haveseen / Getty Images
haveseen / Getty Images

Fun in the Sun on Sandy Shores

Imagine sugar-white sands and shimmering turquoise waves lapping at your toes. Sound divine? Whether you choose to frolic in the brilliant green sea along Florida's Emerald Coast or prefer to unwind in an exotic island locale such as Thailand or the Philippines, read on for beach vacation inspiration.

Get Inspired

After over 1,200 votes, Lahaina Beach, Maui, was named Viewers' Choice: Best Overall Beach. Commenters like Garuga, OH, agreed, "It's the most beautiful place in the world." 960 1280

Ron Chapple studios  

Best Party Beach: Paradise Island, Bahamas
Five miles long and less than 1 mile wide, Paradise Island is a mecca for nightlife mostly thanks to mega-resort Atlantis Paradise Island's clubs and casinos.
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Best Family Beach: Cape May, New Jersey
Jersey's most historic beach also has a wholesome atmosphere and pristine beaches ideal for kids.
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Best Romantic Beach: Matira Beach, Bora Bora, Tahiti
There are a number of reasons why Bora Bora boasts the nickname "the Romantic Island," including the secluded beaches, intimate hotels and quiet atmosphere that embraces visitors in Matira.
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Sexiest Beach: Copacabana Beach, Rio, Brazil
Rio is the hot spot for some of the sexiest sunbathers in the world and home to Copacabana Beach, the world's most famous beach.
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Best Beach Bars: Tropicana Beach Bar, Mykonos, Greece
The Tropicana Beach Bar sits on Paradise Beach and throws the greatest early-evening beach parties. A hot spot for young people, the drinks flow from early morning until long past sunset.
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Tropicana Beach Bar  

Best Beach You Haven't Heard of Yet: Llandudno Beach, South Africa
Is seclusion your idea of paradise? Then welcome to Llandudno, a cliffside resort near Cape Town, South Africa, so tucked away you’ll find nary a shop or street light in view.
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Best Beach for Adventure: Cave Diving in Whangarei, New Zealand
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are an exciting playground for thrill seekers and nature lovers.
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Best Exotic Beach: Anse Source d'Argent, Seychelles
Not only did the Royal Couple honeymoon in the Seychelles but Anse Source d'Argent manages to be tropical, homey, understated and classy all at once.
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Best Scenic Beach: Zlatni Rat, Bol, Brac Island, Croatia
The Golden Horn sandbar is 580 yards long and provides this beach with a unique shape and unparalleled people-watching.
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10. Best Beach Boardwalk: Ocean City, MD
With boardwalk fries, its famous Grotto pizza and all the shops and rides expected of a great boardwalk, it's easy to see why Ocean City, Maryland topped our picks.
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Ewan Traveler, flickr  

A surfer performs an 'off the lip' near the pier in Huntington Beach, CA. 960 1280

Jeff Gross / Getty Images  

A scuba diver gets up-close and personal with a green turtle on a coral reef off of the island of Sipadan in the Celebes Sea. 960 1280

Olga Khoroshunova  

Windsurfers and kite-surfers catch waves in front of the Yaverland Cliffs near Sandown, Isle of Wight, England. 960 1280

Scott Barbour / Getty Images  

As kite-boarding's popularity takes off, a fan practices in the waves off of Lefkada Island, Greece. 960 1280

Vladimir Rys/Bongarts / Getty Images  

A boy swims with dolphins, or rather holds on tight, during a tropical island vacation. 960 1280

Jacki Schriber  

A kayaker paddles out to sea during the Anaconda Adventure Race at Lorne Foreshore in Lorne, Australia. 960 1280

Quinn Rooney / Getty Images  

Kayakers paddle during the 11-km Bridge to Beach open-water race, which runs from Blues Point across the harbor to Manly Cove in Sydney, Australia. 960 1280

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images  

A surfer gets some air (and goes horizontal) at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. 960 1280

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images  

A traveler prepares to parasail off the coast of Malaysia. 960 1280

Robert Churchill  

A dolphin gets cheeky with a bikini-clad vacationer in the tropical turquoise water. 960 1280

Jacom Stephens  

A man rides a wave on his stand-up paddleboard at Queenscliff Beach in Sydney, Australia. Modern Stand-up paddleboarding originated in Hawaii in the 1960s so surf instructors could monitor their classes, but thanks to its cardiovascular and core-strengthening benefits, it's been increasing in popularity around the world. 960 1280

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images  

There are about 10 different Santa Maria Caves on the north side of Comino Island, the small island between Gozo and Malta. Some are dead ends, but others, like this one, offer breathtaking swim-throughs for cave divers. 960 1280

Piero Malaer  

The Orewa Women's crew rows out through the waves during the Day of Giants Surfboat race regatta at Piha Beach on February 12, 2011, in Auckland, New Zealand. 960 1280

Phil Walter / Getty Images  

A cliff-jumper takes the plunge at sunset in Oahu, Hawaii. 960 1280

Trevor Smith   

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