Where do you have planned to visit this summer? These are the world’s most beautiful and scenic beaches, according to Condé Nast Traveler readers.
1. El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
It’s amazing how Palawan has remained steadily under the radar, and we certainly hope it stays that way. El Nido alone is home to around 50 white sand beaches, all of which are set around dramatic limestone formations and boast the finest and whitest sand you’ll ever see. The water is so blindingly blue it makes the Caribbean Sea look murky in comparison, and the sunsets? Lets just say, they’ll ruin you for life. Consider yourself warned.
2. Blinky Beach, Lord Howe Island, Australia
While many of Australia’s best beaches can be found in Queensland, New South Wales firmly holds it own. Not only does it have excellent surf, Blinky Beach, on the east side of Lord Howe Island, is fantastically beautiful. It’s situated between Blinky Point and Mutton Bird Lookout. Plus it boasts the requisite powder-white sand and azure waters. Behind it, you’ll also find tall dunes spotted with wild daisies and prickly spinifex.
3. Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Brazil
Lopes Mendes is two miles of unspoiled, deserted, powder-white sand that leads to some of the world’s clearest and most crystalline waters. There are no beach shacks or restaurants here; instead, you’ll find thick, wild sea shrub, almond trees, and squat palms, perfect for napping beneath. It’s a long trek, a three-hour drive to Angra dos Reis from Rio, then a ferry, then a taxi-boat, then a short hike through a forest, but well worth the effort.
4. Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia
Australia is known for its spectacular beaches, including this stunning colored beach on Fraser Island. For starters, the entire island is World Heritage Site, listed for being the largest sand island in the world. Its golden sand beach is backed by fiery bronze cliffs; further beyond, you’ll find lush rainforest rich with native wildlife.
5. El Castillo, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico
When it comes to Mexico’s beaches Tulum can’t be beat. It hugs the base of towering, 40-foot limestone cliffs. Plus it’s pale, silvery sand leads invitingly into the clear, shallow Caribbean Sea, and it’s flanked by palms and lush vegetation on either side. Best of all, it’s located directly beneath the famous El Castillo ruins.
6. Honokalani Beach, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Maui, HI
Honokalani Beach is a photographer’s dream with its jet-black shore, lapis lazuli waters and thick, jungle-like foliage. Besides lying lazily on the “sand” that is actually tiny lava pebbles, there’s plenty to do. You’ll find sea caves and seaside lava tubes carved into the lava cliffs along the shore. It’s wild, unspoiled Hawaii at its best, and a necessary stop on your drive to Hana.
7. Honopu Beach, Kauai, HI
Honopu, also known as Cathedral Beach, is quite difficult to reach. For starters, it’s only accessible by water, so to get there you must swim from an offshore boat, or from neighboring Kalalau Beach (a quarter-mile swim). But the trouble is worth it! Think cumin-colored sand bordered by soaring, vegetation-cloaked cliffs, and most times, not a soul in sight. Fun fact: It’s served as a location on such films as Six Days, Seven Nights, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and King Kong.
8. Waipio Valley Beach, Big Island, HI
This beautiful beach in Waipio Valley is one of the hardest to get to in Hawaii. You must hike or drive down a treacherously narrow, steep road to reach your destination. But it’s well worth it! At the bottom, you’re rewarded with a mile-long black volcanic sand beach bordered by 2000-foot cliff walls and backed by thick rainforest. If that weren’t scenic enough, the Kaluahine and Waiulili waterfalls cut into the cliffs at the south end of the beach, and are accessible via a boulder-strewn trail along the surf. Plus it is home to many wild horses.
9. Matira Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Matira is perhaps the most famous beaches in Tahiti’s, and for good reason. The mile-long stretch of silky, powder-white sand slopes gently into a shallow emerald lagoon, and is backed by a thick curtain of palms and tropical foliage. Added bonus: It’s one of the only public-access beaches in Bora Bora, so you won’t need to pay five-star resort prices to enjoy its beauty.
10. Anse Lazio, Praslin, Seychelles
Anse Lazio, on the northwest tip of Praslin island, is known as the most beautiful beach in the Seychelles and by far the most photographed. It’s no wonder, the beach is long and broad with shocking blue water and velvety sand. Plus it’s fringed with swaying palms and leafy takamaka trees. To add to the drama, it’s also framed by enormous granite boulders on either side.