The top ten beaches in the world are some of the best places on the globe for a relaxing getaway. Most are easily accessible, plenty are family friendly, and all offer fantastic accommodations for nearly any budget. From Thailand to Brazil and Florida to Greece, beachgoers will find an array of places to choose from, all promising sunshine, sand, and warm water.
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Located right outside the bustling capital city of Sydney, Bondi Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Australia. Bondi captures the true meaning of an Australian beach: sun, surfing, and ultimate relaxation. Those native to Oz-the local term for Australia-take their beach time seriously, and many people spend their weekends and holidays by the ocean, making this beach a draw for locals and visitors alike. The water at Bondi Beach is a pure blue, and the stretches of warm sand are packed with surfers, sunbathers, picnickers, and small sports games. There are various coastal walks that are marked for travelers to explore, excellent spots to test your surfing skills, and plenty of sand to lay out your towel and indulge in a good book. Easily the most famous beach in Australia, Bondi Beach is a great day trip that allows visitors to escape the hustle of Sydney.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
South Beach has long been on the top 10 list of beach aficionados. This vibrant strip of sand in one of Florida’s largest cities offers something for everyone. The beach here has mild to hot weather year-round, an excellent nightclub scene, designer shops and boutiques, and a wide array of restaurants. With its close proximity to Cuba and Puerto Rico, South Beach has a rich Latino heritage, and it’s still a distinctive cultural destination. During the day, South Beach is an excellent people-watching scene, and at night the momentum doesn’t seem to stop. Great surf and sun all add to the overall excellence and draw of this Florida beach.
Maroma Beach, Yucatan, Mexico
One of the lesser-known destinations among top ten beaches in the world, Maroma Beach offers visitors a peaceful and unforgettable vacation. Located just south of Cancun, this exquisite beach is part of a 500-acre preserve. It is graced with turquoise waters, white sand, native wildlife, and an abundance of flora that is strictly protected. The only development on Maroma Beach is the posh Maroma Hotel, a luxury resort geared toward creating the ultimate vacation in paradise. The traditional Mexican hospitality is coupled with an on-site spa, restaurant, numerous water sports, and thatched beach huts, all available to guests. If you are seeking a more remote, relaxing beach getaway in Mexico, Maroma Beach should be number one on your list.
Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro
Often referred to as Brazil’s sexiest beach, Ipanema Beach is one of the most popular beach destinations in South America. This stretch of beach outside Rio de Janeiro caters toward people of all ages-the locals come here for the restaurants, bars, and pick-up sports games (particularly soccer), and the tourists come for its breathtaking scenery and good weather year-round. The beach is in an idyllic location, with marvelous views of Sugarloaf Mountain and the famous Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain. The area around Ipanema Beach is always bustling, and it’s a great place to truly experience Brazilian culture while working on your tan or cooling off at the edge of the water. Although the surf here can be quite rough, visitors and locals easily make do with sunning and playing along the shoreline.
Clifton Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
Clifton Beach is known for attracting the rich and famous from all over the world, especially Europe and Africa. It is located on the Cape Peninsula, close to all the major amenities Cape Town has to offer, including luxury hotels and numerous hip nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Those with money come here for the atmosphere and entertainment, while other locals and tourists come for the scenery and fun in the sun. Clifton Beach comprises four beaches that are separated by granite boulders. The first beach tends to be the least crowded and has excellent sunning spots, while the second is the go-to area for university students. The third beach is geared toward the gay population, and the fourth is the place for water sports and lively young people. Although Clifton Beach may have a ritzy atmosphere, any traveler on any budget can enjoy a quality vacation on this beautiful beach in South Africa.
Paradise Beach, Mykonos
Greece has long been known for its expanses of white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. The Greek Islands are among the most popular areas for beach vacations, and here Mykonos tops the list. Paradise Beach is easily the most popular due to its legendary anything-goes attitude and beautifully sunny atmosphere. Paradise Beach attracts partiers from around the globe, and those looking for the liveliest beach destination will certainly feel at home here. Despite the party-hardy reputation, the beach here does have a serene feel-it’s simply stunning. The sand is rocky, but there are plenty of lounge chairs and cabanas for rent. Paradise Beach also offers easy access to numerous activities, local shops, and small restaurants and bars.
Kaanapali Beach, Maui
Part of the breathtaking string of Hawaiian Islands, Maui is home to some of the best beaches that this tropical paradise has to offer. Kaanapali Beach is located on the western tip of the island and is a must-see. The water conditions are generally good for swimming, though the surf can get a bit rough at times, and there is excellent snorkeling by the Black Rock area. The beach is dotted with fine resorts and hotels, such as the Kaanapali Beach Resort and the Hyatt, and there are including lifeguards, showers, and restrooms onsite. Despite the many hotels and nearby shopping center, the beach never seems to get that too-crowed feel, and its lush green flora adds to the paradise setting. Kaanapali Beach is an excellent place to watch the sun set across the water.
Venice Beach, California
Venice Beach, home to the memorable Muscle Beach area, draws thousands of visitors a year with its prime location. Situated on the beautiful Southern California coast, the days always seem to be sunny and there is always something going on. In addition to the large expanse of golden sand for sunbathers, there are plenty of other activities nearby. The promenade along the beach is filled with interesting, artsy shops and unique restaurants, and there are also volleyball courts, bike trails, and the weightlifting areas that lend Muscle Beach its name. Venice Beach is also famous for its great surf, with the Venice Breakwater being the best location to catch some waves.
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio is the smallest national reserve in Costa Rica, yet it boasts some of the most vibrant flora and a fantastic beach. Located just south of Quepos and San Jose, it is open Tuesday through Sunday and can accommodate hundreds of visitors. Despite the high capacity, the parking lots fill up quite quickly, and it is best to arrive early in the day to secure your spot in the lot and on the beach. The white sand is edged by the beautiful blue water and deep green evergreens, making it a peaceful and beautiful place. Visitors can relax in the sun, go snorkeling, or explore the lush surroundings on one of the park’s walking trails. More than just a beach, tranquil Manuel Antonio offers something for everyone.
Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Phuket Island is one of Thailand’s most popular destinations, with seventeen gorgeous beaches. Connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge, Phuket is often frequented by those who are looking to spend some time in the sun. Although the island has a wide array of beach hot spots, Patong Beach is one of the most popular, as it’s among the most beautiful and best developed. It is home to some of the best diving spots in Southeast Asia, and there are plenty of nearby accommodations available, as well as cheap shopping and lounge chairs and beach umbrellas to rent. The stretch of beach at Patong is relatively small, but it’s worth the trip for the natural beauty and ample water activities. The area is also known for its hip nightlife and acceptance of different cultures and sexualities.