1. Shoal Bay, Antigua
Icing-sugar sand, 3km of it, crystal-clear Caribbean water, off-shore coral reef with spectacular snorkelling or diving, a smattering of bars and open-air restaurants .This stretch on the east of the fun yachtie island, near Dickenson Bay town, is quieter than nearby Jabberwock beach. Dutchman’s Bay Cottages has seven options with verandas right by this eponymous beach.
2. Hidden Beach, The Marieta Islands by Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
While no longer as hidden as the name might suggest, this beach is rumored to have been formed by the Mexican military detonating test bombs in the early 1900s. Think of the street cred you’ll get by dropping a reference to the secret, underground beach you just got back from vacationing on. Also, there’s a water tunnel you have to pass through to get there.
3. Source d’Argent, Seychelles
As if a beach like this needed any enhancement, pink-hued sand ups the ante in the picture-postcard stakes at Source d’Argent, a secluded cove on La Digue, the Seychelles’ third-largest island (in an archipelago of 115). Huge, weathered granite boulders bookend the shore, and there are nearby restaurants for sampling Creole-inspired cuisine. Airbnb has 33 pads rented as a whole property on La Digue, including lovely Holzveranda in a tropical garden.
4. Dune du Pyla, France
This beach is Europe’s tallest dune at over 100 metres. It’s an hour’s drive from Bordeaux and is literally dazzling. You will shield your eyes as much from the shimmering heat haze as the pristine sand. After you’ve taken in the panoramic views over the Atlantic and pine forests behind, there are miles of beaches to explore along the Bassin d’Arcachon. Take a ferry from Arcachon pier to Cap Ferret for the best view of the dune. To eat, head to the oystercabanes, where fishermen set up tables and serve oysters, prawns, paté, bread and rosé wine.
5. Cala Saona, Formentera
There is no shortage of beautiful beaches on the smallest of the Balearics but everybody seems to want to cram on to Illetes and Espalmador. Much better to hire a bike or moped in the main port, La Savina, and head a few kilometres across the island to Cala Saona. It has perfectly clear water, white sand and dramatic red cliffs on both sides. It faces west, so is the ideal spot for a sundowner at, say, the charmingly simple Cala Saonachiringuito. Ferries to Formentera (30 minutes) run frequently from Ibiza Town . For a treat, stay at the cool, modernCala Saona Hotel.
6. Plage de St. Jean, St. Barths, French Caribbean
Located at the end of the island’s airport (which claims to have one of the world’s shortest landing strips at 2,100 feet), this beautiful beach comes with anairof danger; in 2009, a plane ran out of runway and crashed on it. Thankfully, no one was injured. A playground for the super rich and mega famous, expect to spy celebs sipping martinis. Or, at the least, planes taking off and landing above your beach chair.
7. Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica
Flanked by epic cliffs, it’s one of the longest and most beautiful beaches in the world. Although, it’s actually only SIX miles long, just so you know. There’s a Margaritaville right on the beach! Kidding. Instead, hit Rick’s Café – considered one of the best beach bars in the world, it’s perched atop the aforementioned cliffs.
8. Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
There’s a reason this plush tropical beach was used as the backdrop for the cult movieThe Beach,and that reason is probably that they needed one of the world’s most gorgeous tropical beaches in the film. Or, it could just be cheaper to shoot a movie in Thailand.
9. Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
If asked to design the perfect tropical beach, Playa Flamenco on Culebra island, off the east coast of Puerto Rico, is probably what you would come up with. It’s a U-shaped cove with white sand, warm turquoise water, palm trees, lush vegetation and a peaceful lagoon. The island’s undeveloped state is partly thanks to the US military, which used to use it as a gunnery range – a rusting Sherman tank remains in the middle of the sand. It makes a day trip by ferry from Fajardo on the Puerto Rico mainland ($4.50 return): a shuttle bus runs from the ferry port. Culebra has an excellent government-run campsite right on the sand at the western side of the bay. It’s quite basic, with showers open only three hours a day, but pitch your tent under mangroves ($20 for up to six people), stock up on water, pina coladas and local snacks (comida criolla) and you may never want to leave. If you do, though, there are bikes to hire.
10. El Castillo, Tulum, Mexico
With Mayan ruins in the background, this white sand paradise is accented by clear water and colorful fishing boats; meanwhile, festive locals salsa dance on nearby Playa Esperanza. Climbing pyramids, swimming in cenotes, kite surfing, and eating fish tacos — you will not get bored.