99 Sand n' Surf Hotspots Slideshow
Help us count down the top 99 Sand n' Surf Hotspots across the globe. From coral reefs to picturesque beaches, we're highlighting what makes these locations paradise on Earth.
99: Jumby BayJumby Bay is an ancient coral reef and rocky outpost, situated 2 miles north of Antigua. Swim with a colony of stingrays by day and get a private turtle viewing by night. With its rich wildlife, lush and abundant landscape, and pristine beaches, Jumby Bay presents itself as a secluded hideaway for the sophisticated and discerning traveler. 960 1280
95: Tropical Islands ResortLocated in a converted airship hangar, the Tropical Islands Resort covers an area bigger than eight football fields and contains a “tropical sea” with 660 feet of sandy beachfront. Guests can tour a village with buildings modeled after those found in Thailand, Borneo, Samoa and Bali. There’s also a 13,000-square-foot lagoon with fountains, canals and a whirlpool, as well as a rain forest with more than 50,000 plants of 600 different species. 960 1280
93: Columbia River GorgeWith 292,500 acres in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, it’s quite evident why this gorge is one of the seven Wonders of Oregon. Snowcapped and serene, Mount Hood is a dormant volcano surrounded by an immense national forest, making it a perfect area for snow sports, trekking and recreational activities. 960 1280
90: Gulf ShoresA prime beach destination for the noncoastal dwellers, Gulf Shores, Alabama, boasts superb resorts and restaurants, as well as many activities and sports, such as paddleboarding, boating and zip-lining. Don’t miss out on the annual Shrimp Festival, which features the most delicious dishes made from shrimp caught fresh right in the gulf. 960 1280
89: Tyrell Beach BayThe Windward Islands include the unknown island of Carriacou, a name which means “land of many reefs.” Experience the natural wonders that exist under the sea and the ancient traditions of shipbuilding that thrive on land. Tyrell Bay Beach isn't to be missed either. 960 1280
87: Dead SeaLie back and read a book while effortlessly floating in the highly concentrated salts of the Dead Sea. Situated at the lowest point in the world, 1,269 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is one of Israel’s major tourist attractions. The natural minerals, salts and mud along the banks are used for medicinal and therapeutic treatments at this hot spot. 960 1280
85: An Bang BeachVisit the bustling beachfront village of Hoi An on the south-central coast of Vietnam. From the 40-mile-long stretch of powdery sand and glimmering turquoise water to ancient hot-stone massages, visitors will feel revitalized with energy at An Bang Beach. 960 1280
83: Key LargoThe first and northernmost member of the Florida Keys is the self-proclaimed “diving capital of the world” and leaves little room for argument. With Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary just off shore, divers can rediscover ship wrecks from the past while also experiencing some of the clearest water they will ever see. 960 1280
82: Boston BeachA legendary mecca for fans of spicy food, Boston Beach is considered the birthplace of Jamaican jerk seasoning. It is located on the northeastern shores of Jamaica, the third-largest island in the Greater Antilles, and attracts surfers and explorers seeking a glimpse of the secluded waterfalls in the nearby rain forest. 960 1280
81: Old San JuanThe modern city of San Juan holds a piece of history, with colorful architecture and the Castillo San Felipe, a fort built by the Spanish starting in the 16th century. Lounge on the packed beaches, or take advantage of surfing and watersports. Unwind in the evening at Old San Juan’s Barrachina Bar, the birthplace of the pina colada. 960 1280
79: Assateague IslandAs Maryland’s only oceanfront park, Assateague State Park borders the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west. The 2 miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, sunbathing, surfing, fishing and exploring secluded coves by canoe or kayak.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Best Beach Camping" 960 1280
77: Miramar BeachMiramar Beach is a Gulf shore paradise for ultimate relaxation. This beach neighborhood brings back the feel of classic coastal enclaves with its scenic beach roads, surf shops, fabulous restaurants, beachfront homes and beachside resorts and condos with panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. 960 1280
76: Playa de Los LancesAt Spain’s southernmost point, a world-renowned wind tunnel meets five straight miles of crystal-clear water, soft white sand and a rush of surfers’ adrenaline. The result is a gathering of thousands at the undisputed kite-surfing capital of the world. 960 1280
75: Isla MujeresOne of the 10 municipalities in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Isla Mujeres has been an important island since the time of the Mayans. Scuba dive, snorkel, or take a glass-boat tour to experience the massive coral reef, or spot the underwater museum of handcrafted concrete statues designed to resemble members of the local community. 960 1280
74: Joaquina BeachFlorianoplis is a small island and strip of land in southern Brazil with no fewer than 47 stunning beaches, including Joaquina Beach. The area has been called the best place to live in Brazil by locals and expats alike. The amazing beaches offer spectacular surfing, sand-boarding in the rolling dunes, and a boardwalk packed with delectable cuisine. 960 1280
73: Paradise BeachSituated among a small series of islands in the Aegean Sea is the tiny gem of Mykonos. It’s a dreamy destination with a wonderful kaleidoscope of cosmopolitan shops, rocking bars, quaint windmills, homey taverns and hidden churches, all set against a brilliant blue backdrop. Known for massive parties and special events, such as full-moon parties and bubble parties, Paradise Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in the world. 960 1280
70: KanantikKanantik Reef & Jungle Resort successfully combines the elements of nature and luxury by providing a sustainable, eco-sensitive and low-impact design that preserves the natural surroundings while providing a superior resort experience. Situated within 1,300 acres of untouched jungle, it offers private cabanas, a saltwater pool and world-class dining. 960 1280
69: Wildwood BeachJust down the coast from Atlantic City, Wildwood is famous for all things kitsch. Featuring multiple retro-style hotels, five amusement piers, carnival games and plenty of restaurants, the Wildwood boardwalk is one of the longest in the country.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Best Boardwalk" 960 1280
68: St. George's, GrenedaMount Hartman Bay Estate, an independently owned boutique hotel, is in the Caribbean paradise of St. George's, Grenada. Set on a private peninsula on the island’s southern coast, it has uninterrupted views across the bay to the Mount Hartman Nature Reserve. Each uniquely themed room varies, from a stone tower honeymoon suite surrounded by an infinity pool to a waterfall suite with handcrafted stones from the ancient Arawak tribe. 960 1280
66: Railay BeachWith calm, crystal-blue waters lined with 400-foot limestone cliffs, Railay Beach is a paradise for rock climbers and base jumpers. Explore beach caves and indulge in Thai coffee made with local beans or a coconut stuffed with ice cream on this marvelous peninsula, which is accessible only by boat.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Top Beach Adventure" 960 1280
64: Virginia BeachNestled along the eastern shore of the United States, right in prime mid-Atlantic real estate, lies the historic seaside town of Virginia Beach. With 3 miles of boardwalk and 5.5 million visitors a year, Virginia Beach holds the title of “world’s largest pleasure beach” in the "Guinness Book of World Records." 960 1280
63: Punta MonaLocated countless miles from civilization, where untamed rain forests open to the sea, Punta Mona isn’t just a destination; it’s an educational experience. The lights are solar-powered; water is collected by catch basin; and every extraordinary and exotic meal is sourced entirely from the community’s permaculture farm. 960 1280
60: Joseph Sylvia StateFrom private plane tours around the island over Joseph Sylvia State Beach to private clambakes right on the sand, Oak Bluffs is a must-visit in Martha’s Vineyard. This sought-after spot has become a unique vacation destination for those who wish to experience the culture and lifestyle of a classic New England island. 960 1280
59: S'Arenal de San AntonioThe stunningly beautiful Ocean Beach Ibiza is known to some as the party capital of the world. Home to the delightfully deviant El Carnaval, the beach has rosters of acrobats, stunt performers and dancers lining the landscape.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Best Party Beach" 960 1280
58: Secret BeachTucked away amid the unspoiled nature on the island of Dominica, Secret Bay offers sustainable luxury villas and bungalows, making it the perfect place for a Caribbean vacation. Situated on a cliff top overlooking the Caribbean Sea, accessible only by boat, Secret Bay has two beaches, the magical Cario River, a spectacular sea cave and two distinct microclimates. 960 1280
55: Cane BayOn the west side of the island of St. Croix is a palm-tree-lined beach called Cane Bay. It’s renowned for its diving expeditions, and visitors can navigate to one of the world’s deepest trenches or journey into the rain forest to find Cheech, a native who carves unique sculptures from island mahogany. 960 1280
51: Lido Di San MontanoExperience the thermal hot springs that are heated by underground volcanoes throughout Ischia Island, which is one of the Phlegraean Islands. Set among soaring mountains, the area has a unique character that’s evident in everything from its delightful dishes and thirst-quenching drinks to its rich history and refined architecture. 960 1280
50: Silver Mine BayAt Silver Mine Bay Beach on the Hong Kong island of Lantau, you can find some of the spiciest fresh seafood and stay in a hidden resort that was once a jailhouse. This small fishing town is an ideal launching pad to explore other parts of Lantau Island, including the famous Big Buddha, the Po Lin Monastery and the stilt houses of Tai O village. 960 1280
48: Santa CruzLocated in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Cruz features a vibrant blend of the beach cultures of the West Coast and Hawaii. After an appetite-building day on the sand, head to the boardwalk for some mouthwatering California beach specialties, such as deep-fried artichoke slathered in garlic butter, homemade fudge, saltwater taffy, caramel apples and crispy-sweet chocolate-covered bacon. 960 1280
47: Kourion BeachKourion Beach in Limassol, Cyprus, is slightly off the beaten path, but it boasts five-star hotels, the ancient Tombs of the Kings and superb scuba diving in a massive shipwreck. Romantic cliffs and turquoise water make this a stunning sand and surf destination, while in the town square, local performers put on a fantastic show of traditional dancing and bouzouki playing. 960 1280
46: West End CliffsCome to Negril for the beautiful beaches and relaxed atmosphere, and take a trip to the biggest hot spot in all of Jamaica, Rick’s Cafe on the West End Cliffs. Situated on a rugged cliff jutting out over the sea, this bar is the ultimate dining destination. Become spoiled with amazing local food and drink, or hang out in the bar’s pool, with unimaginable views as you watch the sun melt behind the horizon.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Best Beach Bar" 960 1280
45: Gordon BeachWith an urban beach alongside a world-class city, ancient streets and modern nightlife, Tel Aviv is the “Miami on the Mediterranean.” Gordon Beach is the center of Tel Aviv’s action, with volleyball, swimming pools, playgrounds and scantily clad beach bods. 960 1280
44: Key WestKey West is one of the many small Florida islands famous for their amazing beaches, crystal-clear water and the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S. The Keys span 110 miles and are connected through bridges, waterways and airports, making these islands easily accessible by land, sea and air. 960 1280
43: Buccament BayRolling hills, submerged volcanoes, breathtaking rain forests and picturesque waterfalls make up Buccament Bay on St. Vincent. Amid its 150 square miles of real estate, this Caribbean island — which has been continuously inhabited for centuries — has black- and white-sand beaches, as well as many ancient and colonial ruins. 960 1280
42: South Padre BaySouth Padre Island is a 34-mile stretch of sandy bliss in the Gulf of Mexico and is considered to be the hottest destination in Texas for spring-break partiers. Most of the year, this small island is a serene beach oasis, but when summer hits, it morphs into a wild beach bash with thousands of college students. 960 1280
41: Surfers ParadiseSurfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia, is prime time for the international surfing crowd. Whether you’re surfing, boogie-boarding, skim-boarding, kite-boarding or cliff diving, the water is always packed. Surfers Paradise also has a booming boardwalk, a flourishing nightlife and an impressive, 1,058-foot tall tower with an observation deck that provides 360-degree views of the city. 960 1280
39: San Alfonso Del MarSal Alfonso del Mar is a private resort in Algarrobo, Chile, that is home to the largest swimming pool in the world, with 66 million gallons of treated Pacific Ocean water. In this record-breaking pool, visitors can take part in watersports such as sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving. 960 1280
37: OludenizJust south of Oludeniz is Butterfly Valley, a breathtaking geological fjord on the Mediterranean Sea. As a preserved natural site where there is no land development or construction, the only accommodation facilities here are tents and bungalows. Butterfly Valley offers opportunities to bathe in waterfalls, hike through lush valleys and watch magnificent sunsets over the cliffs. 960 1280
36: Lake AtitlanThe Laguna Lodge overlooks the azure water of Lake Atitlan from its perch in its own private nature reserve. Guests can indulge in the luxury of this boutique hotel while gazing across at three scenic volcanoes.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Best Beach You Haven't Heard of... Yet" 960 1280
33: Rodeo BeachExperience the best of the San Francisco area’s nature at a black-sand pebble beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where semiprecious stones are hidden among the tall, rolling cliffs. There are miles of hiking and biking trails alongside the towering sequoia trees within the park. 960 1280
32: Playa ParaisoA town in Mexico that has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years — with the architecture to prove it — Tulum is a destination that is not to be missed for history lovers. For those who wish to swim in some of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches, it also provides spots such as the El Paraiso Hotel. 960 1280
28: SoufriereSt. Lucia holds the distinction of being the most mountainous island in the Caribbean. Trek to the Pitons in Soufriere and take an ATV ride through the rain forests, right up to private beaches and waterfalls. Jade Mountain Resort is built into the mountains and features open-air suites, or “sanctuaries,” many with their own infinity pools, as well as world-class restaurants and an open-air bar. 960 1280
27: Luquillo BeachThe public beach of Luquillo is one of the most beautiful in Puerto Rico, but its proximity to rain forests, particularly El Yunque National Forest, is what draws visitors here from around the world. Luquillo Beach is a huge plantation of majestic coconut palm shades and more than a mile of fine, shimmering sand. 960 1280
24: Bondi BeachOnly a few miles away from downtown Sydney lies one of the greatest beachfronts on the planet, Bondi Beach. This roughly half-mile strip of beach, its boardwalk and the town serving as its backdrop offer enough amenities and activities to make it the perfect sand and surf hot spot. 960 1280
22: Princess Margaret BeachFeel like a native by taking a walk down a hidden path to the secret Princess Margaret Beach, and enjoy the area’s unspoiled treasures on Bequia Island. Relish the extensive stretch of private oceanfront looking out toward the bay and yachts, and marvel at some of the most unusual volcanic cave structures in the world. 960 1280
21: Playa SolmarLong considered one of the top tourist destinations in the world, this city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is home to some of the hottest beaches, resorts, clubs and, of course, people. It contains pristine beaches great for lounging or going for a swim, as well as some of the best restaurants in the entire country. 960 1280
18: Banje BeachBanje Beach, a pebble and sand beach with a view of the Old Town, is in the heart of Dubrovnik. The perfect oasis here is Eastwest Beach Club, ideal for relaxing on the lounge chairs and exotic bamboo beds, sipping cocktails or decompressing with a deep-tissue body massage. 960 1280
15: White Sand BeachIn the isolated islands of the Trat province, on the western shore of Ko Chang, lies gorgeous White Sand Beach. Relax in the beach’s rain forest while swimming with gentle elephants, bathe in the spectacular jungle waterfalls, and then eat to your stomach’s content at one of many roadside venders with goodies grilled to perfection. 960 1280
14: Rendezvous BayAnguilla is one of the smaller Caribbean islands — and one of its best-kept secrets. Mere steps from the beach on Rendezvous Bay sits the exclusive CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa. It’s surrounded by lush, tropical plant life and the world’s only hydroponic farm. 960 1280
10: Playa GrandeLong considered one of the top tourist destinations in the world, this city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is home to some of the hottest beaches, resorts, clubs and, of course, people. It contains pristine beaches great for lounging or going for a swim, as well as some of the best restaurants in the entire country. 960 1280
7: Wai'anapanapaThe eastern shore of Maui offers a lush world accessible by the twisting Hana Highway, which leads to the ultimate secluded nature destination. The otherworldly black-volcanic-sand beaches, hidden caves, tall jungle trees and roaring, swimmable waterfalls illustrate the sensory experience of Wai’anapanapa State Park. 960 1280
6: Playa Chac MoolPlaya Chac Mool is an expansive stretch of beautiful white sand and lovely aqua waters, characterizing the beaches of Cancun. The premier party destination in Mexico — and one of the best in the entire world — this resort town is more than just a popular spring-break spot. 960 1280
5: Cape HatterasAs one of the largest preserved parcels of the Outer Banks, this national seashore stretches across 70 miles of coastline. It encompasses seven villages on Hatteras Island and provides visitors with undisturbed, scenic beaches, as well as some of the prettiest natural drives on the East Coast.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Top U.S. Beach" 960 1280
3: Ipanema BeachThe most-visited city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro offers an endless supply of water- and land-based activities. Complete with a surreal cityscape, unbelievable sand and surf, and some of the most beautiful people in the world, Ipanema Beach offers an eyeful of wonder of various kinds.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Best Party Beach" 960 1280
1: Red BeachSantorini, the quintessential Greek isle in the Cyclades, features houses stacked on cliffs with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, fresh seafood and an incredible atmosphere. With several local white- and black-sand beaches, Red Beach is possibly the most stunning, thanks to a nearby collapsed volcano and cave houses in the cliff side that were turned into luxurious holiday resorts.
TravelChannel.com Winner - "Most Unusual Beach" 960 1280