In many parts of the world, October is synonymous with crunchy leaves and an encroaching chill. There are plenty of others, however, where this month sees blue skies and temperatures comfortable enough for a dip in the ocean. For the best beaches in October, head to destinations that see crowds during the peak summer months, yet remain blissfully serene during the fall.
In-the-know travelers often say that this season, when the number of visitors drops and locals in popular beach resort towns tend to be more relaxed, is the ideal time for a seaside excursion.
Whether you opt to head to the perpetually sun-drenched shores of a Caribbean isle or European favorites like Spain, Greece, and Portugal, there are all sorts of places that boast warm weather and soft sands. Here are just a few of the best places for your next beach vacation.
Bathsheba Beach, Barbados
Surfers will want to head directly to this rocky Barbados beach fringed by tumbled rocks, cliffs, and coconut palms. The powerful northwest trade winds ensure that the waves are nothing short of superb—albeit a little too choppy for most swimmers.
Even if you’re less than adept at catching some air on a board, the wild, Atlantic scenery here more than merits a visit. October is a wonderful month to come to Barbados, before the busy peak season in December.
Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, Cozumel
Located just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the island of Cozumel still manages to feel rugged and wild, thanks to its large swathes of protected nature.
Home to some of the best beaches in Cozumel, Punta Sur Eco Beach Park encompasses more than 1,000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness. Go snorkeling over the offshore reef, or relax on the sandy shoreline and spy on swooping tropical birds.
Bajondillo Beach, Málaga, Spain
In recent years, Málaga has come into its own as both a cultural and culinary destination. For years, this port town managed to fly just under the radar, thereby retaining its distinctive charm.
Pablo Picasso was born here, and there’s an impressive museum dedicated to his paintings, as well as a number of galleries showcasing work by contemporary artists.
Gourmands can dine on everything from unpretentious tapas—many of which showcase the local seafood in fresh, smoked, and tinned preparations—to haute cuisine.
El Bajondillo, as locals refer to this Spanish beach, is relatively easily accessible from the city center and a great place to relax on the sand once you’ve done the museums. The water on the Costa del Sol stays warm right up to late October.
Palm Beach, Aruba
Pack your most glamorous resort wear and bathing suit when you head to this two-mile stretch of pearl-white sand, known as one of the best beaches in Aruba.
With its palm trees and searingly blue waters, Palm Beach feels like the classic vision of a Caribbean beach. Come in October for balmy weather and warm, inviting water.
Knip Beach, Curaçao
Of the nearly 40 beaches sprinkled around the island of Curaçao, Grote Knip Beach—not to be confused with the smaller Kleine Knip Beach—is one of the most visually arresting.
Save for a few concession stands, loungers, and modest facilities, there’s little to intrude upon your Robinson Crusoe fantasies on this beach in Curaçao.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
True to its name, this sugar-sand beach in Grand Cayman stretches on for ages. It’s by far one of the most popular spots in the entire Caribbean, thanks to its seemingly endless expanse of shoreline lapped by turquoise waves.
Although it’s steps from some of the swankiest resorts on the island, the beach itself is free for all to explore. Spend the afternoon swimming in Cemetery Reef, one of the best spots for snorkeling in Grand Cayman located just offshore, then head into the capital of George Town to enjoy a refreshing rum punch.
Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda
A blend of the crushed shells of Homotrema rubrum, a type of foraminifera, and coral lend a beguilingly pink tinge to many of Bermuda’s beaches.
The contrast of cerulean waters and blush-colored sands make this crescent-shaped bay almost outrageously photogenic.
October is the end of Bermuda’s high season, with sunny days and consistently warm temperatures, and is the perfect time to visit.
Playa Jardín, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Local artist César Manrique designed this black-sand beach, envisioning it as a tranquil haven for rest and relaxation.
Both residents of the town of Puerto de la Cruz and international visitors still very much regard this Tenerife beach as such. This is one of those places that is just as much about the journey as the destination—in order to reach the shore, you’ll have to walk through winding paths of lush foliage.
The Canary Islands are a year-round destination, with temperatures in October perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and exploring the islands.
Smathers Beach, Key West, Florida
With nearly a mile of blindingly white sand flanked by waving palms, Smathers Beach is one of the largest and most popular spots that Key West is known for. If it all looks almost a little too perfect to be entirely natural, that’s because it is.
The state started importing sand from the Bahamas to line this stretch in the 1960s. The tropical storms that periodically buffet Florida’s coastline have a nasty habit of eroding its beaches. In order to keep Smathers Beach in this condition, the state quietly replaces the lost sand each year.
Paradise Beach, Bimini, The Bahamas
Near the northern end of Bimini, you’ll find this little piece of paradise. The requisite powdery sands and teal waters are here, all nestled along a long, sheltered bay.
October is a wonderful time to visit the Bahamas, with the beaches quieter before the winter peak season.
Playa Las Bachas, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
When it comes to wildlife, few places on Earth can rival the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. On the island of Santa Cruz, Playa las Bachas, or “Bachas Beach,” derives its name from two shipwrecked World War II-era barges, the remnants of which can still be seen.
This Galapagos beach is an important nesting site for Galápagos green turtles and you may spy flamingos or other migratory birds passing through the area. October is a great month for spotting juvenile sea lions, as well as the fluffy chicks of blue-footed boobies.
Balos Beach, Crete, Greece
Since ancient times, locals in Greece have retreated to this exceptionally beautiful stretch of sand on Crete. The beach itself has views of the island of Gramvousa, which sports a fort built by the Venetians and briefly controlled by the Ottomans.
Balos Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Greece, which is why it can get crowded during the height of the summer months. By October, both the heat and the number of visitors have cooled off, making this a joy to visit.
Glass-clear waters, pearlescent sands, and an absence of dangerous currents or tides make this perfect for the whole family.
Lover’s Beach, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
“Playa del Amor,” which literally translates as the “beach of love” but often goes by the equally fanciful English moniker Lover’s Beach, feels like a fitting name for a place where so many couples have proposed.
To access this swimmable beach in Cabo San Lucas, you’ll either want to hop on a water taxi at Medano Beach or rent a kayak or paddleboard to attempt the journey yourself. The emerald waters and striking granite rock formations make it more than worth the trip.
Saint-François Beach, Corsica, France
Don your most stylish linen threads and stroll down the promenade near the old port. The Corsican beach is often little more than a slender strip of sand, but the view is lovely.
Go for an atmospheric walk around Ajaccio towards the end of the day, when the temperature dips, and keep an eye out for any of the sidewalk cafés and bars for an aperitif. Days in October are still long and sunny, and the sea will have had the whole summer to warm up.
Banje Beach, Dubrovnik, Croatia
After exploring the historic streets of Dubrovnik, head to the pebble-strewn Banje Beach. The fortifications of Dubrovnik’s Old Town are right next to the beach itself, with views across the water to Lokrum Island.
Banje is one of the best beaches in October in the Mediterranean for space, sunny days, and less intense heat; after a refreshing dip, you should still have plenty of energy to stroll the ramparts of the Old Town.
Aphrodite’s Beach, Cyprus
According to local lore, the Goddess of Love herself rose from the seafoam here near the city of Limassol. It’s not hard to see why the ancient Greeks believed that the fairest member of the Olympian pantheon be born in such a stunning location.
Though the Bronze Age temple dedicated to Aphrodite has long since fallen into ruin, visitors can still gaze on Aphrodite’s Rock, a dramatic stone formation rising from the waves.
Cyprus is tucked away in the far corner of the eastern Mediterranean and as such, enjoys a long summer that extends well beyond the end of October.
Minori Beach, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Like the rest of the Amalfi Coast, Minori is a citrus-perfumed dream. Positano and Amalfi may hog the limelight, but that just means that this former fishing town has retained its laid-back ambiance. The beach here is on the smaller side and, in typical Italian fashion, dotted with colorful umbrellas until the fall.
Plan to spend a few hours catching some sun on the beach, then wander into town for an Aperol Spritz and a platter of pasta al limone, a luscious tangle of noodles cloaked in a sauce made with the region’s famous lemons.
Varkiza Beach, Athens, Greece
After wandering the streets of the Acropolis and surveying the ruins of the Parthenon, many travelers find themselves in need of a reprieve from the city streets.
If you’re looking for a relaxed beach day near Athens, look no further. Located roughly a half hour’s drive from the Greek capital, this sun-drenched, sandy beach has shallow waters and a dedicated play area for children.
Playa de Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
While the name, which literally translates as “beach of the dead,” might sound slightly ominous, there’s nothing foreboding about this white-sand beach.
Since the current here errs on the strong side, it might be best for less confident swimmers to stick to the sand. Adrenaline-junkies will find plenty of activities on this beach in Puerto Vallarta, from parasailing to jet-skiing.
Koekohe Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand
All sorts of legends exist as to the origins of the Moeraki Boulders—immense boulders the shape of tortoise shells—on Koekohe Beach.
Maori lore claims that the great canoe Araiteuru left giant gourds after running aground on the Otago coast on New Zealand’s South Island. Some of the curiously spherical stones are as large as nine feet in diameter and all of them weigh several tons.
The boulders themselves, which geologists believe to be about 60 million years old, are reason enough to visit, but this New Zealand beach is pretty as well. October is spring here, and temperatures can be brisk, but Koekohe Beach is gorgeous, even if you simply come for a stroll.
Isola Bella, Sicily, Italy
Tethered to the mainland by a narrow, pebbly sandbank, this rocky islet near Taormina has an air of whimsy about it.
Once the private property of Lady Florence Trevelyan, who purchased it in 1890, the island lay abandoned for decades and was ultimately purchased by the Italian government.
Today, this Sicilian beach is open for all to explore, and should have plenty of space as the summer season draws to a close.
Ribeira Brava Beach, Madeira, Portugal
The island of Madeira has much more to offer than its namesake fortified wine. This western-facing black sand-and-pebble beach is home to sublime sunsets. A large breakwater keeps the azure waters here peaceful.
As one of the more developed beaches in Madeira, Riviera Brava sports changing rooms, showers, small eateries, and other well-maintained facilities.
Kamari Beach, Santorini, Greece
Santorini has no shortage of famous beaches, but this black sand number offers something extra special. Kamari Beach owes its distinctive, dark coloring to Greece’s ancient volcanoes.
In summer, you’d struggle to walk on the black sand barefoot, as it gets so hot, but October takes the edge off the heat and is still warm enough for swimming.
Onetangi Beach, Auckland, New Zealand
On clear afternoons, you can spot Little Barrier Island and Great Barrier Island from the shores of the largest beach near Auckland on Waiheke Island.
With its pristine waters and honey-hued sands, visiting this mile-long beach is by far one of the best things to do while visiting. Since October is the middle of spring in New Zealand, temperatures tend to be balmy and exceedingly pleasant.
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
No visit to Sydney would be complete without a stop at Bondi Icebergs Club, the wildly Instagrammed swimming pool kissed by the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
As spectacular—and ubiquitous—as the photos may be, they still don’t quite do justice to the real thing. Spend an afternoon soaking in the scene here, or stroll along this famous Australian beach.
When you’re craving sunshine and sea views, there are plenty of places around the world to plan your best beach vacation in October. Explore our luxury cruises and book your next voyage today.