For most people, when they picture the word ‘vacation’ they picture palm trees and turquoise waters — the beach. With over 71% of our planet covered in water, there are sure to be a multitude of incredible beaches where that water meets the land.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing and pristine beaches on planet Earth; but we’ve narrowed it down to the 11 most beautiful beaches of all. Some are the typical tropical beaches, others are quite the opposite.
Get your passport ready because after you see these 11 gorgeous beaches? You’ll be booking the next flight out.
Even though they are all insanely beautiful, they are all extremely different. Each one is magical. So, we present to you, in no particular order…
1. Cathedrals Beach, Ribadeo, Spain
Located on Spain’s northwest Galician, Cathedral’s Beach in Ribadeo is a natural “church” of sorts that will truly take your breath away. Hundred foot rock arches, that look like something out of a Gothic cathedral, tower over the ocean shore. Be sure to book a cheap hotel room in Ribadeo (starting from around $40) and walk the beach at low tide. Careful! The tide comes in quickly.
2. One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Get yourself a footprint-shaped passport stamp and head to Tapuatei, which is ‘one footprint’ in the local Maori dialect. Palm trees everywhere, water so clear you can see dozens of feet below, and their post office is a hut. Who wouldn’t want to go? If you’ve made it all the way to the Cook Islands, you might as well add this little stop to your list.
3. Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Samloem Island, Cambodia
It will take you about 2.5 hours from Sihanoukville in a wooden boat to make it to this relaxed island — but, it’s worth it. Live island life to the fullest. It’s cheap, it’s slow-paced, and you’ll feel like you’re away from all the stresses in the world. The best part? You can find accommodations for as low as $11/night!
4. Shell Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australia
If collecting seashells is your thing, Shell Beach in Shark Bay, Australia is heaven on earth for you. This pristine beach is part of the Shark Back UNESCO World Heritage site and you can walk for miles. Be sure to take lots of pictures. Oh, and do yourself a favor, grab a bite at the Old Pearler Restaurant for some fresh seafood and delicious chowder.
5. Cannon Beach, Oregon
Home to the famous Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast looks like it’s straight from a movie set; that’s because it was! The Goonies, anyone?. Jutting rocks, dramatic rock cliffs, and beautiful pine trees that meet the ocean. Another reason why Cannon Beach makes the list? They allow dogs and you can legally enjoy an Oregon craft brew with your toes in the sand.
6. Noordwjk Beach, The Netherlands
After you’re done visiting the tulip festival, make your way to Noordwjk Beach (don’t ask us how you pronounce that) for some crisp, ocean air. Here’s another beach where you can bring your dog as well! The North Sea can produce some epic waves, but it’s always beautiful. You can even find hotels for around $50 in Noordwjk town.
7. Pelican Beach, South Water Caye, Belize
“It’s the only place in Belize where you can swim safely to the reef within minutes and explore the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, full of colorful coral, angelfish, blue tang, sea turtles, all in less than 20 feet of water,” says guidebook author Lebawit Lily Girma. You can splurge and stay at a gorgeous beach resort for around $400/night or you can save some money and find hotels for around $40/night.
8. Blue Bay, Mauritius
Blue Bay Marine Park spans over 872-acres in the Indian Ocean; the colors of the water are surreal. This is the beach that dreams are made of. Although it’s not the easiest country to get to (expect multiple, long flights) but it’s worth every minute and every dollar. Believe it or not, even though you can find many five-star luxury resorts that cost a pretty penny, you can also find hotels for just $28.
9. Corniche Beach, La Teste-De-Buch, France
According to National Geographic, Corniche Beach is “357 feet high, 1,640 feet wide, and 8,800 feet long, the pine forest–hugged Dune of Pilat is the highest in Europe and tumbles to Corniche Beach on the Atlantic Ocean.” Don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the view of a lifetime with a parasailing trip over the dune and beach.
10. Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue, Seychelles
Another hard-to-get-to beach in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles consist of 115 islands located off of Africa’s eastern coast. Anse Source D’Argent has been known to be one of the most photographed beaches in the world, and for good reason — it’s pretty much perfect.
11. Playa del Amor, Marietas Islands, Mexico
One of the most unique beaches in the world, Playa del Amor is tucked away from plain sight; it’s called “hidden beach” by the locals for obvious reasons. Make sure you book an eco-tour though because only 6 people are allowed in at a time. Marietas Islands Eco Discovery Snorkeling Adventure offers tours starting at only $75/person for a once in a lifetime experience.