20 Photos Of Gorgeous Beaches Around The World That Will Inspire Your Next Vacation

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

If you’re in the US, chances are pretty good that you could really use a vacation right now. Why don’t adults get a summer vacation, anyway?

It’s hot out, the swimming pool is too crowded, and it’s impossible to focus on work.

Well, here’s all the inspiration you ever needed. The world is full of amazingly gorgeous beaches on (almost) every continent, from Cape Town to California to Corsica. If you’re a beach bum type who just wants to sip cocktails by the ocean, there are a ton of beaches for that. If you’d rather be more active, there are also a ton of beaches with excellent surfing and snorkeling.

Here are 20 photos of gorgeous beaches that are very likely to make you open a new tab to start looking up flights. These beaches are perfect daydream fuel. A lot of them look way too good to be real, but they’re right there waiting for ya.

Durdle Door is a magnificent archway at a beach in Dorset, England. It’s made of natural limestone. Though it is privately owned, it is open to the public, so you can go for a picturesque swim when it’s warm enough out — just be careful, because the beach floor can become quite steep.

This breathtaking view is at Falaises D’etretat in Normandie, France. It’s worth the trip for the views alone! Go for a hike to the top of the cliffs at sunset and you’ll feel like you’re in heaven. A walk on the pebble beach is pretty darn magical, too.

The famous Bora Bora is so beautiful that it doesn’t even look real, but thankfully for beach lovers, it totally is. Bora Bora is a small island in French Polynesia. It features gorgeous sands and clear turquoise waters, plus a coral reef that’s popular with scuba divers. Many guest bungalows at luxury resorts are perched on stilts, like in the photo above.

This beach is in another island country, Mauritius, off the east coast of Africa. The beaches are downright perfect, which is why vacationers flock to the hotel resorts. But the island also has much more to offer, including hiking trails, botanical gardens, and world-class diving opportunities.

One of the most legendary road trips in the world is the drive down Great Ocean Road in Australia. Pictured here is one major highlight from that road trip: the 12 Apostles. These ancient rocks tower over the ocean for a truly awe-inspiring view. You can view them from a platform or climb down to the beach to stare up at them from below.

The Bahamas are practically synonymous with “relaxing beach vacation” at this point. The country consists of over 700 islands, 30 of which are inhabited. There’s truly something for everyone, whether you want a secluded experience or more amenities. The Bahamas are also a popular cruise destination.

Krabi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, and you can see why. The area boasts serene beaches with amazing views and great snorkeling opportunities, plus other activities like boating and rock climbing. There are around 200 islands and islets in the province.

There are three islands in the US Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. St. John is the smallest of the three, and it’s a popular tourist destination with hundreds of villas and hotels. The island was negatively impacted by Hurricane Irma in 2017, but it is recovering, and the disaster didn’t take away from its amazing natural beauty one bit.

Piha is a popular surf beach on the coast of New Zealand. The beach has plenty to offer nonsurfers, too, though — you can relax on the beach or hike through the surrounding forest and enjoy the stunning views. In the summer, there is also an area set aside for swimmers.

Scripps Beach is easily recognizable by its ridiculously beautiful sunsets and long concrete pier. Visitors to this La Jolla, California, beach aren’t actually allowed on the pier, but the beach offers a quiet and scenic area to enjoy the sun and sand. There is also a designated surfing area.

Kelingking Beach is a “hidden beach” near Bali, Indonesia. To get to this secluded waterfront area, you have to hike down a steep and rugged 400-meter path during low tide. But if you can handle the trek, you will often have the beach all to yourself. It’s truly a taste of paradise.

Maldives is well-known for its water villas, which allow you to enjoy the beach without even leaving your bed. This South Asian island is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, with extensive coral reefs, bright blue waters, and fine white sands.

Outside of the city of Cap-Haitiën in Haiti, there are are a number of beaches with that flawless golden sand and clear blue water that the Caribbean is so famous for. The most popular beach is Labadie, which is a cruise ship destination. It features the longest over-water zip line in the world.

Muir Beach is a quiet beach on the Pacific Coast in Northern California. It’s a popular area for locals, who enjoy surfing there (even when the water’s ice cold), picnicking on the sand, and playing with their dogs on the dog-friendly beach. There’s also a lovely overlook trail where you can look out over the Pacific Ocean.

What roundup of beaches would be complete without Hawaii? The island of Oahu offers some of the very best beaches in Hawaii, popular with surfers and beach bums alike. The beach is in this photo is in West Oahu, where you can also spot dolphins swimming by.

For a truly unique beach experience, visit Esperance, Australia, where kangaroos sun themselves on the beach. If that’s not enough of a draw, the area offers some of the whitest sands in Australia, plus there’s a very cool bright pink lake nearby that you can visit.

Corsica is a region of France, but it’s unlike any other place in the country. This Mediterranean island has its own unique culture and history. It’s a fascinating place to visit, and it packs a ton of different experiences into a relatively small island. Tour ancient architecture, enjoy a boat trip, and try some of the local food in between beach visits.

On the other side of the same island as Haiti, there’s the Dominican Republic. This beach is called Las Terrenas in the province of Samaná. The area is beloved by tourists for its crystal clear waters and scenic landscapes. You can enjoy your time here year-round, because the temperature barely varies between summer and winter, and hurricanes are not common, unlike in many other Caribbean islands.

This jaw-dropping beach isn’t for the lazy traveler. There are no roads to get to the Na Pali Coast on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The beach is only accessible by foot, helicopter, or boat. A little extra effort is well worth it, though, to see one of the most beautiful places on the planet for yourself.

If you want the bustling city experience and the relaxing beach experience all in one, South Africa is your best bet. Cape Town is known for its natural beauty, including multiple beaches — the city borders both the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, and each coast offers its own microclimate. You can literally go from a downtown happy hour to an oceanside hang in the same evening.

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Save these gorgeous beaches to your Pinterest boards as a reference for your next plan for a trip to the sea!