Top Destinations for Beach Vacations

Sun & Fun: Riverdale Travel’s Ultimate List of Best Beaches Around the World

It doesn’t get much better than kicking back on a sunny, sandy beach. The tricky part is deciding which one to hit. That’s why we’ve made a list of the best beaches around the world!

Hang ten in the Maldives or maybe stride into the sparkling Caribbean for a snorkel. No matter what kind of beach vacation you envision, Riverdale Travel has an escape for you.

We are constantly updating this list to add new destinations and additional details, so bookmark this page and come back when you need some sun and fun!

Caribbean Beach Destinations

With more than 700 islands, the Caribean region offers hundreds of destinations with pristine, sandy beaches. Let your Riverdale Travel consultant plan the ideal trip by sharing your unique wants and needs. We’ll match you with the perfect beach destination.

Here are some of our favorites!

Aruba

The Caribbean no doubt has its share of breathtaking beaches, and Aruba is no exception. Eagle Beach was voted Trip Advisor’s 3rd Best Beach in the World.

Like quiet beaches? Try Baby Beach. Snorkeling is fabulous here under the shallow waters of Mangel Halto.

Barbados

Carlisle Bay is best known for its calm, sheltered waters, perfect for swimming and scuba diving.

Or, go on board a clear kayak as you journey on the water’s surface to see different shipwrecks below, each filled with fascinating marine life. A one-of-a-kind curiosity to say the least!

Cuba

You’ve probably heard that Cuba looks like you traveled through a time machine back to 1950. And that’s a fact!

Please take note that the simplest legal way to travel to Cuba is to sign up for a “People-to-People” (P2P) educational program such as those offered by tour companies licensed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This might be the only way to come near the beaches of Cuba.

Ask one of Riverdale’s travel consultants for help with this, and check out our blog about visiting Cuba!

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has the top beach holiday destinations in the world, not only for its all-inclusive resorts, but also the awesome beaches. Punta Cana is considered one of the best.

Bávaro Beach, famous for its wide stretch of palm-fringed coastline and turquoise blue waters, is another destination that’s perfect for a cocktail under a beach umbrella.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

South of George Town near the ports, Smith Barcadere in the South Sound of Grand Cayman is terrific for taking photos and is a phenomenal place for snorkeling and beginner swimmers due to the unique drop-off formations – all with the convenience of public restrooms, picnic benches and outdoor showers.

This destination is also convenient too for cruisers; Caribbean cruise ships stop right on the beach!

Jamaica

Frenchman’s Cove has been a movie spot popular with Hollywood A-Listers.

Jamaica’s Doctor’s Cave Beach is another popular Montego Bay beach with a legendary story. There was once a physician who was convinced there were healing properties to the waters of Doctor’s Cave Beach, and as a result, the beach became very popular and thus was named accordingly.

It is also located near the “Hip Strip,” so you’re right in the happening vibe. Ya, Mon!

Puerto Rico

Culebra is one of the major islands in Puerto Rico’s archipelago and is where you’ll find Flamenco Beach. With beautiful blue skies above your head and warm white sand beneath your feet, this Caribbean beach destination is enough to make you feel like you’re on cloud nine.

Puerto Rico’s beaches are ideal for swimming, unwinding, or simply laying out with some suntan oil. Try Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla, another popular beach featuring a vast range of activities for everyone to try.

St. John

St. John’s North Shore features the world’s most beautiful beaches, with white sand, crystal clear blue waters, shallow waters for snorkeling, and coconut palm trees. Try one, or try them all!

Here’s what’s on the relaxing beach menu: Trunk Bay Beach, Cinnamon Bay Beach, Maho Bay Beach, Hawksnest Beach, Salomon Beach, Gibney Beach, Caneel Bay, or Honeymoon Beach – somewhere to visit after your wedding plans.

St. Kitts, St. Kitts, & Nevis

If you want a secluded beach with pristine waters, try Banana Bay, located on the tip of the southeast peninsula. Peninsula beaches will require a taxi or car to get out of this oasis, but it’s beyond worth it.

Another popular beach is Cockleshell Bay, a water sports lover's paradise spanning over two miles long. It’s also home to the world-famous Reggae Beach Bar.

St. Lucia

Explore Reduit Beach, probably the most famous beach on the Island of St. Lucia, due to the resort hotels sprinkled along the beachfront and cruise ship visitors.

In St. Lucia, there are plenty of water activities for every interest and nearby eateries to satisfy anyone’s taste buds.

St. Maarten (St. Martin)

Here you can simply pick a beach based on your preferences for solitude, romance, or family fun. Bring the entire family to Simpson Bay Beach or Le Galion Beach, where kids can play safely in calm, shallow waters sheltered by a large coral reef.

On a honeymoon? Explore Lover’s Beach.

Prefer adventure and exploring? Then Cupecoy Beach or Mullet Bay Beach is for you – and also near the island’s only golf course.

The Bahamas

There are 16 islands to explore The Bahamas’s colorful coral reefs and beaches.

Pack your sunglasses and beach towel and head to the powdery pinkish glow beach, Pink Sands Beach. Located on Harbour Island, it has been called the world’s most beautiful beach by an international variety of magazines.

Turks & Caicos

The world-famous Grace Bay Beach on the north coast of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos is lined by some luxury resorts and protected by a beautiful barrier reef, which hides some fantastic scuba diving sites.

The soft white sand and clear water of Grace Bay really have to be seen with the naked eye to appreciate the sublime beauty!

U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands consists of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas, and 50 other surrounding minor islands and cays so you can expect another assortment of pristine beaches.

The Magens Bay Beach in St. Thomas is popular and perfect for families since this area is calm and tranquil for children or new swimmers.

Mexico Beach Destinations

We probably don’t have to tell you that Mexico is the ideal coastal destination with a well-tended tourism framework and proximity to the U.S. Work with a consultant specializing in Mexico travel to ensure you’re spending your money in the right places!

Acapulco, Pacific Coast

This is a popular weekend beach getaway for international travelers. Visit Playa Condesa, one of Acapulco's most central and famous beaches, with excellent water sports access.

Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula

Also, in the warm Yucatan water lies the uniquely shaped island of Cancun, a beautiful turquoise water escape that remains one of the most affordable vacation destinations in the Western Hemisphere, according to Travel.USNews.com.

Take a day trip to stunning spots like Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy. An excellent place for every kind of water activity or sport and offers a buffet of all-inclusive resorts.

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is situated on the tip of the 800-mile-long Baja California Peninsula. This is a sport fishing favorite in search of marlin and sailfish.

Check out the fabulous beaches, shopping, and savory restaurants. Take a snapshot of El Arco (The Arch), a unique natural rock formation at the southern tip.

Cozumel, Yucatan Peninsula

Cozumel is an island paradise for snorkelers, divers, deep-sea fishing, and a popular ocean cruise port. Visitors boast about Cozumel's east side, which offers remote beaches sprinkled with lively local beach bars.

Visit the southern part of the island, Punta Sur, which is a nature lover’s dream – a sprawling nature preserve – a picturesque beach vacation!

Manzanillo

North of Ixtapa on Mexico’s Pacific coast is Manzanillo, a laid-back, tranquil coastal destination known as part of the Mexican Riviera and host to many hotels and resorts. Sample one of the many seafood restaurants in the open air next to the Pacific Ocean.

Go fishing, play a round of golf, watch cliff divers, or bird watch. Include a boat tour which can include stops at suitable places for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

Puerto Vallarta

Another spectacular Pacific oceanfront destination is the Pacific. Find both elegance and efficiency mingled together within the hotel areas. Sample the delicious food or discover a hidden boutique in the Zona Romantica with plenty of cultural opportunities and outstanding eateries.

Puerto Vallarta is also home to a pier that offers pedestrian seating and illuminates each evening with a kaleidoscope of colors. Sip on a signature beachy cocktail along the Malecón.

Playa del Carmen, Yucatan Peninsula

This gem is situated between Cancun and Tulum, a mere 1-hour drive to each. Experience snorkeling on a catamaran or driving a dune buggy through the Mayan desert.

Visit the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza – one of the seven New Wonders of the World! Afterward, explore a cenote (freshwater sinkhole) where you can go for a refreshing swim.

Tulum

Tulum, in the southern point of the Yucatan Peninsula, is featured in our blog as one of the best honeymoon destinations for romance and is unique. Picture this: perfectly preserved Mayan ruins, exotic wildlife encounters, jungle adventures, fabulous shopping, ziplining, morning yoga, and a fantastic food scene.

Did we mention the beaches? Sand as soft as flour, sapphire blue water – the perfect place to walk along that quiet surf with a significant other.

Brazil Beach Destinations

Welcome to a paradise of sun, sand, and surf—Brazil, a country that beckons beach-lovers with its unrivaled coastal beauty and vibrant culture. Nestled along the breathtaking Atlantic coastline, Brazil stands as a haven for those who seek the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

With over 4,600 miles of pristine shoreline, Brazil offers a diverse array of beaches, each with its own unique charm and allure. Whether you're a dedicated surfer chasing the next wave, a sunseeker longing for lazy days by the sea, or an explorer eager to uncover the coastal gems this country has to offer, Brazil promises an unforgettable journey that encapsulates the essence of beach paradise!

Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City)! The beaches of Rio de Janeiro are breathtaking places to soak in Brazilian beach culture. One of the best-known is Ipanema Beach, which boasts beautiful mountain views and cobalt waters.

The atmosphere is vibrant and great for people-watching. Ipanema Beach is considered Rio’s crown jewel and offers the best view of the sunset, and the surrounding area offers many luxury shops, high-end restaurants, and art galleries.

For beachgoers seeking more solitude and privacy, try heading southwest of the hustle and bustle of Rio. You’ll find that Prainha or Grumari Beach are located within a short driving distance from Rio de Janeiro. Grumari Beach is located inside a nature reserve, so naturally, it’s more peaceful, especially during the week.

Greece Beach Destinations

Welcome to the idyllic shores of Greece, a haven for beach-lovers and sunseekers alike. With its crystalline waters, charming coastal villages, and a rich tapestry of history and culture, Greece offers an unparalleled beach experience that captivates the senses and ignites the soul.

Whether you're dreaming of lounging on secluded coves, embarking on aquatic adventures, or immersing yourself in the stories of ancient civilizations, Greece's diverse coastline has something for every beach enthusiast.

Crete

Crete is the largest island in Greece, and its seemingly endless coastline features numerous spectacular sandy beaches–and almost too many to mention! These include Balos, Falassarna–known for its powdery white and pin sand and sunset views– and Elafonisi, which show off their great beauty in the region of Chania.

Within a short distance from Heraklion, you will find Amnissos, Agia Pelagia, Kaloi Limenes, Malia, Limenas, and Chersonisou beaches. The area of Lassithi combines its picturesque villages with exotic beaches well-known for its azure blue waters.

Corfu, Ionian Islands

There are plenty of FAB beaches to find here! Paleokastritsa is perhaps the most famous beach destination in Corfu, featuring pebbly and sandy bays, picturesque surroundings, water sport facilities, and plenty of sunbeds to rent.

Mykonos, Cyclades

Mykonos has been known as the island of the winds and is located in the heart of the Cyclades group, the most famous island group in the Aegean Sea and where you will find some of the most beautiful islands in the world! Gorgeous sandy beaches include Agios Stefanos, a seaside village with a beautiful beach, and Choulakia, a cove with an impressive pebble beach.

There’s excellent scuba diving all around Mykonos– there are lots of fish and a few wrecks to explore. Paradise Reef has a large variety of marine life, including sponges, barracuda, octopus, and starfish.

Santorini, Cyclades

Santorini, known since ancient times as Thira, is one of the most famous islands in the world. The island is actually a group of islands consisting of Thira, Thirassia, Aspronissi, Palea, and Nea Kameni in the southernmost part of the Cyclades. Sitting in front of a volcano crater, savoring local dishes, and having a cosmopolitan drink while gazing in awe at the remarkable beauty cannot be described in words!

Close to the excavation site of Akrotiri is where you will find the most famous beach on the island, the Red Beach, which is incredibly irresistible due to its blue waters and skies contrasting against cliffs of impressive red rock formations, which combine to form a breathtaking unique volcanic landscape. Here you can rent an umbrella and a sunbed, or snorkel to explore underwater formations. Access involves a walk from the harbor of Akrotiri or by boat from Kamari, Akrotiri, and Perissa.

On the southeastern side of Santorini, sun-loving tourists will encounter magnificent black sandy or pebbly beaches. Here, you will find Monolithos, which is strongly recommended for families, as the water is very shallow compared to other Santorini beaches, and there are playground facilities to keep youth entertained.

Spain Beach Destinations

If you’re looking for Caribbean-style beaches in Europe, then you need to check out Spain’s beaches. The scenic beauty includes picturesque islands and white, sandy beaches. The water is a clear turquoise color, surrounded by lush greenery. What more could you ask for?

Lining the Mediterranean coast of Spain, these beaches are wondrous and beautiful, just waiting for you to lay out a blanket and bask in the sun. Enjoy Spain's local cuisine and culture at any of these wonderful beach destinations.

Ibiza, Balearic Islands

Ibiza is one of Spain’s most alluring islands and home to over 80 spectacular beaches. White sands line the island's coast, surrounded by shimmering turquoise water.

There are plenty of places to check out in Ibiza, including Ibiza Old Town in the south, which features marinas and European nightclubs. Get the most out of the Mediterranean when you visit Ibiza.

Malaga, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia

Costa del Sol is one of Spain’s most popular tourist attractions. This area is home to hundreds of beaches along the coast, from trendy areas of sand to hidden coves.

Malaga City is at the center of Costa del Sol, dividing it between the eastern and western regions. Malaga’s beaches are perfect for family-friendly fun, quaint fishing villages, or beachside bars buzzing with activity.

The weather in this area is perfect for year-round beach enthusiasts. Enjoy laying out in the sun, swimming, or checking out the palm trees on Malaga’s beaches.

Marbella, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia

Marbella beaches have been popular destinations for Spanish and international tourists since the 1950s. There are over 18 miles of beachfront to enjoy in Marbella, all of which have wonderful attractions to suit any beach lover.

You can enjoy tranquil beaches or hang out in hotspots with beach clubs and refreshment stalls. No matter what you’re looking for, Marbella has it.

Nerja, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia

Nerja, Spain, is only a 50-minute drive from Malaga, making it a popular tourist destination for beaches and entertainment. It has a quaint, small-town feel and is home to about 35,000 year-round residents.

This area is dotted with little coves and sandy beaches to enjoy – you’ll have difficulty deciding which beach to hang out at! While you will want to get there early to claim a parking space, there is plenty of beach for everyone.

Palma de Mallorca, Majorca, Balearic Islands

Palma is a resort city on the island of Mallorca (Majorca) in the western Mediterranean. Like many other beach areas in Spain, Palma is dotted with spectacular beaches with white sand and tucked-away coves for an immersive experience.

But Palma has more than just beautiful beaches; It’s home to a massive Gothic cathedral that will impress any architecture lover. The nightlife in Palma is sure to be entertaining, being home to many world-renowned DJs and selective clubs.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a cluster of islands located off the coast of Morocco. Though it is famous for its volcano peak, many people flock to the islands for the beautiful beaches. The number of beaches on Tenerife outnumbers the other islands, which makes it a popular tourist destination.

The unique thing about Tenerife’s islands is that the beaches have black sand. This is because the island was created by volcanic activity. From pristine tourist beaches to more rugged options, there is something for everyone.

Venezuela Beach Destinations

  • Margarita Island, Coastal Islands, Insular Region

South Africa Beach Destinations

  • Camps Bay, Western Cape
  • Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Kenya Beach Destinations

  • Lamu Island, Coast Province
  • Malindi, Coast Province

Indonesia Beach Destinations

  • Bali

Morocco Beach Destinations

  • Essaouira, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region

Philippines Beach Destinations

  • Boracay, Aklan Province, Panay Island, Visayas

Thailand Beach Destinations

  • Phuket
  • Ko Samui, Surat Thani Province

French Polynesia Beach Destinations

  • Bora Bora, Society Islands
  • Moorea, Society Islands

Australia Beach Destinations

  • Byron Bay, New South Wales
  • Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
  • Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland
  • Sydney, New South Wales

The Seychelles Islands

  • Archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off East Africa

France Beach Destinations

  • Nice, French Riviera – Cote d’Azur, Provence

Maldives

  • Country in Asia’s Indian Ocean

Chile Beach Destinations

  • Vina del Mar, Valparaiso Region

Egypt Beach Destinations

  • Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, Red Sea and Sinai

United States Beach Destinations

  • Kauai, Hawaii
  • Maui, Hawaii
  • Miami Beach, Florida
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Saint Pete Beach, Florida
  • San Diego, California
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia

Central & South America Beach Destinations

  • Belize
  • Liberia & Guanacaste, Costa RIca
  • San Jose & Pacifica Coast, Costa Rica
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Lima, Peru

11 Awesome Destinations for Your Caribbean Vacation

Looking to plan a Caribbean vacation? Check out the top destinations for your trip to the Caribbean in this blog from the experts at Riverdale Travel.

(read more)

13 Honeymoon Destinations for Romance

Looking for a romantic honeymoon? Find that special destination that will live in your memories forever.

(read more)

8 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Travel Insurance

Do you really need travel insurance? Before you buy, read what the experts say about investing in travel insurance in this quick blog from Riverdale Travel.

(read more)