When the world has us stressed out, there’s sometimes no better tonic than imagining a far-off beach somewhere. When it comes to ultimate relaxation, what could be better? Sunning ourselves beneath a palm tree and sipping on something cool while the gentle lap of waves is the only sound to be heard for miles—it couldn’t be further from daily life, so why do we cling to this picture again and again?
Beach holidays may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect getaway, and those people are crazy (kidding!). Some of us are into our adventure holidays and adrenaline junkie sports more than lounging around on sandy white beaches. But if you are a fan of chilled-out holidays, the following beach pics will well and truly whet your appetite for your next trip!
Whatever it is that you picture at your desk first thing on a Monday, these glorious beach photos are it. These seaside pics look too beautiful to be real. But, make no mistake, they are and they’re waiting for you! Take a stroll through this gorgeous beach gallery and prepare to fall, and fall hard. Please note, we can’t be held responsible for immediate vacay bookings after reading this. Okay, maybe a little...
25 Phi Phi Island, Thailand
We know, just looking at this picture already has you relaxed, right? If you’re immediately wondering where you might have seen this stunning beach vista before, the Phi Phi islands were actually where the Leo DiCaprio film The Beach was shot, and it’s no wonder why they picked this place. Phi Phi island (made up of two mini islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh) sits between the Phuket region and the Western Andaman sea and
offers up an untouched, untainted treat for the senses.
It may not seem like it, but Phi Phi Don is one of the world’s most affordable beach cities to live in, so if you fall in love with this place on vacay (and why wouldn’t you?), you may just be tempted to make it a permanent one! (Just don’t expect to find Leo wandering around anywhere. I should know, I’ve checked.)
24 Anse Source D’argent, Seychelles
When most people think of the ultimate location for a beach escape, they often think of the Seychelles islands, and that could be down to two reasons: one, just look at it! And two? Well,
this gem of the Indian Ocean is one of the very few locations left on the planet that has remained virtually unaltered by civilization.
You can just tell by looking at it that this place has retained its stunning natural beauty and is just waiting to be explored. The beach of Anse Source D’argent, in particular, is not just a highlight of the Seychelles. It’s a highlight of worldwide scenery. Period. It could be the feeling of seclusion and ultra calm vibes that this place gives off. Or it could be the fact that people once believed the beach to be the original Garden of Eden. Whether you believe in the good book or not, this place definitely has paradise written all over it!
23 Bora Bora, Tahiti
Bora Bora is routinely dubbed one of the best holiday hotspots on the planet (and certainly one of the most romantic), and taking a look at this pic right here, it’s not hard to see why. This little slice of heaven is a firm favorite of couples. But let’s face it, this could be anyone’s idea of paradise. The turquoise jewel waters, the magical floating huts. To wake up in one of these, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were dreaming.
Fun fact: Bora Bora’s original name is actually ‘Pora Pora’ which basically translates as ‘first born’ in Tahitian. This refers to the local myth in Tahiti of the god figure Hiro and his son, Ohatatama. A place that’s as well-known for its Polynesian mythology as its glorious blue waters and white sand—this is definitely a beach that deserves a place on your bucket list.
22 Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Do you really need convincing that a beach made up of mostly pink sand is worth your time? Pink sand! Harbour Island in the Bahamas is home to this stunning natural phenomena, aptly named Pink Sands beach, and it is (unsurprisingly) considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. These pretty pink sands stretch 3 miles across and the phenomena is created by millions of minuscule broken shells belonging to tiny sea critters living on the reefs and ocean bed beneath. The result? A dreamlike beachfront that’s calming to look at by day and hopelessly romantic by dusk.
The Bahamas may be a tourist-heavy location, but Pink Sands beach is a relatively quiet and chilled-out spot,
so experience it while you can. Ssh! You didn't hear it from us though...
21 Blue Lagoon, Turkey
Looking like a cross between New Zealand and Thailand with its lush mountain scenery and cobalt blue waters, the breathtaking Blue Lagoon beach in Turkey puts the best of nature on show, and it’s pretty hard to resist. While tanning yourself by the shimmering emerald waters, expect to see a number of paragliders dotted about the sky, as this spot is as worthwhile exploring from pretty much every angle.
And if you’re worried that seeing paragliders everywhere you look will make it feel less of a calm holiday spot, don’t be. This particular Lagoon set in the Turkish village of Ölüdeniz has been declared a national marine sanctuary, which means that there are no tourist-filled holiday resorts for miles around to spoil the atmosphere. The beach is also renowned for its amazing diving spots and tucked-away caves so there are many ways to truly ‘escape’ in this stunning place.
20 Providenciales, Turks And Caicos Islands
Providenciales island, or ‘Provo’ as its known to the locals, is not only gorgeous to look at but is also teeming with an abundance of underwater treasures. If you’re more of an exploring type than a beach bunny when on holiday, then the Turks and Caicos waters will be perfect for you.
Provo boasts one of the largest and healthiest coral reef spots on the planet, making it a magnet for divers everywhere.
Not a fan of diving? No problem. You can also take a paddleboard across the crystal clear waters by the shore in Grace Bay or even rent a small sailboat to explore the breathtaking views and tropical marine life at your own pace. Of course, if all of this sounds like too much effort, sunning yourself on 38 miles worth of white sands or enjoying a paddle sounds like a pretty good way to spend your time here too. Just look at it!
19 Ora Beach, Indonesia
While Bali may get the majority of tourists flocking to Indonesia, the real treat for beach lovers and honeymooners alike has to be the incredible setting that is Ora beach. This little pocket paradise situated in the Maluku islands is known as ‘the Maldives of Indonesia’ and you only need to look at it to see why it came to earn that honorary nickname.
Closer to a lagoon setting than a long sandy beach, Ora may not have miles of sand to speak of, but what it does have is pretty close to heavenly. With cute little tiki huts to rent on the water and very few people for miles around, you can make believe that you have your own private holiday island to enjoy. And just imagine how this would look sharing cocktails at sunset. Pure bliss.
18 Navagio, Greece
If you love a secluded white beach when it comes to sunbathing, then you can’t get much more private than this. Navagio beach, tucked away in the Greek island of Zakynthos, is only accessible by boat. And although the island attracts plenty of peace-seeking tourists each year,
the beach is never populated enough to feel like you’re crowded.
To the locals, Navagio beach goes by one of its two nicknames instead: ‘Smuggler’s Cove’ and Shipwreck Beach’. Once your eyes have diverted from the striking white cliffs that cocoon this stunning little bay, you may notice the rusted remains of an abandoned ship. This was supposedly left by wine and contraband smugglers around 1980, so a little more recent than Pirates of the Caribbean, but it certainly gives off that vibe!
17 Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica
As the name suggests, there are seven whole miles of white sand to lose yourself in along this gorgeous part of the Jamaican coastline (although hopefully not literally, unless you’re into extreme sand burying!). This extensive stretch of white sand in the picturesque town of Negril is home to an equal amount of hotel resorts and unspoiled natural landscapes for every kind of holidaymaker to enjoy, so whether you want to tan by the pool or by the shade of a palm tree, the Land of Springs has you covered.
As hard as it might be to tear yourself away from sunbathing and hammock snoozing for most of your trip, we’d also recommend taking in a boat ride or two, specifically on one of the island’s renowned glass-bottom boat tours that lets you bask in some of the stunning marine life the Caribbean has to offer.
16 Piha Beach, New Zealand
New Zealand is never short on beautiful landscapes. In fact, there’s usually something beautiful everywhere you look, even when close to the city areas. If you touch down in Auckland and are in search of seaside tranquility, head about 25 miles north of the city and you’ll come across this truly beauteous place, Piha Beach.
Slap bang in the middle of Piha is the colossal ‘Lion Rock’, a stone that dates back 16 million years and one that many adventurous climbers have tried to scale.
Since a few too many accidents and rockfalls deemed Lion Rock too dangerous, climbing is no longer permitted. But to be honest, who needs to get a higher viewpoint to appreciate New Zealand’s majestic beauty? Whether you take a beach stroll or helicopter ride, incredible views are baked right into this place.
15 El Castillo, Mexico
In Tulum, Mexico, people may come for the fascinating historical sites, but they tend to stay for the beautiful bright beach, and who can blame them? El Castillo beach is home to the world-famous Mayan ruins, so there’s as much in it for history buffs at this hotspot as there is for beach bunnies. Once you’ve taken in the wonders of the Mesoamerican temple of Kukulcan, you can hit the beach below and soak up the sun, sand, and beautiful turquoise waves.
And for those in search of something other than the traditional tanning and paddling, the Tulum region is also home to trendy beach bungalows, which are often frequented by celebs, and onsite yoga retreats. For more adventurous holidayers, there is also the chance to go kitesurfing, fishing, and salsa dancing. That’s if you feel like getting up from this gorgeous sandy beach...which we don’t.
14 Makena, Hawaii
From the lush green scenery and bright flora to the traditional dress, Hawaii has a beautifully colorful culture, and this is also apparent in its many beaches. The tranquil US state has many different-colored beaches to its name, such as the green sand Papakolea beach in the Kau district and the deep-red Kaihalulu beach south of Hana Bay. But for classic tropical island vibes, Makena beach in Maui can’t be beaten.
The caramel-colored sand on this beach makes for the most beautiful sunsets you’re ever likely to see,
and the contrast of the golden sands and sapphire blue waters sets off a stunning color palette as the day winds down. Whether you travel to Makena beach alone or with a loved one, this isn’t a sight you’re likely to forget.
13 Bahia Gardner, Galapagos
It’s no wonder why these guys are enjoying a peaceful slumber by sunset. This uber relaxing slice of the Galapagos islands is a haven for wildlife and people alike and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with good reason. If you take a trip to this stunning shore, take a snorkeling expedition to swim with the manta rays and sea lions. Or else, do as most of these guys do and snooze it out under bright azure skies.
Bahia Gardner, situated on the Northern coast of the Galapagos, was one of many spots that Charles Darwin drank in when he first discovered a handful of glorious new species. And while we can’t promise you’ll make the same groundbreaking discoveries, you’ll rediscover something that might have been lost for some time: your inner peace!
12 Whitehaven Beach, Australia
The swirling pattern of Whitehaven beach on the Whitsunday islands is unlike any other beach formation in the world. The hypnotic mix of pure white sands and crystal waters blend perfectly to resemble some kind of ice cream and blueberry sauce combo, and it's pretty mesmerizing. A beach that’s as stunning from a bird's eye view as it is on foot definitely deserves a place on this list, if not in one of the top 5 beaches on the planet just for sheer natural wonder.
The unique winding pattern is an arresting sight in itself, but the sand that makes up Whitehaven beach is a wonder all on its own and even has scientists confused to this day.
The sand is in the purest and most pristine form compared with other beaches, so don’t expect to stand on any broken shells in this Aussie oasis.
11 Baia Do Sancho, Brazil
This super secluded Brazilian paradise was named the number one beach in the world by TripAdvisor in a 2017 poll. And by the looks of things, it’s destined to hold that top spot for a long while yet. When you think of being stranded on a desert island, isn’t this pretty close to what we all imagine? (Temporarily, of course.) Rio de Janeiro might be home to beaches that are featured in famous pop songs, but I’m sure you’ll agree that Baia do Sancho is something else.
The breathtaking beach retreat in the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is every bit as secluded and unspoiled as it looks and is unsurprisingly near impossible to get to (but we’re sure that won’t stop you from trying!). Take a long dirt road, a number of rickety stairs and ladders, and a winding narrow path and you’ve made it! After all that, you’ve well and truly earned the right to flop on the sand and chill.
10 Lake McKenzie, Australia
Australia is known for its super clean beaches, and much like Whitehaven on the Whitsunday islands, Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island is considered one of the most pristine–for both sand and air quality–in the world. In fact, the only form of air pollutant might just be the suntan lotion or perfume you happen to spritz on the beach! So, we can tell from this breathtaking pic that the pure white sands and lake water seem pretty clean, but what is it that makes Lake McKenzie a clean freak’s paradise? For one,
the sands are pure silica, making for a smooth barefoot stroll across it, and best of all, McKenzie is entirely freshwater since its perched about 100 meters above sea level
so it consists purely of rainwater. We want to take a run and jump into this right now! You with me?
9 Deadman’s Bay, British Virgin Islands
Don’t be fooled by the rather grim-sounding name. As you can see, this beautiful stretch of sand has "chillaxing" built right into it. Deadman’s Bay as you see it today may not be home to buried treasure, but there are plenty of treats for the beach bums and more active holidayers out there. Staring out into the crystal blue waters while under the shade of these bad boys is a must while out on the British Virgin Islands. You should also try your hand at snorkeling for the best chance to spot sea turtles gliding along the seagrass beds.
As for the legend that gave the bay its name? Let’s just say the second installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has it to thank for the plot since the legend of the bay tells the tale of a handful of doomed pirates who were marooned on the nearby ‘Dead Chest’ island only to wash ashore on these idyllic sands.
8 Boracay White Beach, Philippines
If you’re on the hunt for a beach that has nightlife in as much abundance as white sands and palm trees, then Boracay beach in the Philippines sounds like it could be just your speed. Tranquil shores are all well and good while on holiday, but there’s no reason a beach can’t be both fun and peaceful. And Boracay White beach doesn’t disappoint on either count.
Sometimes, there’s nothing nicer after a long swim or even just a quick dip in the ocean than to know there’s a cocktail bar or chic cafe within reach to grab some much-needed refreshment. Also, a moonlit stroll on the beach can be the perfect end to a fancy restaurant meal, and the water feels especially great after a long day of shopping for those ‘souvenir gifts’ you’ll definitely be keeping for yourself!
7 Siesta Key, Florida
Not to be confused with the TV series of the same name, Siesta Key is one of the hottest beaches in Florida and is considered one of the best the US has to offer. The Sunshine State has plenty of gorgeous beaches to choose from, but
Siesta Key has quickly gained a reputation for being the spot of choice for rest and relaxation (as the name suggests).
Whether you’re chilling back in a hammock in one of the beaches' many gorgeous resorts or venturing out on a paddleboard, you won’t be short of things to fall in love with around Siesta beach. If you fancy a more active way to live it up on your Florida vacay, kayaks are available to hire to get you to Turtle Beach at the southern end of the Key (and even spot a few dolphins if you venture out far enough!).
6 Half Moon Bay, Antigua
The Caribbean island of Antigua is actually known as the ‘Land of 365 beaches’ (one for every day of the year!). But if like most, you don’t have the funds for a year-long vacay, we’d probably recommend somewhere like Half Moon Bay for the time being.
This crescent-shaped slice of paradise offers up the best of activity-filled resorts and isolated tranquil spots along its half-mile stretch of sugary white sand.
As this photo attests to, Half Moon Bay has plenty of gorgeous hotels and huts that are neatly tucked away from all the hustle and bustle of family travelers whilst being place within enough view of the gorgeous ocean scenery. Wherever you go in Antigua, though, the island does not disappoint. As one travel blogger, Krystal Bick, described Antigua’s waters on Instagram, "It’s like walking out into a warm, inviting bath, with the sun waiting to dry you off the minute you step out. Delicious."
5 Sugar Beach, St. Lucia
Sugar Beach is an apt name for this unbelievably picturesque bay in St. Lucia because it looks almost good enough to eat. The gleam on the water, the adorable little walkway, and the moody majestic mountain in the backdrop? This place feels like a beach lover’s promised land.
A travel blogger to the region, Erica Choi, described her stay in a beachfront bungalow on Sugar Beach as every day feeling “like a scene from a movie.” This vista certainly looks good enough for the likes of the Hollywood elite. It’s nice to know that St. Lucia’s top-rated beach resort is as beautiful in spirit as it is visually. Despite the seemingly isolated setting, Sugar Beach is known for its sense of community and hospitality. Speaking of which, how does a coffee scrub or chocolate massage at the local rainforest spa sound?
4 Praia Da Marinha, Portugal
If you like to live the definition of ‘getting away from it all’ while on vacation, then taking a trip to Praia da Marinha in the Algarve region of Portugal is pretty close to that fantasy. Heck, it is that fantasy. This image of the beach's many grottos might be some people’s idea of claustrophobia, but for those of you who crave more than the kind of ‘me time’ a beach resort has to offer,
welcome to your cave of spirituality and unwinding!
Frequenters to the Praia da Marinha are spoiled for choice when it comes to landscapes. The cliff tops provide breathtaking views of the turquoise sea and endless stretches of golden sands beneath, while exploring the Marinha by foot lets you find all the cute caves and passageways the beach has to offer—like these iconic twin arches. This would make a great spot for some beachside yoga or a romantic picnic. Just be aware of the tide times first!
3 Ocean House Beach, Rhode Island
New England in the US has many beautiful beaches to its name, but for out and about luxury vibes by the sea, the renowned Ocean house beach resort in Rhode Island is definitely worth experiencing. If you’re into glamping (the glam way to camp out), then you’ll likely love the trendy beach hospitality on show in this pic. This is the luxe beach treatment courtesy of the triple five-star hotel Ocean House on Watch Hill and allows beach-goers to lounge in style.
Tourists have described the shimmering blue waters and warm stretch of sand as worthy of the Caribbean, so if that’s not a good-enough testimonial, then we don’t know what is. Calling all New Yorkers, this sizzling beach escape is only a three-hour train ride from Manhattan, so what are you waiting for? Make your next beach getaway a Rhode Island one and thank us later!
2 St. Ives, Cornwall
For a change of tack now, we’re giving a shout out to a British beach and one of the best-loved in the country. The UK may not be known for its exotic sun-drenched beaches, but St. Ives in Cornwall is a prime example of a modest yet gorgeous beach location and every bit as charming as its more glamorous counterparts overseas.
What St. Ives offers instead is something that can scarcely be matched abroad—quaint and quintessential village spirit. All year round, this idyllic seaside town has something for every kind of beach bunny from great surfing spots to beachfront cafes and scenic harbor views. There is also the chance to spot some nearby wildlife since curious seals like to pop up in the harbor every once in a while. Visit it in summer or fall. Cornwall is always a beach-lovers treat.
1 Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
In a recent poll ranking the 50 best beach locations in the world, the travel site Flight network named Horseshoe Bay 27th on the list, and while this is a good-enough accolade in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t do justice to how unique and awe-inspiring this beach really is. For one thing,
the colorful blend of pink sands meeting the turquoise waters is the stuff dreamy tropical islands are made of.
For another, the endless beach coves in and around the bay can excite even the most seasoned beach explorer, so whether you’re a true beach bunny or more eager to go and roam, Bermuda’s curved oasis gives you the best of both worlds. Also, for those of you in the Big Apple daydreaming of a break, you’ll be pleased to know that Horseshoe Bay is actually less than a two-hour flight from New York. #Lastminutegetaway goals.