15 Most Famous Beaches in the World (2023)

Whether you live inland or on the coast, beaches are among the most beloved places in the world. They’re sometimes cliché vacation destinations, but they’re popular with families, couples and solo beach-goers alike for good reason. There’s almost nothing like the feeling of sinking your bare feet into the sugar-like sand, as the sun welcomes your body with a warm embrace. Try going beachside with a drink in hand, and things get significantly better, too.

From famous beaches that bustle with activity to natural coastal wonders that dominate bucket lists, these 15 popular beaches have that certain “je ne sais quoi.” And many make our list of the best beaches in the world. See if you recognize them all.

Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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At Copacabana Beach, one of the world’s most famous beaches, the people-watching may be even more riveting than the scenery. Spy “cariocas” (native Rio residents) socializing, playing volleyball and sipping coconut water, all in requisite Brazilian swimwear.

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Celebs from Fred Astaire to Madonna have graced the circa-1923 Belmond Copacabana Palace hotel, set along Atlantica Avenue, with its wavy black-and-white mosaic design. Travel over Dec. 31 to witness the biggest party on the planet: the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration that draws more than 2 million people.

Santa Monica Beach, California

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(Video) 15 Most Unique Beaches In The World

Spanning 3.5 miles, Santa Monica Beach is where nostalgia meets California living. Along Ocean Front Walk, fitness enthusiasts take advantage of retro workout equipment, while the Marvin Braude Bike Trail hums with tanned skateboarders, rollerbladers and cyclists at, perhaps, the most famous beach in the world.

Most recognizable is the circa-1909 pier with its street-performers, artists, historic carousel and solar-powered Ferris wheel. Book a room at Shutters on the Beach to be in the heart of the action.

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South Beach, Miami, Florida

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Glamorous hotels, clubs and restaurants converge in South Beach, but the American Riviera is most famous for its Art Deco vibe and two miles of white sand. Rack up Instagram likes by the 35 bright and funky lifeguard towers at one of the most popular beaches, and rent a DecoBike to explore the Art Deco Historic District’s 800 landmarks built from 1923 to 1943. Called the grand dame of Art Deco design, the Raleigh hotel has been a hot spot since 1940. See if South Beach made the list of the best beaches in the United States.

Renaissance Island, Aruba

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The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino’s man-made private island is the only place in Aruba to take a selfie with flamboyance of flamingos, who are happy to oblige in return for kibble from a vending machine (bring quarters). The island is open only to resort guests, though a limited number of day passes are sold each morning. Flamingo Beach is adults-only, but kids can spy sunbathing iguanas on Ren Island’s family-friendly beach.

Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

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In 1901, the Moana Surfrider resort opened on the south shore of Oahu, and Waikiki’s status as a prime vacation spot was cemented. More than a century later, a multimillion-dollar refurbishment transformed Kuhio Beach and the Waikiki Beach Walk, an alfresco promenade that buzzes with live music, nightlife, restaurants and shops.

(Video) 15 MOST Beautiful Island Beaches in the World

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Sample Hawaiian poke on almost every corner, hang 10 where Duke Kahanamoku surfed, and climb 300,000-year-old Diamond Head crater.

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

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You’ve seen this photogenic bay on travel ads – now, discover where it is: Navagio Beach, on the Ionian Isle of Zakynthos. Enclosed by limestone cliffs, the cove is also known as Shipwreck Beach, thanks to the rusting vessel of the Panayiotis, which washed ashore here in 1982. Get the obligatory lofty photo from the viewpoint near the Anafonitria monastery. Potamitis Boat Trips offers tours to the beach as well as windmill accommodations in the Skinari area.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

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Preserved within Whitsunday Islands National Park on the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach stretches for more than four miles. Its most recognizable section, Hill Inlet, dazzles observers with its multi-tinted turquoise water and bleach-white silica sand that shifts and swirls with the tides.

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Get a stellar view from the lookout at Tongue Point, or gawk from a helicopter with Hamilton Island Air. Nearby, Hamilton Island is home to several resorts, including luxury hotel Qualia.

(Video) 15 Most Beautiful and Best Beaches In The World

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

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Basted onto the travel map after the release of the film The Beach in 2000, Maya Bay sees more tourists than it can literally handle. Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation closed the beach for four months in 2018 for reef recovery, and, since reopening, it’s been capped at 2,000 visitors a day, making it, perhaps, the world’s most famous beach.

Those who make the cut can ogle the famous sugar sand and 300-foot cliffs in person. The neighboring island of Phi Phi Don holds the Phi Phi Islands’ only accommodations, including Zeavola’s rustic-chic suites.

Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Island

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Donated to the U.S. National Park Service by Laurence S. Rockefeller in 1956, Trunk Bay remains blissfully hotel-free. Visitors of the USVI do, however, share the pristine beach with cruise passengers and schools of tropical fish, viewed along the 225-yard underwater snorkeling trail.

Get the classic shot of Trunk Bay from the scenic overlook on North Shore Road. Find a private vacation rental, or book a room at Gallows Point Resort.

The Baths, British Virgin Islands

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It’s practically impossible to take a bad photo at the Baths, a series of large granite boulders that decorate the southern shore of Virgin Gorda. Volcanic in origin, the famous rock formations create a magical trail of sheltered grottoes, pools and tunnels along one of the most popular beaches in the world. Consider staying at the luxury resort community of Oil Nut Bay.

Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles

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Once believed to be the Garden of Eden, the Seychelles are about as close as it gets to heaven on Earth. And with no airport, no resort chains and bicycles replacing cars, the island of La Digue is particularly idyllic. Its best beach, Anse Source d’Argent, is the quintessential place to marvel at the destination’s elephantine granite boulders. Reserve a budget guesthouse, or splurge on a luxury hideaway, like Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie Resort & Spa.

(Video) 15 Most Unique Beaches In The World

Tulum, Mexican Caribbean

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Not many tropical beaches can claim to have archeological ruins on their shores. A significant trading and religious center from the 11th century to the 16th century, Tulum’s famous Mayan site is a major draw for tourists. After exploring the crumbling temples and other structures, cool off in the Caribbean Sea 40 feet below. Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa, just 10 minutes away, books tours directly through the hotel.

RELATED: Best Beaches in the World

Spiaggia Grande, Positano, Italy

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With its spectacular backdrop of pastel-colored buildings climbing up the hillside, it’s no wonder Positano, on the Amalfi Coast, is a magnet for celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Denzel Washington.

Nestled at the base is Spiaggia Grande, Positano’s main beach, neatly lined with colorful umbrellas (which are available for rent). Soak in views of one of the most visited beaches in the world from Le Sirenuse hotel, the poshest address in town.

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

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Thirty minutes from Sydney, laid-back Bondi Beach has something for everyone. Stroll the scenic Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk; eat like a hipster in a local restaurant along the Campbell Parade; take a surf lesson; browse the Saturday farmers market; or swim in the famous Bondi Icebergs Pool, Australia’s oldest swimming club. Afterward, retire to QT Bondi Beach, a luxury boutique hotel set just behind the Bondi Pavilion.

Bathsheba Beach, Barbados

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The Atlantic Ocean’s erosive power is on full display at Bathsheba Beach on Barbados’ rugged east coast. Here, Mushroom Rock and other sea-sculpted coral formations rise dramatically from the frothy breakers, great for surfing (but not swimming). Sleep right next door at the family-owned Atlantis Inn that’s been in operation since the 19th century.

(Video) 15 Most Famous Beaches in the World

FAQs

15 Most Famous Beaches in the World? ›

See if you recognize them all.
  • Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ...
  • Santa Monica Beach, California. ...
  • South Beach, Miami, Florida. ...
  • Renaissance Island, Aruba. ...
  • Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii. ...
  • Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece. ...
  • Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia. ...
  • Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand.
Dec 18, 2019

What beach is the most famous in the world? ›

With 23 miles of white, sandy oceanfront, this Florida beach city draws in millions of visitors annually. Daytona Beach has a very prominent sign arching over the street leading to their boardwalk with the phrase, “World's Most Famous Beach.” This educational blog reveals the history behind this claim.

What is the most visited beach? ›

America's Most Crowded Beaches
  • Venice Beach, California. Each year Venice attracts approximately 16 million visitors. ...
  • Miami Beach, Florida. ...
  • Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York. ...
  • Hollywood, Florida. ...
  • Waikiki, Oahu. ...
  • Ocean City, Maryland. ...
  • Huntington Beach, California. ...
  • Daytona Beach, Florida.

Which country is famous for beaches? ›

Indonesia. Nestled in Indonesia, Bali is famed for its collection of world-renown beaches that attract a variety of travelers. You'll find a rich culture and fascinating geological features surrounding its idyllic beaches, which are a great place to try your hand at surfing, swim in its waters or lounge along the shore ...

What is the most beautiful beach in the world 2022? ›

And you've got the No. 1 beach in the world for 2022, according to Tripadvisor users. The travel platform has just released the second of its annual Travelers' Choice Awards for 2022: The Best of the Best Beaches. Coming out on top is Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos islands.

Which city has many popular beaches? ›

Marina Beach Chennai

Marina Beach of Madras or Chennai is most popular and the longest beach in India,along the Bay of Bengal. The natural urban beach of Chennai is the most crowded beach in the country and second longest natural urban beach in the world.

Which island has the best beaches? ›

Best Caribbean Beaches
  • Turks & Caicos.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Anguilla.
  • Bahamas.
  • British Virgin Islands.
  • Barbados.
  • Cayman Islands.
  • Aruba.

Where are beaches most common? ›

The 25 Most Popular Beaches in America
  • Panama City Beach. 19 million annual visitors. ...
  • St. Petersburg Florida. ...
  • Fort Lauderdale Beach. 8.8 million annual visitors. ...
  • Santa Monica. 8.4 million annual visitors. ...
  • Gulf Shores. 6.9 million annual visitors. ...
  • Miami Beach. 6.8 million annual visitors. ...
  • South Beach. ...
  • Waikiki Beach.
May 3, 2021

What is the safest beach in the world? ›

Located at the end of Linden Ave, known as the “World's Safest Beach,” Carpinteria City Beach is very special and has been rated the #1 swimming beach in California, due mostly to its Southern exposure and its protection by the Channel Islands.

What is the number 1 beach in USA? ›

Beach (real name Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman) describes Hapuna Beach State Park on the Big Island, Hawaii, which he just named number 1 in the United States in his annual Best Beaches awards, which is published just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

What is the warmest beach in the world? ›

The hottest ocean area is in the Persian Gulf, where water temperatures at the surface exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Another hot area exists in the Red Sea, where a temperature of 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit has been recorded at a depth of about 6,500 feet.

Where are the prettiest beaches? ›

While there are buckets and buckets of beautiful well-known beaches – like Australia Whitehaven Beach, Princess Alexandra Marine Park in Turks and Caicos, Whitsunday Island, Clearwater Beach, Cannon Beach, Grace Bay Beach, Champagne Beach, Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town South Africa, and French Polynesia Matira Beach – ...

What country has most beaches? ›

Indonesia has the second longest coastline in the world at 99,083 km/61,567 miles. The country's coastline is famous for its picturesque beaches and great diversity of flora and fauna.
...
Countries With The Most Coastline.
Rank1
CountryCanada
Coastline (Kilometers)202,080
Coastline (Miles)1,25,567
19 more columns
Oct 1, 2020

What is the 2nd best beach in the world? ›

2. Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos. Located just southeast of The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos are a group of some 40 islands that remain a British Overseas Territory. World renowned Grace Bay Beach, on its main island of Providenciales, is one of the world's most exquisite stretches of white sand.

What ocean has the bluest water? ›

The Weddell Sea, Antarctic Peninsula

The Weddell Sea has been claimed by scientists to have the clearest waters of any ocean in the world.

What beach has the softest sand? ›

Vamizi Beach, Mozambique

Located on Vamizi Island, Vamizi Beach boasts pearlescent white sand that feel as fine as powder and as soft as silk.

What is the longest beach in the world? ›

Praia do Cassino Beach, Brazil

Known to be the longest beach in the world, this shoreline stretches for 157-miles from Rio Grande, Brazil all the way to the border with Uruguay. In certain regions, the beach fuses white sand with aqua-green waters to exude Brazil's natural beauty.

What is the most beautiful place in the world? ›

According to the study, the most beautiful place in the world is Peyto Lake in Canada. This natural wonder is known for its neon blue water surrounded by dazzling mountains.

What is the #1 beach in the USA? ›

Stephen P. Leatherman) describes Hapuna Beach State Park on the Big Island, Hawaii, which he just named number 1 in the United States in his annual Best Beaches awards, which is published just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

Why is Bondi beach so famous? ›

There are a few reasons why this eclectic beachside suburb attracts thousands of visitors every day. From its world-class restaurants, proximity to the Sydney CBD, relatively safe swimming conditions, and 1km strip of white sandy beach Bondi has rightly earned its reputation as one of Australia's top beaches.

What is the best beach in the world 2022? ›

And you've got the No. 1 beach in the world for 2022, according to Tripadvisor users. The travel platform has just released the second of its annual Travelers' Choice Awards for 2022: The Best of the Best Beaches. Coming out on top is Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos islands.

Which state has best beach? ›

Without further ado, here are 21 of the “best” beaches in America, organized by state.
  • North Carolina - Cape Lookout National Seashore. ...
  • Oregon - Ecola State Park. ...
  • Rhode Island - Narragansett Town Beach. ...
  • South Carolina - Hilton Head Island. ...
  • Texas - Galveston Island. ...
  • Virginia - Virginia Beach. ...
  • Washington - Ruby Beach.
Nov 18, 2021

How old is Bondi Beach? ›

A historical look into Bondi Beach from its beginnings as private land in 1809 to now being one of Australia's most iconic beachside towns. A family having a picnic at Bondi's first beach kiosk, 1905. Bondi Beach first opened to the public in 1882. Bondi Beach Turn Back The Tide protest concert on Good Friday, 1989.

Can you swim at Bondi Beach? ›

Bondi beach is relatively safe for competent swimmers and consistently has moderate swell for surfers and body surfers to make the most of. The two locations for swimming at Bondi beach are between the sets of flags at the far end of the beach in North Bondi or between the flags in the middle of the beach.

Is Bondi Beach man made? ›

1. Bondi Beach has strong links with the important historical cultural processes of the development of surf bathing in Australia, and the development of the surf lifesaving movement. Both these developments can be traced in the way in which the natural attractions of the beach have been adapted by man made facilities.

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