With their unrivaled beauty, white sand beaches lure travelers to tropical locales around the world. From the southern U.S. to exotic locales in the Philippines, these ideal vacation spots are the perfect place to experience pure bliss.
Enjoy local cuisine and refreshing cocktails while watching beautiful sunsets along unspoiled shores after a day of exploring marine life in the turquoise seas. Stroll powdery stretches and search for seashell gems as waves wash across your feet.
Whether you’re searching for a relaxing, palm-tree-lined beach or access to sun-fueled activities, here are the best white sand beaches for every type of traveler.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
The western coast of Grand Cayman is home to one of the top white sand beaches in the Caribbean. This expansive stretch of white coral sand is a popular destination for beach-goers and offers a little something for every type of interest.
Stretch your legs on a leisurely walk, while perusing beach bars and restaurants that line the shore. In between basking in the warm sunshine, allow yourself to be lured by the pristine turquoise waters for a swim, or go snorkeling in Grand Cayman. Underwater, marvel at schools of vividly colored tropical fish that inhabit the calm waters directly off this crescent-shaped beach.
Palm trees provide a shady respite to cool off. Catch a thrill by engaging in some of the available beach activities, such as parasailing and stand-up paddleboarding. To cap off a perfect day, take in a spectacular sunset as the sky turns shades of pink, orange, and red.
Clearwater Beach, Tampa, Florida
Situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach near Tampa draws visitors with its gorgeous white sand and clear, shallow waters. Proximity to downtown Clearwater makes this stretch of sand an ideal spot to combine fun in the sun with exciting culinary options and shopping. Nearby, you can experience marine life at the popular Clearwater Marine Aquarium, too.
With so many attractions at your fingertips, the only issue will be choosing how to spend your time at Clearwater Beach. Stroll the promenade, go jet-skiing, enjoy a fishing afternoon, watch a game of volleyball, or simply relax seaside with a good book.
Make sure to stick around for sunset at the iconic Pier 60, when you’ll want your camera on hand for the evening show put on by Mother Nature that is usually accompanied by live music and local performers.
Palm Beach, Aruba
Palm Beach is one of the world’s best white-sand beaches. This tropical paradise on the island of Aruba has calm, clear waters that are ideal for swimming and the soft sand is perfect for a day of pampering yourself under the Caribbean sun.
The beach stretches for approximately two miles long and has a popular path if you’re looking for a leisurely walk. Try some of the best things to do in Aruba like getting your adrenaline pumping with a jet ski ride or exploring the rich variety of sea life under the surface.
Laid-back beach bars and delicious restaurants are available in Palm Beach’s idyllic seaside setting. Catch one of the island’s sunsets at one of the best beaches in Aruba.
White Beach, Boracay, Philippines
Unwind at the most well-liked beach in Boracay, White Beach, which stretches almost two-and-a-half miles long. White Beach is known for its striking white sand, turquoise seas, beautiful palm trees, and bustling nightlife. Based on your interests, you can choose from three “stations” along the shore.
Find tranquility at station one or three, where you can wade into the shallow water away from the crowds. Enjoy people-watching in the lively seaside atmosphere at station two, which includes beach volleyball and soccer games. At this center beach section, vibrant bars and clubs provide evening entertainment, often with live music.
Te Amo Beach, Bonaire
White sand has never been so romantic. Experience the peaceful Te Amo Beach (which translates as “I love you beach”) on Bonaire. Pristine waters lap the sugar-white sand, creating an ideal ambiance to unwind.
Enjoy a stroll and cool off with a swim in the clear seas, where you’ll find excellent snorkeling. Spot graceful fish, such as snapper and parrotfish, weaving their way through the colorful reef. Grab a snack at the local food truck and indulge in a fresh catch paired with a gorgeous island backdrop that makes this one of Bonaire’s best beaches.
Playa Las Bachas, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
Head to Las Bachas Beach in the Galapagos for white sand and diverse wildlife. Named after an abandoned World World II barge, this stretch of sand is perfect for nature lovers. As you venture along the beach, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a wide array of birds and endemic animals such as iguanas, flamingos, and vibrant Sally Lightfoot crabs.
You may also have the chance to view sea turtles, as this beach is one of the primary nesting sites on the island. Appreciate the striking scenery composed of white sand, azure seas, and tropical vegetation including salt bushes and mangroves. Playa Las Bachas is one unforgettable white sand beach.
White Bay Beach, Jost Van Dyke, BVI
Set foot on some of the softest white sand in the world when you visit Jost Van Dyke’s White Bay Beach. This cove in the British Virgin Islands is a popular spot for anchoring boats looking to visit the island’s lively beach bars.
Grab a refreshing tropical drink, relax in the sun, take a dip in the inviting clear aqua seas and enjoy the view. If you’re interested in exploring beneath the surface, the offshore reef is home to diverse marine life, as well.
Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
Also referred to as Shipwreck Beach, this gorgeous white-sand cove on the northwestern coast of Zakynthos is an idyllic Mediterranean destination only reachable by boat. Lounge on the sand while surrounded by soaring cliffs as you relax in paradise.
Swimming and snorkeling amongst sea turtles are also popular activities. To gain a different perspective of one of Greece’s best beaches, head to the overlook above, where the scene is sure to take your breath away.
Carlisle Bay Beach, Antigua
Laze the day away at the protected cove on the sugary white sands of Carlisle Bay Beach in Antigua. The contrasting light blue waters and lush hillsides provide a seaside haven to unwind away from the crowds.
Take a nap, enjoy a peaceful walk, or jump in the water for a slow swim. Snorkeling and diving are also options for those looking to explore the underwater world right from the beach.
Matira Beach, Bora Bora
Let the powdery soft white sand and vibrant blue water greet you at Matira Beach in Bora Bora. Located on the southern shore of the island, this beach is the epitome of rest and relaxation.
Prepare to swoon over the surrounding scenery of lush hills as you float comfortably in the pristine waters of the lagoon. Plenty of shade is provided from resident palm trees and with an expansive stretch of sand, it never feels too crowded. Matira Beach puts on quite the evening show with enchanting sunsets that will take your breath away.
Turtle Beach, Buck Island, St. Croix
Only a couple of miles offshore from St. Croix you’ll find a tropical paradise on Buck Island, a protected national monument with a rich underwater reef that is host to diverse marine life. There’s sparkling white sand at the idyllic Turtle Beach, located on the west side of this natural treasure.
Swim and snorkel in the calm sea with excellent visibility, where you’ll encounter gorgeous schools of exotic fish, such as Blue Tang and Angelfish. As one of the best beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Turtle Beach is a sunbather’s oasis with tranquil views that are sure to leave an impression.
Anse Vata Beach, Noumea, New Caledonia
Head to the South Pacific and uncover the striking white sand beach of Anse Vata in New Caledonia. Natural scenery featuring palm-fringed sands and lagoon waters will have you swooning.
Observe skilled wind-surfers from your seaside perch along the long stretch of beach or embark on a kite-surfing or paddle-boarding adventure. Snorkeling near the jetty, you’ll discover a rich underwater world with colorful reefs. Enjoy local fare at the beachside cafes and restaurants, which always enjoy a refreshing sea breeze.
Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas
Spanning two-and-a-half miles, Cable Beach in Nassau is known for its dazzling white sand. Soak up the sun on this popular stretch of sand that offers a healthy balance of relaxation and water activities including a myriad of boat, snorkeling, and scuba diving excursions that depart from this beach.
Aside from delicious restaurants and bars, a casino and golf course are also some of the alluring attractions in Cable Beach. Make sure to try out the fresh seafood, particularly conch, which is the most well-known Bahamian food.
Read: Best Beaches in Nassau
Kabira Bay, Ishigaki, Japan
Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture is known for stunning white sand beaches and beautiful emerald waters. Kabira Bay on the island of Ishigaki is no exception. As one of the only spots in Japan where coveted black pearls are cultivated, swimming is prohibited, but there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy.
Stroll the sand of one of Japan’s best beaches, taking in the breathtaking island vistas while basking in the sun, or head out on a glass-bottom boat to explore the pristine waters from the surface. If you’re interested in learning more about black pearls and how they are harvested, visit one of the nearby jewelry shops in the area.
Read: Best Beaches in Okinawa
Tivua Island, Fiji
Located in the Yasawa Islands of Fiji, tiny Tivua Island is the definition of paradise. An impossibly white sand beach surrounds the whole spit of land with turquoise waters complimenting the scene.
If you can tear yourself away from the soft white stretch, fantastic snorkeling also awaits. Marvel at the graceful marine life as you greet angelfish, needlefish, and coral in an array of colors while exploring this world-class reef. Tivua Island also serves as a turtle sanctuary during nesting season.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Visit one of the world’s most beautiful white-sand beaches in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands. Situated on the largest of the island collection, Whitehaven Beach spans over four miles along pristine turquoise seas that host the famous Great Barrier Reef.
At the northern Hill Inlet at the edge of the beach, view otherworldly sand and sea patterns with vibrant colors. This vista is one of the most memorable white sand scenes in the world.
Isola Bella, Taormina, Italy
Referred to as the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea,” Isola Bella is a small island and nature reserve off the coast of Sicily that was once owned by King Ferdinand II. A narrow beach of the same name connects the tiny spot of land to the mainland.
This white pebble stretch of sand is one of Italy’s most beautiful beaches and is mostly accessible during low tide. Calm waters provide an ideal environment for swimming while gazing at the picturesque scenery.
Read: Best Beaches in Sicily
Cockleshell Beach, St. Kitts
The southern shore of St. Kitts is host to one of the most stunning white-sand beaches in the Caribbean. An eclectic array of beach bars line this lively stretch of sand that boasts some of the best views on the island.
Take a walk and enjoy the vista that stretches to St. Kitts’ sister island, Nevis. Sip a refreshing cocktail while basking in the sun as the aquamarine water laps the soft sand.
Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Travel to Rio de Janeiro and visit one of the world’s most famous white-sand beaches, Copacabana Beach. This wide stretch of sand is complemented by a lively promenade and buzzing atmosphere.
Enjoy the views of some of the most famous landmarks in Brazil, like Fort Duque de Caxias and Sugar Loaf Mountain, from the beachside restaurants and bars or watch volleyball and soccer games from your lounge chair. There’s no shortage of entertainment to mix with sun and sand at Copacabana Beach.
Great Bay Beach, St. Maarten
Unwind on Great Bay Beach in St. Maarten, where you can admire tropical views along the mile-long boardwalk. This expansive white sand beach is the perfect spot to soak up the sun, swim in the pristine Caribbean waters, and indulge in fresh, local cuisine.
With a wide array of amenities and activities at your fingertips, the only thing left to do is relax while enjoying the view of the sea.
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