It’s that time of year as the weather becomes colder, wetter, and more harsh. We find ourselves daydreaming of a sunny beach with warm sand and the sound of waves crashing into the shore. Everyone has different needs for their beach-going: you might be a surfer looking for the best waves, you may be an explorer who looks for interesting shells, or maybe you want to sit on a lounge chair with a cocktail. Ask people what the best beach is in the world and the answers vary greatly. Our list runs the gamut and while beach lovers may never agree about the world’s best beach, you’ll find something on our list that will speak to the beach lover in you.
Cathedrals Beach, Ribadeo, Spain
Cathedrals Beach (or the Beach of the Cathedrals as translated from the Spanish, As Catedrais) is known formally as Praia de Augas Santas. After exploring Europe and the amazing churches, you’ll reminisce when you visit this beach in Ribadeo, Spain. The massive rock arches that are carved by the waves are may remind you of a Gothic church. You’ll want to visit at low tide because the beach is lost to the surf as the tide rises on the Bay of Biscay.
Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
Geared toward a younger crowd who loves the sun, surf, shops, and drinks, Camps Bay Beach is in very close proximity to Cape Town, South Africa. It is considered a premier tourist destination for the area. When you think of a tourist in this setting, it’s less of the fanny pack, visor, camera, and guidebook tourist, rather it’s more of the fabulous, sunglasses, cocktail-in-hand, sporty tourist. One benefit of Camps Bay Beach is the wide range of accommodations from the Auberge du Cap guest house villa to the Bali Bay Luxury Apartments.
Maya Bay Beach, Koh Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
You may recognize Maya Bay Beach from the 2000 movie The Beach which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. When you visit, we recommend going in the early morning to avoid the crowds – it’s quite popular, but worth the trip. It’s accessible as a day trip from Koh Phi Phi Don as it is located on the southern island of Koh Phi Phi Leh in Thailand. The best part about the trek to the beach is that you’ll be taken there in a long tail traditional wooden boat and you’ll make a stop for some snorkeling along the way.
Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece
The white and pink sand created by the ancient windswept cedar trees and the tides will entice you, but the shallow lagoons that are a brilliant aquamarine in color will draw you in. This natural wonder is accessible by wading through the sea on the southwestern coast of Crete. While it looks quiet and peaceful – and for the most part, it is – you’ll find vendors selling food, lifeguards, showers, and beach accessories available to you.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
As Haystack Rock looms offshore and dogs frolic around you (yes, most of the 400 miles of public beaches in Oregon are dog-friendly), you’ll be lost in the beauty that is uniquely Oregon in the large swath of firmly-packed sand. Perfect for a stroll along the beach with your love and your dog, or both, Cannon Beach is a true gem of the United States’ west coast.
You’ll likely easily agree that naming the world’s best beaches is a subjective task at best, but our list definitely covers some of the greatest. So, tell us, what is your favorite beach in the world? Did it make our list? For more amazing beaches, try our picks for the seven best beaches in Portugal.