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Best Beach Vacations - Anywhere

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1Dominican Republic, Caribbean
Distinguished by long stretches of glowing white sand and gorgeous blue water, Dominican beaches rank among the best in the world. From Puerto Plata to Punta Cana to Barahona, these beaches cater to bar lovers, sunbathers, jet skiers and scuba divers.
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    • Family Fun
      Dominican Republic
      Experience the Caribbean and get back to nature in the Dominican Republic. Families can swim with sea lions, dolphins--or sharks for the truly adventurous--at Ocean World, or go into the tropical island jungle on a Jeep safari.
    • History & Culture
      Dominican Republic
      The New World starts here: The first cathedral, university and hospital in the Americas opened in Santo Domingo, on the Dominican Republic's south-central coast. Numerous city sights pay tribute to the isle's rich history, including the Castle of Columbus and the museums of the Cultural Plaza.
  • Find: Hotels in Dominican Republic | Flights to Dominican Republic | Vacation Rentals in Dominican Republic
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2Playa del Carmen, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Bring your sunglasses and cool clothes to Playa del Carmen, where the hot sun lights up the white-sand beaches. This is heaven for beach-loving kids and those who enjoy swimming or just lounging under the sun.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Playa del Carmen
      On the beautiful Mexican Riviera, Playa del Carmen is a place where you can spoil each other with an indulgent romantic getaway. Strolls or sunbathe on its alabaster-white beaches, swim or dive in sparkling clear waters, explore ancient Maya ruins and enjoy quiet sunsets together.
    • Family Fun
      Playa del Carmen
      Playa del Carmen, on the Mexican Caribbean, is home to sandy beaches, Mayan archaeological sites and child-centered theme parks. Kids and adults enjoy clambering through Discovery Jungle Park's authentic rope bridges and exploring Xcaret's underground rivers, butterfly pavilion and aquarium.
  • Find: Hotels in Playa del Carmen | Flights to Playa del Carmen | Vacation Rentals in Playa del Carmen
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3Maui, Hawaii, United States
Tropical trade winds cool Maui's thirty miles of glorious black, white and red sand beaches. With a constellation of splendid sandy spots ranging from secluded secrets to bustling beaches with restaurants and board hire, Maui has a beach to suit beachcombers, surfers, picnickers and swimmers.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Maui
      The second largest Hawaiian Island, Maui is a tropical paradise. Explore the volcanic zenith of Haleakala, drive the curvy Road to Hana or just cool off at the black-sand beaches of Wai'anapanapa State Park. Stunning sunsets lure you into romantic evenings of beach strolls and candlelit dinners.
    • Family Fun
      Maui
      Whether on beautiful island beaches or volcanic craters, families will have a hot time enjoying all that Maui has to offer by foot, bike, car, helicopter or submarine. Kids will especially enjoy a Trilogy trip to Lanai, exploring Haleakala crater and visiting Maui Ocean Center's Turtle Lagoon and Hammerhead Harbor.
  • Find: Hotels in Maui | Flights to Maui | Vacation Rentals in Maui
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4Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Cancun calls with its stunning aqua-blue waters and white-sand beaches. Despite its reputation as a spring-break paradise, anyone will find plenty to do here, too. Explore ancient Mayan ruins, the Xel-Ha waterpark and the thrilling Interactive Aquarium, or just enjoy beautiful beaches.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Cancun
      Blessed with a bounty of beaches, youthful, exuberant Cancun offers options for those seeking all sorts of romantic vacations. The resort city manages to boast both an energetic pulse and a laid-back ambience, with both party beaches and sands suitable for people preferring solitude and some time alone.
    • Family Fun
      Cancun
      Cancun is one of Mexico's most famous destinations, and despite its reputation as a spring-break paradise, families will find plenty to do here, too. Explore ancient Mayan ruins, the Xel-Ha waterpark and the thrilling Interactive Aquarium, or just enjoy beautiful beaches.
  • Find: Hotels in Cancun | Flights to Cancun | Vacation Rentals in Cancun
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5Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
On the second-largest natural bay on the continent, Puerto Vallarta has miles and miles of world-class beaches. The coastline is dotted with quiet coves and spectacular islands, and the water caters to all sorts of beach activities, from sunbathing to snorkeling to windsurfing.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Puerto Vallarta
      Puerto Vallarta has the ideal setting for a luscious romantic escape. Banderas Bay, the site of Elizabeth Taylor's and Richard Burton's big romance, offers fabulous beaches, some of the country's best restaurants, proximity to Old Mexico and boat rides to the charming fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan.
    • Shopping
      Puerto Vallarta
      Thanks to the steady stream of cruise ship passengers passing through its harbor, Puerto Vallarta is geared toward the shopper, with virtually anything Mexican-made being readily available. The marina boardwalk, its nearby market, and the surrounding streets are full of shopping opportunities.
    • Family Fun
      Puerto Vallarta
      All the right ingredients for a fabulous family getaway are on offer in, Puerto Vallarta; wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, great resorts and welcoming people. Perched between the ocean and the jungle, PV offers all the sports and activities of a perfect Pacific playground.
  • Find: Hotels in Puerto Vallarta | Flights to Puerto Vallarta | Vacation Rentals in Puerto Vallarta
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6Miami Beach, Florida, United States
At the shore in Miami Beach, visitors can swim, surf and jet ski in the warm and crystal-clear Atlantic waters. You can also nap on the white sands, work on a tan or simply watch the beautiful people, especially at South Beach, a favorite of models and celebrities.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Shopping
      Miami Beach
      The epicenter of cool has all the shopping options a fashionista could ever want. The Collins Avenue Fashion District boasts designer labels from Armani to Versace. Ocean Drive caters to the younger, funkier beautiful people, while Lincoln Road draws the artistic crowd to its galleries and boutiques.
    • Romance
      Miami Beach
      Miami Beach makes an utterly irresistible destination for those with romance on their vacation itinerary. Fabulous famed beaches, celebrity-owned eateries, alfresco dining, legendary bars, star spotting and spectacular shopping offer inspiring opportunities to indulge with loved ones.
  • Find: Hotels in Miami Beach | Flights to Miami Beach | Vacation Rentals in Miami Beach
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7Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is Thailand's most popular island destination, and one reason is that its coastline is divided into bays that form intimate beaches. You can get a soothing massage right on the beach, the scuba diving is spectacular and the locals greet you with smiles.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Spa
      Phuket
      Recently discovered as a spa haven, Phuket now offers a plethora of pamper palaces, such as tranquil Cheraim Spa Village, one of the continent's largest such complexes, and acclaimed Banyan Tree. Try modern treatments or Nuat Phaen Boran, Thai massage, which features stretching and deep tissue massage.
  • Find: Hotels in Phuket | Flights to Phuket | Vacation Rentals in Phuket
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8U.S. Virgin Islands, Caribbean
Swaths of powdery sand separate green hills from the crystal-clear Caribbean waters surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands. Beach aficionados should beeline for idyllic St. John, home of windsurfer-friendly Cinnamon Bay, the beachside cafes of Cruz Bay, and less-frequented Francis Bay beach.
9Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico
Cabo's beaches are not just beautiful, they're also incredibly diverse. On the Pacific Ocean, the waves are delightful to watch, but often too dangerous for swimming. On the Sea of Cortez, the waters are sheltered and calm and the sand is white and warm.
10Kauai, Hawaii, United States
With about 50 miles of beaches, Kauai has plenty of shoreline to explore. Swimming is great just about anywhere, but most people prefer the beaches on the north and south coasts, where the white sands stretch on and on and surfers refine their craft.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Kauai
      Kauai, known as the Garden Island, has everything you can imagine in a tropical paradise: lush rain forests, long sandy beaches lined with swaying palm trees and warm sea breezes. You can find many activities where the emphasis is on the just the two of you for a romantic getaway treat.
    • Family Fun
      Kauai
      The least developed of Hawaii's major islands, Kauai offers big fun to young families. Take a boat ride to Fern Grotto, explore the Children's Discovery Museum or go wild at the Makalani Playground and Lydgate Beach Park, wandering a labyrinth, snorkeling or swimming in pools safe enough for your littlest ones.
  • Find: Hotels in Kauai | Flights to Kauai | Vacation Rentals in Kauai
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11Cozumel, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Going to the seashore at Cozumel is fascinating because of the island's diverse beach offerings. Although it has its fair share of typically beautiful white-sand beaches, it also boasts a number of rocky beaches that are not great for sunbathing or swimming but are ideal for snorkeling.
12San Diego, California, United States
Beaches and bays dot the coast of California's second-largest city. Top-rated, family-friendly Coronado Beach is set among turn-of-the-century mansions. Other gorgeous sandy spots include Blacks Beach, where sunbathers go au naturel, and La Jolla Shores, popular for snorkeling and kayaking.
13Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
With dozens of stunning ocean beaches within half an hour of downtown, there are few better urban beach destinations than Sydney. Famed Bondi Beach sees up to 40,000 on busy weekends. If quieter beaches appeal, take the coastal walk past smaller strands all the way to Coogee's calmer sands.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Shopping
      Sydney
      Boisterous Sydney offers every kind of shopping for visitors, with the heart of the action centred on the tourist-thronged Rocks district and along George and Pitt Streets. A distinctive Sydney shopping experience can be had at the Queen Victoria Building, where 200 boutiques compete for attention.
    • History & Culture
      Sydney
      Home to indigenous people for tens of thousands of years, Sydney's European history began when Captain Cook laid eyes on Botany Bay in 1770. The discovery of gold in 1851 led to massive growth and Sydney has blossomed into a thrilling, glittering, modern city with world-class arts and culture institutions.
  • Find: Hotels in Sydney | Flights to Sydney | Vacation Rentals in Sydney
  • MORE BEACHES & SUN - SOUTH PACIFIC
14Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Nature, sun and history unite at Tulum's sugar-white beaches, which are calmly lapped by the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. Maya ruins, tropical forest and affordable hotels are an easy amble from the sands, making this Yucatan beauty a hit with those seeking relaxation and spiritual retreats.
  • Also recommended for:
    • History & Culture
      Tulum
      Although it has its share of coastline, Tulum offers a taste of the Yucatan that is different from the touristy beach resorts at Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Here visitors find the startlingly well-preserved remains of ancient Mayan civilization, the only preserved ruins on the sea.
    • Spa
      Tulum
      Traditional Maya spas have become yet another reason to visit ruin-rich Tulum. Today's spas offer Westernized takes on the mystical, spiritual Maya massage rituals. Acclaimed Yucatan health haven Maya Tulum offers the blissful combination of palapa rooms on a sandy spit and soothing holistic treatments.
  • Find: Hotels in Tulum | Flights to Tulum | Vacation Rentals in Tulum
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15Jamaica, Caribbean
Blessed with miles of stunning natural coastline, Jamaica is a paradise for beach-lovers. Among the island's best offerings are Negril's Seven Mile Beach--rife with great snorkeling and diving, Treasure Beach on the South Coast and Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay, which has sand that looks like sugar.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Family Fun
      Jamaica
      Whether petting crocodiles, feeding hummingbirds or bobbing down the Rio Grande on a bamboo raft as calypso bands play bankside, families can have a wonderfully wild time in laid-back Jamaica. Adventurous souls can hike by waterfalls and coffee plantations, clamber up Dunn's River Falls, or splash and sun on glistening beaches.
    • History & Culture
      Jamaica
      Island heritage overflows in Jamaica, from the former seaside banana capital of Port Antonio to reggae legend Bob Marley's former Kingston home. Even natural attractions come with cool history: The age of stalagmite-filled Green Grotto Cave at Runaway Bay is estimated at 500,000 years.
    • Romance
      Jamaica
      Looking for a destination where the two of you can tempt each other without the distractions of tours, tourist traps and too many other travelers? Couples can enjoy long stretches of beautiful beaches and waterfalls, joyous rhythms of reggae and the natural beauty of a tropical island.
  • Find: Hotels in Jamaica | Flights to Jamaica | Vacation Rentals in Jamaica
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16Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Acclaimed for its clean and impeccably maintained shores, Fort Lauderdale has no shortage of beaches--23 miles, to be precise. Be sure to check out the famous promenade at Fort Lauderdale Beach, plan a picnic at Hallandale Beach and walk the sand dunes at Hollywood Beach.
17Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Although a fairly small island, Bora Bora offers visitors a multitude of activities. Go on a 4x4 safari, sunbathe and swim on white sandy beaches, dive in a natural underwater park among fish and corals, experience thrilling shark feedings or circle the turquoise lagoon by boat.
18Ko Samui, Surat Thani Province, Thailand
Koh Samui's myriad beaches present everything you could ever dream of in a tropical beach. Picture-perfect sands, coconut trees and palm fronds adorn each one, but there the similarities end. Choose from busy beaches, teeming with vendors and cafes, or secluded strips with not another person in sight.
19Aruba, Caribbean
Spectacular for water sports or just sitting on the sand and admiring the tides, Aruba's beaches are truly special. Swimmers and sunbathers will enjoy the calm waters and white sand at Palm Beach, while water-skiers and surfers love the surf at Eagle Beach.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Casinos
      Aruba
      Aruba has a good hand to play, with fine powder sand beaches, amazing surfing and big-name casinos. High-rise hotels house such casinos as Allegro Aruba Beach, Aruba Concorde and the vast 8,000-square-foot Alhambra Bazaar, where Caribbean Stud Poker is the big draw.
    • Family Fun
      Aruba
      Clear waters and great weather are merely two of Aruba's draws. A smorgasbord of activities, from snorkeling to banana boating, entertains families above and below the waves, while jeep safari and quadracer tours are offered inland. A glimpse of the island's personality and past can be viewed at the Aruba Panorama.
    • Romance
      Aruba
      Aruba offers a delightful mix of daytime activities, nightlife and world-class dining to attract couples to its scenic shores. Indulge yourselves in romantic sunset walks on warm, sandy beaches and private coves, or explore the natural beauty or cultural attractions that make Aruba a popular honeymoon destination.
  • Find: Hotels in Aruba | Flights to Aruba | Vacation Rentals in Aruba
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20St Maarten-St Martin, Caribbean
There is no shortage of beautiful shoreline on St. Martin, which boasts some 37 beaches. What sets these apart from other Caribbean beaches is their breathtaking environs--visitors will not only be stunned by the white sand and gorgeous water but also by caves, cliffs, palm trees and rock formations.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Casinos
      St Maarten-St Martin
      A glittering constellation of casinos is scattered across the vibrant Dutch side of St. Maarten. Some are Vegas-style, themed casinos, such as underwater-themed Atlantis and the Ancient Rome-inspired Coliseum. There's no shortage of hot entertainment options to add to the excitement.
    • Family Fun
      St Maarten-St Martin
      The island of Saint Maarten/Saint Martin offers twice the international flavor of a single vacation. Swim in the calm, clear waters of Le Gallion or Pinel Island beaches, hike through rain forest-like landscapes at Loterie Farm, or chase fluttering, colorful creatures at the Butterfly Farm.
    • Shopping
      St Maarten-St Martin
      Dutch on the south and French on the north, St. Maarten/St. Martin is an entirely duty-free island, rendering it a playground for shoppers. Jewelry, high-end clothing and local and European crafts are especially popular. In St. Maarten, Philipsburg is the main shopping town; in St. Martin, it's Marigot.
    • Romance
      St Maarten-St Martin
      A spicy marriage of European and Caribbean cultures, St. Maarten/St. Martin boasts lavish elegance and secluded beaches on the cosmopolitan French side and a bustling center in Dutch-hued St. Maarten. Zouk, calypso, reggae and jazz soundtrack thrilling romantic dining experiences at some of the region's best restaurants.
  • Find: Hotels in St Maarten-St Martin | Flights to St Maarten-St Martin | Vacation Rentals in St Maarten-St Martin
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21Nice, French Riviera - Cote d'Azur, Provence, France
Although some of Nice's beaches are owned privately by hotels and resorts, there is also a good offering of public beaches. No need to worry about getting sand in your hair--there is no sand on these beaches, only pebbles. Nice's seaside is just another taste of France's diversity.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Nice
      With its cosmopolitan Riviera air, fabulously fashionable stores and restaurants and azure Mediterranean backdrop, Nice is the perfect location for love. Cours Saleya flower market and the inspiring Matisse Museum add color to romantic rambles round the city, and the plethora of marinas, galleries and Roman ruins add further interest.
  • Find: Hotels in Nice | Flights to Nice | Vacation Rentals in Nice
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22Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States
Myrtle Beach boasts some of the best beaches on America's East Coast, which are distinguished by panoramic views of the Atlantic, calm waters and soft white sand. Ideal for swimming and sunbathing, Myrtle Beach also offers plenty of family attractions, making it perfect for beach-lovers with kids.
23San Jose del Cabo, Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico
Situated on Mexico's left coast, San Jose del Cabo delivers a delicious taste of the Pacific. Go snorkeling at El Estero, the renowned estuary where exotic marine life and vegetation await, or take a dip in the pools and soak up the sun on the shore at Playa Hotelera.
24Barbados, Caribbean
Turquoise waters, fine and soft sands and picturesque rows of palm trees make the beaches of Barbados a true pleasure. Stick to the south and southwest coasts for calm waters and good swimming; for a surfing thrill, don't miss the massive, competition-caliber waves off the south and east coasts.
  • Also recommended for:
    • History & Culture
      Barbados
      Jacobean and Georgian buildings built from pink and white coral, Gothic churches and pirate castles with ornate ceilings dot the Barbados landscape. Two of the must-see buildings are stately St. Nicholas Abbey in St. Peter and the sugar plantation Drax Hall in St. George, both dating to the 1650s.
    • Romance
      Barbados
      Romance is in the air on this lush West Indian island in the Caribbean. Your getaway to Barbados can include a lazy day on the beach, afternoon tea-British style, listening to the pulsating sounds of reggae or calypso, sipping rum and chilling out under a star-studded Bajan sky.
  • Find: Hotels in Barbados | Flights to Barbados | Vacation Rentals in Barbados
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25Bali, Indonesia
With some of the best waves in the world and reliably great weather, Bali is a surfing paradise. Beach lovers can take their pick from a wide array of choices from crowded to deserted, with white sand or black.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Bali
      A romantic paradise awaits you on the Indonesian island of Bali. From inviting beaches, terraced rice-fields and lush green highlands to a spiritual Hindu culture and village traditions that have remained unchanged over the centuries, not to mention fabulous resort hotels - this is a mystical experience to last a lifetime.
    • History & Culture
      Bali
      Inhabited since prehistoric times, an influx of Indians in the 1st century gave the island its predominantly Hindi culture. Bali's exotic and distinct Indian-influenced culture can be experienced during dance performances, near daily festivals or by visiting its horde of centuries old temples.
    • Adventure
      Bali
      Take in the lush, volcanically active landscape of Bali while whitewater rafting on the Ayung and Unda rivers. Or get the heart pumping off-shore with an ocean-rafting sightseeing and snorkeling tour in boats that reach 44 miles per hour. Surfers hit the island's western side for big-time swells.
  • Find: Hotels in Bali | Flights to Bali | Vacation Rentals in Bali
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26Boracay, Visayas, Philippines
During dry season, there are few better beaches to be found in this part of the world than the famed White Beach, a sparkling stretch of pristine, powder-white sands on the west of the island. Cafes and restaurants nestle demurely behind palms, providing tasty delights for hungry beach-goers.
27St. Lucia, Caribbean
Most St. Lucian hotels are right on the island's best attraction--its beautiful beaches. Visitors will find sands that vary from white to gold in color, waters that range from calm and placid to rough and dangerous and locales that can be crowded and lively or peaceful and romantic.
28Santorini, Cyclades, Greece
While most of the beaches on these geologically new Greek islands are black due to their volcanic creation, Santorini's most famous is probably Red Beach near Akrotiri. Perissa Beach on the main island’s west and Kamari Beach on the east are both long, black, spectacular and very popular with tourists.
29Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Caribbean
Grand Cayman is known as a scuba diving paradise with more than 130 dive sites surrounding the island, including its most famous one, Stingray City. Deep-sea fishermen enjoy the island's "national sport," and the coral reefs can be explored in many ways. The island also contains one of the Caribbean's best strands of sand, 7 Mile Beach.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Family Fun
      Grand Cayman
      Everyone is a kid again in Grand Cayman. Ride a submarine, visit Stingray City on a glass bottom boat, walk the plank or join a sword fight on The Jolly Roger replica, or enjoy the safety of snorkeling and the experience of scuba diving when you snuba.
    • Romance
      Grand Cayman
      Coves and candlelight dinners attract romantics to cosmopolitan Grand Cayman. Sands stretch for miles, world-class restaurants serve sumptuous dishes, and Caribbean breezes lightly ripple across the island. It's a paradise both above and below water, as those who don snorkeling equipment will soon discover.
  • Find: Hotels in Grand Cayman | Flights to Grand Cayman | Vacation Rentals in Grand Cayman
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30Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States
Between a long oceanfront boardwalk and waters that are great for swimming and scuba diving, Virginia Beach offers plenty of opportunities for visitors and locals to stay active. Whether you prefer cycling, running or waterskiing, you won't be disappointed if you're seeking a fun and lively beach experience.
31Corfu, Ionian Islands, Greece
Villages of whitewashed houses, Byzantine churches, Venetian fortresses and vibrant nightlife lure visitors from the resorts and beaches of the most popular Ionian island. Ermones beach attracts many from Corfu town, while picturesque Paleokastritsa, 17 miles Northwest, is definitely worth the drive.
  • Also recommended for:
    • History & Culture
      Corfu
      From the Peloponnesian War to World War II, Corfu has been in the middle of military conflicts since ancient times. Walk in the village of Kassiopi where great emperors have set foot, see art and artifacts at the archaeological and art museums and explore the fort of Paleo Frourio.
    • Romance
      Corfu
      Start a love affair with the most popular Ionian island. Basking off the Albanian coast, captivating Corfu is a beguiling place for romance. The passionate island is dotted with villages of whitewashed houses, Byzantine churches and Venetian fortresses. Corfu town offers exciting nightlife in its charming, cobbled streets.
  • Find: Hotels in Corfu | Flights to Corfu | Vacation Rentals in Corfu
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32Crete, Greece
Although Crete is Greece's biggest island, its popularity has caught up with it and caused some overcrowding on its east coast. Those who venture farther west and south will find unspoiled beaches, low-key resorts and 300 days of sunshine to worship each year."
33Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Part of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is largely a resort island with brilliant man-made beaches of fine black shingle or golden sand. With calm, clear waters and an almost constant wind, Tenerife in a windsurfer's dream. You can also sunbathe, swim, snorkel and scuba dive along the beautiful coastline.
34Maldives
More than two dozens Indian Ocean atolls and thousands of islets comprise the Maldives. Idyllic beaches, such as South Ari Atoll on Nalaguraidhoo, the Sun Island, are a dream come true for sand lovers. Swim out to the barrier reef - or from some parts of the island, admire the reef right from the gorgeous white beach.
35Marbella, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia, Spain
On the southern coast of Spain, Marbella is a favorite resort town for beachgoers who want to see and be seen. Miles of sunny beaches, casinos and marinas circle the glamorous and cosmopolitan Costa del Sol. Enjoy sunbathing and every possible sporting activity.
36Mykonos, Cyclades, Greece
Famous for its golden sandy beaches and its crystalline waters, Mykonos offers something for every type of beach-goer. The populated south beaches are perfect for partying, while the secluded north beaches offer quiet and relaxation. Enjoy a wide variety of activities from skiing, jet-skiing and windsurfing to horseback riding and parasailing.
37Palma de Mallorca, Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
Palma, the economic and cultural hub of Majorca, is a delightful base for exploring the island's many beaches. Considered one of the best places in Spain to live, Palma offers you picturesque beaches of gold sand as well as alabaster-white beaches bustling with activity.
38Malaga, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia, Spain
A flotilla of decidedly different beaches line port city Malaga's coastline on the Costa del Sol. Stretching 25 miles and ranging from bustling city sand strips to remote strands, this Andalucian destination has been popular with British and German sun seekers since being developed in the 1950s.
39Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Perhaps nowhere on earth is the beach so crucial to a big city's culture as in Rio, with its two most popular strips having even been immortalized in song. Of the two, Copacabana is bigger and livelier, Ipanema a bit more upscale and relaxed. For even greater Žlan, try Leblon just to their west.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Rio de Janeiro
      Lively, exuberant Rio de Janeiro is an excellent choice for an active romantic escape. The city pulses with the throb of sensual samba rhythms, the beaches teem with life, the nightlife scene is searing hot and there's a palpable air of excitement in this vivacious city of seven million.
    • Shopping
      Rio de Janeiro
      A proliferation of malls makes shopping a breeze in affordable Rio. Try Barrashopping, a vast complex of more than 600 stores. At Galleria River in Arpoador, a dozen stores cater to surfers and skaters. Alternatively, get a taste for Brazilian beach life and score souvenirs from vendors strolling the sands.
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40Margarita Island, Coastal Islands, Insular Region, Venezuela
Tropical Margarita Island is Venezuela's main Caribbean resort, with a few dozen white-sand beaches leading into turquoise waters. Nearby Los Roques archipelago is a pristine coral atoll that offers unparalleled scuba diving.
41Lamu Island, Coast Province, Kenya
Tropical Kenyan archipelago Lamu makes for a blissful beach escape. Cobalt waters lap against the dramatic, rolling, white sand dunes that hem the island. Wade in to the refreshing waters and explore astounding snorkeling opportunities through coral reef that surrounds diminutive Kiwayu Island.
42Mar del Plata, Province of Buenos Aires, Central Argentina, Argentina
Argentina's premier beach resort, Mar del Plata's long coastline is comprised of many beaches, from family-oriented La Perla in the north to very popular Bristol and sporty Varese in the center, from resort-oriented Mogotes and sophisticated Faro in the south to peaceful Sur even further south.
43Camps Bay, Western Cape, South Africa
Shaded spots go early at Cape Town's crowded Camps Bay, where locals picnic and play in the strong Atlantic waves. Look for the flagged bathing areas for safer swims for all the family. Festive cafes sit adjacent to the sands, which are dramatically set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles mountains.
44Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Beginner surfers flock to the wide swath of sun-kissed sands known as the Golden Mile, where the Indian Ocean washes against South Africa's eastern shores and the country's third-largest city. The Golden Mile stretches 3.5 miles and encompasses North Beach, the Bay of Plenty, Dairy Beach and Snake Park.
45Vina del Mar, Valparaiso Region, Chile
Chile's fourth largest city, Vina del Mar in Valparaiso, is also a popular summer beach resort. A Mediterranean climate prevails and an appealing array of sandy strips beckons, including Renaca, Miramar, Las Salinas and Casino. Renaca's calm waters and great waves make it a hit with families.
46Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia
The world's largest coral reef eco-system actually consists of 3000 separate reefs. Come face to face with the wonderful diversity of life that exists within it by snorkeling and scuba diving from pontoons or watch the parade of astounding creatures stream beneath your feet from a glass-bottomed boat.
47Essaouira, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region, Morocco
Couples and families stroll the undeveloped sands of Essaouira, skirting soccer players and kite surfers. The strong northeastern winds that sweep the palm-fringed playground make it an ideal beach for wind surfing. Most popular beach spots include Cape Sim, Sidi Kaouki and Mouley Bouzertoune.
48Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Byron's legendary, lighthouse-dotted, white sand beaches are some of Australia's best. Situated where the Coral Sea meets the Tasman Sea, these clean, unpolluted, laid-back beaches remain relatively undeveloped and are great places to spot bottlenose dolphins, rays, whales and sea turtles.
49Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, Red Sea and Sinai, Egypt
Beckoning alluringly from the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, the clear, calm waters and dramatic reefs around Sharm el Sheikh offer spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving. Ras Mohammed National Park contains sensational Red Sea dive sites, considered some of the best in the world.
50Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
For a beach vacation, Costa Rica is hard to beat. Some of the world's best sands sit on its coastline where water remains a delicious temperature year-round. Don't miss Manuel Antonio's picture-perfect crescent of sand, with its azure waters and jungle at its back or, for surfing, Playa Dominical.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Great Barrier Reef
      If you want to combine romance and adventure, the Great Barrier Reef is a sure thing. Tuck into a beach picnic before wading into the deliciously clear waters, the lush tropical rainforest of Queensland at your back. Snorkel hand in hand to see the wonders of the world's largest coral reef.
    • Adventure
      Great Barrier Reef
      With 1,400 miles of coral reef stretching along the Queensland coast and 1,500 fish species, the World Heritage List-designated Great Barrier Reef is a scuba lover's dream destination. Accompany underwater exploration with coastal adventures like bungee jumping or rafting through rain forests near Cairns
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51Malindi, Coast Province, Kenya
Actually more white than silver, lovely Silver Sands Beach is just south of Malindi town, and home to several luxury hotels. Snorkeling, diving, surfing and deep sea fishing (for marlin, shark and sailfish) are popular here. Further south lies Watamu Beach, part of Kenya's Watamu Marine National Park.
52Seychelles
This Indian Ocean group of 100+ islands is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, including the popular white powder of Beau Vallon on Mahe and Anse Lazio on Praslin. The stunning pink sands and boulders of Anse Source d'Argent on La Digue lead many to call it the most gorgeous beach on earth.
53Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
A perfect little beach town of 18,500 on Australia's east coast, 48 miles from Brisbane, Surfer's Paradise sits amid seemingly endless stretches of pristine sand. Nature has conspired to create amazing conditions and the crashing waves teem with swimmers as well as novice and more advanced surfers.
54Manzanillo, Pacific Coast, Mexico
Manzanillo remains as beautiful as when it was "discovered" by the jet set in the 1970s, but its beaches are now largely deserted. Sport fishers will be in heaven, and the International Sailfish Tournament takes place twice a year. Underwater visibility is high, making snorkeling and scuba diving memorable.
55Nerja, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia, Spain
Positioned at the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol, Nerja boasts nearly 10 miles of powdery beaches featuring activities like water skiing, scuba diving and sailing. Although tourist-oriented, it hasn't been overtaken by high-rises, and its huge promenade delivers panoramic Mediterranean views.
56Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain
Well-known as a fun and exciting place to party, Ibiza boasts more than 100 miles of coastline with some 50 beaches. Larger beaches offer restaurants, bars and an enviable array of water sports while more tranquil beaches let visitors relax in the sun or shade.
57Saint Pete Beach, Florida, United States
For a relaxing and entertaining beach vacation, Saint Pete Beach has a lot to offer sun-worshippers. Go dolphin watching, swim, snorkel or dive into the blue waters, enjoy every variety of water or sunny sport, or just lie back and soak up the sun on sandy Florida beaches.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Saint Pete Beach
      Nestled on the tip of a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, Saint Pete Beach is perfectly situated for romantic strolls and pier dining. Fort De Soto and Caladesi Island are two of the country's best beaches, and Clearwater Beach's sunsets are breathtaking.
    • Family Fun
      Saint Pete Beach
      For a relaxing and entertaining beach vacation, Saint Pete Beach has a lot to offer young families. Play around at the Pier's Fun Center arcade, test your driving skills on the go-kart track, go dolphin watching or dive into the blue waters, or get involved with the hands-on museum exhibits at Great Explorations.
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58St. Kitts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean
Scuba divers delight in exploring hundreds of wrecks surrounding St. Kitts, some of which date back to the 1700s. This relatively undeveloped island features quiet beaches with volcanic black sand on the northern half and white sand on the southern half.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      St. Kitts
      Romance pervades the exotic tropical island of St. Kitts, with its wonderful beaches and cloud-tipped peak. An intoxicating blend of natural beauty, idyllic weather, stunning beaches, marvelous Colonial architecture and luxurious accommodations in former plantation homes are just some of St Kitts' Caribbean adventures.
    • Family Fun
      St. Kitts
      Looking for a peaceful family vacation on a mosquito-free island? Then look to St. Kitts. Sunbathe and swim on long stretches of pristine beaches, tour lava formations and tropical forests, visit the massive Brimstone Hill Fortress, or ride the Sugar Express.
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59Bahamas, Caribbean
Whatever you look for in a beach, the Bahamas has it. With sands that range from pink to white to sugary, waters that are blue or crystal clear, waves that cater to water sports or swimming and sunsets that are always romantic, the Bahamian shores are brilliant and unforgettable.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Casinos
      Bahamas
      The Bahamas boasts an enticing array of gambling destinations. Grand Bahama's big draws include Freeport's Bahamia and Lucaya's Isle of Capri, while Paradise Island, adjacent to Nassau, boasts the thrilling, glittering Atlantis Resort, a fairy-tale destination with a 7-acre lagoon, towers, glass sculptures and fantastic gaming.
    • Family Fun
      Bahamas
      The Bahamas offers families 700 islands of fun, sun and nature. Marvel at the tropical wildlife, plunder away at Pirates in the Bahamas, or explore the Adventure Learning Centre's petting farm, planetarium and nature trail. Of course, there are always relaxing beaches for family fun.
    • Shopping
      Bahamas
      Unique shopping opportunities can be found across the Bahamas' many islands, but the biggest concentration is along and around Bay Street in downtown Nassau, where you'll find department stores, boutiques and duty-free shops, as well as a lively straw market selling art, crafts and designer knock-offs.
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60Acapulco, Pacific Coast, Mexico
Acapulco's wild nightlife is matched by its wild beaches--the waters can be wavy and dangerous, but that also makes them great for surfing. However, there are lots of places with calmer waters where swimming is safe and fun, especially Caleta Beach, a favorite among families.