Nothing says rest and relaxation like a vacation at the beach. However, not all beaches are created equal. Some shorelines are clogged with hotels and swamped with noisy tourists. Fortunately, there still many coastlines that are virtually untouched. From the shores of Florida to the warm waters of Australia, these 10 exquisite beaches offer unparalleled ocean views and unsullied white sands. So take a load off, take a vacation…
1. St. George Island State Park, Florida
One of the few unspoiled beaches left in Florida, St. George Island is located in the Gulf of Mexico and boasts rolling dunes, pristine white beaches, and gently undulating oat grass. Unlike many popular Florida beaches, St. George’s Island is not surrounded by excessive development, making it the perfect destination for visitors who want to relax and enjoy the calm of the ocean.
2. Hapuna Beach, Hawaii
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hapuna Beach is as close to paradise on earth as mere mortals can get. If white sands and clear turquoise water aren’t enough to awe tourists and locals alike, the beach is also the perfect spot to ride the waves on a surfboard or bodyboard. Other favorite water sports include swimming and snorkeling.
3. El Nido Beach, the Philippines
Located on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, El Nido is world famous for its blanched beaches and fascinating limestone formations. El Nido is home to several low-key resorts which do their best to avoid dominating the naturally beautiful area. The beach is particularly well-known for its distinctive stilted cottages that hover invitingly over the water and offer a way for visitors to live in tune with the tides.
4. Ko Kradan, Thailand
Nestled in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Southern Thailand, Ko Kradan is far from the hustle and bustle of Thailand’s typical tourist traps. With unclouded waters and sugary beaches, Ko Kradan is a welcome haven from the stress of modern life. Ko Kradan’s thatched bungalows and laid-back lifestyle make it the perfect destination for those who want to experience pure beach life. The warm waters around the island are a popular diving spot and have become a preferred site for underwater weddings.
5. Whitehaven Beach, Australia
With all of the beautiful beaches Down Under, it can be difficult to pick just one, but Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island outstrips all of the competition. The shockingly white beach and crystalline waters will instantly overcome first-time visitors. The high water visibility in the Coral Sea allows divers and swimmers unobstructed views of the ocean floor. Best of all, the island is only a two-hour boat ride away from the Great Barrier Reef.
6. Boulder’s Beach, South Africa
South Africa’s loveliest beach sports massive granite boulders, aquamarine waters, and smooth, white sand. It is also home to an adorable colony of endangered African penguins, who delight tourists by waddling up and down protected portions of the beach. The beach’s namesake rocks provide shelter from the wind and swift currents, making it an ideal relaxation spot on South Africa’s often blustery coast.
7. Caló des Moro, Spain
The crown jewel of Spain, Caló des Moro is a beautiful sheltered cove in Majorca. Lovingly maintained by its private owners, the beach is open to public visitors. The unspoiled bay is the perfect place for swimmers to take a dip in the warm waters of the Mediterranean and attracts visitors from around the world who are anxious to see the area’s pristine beauty for themselves.
8. Baia de Sancho, Brazil
Perched on the edge of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago in Brazil, Baia de Sancho has an international reputation as one of the world’s loveliest beaches. The local ecosystem is ecologically diverse, with multiple species of tropical fish and friendly turtles greeting divers who take the plunge into the bay’s clear waters. The beach is part of the Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park and is also home to protected species of crabs, coral, and birds. Due to its remote location, Baia de Sancho is not as crowded as other famous Brazilian beaches, but it is the perfect place for tourists who are seeking a little peace.
9. Playa del Amor, Mexico
One of the most unusual beaches in the world, Playa del Amor is located in the unoccupied Marieta Islands near Puerto Vallarta. In the early 1900s, the Mexican army conducted explosives testing on the islands. In the process, they blew a large hole into the volcanic rock that covers the northern end of the easternmost island, revealing a beautiful beach only accessible by swimmers at low tide. Although the Mexican government restricted access to the islands in 2016, small numbers of swimmers are permitted to visit this unique beach daily.
10. Race Point Beach, Cape Cod
The inspiration for legions of painters, Race Point Beach lies on the end of Cape Cod. Made up of windswept dunes sprinkled with beachgrass, bayberry shrubs, and wild cranberries, Race Point is protected by the federal government as part of Cape Cod National Seashore. The beach is a popular destination for hikers and bicyclists who can traverse the region’s many trails and take in the area’s natural beauty. Race Point Beach is also home to the picturesque 19th-century lighthouse, Race Point Light, a historical landmark that is still in operation.
While virgin sands and unsullied shores may be few and far between, there are beaches that have mostly resisted commercialization. Whether they are in hidden tropical paradises or part of strictly protected land, these beautiful beaches provide a sanctuary from the overcrowded seaside.