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Worlds Best Beaches

Jan 9th, 2012 Beach, Destinations

Summer has arrived, and with it, the universal desire to hit the beach. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a beach to suit your needs, from rugged stretches of coast to urban strips of sand, set in a well-known tropical paradise or a remote, almost-secret location. We’ve scanned the globe and selected 10 of the best combinations of sea and sand. Find one that stirs your sense of wanderlust and start packing.

Matira Beach, Bora Bora, Tahiti – Idyllic South Pacific Paradise

Matira Beach

Imagine a warm lagoon with brilliant crystalline waters in every shade of blue, set against a lush backdrop of velvet emerald peaks. Visualize yourself in a thatched-roof bungalow over the water with glass-bottom floors. Envision room service appearing in an outrigger canoe, whenever you want. This must be Bora Bora—and Matira Beach, the white crown jewel of your blue-lagoon getaway, lies waiting. For more information, visit Tahiti Tourism.

Bay of Fires, Australia – Down Under in Tasmania

Bay of Fires

For a remote, unspoiled experience, the Bay of Fires in Australia’s Tasmania region offers plenty of secluded beach, sand dunes and rocky headlands to satisfy the environmental soul. Set at the edge of a national park, it is home to the ecological masterpiece known as the Bay of Fires Lodge, which offers fresh meals made with local produce and guided four-day walks in the coastal wilderness. Splendid views spanning the untamed, and the unsoiled breath of sheer simplicity complete this green experience.

Ipanema, Brazil – Urban Beach Bliss

Ipanema

A myriad of stunning beaches skirts the coast of Brazil. Travelers seeking white sand, vivacious culture and iridescent scenery will find their mecca at Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro. Chic shops, cafes and nightlife line the street side of the beach, while volleyball, soccer, samba and tangas ply the sand. And it’s all surrounded by ocean and city views. If Ipanema doesn’t quench your thirst, walk along the water’s edge to visit its equally famous neighbor, Copacabana.

Pink Sands, Bahamas – Blushing Beauty

Bahamas

A unique infusion of fine golden sand, combined with powdered shells and coral, create this scenic Caribbean wonder. Set on an outlying Bahamian island against warm, turquoise waters and surrounded by upscale hideaways, Pink Sands Beach delivers three miles of natural pink beauty, consistently placing it in the world’s Top 10 beaches. Sit back, relax and enjoy some conch, the area’s star gourmet attraction.

Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles – A Picture Postcard

Anse Source d'Argent

When it comes to pure tropical beaches far removed from civilization, the treasure known as Anse Source d’Argent does not disappoint. This magical stretch of sand lies off the coast of southern Africa, on the tranquil island of La Digue in the Seychelles, where oxcarts and bicycles are the main form of transport. Devoid of resorts, sport centers and casinos, it’s as unspoiled as you will find, with glittering white sand, glowing green coconut palms, boulders made for climbing, and pristine aqua waters. You’ll need to take a boat to get here, but this paradise is worth it. ladigue.sc

Troncones, Mexico – Nothing Like the Present

Troncones

Off a bumpy dirt road approx. 45 minutes north of Zihuatanejo, lies a long stretch of sandy Pacific beach, still untouched by tourism. Here, you’ll find the Present Moment Retreat, which provides serene days, yoga, meditation, massage and mojitos in an idyllic setting. Enjoy your stay in a thatched-roof palapa and let the sound of waves lull you to sleep.

Nauthólsvik Thermal Beach, Iceland – A Dip into the Arctic

Matira Beach

It might seem odd to find a beach near the Arctic Circle. But just outside Reykjavík lies a small strip of sand in a sheltered lagoon frequented by the locals, who enjoy their own kind of summer in warm waters pumped in by the city. With fresh-water temperatures kept at 18–20°C (64–68°F) for swimming and 30–35°C (86–95°F) in small pools called hot pots, it’s Iceland’s own slice of Mediterranean life. Lockers, changing facilities and a coffee house accompany this unique Nordic scene. For more information, visit Spa City.

Paloma Beach, France – Classic Riviera

Paloma Beach

No discussion of sunny climes would be complete without a mention of the European Riviera. Plenty of beaches and coastlines have laid claim to its celebrated appellation, and many are tropically scenic, but none have the prestige, panache or lore of the original. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has long been known as an enclave for jetsetters on the French Riviera. Set on its own peninsula, it features picturesque Mediterranean scenery, European seaside culture, enormous yachts and stunning villas nestled in dark green hills. Protected in a cove at the base of steep cliffs, well-heeled sun worshipers indulge in the splendid coastal views and jade waters of Paloma Beach, one of the Riviera’s most esteemed pebbled shores. Public and private sections of the beach allow room for all.

Yokohama Beach, Hawaii – End of the World

Yokohama Beach

World-class beaches dot the Hawaiian Islands with all manner of activities to entice the beachgoer. But at the end of the less-traveled leeward road on the west coast of Oahu, lies what many seek and few find—a strip of glorious golden sand backed with lush mountains, fronted with surf and populated by hardly a soul. No shops, no restaurants, no accommodations, no crowds—just pure sea and sand (plus a lifeguard and restrooms). Pack a sun umbrella and enjoy your own private beach at the end of the world. Learn more about Oahu beaches.

Tanjung Rhu Beach, Malaysia – Southeast Asian Romance

Tanjung Rhu Beach

If you want to escape the crowded Malaysian beaches, take a trip to northern Langkawi Island to find Tanjung Rhu. Here, you’ll discover a quiet strip of white sandy beach facing the Andaman Sea. Set off by casuarina trees, it offers postcard views of southern Thailand. Two luxury resorts offer everything else you need (including privacy), and three golf courses dot the island. If you tire of strolling the beach, hire a small boat to cruise the islands or explore the nearby caves and mangrove swamps.