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The 15 Best Beaches to Visit

Looking for crystal blue water, sugar white sand, swaying palm trees? You've come to the right place! According to TripAdvisor, these are the best beaches for sand, surf, and sun around the world.

Baia do Sancho, Brazilvia

Baia do Sancho, Brazil

TripAdvisor 2019 Travelers’ Choice Award for Best Beaches in the World is the result of the input of millions of travelers. The beach that came out at the top this year is also one of the most remote. Only the most persistent beach lovers will be able to reach the distant shores of this beach located on an archipelago an hour off the coast of Brazil. And once you arrive at the secluded island, you’ll still have to do quite a bit of hiking—plus trek down a rickety ladder—to reach the beach. Your reward? A palm-lined coastline of dazzling golden sand and spectacular blue-green waters all protected by sheer cliff walls (thus the steep climb down to reach the shore), and one of the best beaches—and not to mention least crowded— in the world. It clearly does not make our list of the 16 places that have been ruined by tourism.

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Varadero, Cubavia

Varadero, Cuba

Considered the best beach in Cuba as much for its incredibly wide snowy sand beaches as for the fabulous array of hotels and restaurants nearby. Extra bonus: Plenty of shady palapas (banana leaf umbrellas) to relax under with a rum-infused cooler. These beaches have the clearest water on Earth. 

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Eagle Beach, Arubavia

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Eagle Beach is famous for its Fofoti trees, nesting sea turtles, and a plethora of water sports—kayaking, paddle board, snorkeling, and windsurfing. Did you know there are beaches without sand as well?

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La Concha Beachvia

La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Spain

Right in the bustling city of San Sebastian, TripAdvisor reviewers say La Concha “beach is beautiful” with pristine golden sand. Although you can easily pop into San Sebastian, the beach is surrounded by a marine walk that hugs it on both sides of the entrance to the bay. If you’re thinking of booking a flight soon, see the best time to buy plane tickets.

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Grace Bay Beachvia

Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Providenciales, the most developed island in Turks & Caicos known as “Provo” to locals, is 38 miles long and has dozens of amazing beaches, with Grace Bay consistently ranking tops. The island is also home to one of the best all inclusive vacation resorts in the world.

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Clearwater Beachvia

Clearwater Beach, Florida

The snowy sand and clear, calm, warm Gulf of Mexico waters helped Clearwater claim the top beach in the United States on the TripAdvisor survey. “The sugar fine white sand is a trademark of this fabulous beach. Perfect for a day in the sun. You might even spot a dolphin or two playing on the horizon,” a reviewer wrote on the TripAdvisor website.

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Spiaggia dei Coniglivia

Spiaggia dei Conigli, Sicily, Italy

This southern Italian beach with its aqua waters and soft sand reminds some people of the Caribbean. TripAdvisor writes, “for a beautiful, small beach with no waves, warm crystal clear water, fish, soft white sand and a ton of sun on a small, friendly Italian island, THIS is the place!” The only downside: The 15-minute walk down a dirt path to reach the sand.

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Seven Mile Beach, Grand Caymanvia

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

The sparkling waters and white coral sand of the seven-mile stretch of prime beach are framed by lush palm trees and luxe hotels. And its locations on the western side of Grand Cayman makes it the perfect spot to watch epic Caribbean sunsets. While you’re there, be sure to check out this under-the-radar gem of the Caribbean.

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Playa Norte, Isla Mujeresvia

Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

Just a few miles north of Cancun’s city center you’ll find the laid back island vibes of Isla Mujeres. Stretching for five miles along the island’s northern shore, this sugar white beach is a popular spot for sun and fun, including snorkeling in the warm indigo water.

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Falesia Beach, Olhos de Agua, Portugalvia

Falesia Beach, Olhos de Agua, Portugal

Amber cliffs plunge down to golden beaches in the Algarve’s most picturesque beach area. You can rent loungers for a perfectly relaxing day on the sand, or hike along the shore to explore the picturesque caves and curves of the beach.

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Seven Mile Beachvia

Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Seven seems to be the magic number when it comes to daydreamy tropical beaches, and this seven-mile stretch on the western edge of Jamaica does not disappoint. Creamy sand, azure water, swaying palm trees, and gentle surf all add up to one perfect swimming and sunny spot.

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Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia, Brazilvia

Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia, Brazil

About 2.5 hours north of Rio, you’ll find this pristine stretch of sand and emerald sea along with a calm and relaxed atmosphere best for sunning and swimming instead of the partying and people watching of the city. Consider taking a scenic boat trip across the vitrine waters to arrive here, since the walk from the road descends nearly 200 stairs.

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Playa de Ses Illetesvia

Play de Ses Illetas, Formentera, Spain

According to TripAdvisor, you may have to fly into Ibiza’s airport to get to Formentera, but a vacation here is the antithesis of a wild week in Ibiza. You’ll reach Formentera by ferry, and you’ll find a quiet, peaceful little island with hypnotic deep turquoise water and plush sand and plenty of space for solitude and siesta.

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kaanapaliEddy Galeotti/Shutterstock

Kaanapali Beach, Maui

If you’re looking for a beach that has it all, the three white sand miles of Kaanapali should be the top of your vacation list in Hawaii. There’s fantastic snorkeling in the transparent water at Black Rock, surfing on breaks further south, and swimming in gentle waters along the most popular sections backed by a slew of hotels, shops, and restaurants so you never have to travel very far for creature comforts during your beach vacation. Find out 20 more reasons Maui is often considered the best Hawaiian island.

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Balos Lagoonvia

Balos Lagoon, Kissamos, Crete

If you’re searching for the quintessential blue lagoon, this is what you’ve been looking for. To reach the Kool-Aid blue waters though, you’ll have to work a bit. First with a cliff-hugging ride, and then a nearly mile walk. But it’s worth the journey for the breathtaking views.

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Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is an intrepid explorer and award-winning travel journalist with more than 25 years of experience. She covers topics ranging from family travel and Disney to honeymoons and romantic beaches and everything in between.