These seaside destinations don’t have a single skyrise hotel in sight. Set sail for these shores for swimming, snorkeling, camping, scuba diving, or just kicking back and enjoying a fruity drink with an umbrella in it.
13. Tulum Beach
80 miles southeast of Cancun lies a little-known beach, which offers not only unspoiled natural beauty, but also breathtaking Mayan ruins. Tulum, and the nearby Boca Paila Beach, have escaped the fate of resort development of many of the beaches in the surrounding area. Tulum is a unique experience of natural beauty and ancient architecture.
Come to enjoy the beautiful, rolling waves of the Caribbean Sea. There are plenty of reef and aquatic activities to enjoy while you’re in the area. Snorkel, swim with dolphins, or check out one of Tulum’s Eco Parks. Take a step back in time and explore the seaside ruins.
12. Balangan Beach
The pristine sands, clear waters and excellent surf attract many surfers, but few tourists. Many are unaware of this quiet and beautiful beach, and we think the surfers are probably alright with that. It’s unspoiled and features authentic warungs on stilts (small, family owned, Indonesian and Malaysian shops).
The rocky cliff overlooking the ocean offers a view for watching fishing boats returning from sea. This beach is hidden among the cliffs, with calmer, inviting waters. It’s beautifully well-maintained. It’s remote and not easy to find, but that’s half of the appeal.
11. Kepuhi Beach
Kepuhi is beautiful all-year-round, but the beach is only “swimmable” certain times of the year because the waves are so high. However, it’s a great spot for surfing if that’s what you’re into. Kepuhi’s white sand shoreline rolls on as far as the eye can see. At the southern end of the beach lies Kaikai Rock, which was once the site of a Hawaiian temple.
Don’t plan to visit during the winter months if you have any plans aside from admiring the scenery – the waves are insane that time of year. Make sure to come during calmer times if you plan on getting in the surf. When the tide is being cooperative, it’s a wonderful spot for body boarding or just relaxing. It’s a beautiful, picturesque and sparsely populated beach any time of year.
10. Table Rock Beach
If you didn’t think you could find a secret cove and public beach in South Laguna, think again. It’s a photographer’s dream. It also happens to be chosen as the site of many weddings because of its beauty and seclusion. Take note that the undertow and cross-currents are very dangerous, though. It’s not suitable for swimming. However, if you want to relax by the water or maybe just dip your feet in and get away from it all, this is your new secret spot.
It’s a nice break from the crowds found at many of the beaches in Laguna. Bring a camera to Table Rock and plan on spending the entire day. Spectacular cliffs jut up on all sides, with smaller coves to be discovered within the larger cove.
9. Samara Beach
Samara, Costa Rica
Samara is a beach often overlooked by tourists, so this little beach village maintains an authentically Costa Rican atmosphere. Wild horses roam freely on Samara’s white sands. The waves are just big enough to learn how to surf, but small enough that they aren’t too intimidating or dangerous.
Samara is a quaint village with restaurants and villas available to rent for your stay. It’s sparsely populated, but not totally uninhabited. It’s a great balance of seclusion and the convenience of having restaurants and lodging nearby. It’s a great place to kick back with a drink, play volleyball and just relax.
8. Muriwai Beach
Muriwai, New Zealand
Muriwai is slightly off the beaten path, as many tourists in Auckland stop and set up their umbrellas on Phia Beach. It isn’t uncommon to find Aucklanders hitting the surf at Muriwai, but it is a locale that isn’t overrun with tourists. Muriwai’s consistent surf conditions make this spot a favorite of the locals. The surf conditions here are excellent for those just learning, and Muriwai has a great surf school if you’re up for adventure.
West Coast beaches in New Zealand have unique appeal with their black sand and ideal location for sunset gazing. Muriwai is also home to New Zealand’s largest gannet (kind of like seagulls) colony, although they are slightly more majestic than seagulls and it’s pretty cool to see them nesting in the steep rocks.
7. Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island, Australia
Lord Howe Island is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. The little island caps tourists at 400, to avoid overcrowding. Everything is accessible by bike, and there is plenty to do – snorkeling around the coral reef lagoon, fishing, hiking, scuba diving, climbing the nearly 3,000 ft Mount Gower, or just sitting back and enjoying the quiet and the scenery. You’ll feel like you’re on your own private island.
There are plenty of swanky all-inclusive packages on Lord Howe Island, so all you have to do is show up and relax and enjoy the ocean view. It’s less than a two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbaine.
6. Bean Hollow State Beach
It could be assumed that Bean Hollow gets its name from all of the “beans,” or millions-of-years-old rounded pebbles, on the beach’s shoreline. It’s an unusual sight to see, and is beautifully well-maintained by California State Parks. This beach is a stop worth making on the San Mateo coast. There are plenty of tide pools to explore, dogs are welcome and crowds are low.
The winter months are a great time to enjoy the clear, blue skies, with low fog. It’s the favorite Northern California beach of many (but not too many). It’s a favorite of the lucky few who have ventured onto Bean Hollow’s shores.
5. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
Kaihalulu is one of the world’s only red sand beaches. The contrast of the strikingly blue water and vividly red sand of Kaihalulu makes this beach absolutely breathtaking. Take note that Kaihalulu is more or less de facto a “clothing optional” beach, so if you’re into that kind of thing, that’s good news. It’s semi-remote and requires a short hike to find, but it is well worth the effort.
There is a pool that’s created by the rocks that form a little cove kind of area. This makes the water in the pool a bit warmer and calmer. The currents outside of the pool can get alarmingly strong, but this little cove is the perfect relaxing getaway, and also a rare spectacle with its red sand. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera.
4. Rialto Beach
Not your typical beach destination, but it is a beautiful place to gaze out on the Pacific Ocean. There are many cabins to vacation in around the area, and the coastline is a beautiful destination for hiking. It can be a little chilly at times, but on a sunny day, it’s a perfect ocean-side destination on the Western Seaboard. Camping here is one of the most epic things you can probably ever do in your life. It’s very secluded, and gazing out across the ocean in the silence gives you the opportunity to be in awe of nature.
If you stay up late enough or wake up early enough, this is a stunning destination for stargazing. The sunset here on the west coast is phenomenal, too. There are tide pools along the shore, full of starfish, crabs and other fun little critters.
3. Totaranui Beach
Motueka, New Zealand
If you take the nearly 90-minute drive down the winding dirt roads, you will be rewarded with this glimpse of paradise known as Totaranui Beach. This beach can be found in Abel Tasman National Park, on the north coast of the South Island. Totaranui Beach has been described as “isolated bliss.” There are lagoons to explore and campgrounds, to provide the opportunity for total immersion in the wild beauty of nature.
The waters are a beautiful, deep aquamarine blue. The golden sands are stunning and the bay features some of the best-preserved native bush in the park. It’s the perfect location for kayaking, trekking, camping, photography, or just enjoying the scenery.
2. Phú Quoc Island
Mekong Delta, Vietnam
This island boasts beautiful. unspoiled tropical beaches. Experience the slow-paced, relaxing getaway you thought you’d only ever dream of. Set sail for snorkeling, scuba diving, jets skiing, wind sailing. Head to market in the morning for an authentic island experience. There are many affordable resorts on the island, free of Western influence – just slow-paced island life. There’s nothing to do but fish and relax on the beach all day.
Phu Quoc is still relatively undiscovered and usually less crowded than other beaches, alleviating the stress of dealing with hordes of tourists. It’s quiet at night – the only sound is that of the waves rolling across the ocean. This tropical destination is truly heaven on Earth.
1. Koh Lanta Island
Koh Lanta was once a region of humble fishing villages and has slowly been becoming a luxurious travel destination for those who are lucky enough to know about it. It is far from the bustle of Thailand’s more populated beaches, and still maintains the authenticity of the slow pace of village life… only with affordable, yet luxurious, resorts.
The waters are calm and the island is safe, making this an ideal relaxation destination. The waters are warm all-year-round, and the western side offers breathtaking views of sunsets. Any of the beaches in the Koh Lanta region are perfect destinations for anyone looking for pristine sands and clear waters.
Featured Image © Michael Matti