The 33 Best Beaches on Earth
Beaches are like magnets for the fantastically endowed. Find an attractive beach and you’ll find attractive people. We’ll go even further. Beaches don’t just attract the most beautiful people in the world, they give birth to them. The beach spreads its white-sanded loins and centerfolds drop from the glossy azure skies above. As the summer season rapidly approaches, we can’t think of any place we’d rather spend our time. Surfing, snorkeling, just soaking up some rays – the list of activities goes on and on. But, not every beach is created equal. We’ve scoured the web, looking far and wide across the globe to round up the 33 best beaches on Earth. The sunny weather can’t come fast enough.
Eilat Beach, Eilat, Israel
With 360 days of sun, even Noah’s chances of dry weather are good. If it does rain, the Herod Hotel is across the street. And if that doesn’t appeal, you can always grab a bite to eat at Methuselah’s Cheesecake. We’re kidding, it doesn’t exist. We just wish it did.
Foxy Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
This Foxy Beach, it’s not what you’re thinking. Penguins live here. Penguins in Africa? Yes, and by sheer coincidence, they’re African penguins. From two pairs in 1982 the colony has grown to some 3000 in number. They’re best viewed from Foxy Beach, fully equipped with viewing platforms. So if you’re looking for a tan, probably not. But if it’s penguins you’re after, there’s a lot less clothing involved than Antarctica, and Cape Town’s just down the road.
Thunder Cove, Prince Edward Island, Canada
If you’re iron deficient and longing for a beach, Thunder Cove may be the spot. The high iron content of the sands here turns them red. Like walking across a sunset.
Papakolea Beach, Hawaii
You’ve got to really want this beach. There’s a three mile hike involved to get here. Sure, you could airdrop yourself in, but you wouldn’t feel good about it later. The reward here is that the sand is primarily the color of olivine, a green mineral which comes from Puu. That’s Puu Mahana, a volcanic cone above the beach. It’s near Ka Lae, the southernmost point in the United States, and is one of only four green sand beaches in the world.
Negril Beach, Jamaica
A monster talent beach considered by many to be the best on the planet. Much of this has to do with Rick’s Café, perched atop the cliffs that overlook the sweeping sands of Jamaica.
Chesil Beach, England
It doesn’t get much better than this. Chesil is a British classic. Eighteen miles of knotted handkerchiefs and pork pies over a pebble-strewn beach. The name comes from Old English, and means gravel. Actually, Chesil is a protected wildlife area. It’s at the center of the Jurassic Coast, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and 100 miles of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous rock formations. Chesil is also England’s longest beach.
Maho Beach, St. Martin, Caribbean
If you want to combine tanning with plane spotting, Maho Beach is the perfect spot. The beach is right beside the short runway, and planes must come in low to land. We’re not recommending this, but the thrill here is to cling to the fence in direct line of a departing plane’s jet blast.
Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Home to the skimpiest swimsuits on the planet, flossing took on new meaning here. There’s no other way to put this. The women at Ipanema are hot. So hot it’s like every twenty feet an atomic bomb goes off in your pants. Which begs the question, why are you wearing pants on a beach?
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Great snorkeling among some of the world’s most stunning reefs. A tourist was killed by a shark here in 2010, but it’s not something we like to talk about.
Hot Water Beach, Coromandel, New Zealand
Underground hot springs filter up through the sand between high and low tides. Dig down a bit and you’ll be able to take a comfy bath in public.
Miami Beach, Barbados
Sunsets, sands, and waters more placid than Ghandi’s comatose cat make this a perfect beach haven. But the real reason to come is Mr. Delicious Snack Bar, a converted Mercedes bus.
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
Said to be the best surfing in Sri Lanka. The party scene here is low key, but close by there’s crocodiles and elephants, which strikes us as dialing the excitement up a notch or two.
Klitmoller Beach, Denmark
Go easy with the pronunciation on this one. We don’t want you mauling something you shouldn’t even be looking at. Known as “Cold Hawaii”, this spot is a regular host for the national surf championships.
Matira Beach, Bora Bora, Tahiti
It’s been called the most beautiful island in the world, so if you’re a beach on Bora Bora, you’re off to a good start. Matira is one mile of white sand at the southern point of the island. At low tide you can walk out to the barrier reef and get a Big Mac. You can walk to the reef, but we’re kidding about the Big Mac. But you’d better go now as it surely won’t be long.
Casino Beach, Rio Grande, Brazil
Who said length wasn’t important? At 150 miles the Praia do Cassino Beach is generally agreed to be the longest beach in the world. It runs down the edge of Brazil practically all the way to Uruguay. Just don’t promise to take the dog out for a stroll along the beach.
Pendine Sands, Wales
Pendine Sands is seven miles long and begs the question, is this really a beach? It looks more like JFK during a rain delay. Despite what you might think, this isn’t as dumb as it sounds. In 1924 at Pendine Malcolm Campbell set the world land speed record of 146.16 mph in Blue Bird, his Sunbeam 350HP. More recently (June 2000) his grandson, Don Wales, set the UK electric landspeed record at Pendine.
Stockton Beach, Stockton, Australia
It’s twenty miles long, wide with rolling sand dunes, and looks like the surface of the moon. All this makes it perfect for four-wheeling. At one time shipwrecks were so common here that two sheds were built and stocked with provisions for shipwrecked sailors.
Agonda Beach, Goa, India
Two miles of white-sanded seclusion on the Goan coastline of India. Once part of the hippy trail, Goa has given way over the years to a more commercial side. But if you dig deep, less traveled locations can still be found.
Budir Beach, Budir, Iceland
Iceland. It’s not the first place you think of when you’re looking for a beach. But that’s because practically all we know is white sands, swimsuits and margaritas. You won’t find those here. This is a landscape of contrasts. Yellow sands, ragged cliffs rising skyward, black basalt lava.
Muriwai Beach, Auckland, New Zealand
Half-hour west of Auckland lies the rugged coastline and black sands of Muriwai beach, and a surf that pounds like a river. Actually it’s probably more like the Pacific Ocean than a river. Spend the day here and forage for Green Lip Mussels. Then check out New Zealand’s biggest onshore colony of gannets.
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Roughly three quarters of a mile long, Bondi has hazard ratings. The north end is a 4, which is the low end of hazardous. The other end is rated 7, due to a rip current known as the “Backpackers’ Express”. It’s called this because the bus stops at this end, and most people can’t be bothered to walk all the way to the less hazardous area.
Black Sand Beach, Hawaii
As you might have picked up on, the sand at Black Sand Beach is, um…, black. This is the result of exploding lava from the volcanoes of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, which cools as it reaches the ocean. Try not to be on the beach when this is happening. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Endangered Hawksbill and Green turtles are often found basking on the ebony sand here. Given the location, should we be surprised they’re endangered?
Pfeiffer Beach, California
Whereas most of us are happy with a white or yellow sand beach, California had to go out and get a purple one. Where are we going next with this, polka dot? It’s manganese garnet, by the way, washing down from the hills, that has turned this strip of California beach purple. And it had to be California, didn’t it. Just one time, couldn’t it be Kansas with the funny colored beach?
Palau Beaches, Micronesia
If you’ve ever woken in the middle of the night and heard paradise calling, it was probably Palau. Those in the know rate this tropical haven as one of the world’s best diving destinations. Reefs, caves, and marine life in dazzling, untouched, underwater splendor. It’s even been named one of the “Seven Underwater Wonders of The World.”
Tylosand Beach, Halmstad, Sweden
No slouch during the daytime, Tylosand goes into overdrive at night with a selection of favorite beach bars overlooking five miles of pristine coastline. They don’t overlook all of it. They’re not that big.
Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand
It’s the most famous of the beaches in Phuket, and is built for party and play. You could spend six months here and go to a different bar or restaurant every night and still not have tried them all. It’s hot, bright and chaotic.
75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island, Australia
It’s the world’s largest sand island and also a registered highway with a speed limit of 80 miles an hour. It’s also home to 230 species of bird and 25 species of mammal, including the dingo.
Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Go for the New Years celebrations and the famous fireworks display right on the beach at midnight. It’s the peak of the summer, hot, sultry, and uniquely Brazil.
Tahiti Beach, St. Tropez, France
Before St. Barths and before South Beach, there was St. Tropez and the French Riviera, home to the jet set, source of celebrity sightings, and considered by many as the birthplace of the topless beach.
Bahia Gardner, Espanola Island, Galapagos
At around four million years old, Espanola is one of the oldest of the Galapagos islands. It’s the breeding ground for almost the entire world population of Waved Albatrosses, and is also where you can witness the mating dance of the Blue-footed Boobies. Yes, we do want to make a joke here, but maturity is winning out. Flora and fauna are in abundance here. If this isn’t enough, the big event is the colony of Galapagos sea lions, which inhabit the beach in great numbers during mating season.
Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Florida
Did you even know there are beach awards? We didn’t. Siesta has quite the collection: “Whitest and Finest Sand in The World”, 1987; “The Best Sand Beach In America”, 2004; and in 2011, “The Best Beach In America”. The sand here is almost one hundred percent quartz crystal and apparently squeaks when you walk on it. Been rated the number one beach in the US and is located on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Turtle Beach, Siesta Key, Florida
This is Siesta Beach’s more sporty brother, but with fewer awards. That’s assuming you consider the horseshoe pit sporty. Ok, there’s also volleyball, a playground, and fishing in nearby Blind Pass Lagoon. Now it sounds like we’re at Disney.
Ninety Mile Beach, Victoria, Australia
One of the longest beaches in the world, Great Whites gather here in the shallow waters of this rugged coastline to breed during mating season. Sandy dunes separate the ocean from lakes and lagoons. Because of its length, the area is not good for surfing, a big disappointment to the sharks.