99% quartz, which is quite unusual, giving it an incredibly smooth texture and keeping the sand cool despite the extreme temperatures during the summer. There’s a reason this beach has continuously received a top rating on the Best Beaches in America list by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards. It’s truly one of the best!
EMILY HART (@emilyventures): ACABO ISLANDS, BAHAMAS
My favorite beaches have not been one particular beach, rather every beach I visited in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas. The glistening white sand, perfectly clear, warm blue waters, and abundance of wildlife were a dream. At many of the beaches I visited, it felt like I had stumbled into a hidden paradise as they were never overcrowded, many times with no one else around at all.
OKSANA & MAX (@drinkteatravel): PLAYA AVELLANAS, COSTA RICA
We have visited plenty of incredible beaches around the world, but our favorite beach is Playa Avellanas in Costa Rica. Despite being located in the Guanacaste region just south of the popular tourist hot spot of Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas somehow manages to keep its “off-the-beaten-track” feel. It’s an incredible stretch of sand with a very low-key vibe.
At high tide, you’ll spot lots of surfers in the water — Avellanas is home to Little Hawaii, a famous surf break, loved by pro surfers in the area. At low tide, it’s popular with families, there is plenty of space for kids to run around and build castles in the sand. But our favorite time is at sunset, you can grab a drink at Lola’s, a popular spot, named after their late mascot, Lola, the pig, or take a long walk along the beach, and watch the sun dip into the ocean. How could you beat that?
CHLOE CALDWELL (@bychloecaldwell): VENTURA BEACH, CALIFORNIA
I’ve been to a lot of beautiful tropical destinations, but my favorite beach will always be Ventura Beach in California. I grew up 45 minutes from here, and I spent many summer days playing in the sand, boogie boarding, and grabbing post-beach burgers at Duke’s Griddle n’ Grill. I also love Main Street in downtown Ventura where you’ll tons of thrift shops, as well as lively restaurants, bars, and other local businesses.
ALYSSA RAMOS (@mylifesatravelmovie): TOKASHIKI BEACH, KERAMA ISLANDS, OKINAWA
I’ve probably been to over one thousand beaches all over the world, but my recent beach ventures in 2023 have left me completely mesmerized, impressed, and intrigued! They’re far from the typical popular or famous locations, like the Seychelles, Maldives, the Philippines, etc. and in countries where you wouldn’t expect crystal clear waters brimming with colorful sea life and white sandy beaches!
That being said, my top choice for the best beach in 2023 is Tokashiki Beach, located on Tokashiki Island which is part of the Kerama Islands of Okinawa. It takes a lot for me to start drooling at the sight of a beach, but when I stepped foot on the powdery sand, my eyes drenched in the electric blue colors of the water ahead, flanked by striking rocky cliffs on either side, I immediately fell in love. Extra perk; there was not a single person there, because I went in shoulder season just before the beaches actually opened.
Okinawa has dozens of beautiful beaches, but Tokashiki Beach was my top choice. To get to Okinawa in general, you fly into Naha (I flew from Malaysia but it’s pretty affordable to do roundtrip from Tokyo). Most people stay in Naha, but I’d recommend renting a car and venturing up towards the northern coast. To get to Tokashiki, you need to take the ferry like I did, which departs from a port in Naha, or you can schedule a tour to make it easier.
EDITOR’S PICK: STEVE BRAMUCCI (@steve_bramucci): WHITEHAVEN BEACH, WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, AUSTRALIA
What have I done? What a monster I must be to give this terribly difficult assignment. For those of us who obsess over sand quality, water clarity, and the like, picking a favorite beach is torture. In fact, I’ve gone so far out of my way to avoid this conversation while at Uproxx that I’ve written extensively about beaches without ever touching the “best beach in the world” framing.
Instead, I’ve covered:
- Best Beaches In The US (that’s a little easier for me).
- Secret Beaches (this shifts the convo).
- Best Islands (a different issue altogether).
The list goes on but there’s no “Best Beach On Earth” article. There are just so many elements to consider before landing on a best. And they weigh differently with you at different times. Some of my best memories are surfing and watching the sunset at Envision Festival in Costa Rica, where I spent one of the last weeks before the pandemic. My adopted hometown of Laguna Beach never ceases to amaze me in that even in peak summer, you can escape the crowds if you know where to go. There are beaches in Thailand, Nicaragua, Mexico (so so many in Mexico), Italy, Uganda (at an inland lake), Mozambique, Madagascar, and so many more that I’ll never forget. But for “best,” I’m thinking of the beach that left me the most euphoric; the most thrilled to be alive.
And that’s Whitehaven Beach, in the Whitsunday chain, Queensland, Australia — where the sand squeaks underfoot, the water feels like god’s own bathtub (to paraphrase Return to Paradise), and you can dance alone at sunrise (if you have the camping permits to stay on the sand). With truly crystalline water, a few roving monitor lizards to keep things interesting, and a miraculous mile of parched white sand, Whitehaven is truly incomparable among beaches. It’s a special spot and I recommend camping for a few days to anyone who wants to truly soak in the beauty of this planet.
Yes, you can also day trip to the island. But the chance to spend a sunset and sunrise on Whitehaven alone is what makes this incredible beach shine so brightly in my memory.