Welcome to paradise and your next dream destination. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but here is my selection of the 10 best beach destinations on the planet.
You can find more info below my slideshow (with my selection of luxury hotels). Think I forgot one? Share your favorite beach destination in the comments section or take my poll below.
A veritable paradise of sugar white sand, crystal clear waters, and dramatic scenery, Thailand’s tropical beaches are renowned around the globe for their beauty, and as a consequence, unfortunately, mass tourism has spoilt some of them. Remember The Beach? Well, these days you’ll have to look a little harder to find the utopian paradise of the 1990s cult backpacker novel on Thailand’s Andaman coast. However, little gems still shine brightly on Phi Phi island. And some of the country’s most luxurious resort still feature their own private, pristine beach.
- Best time to visit: The weather in Thailand is reasonable most times of year, although it certainly gets hot and rainy during the summer! November through February are the coolest times of year and there is certainly less rain than at other times in the year. However, avoid the rainy season (July to October) at all costs since tropical downpours can be torrential.
- My selection of luxury resorts: Soneva Kiri, Four Seasons Samui, Banyan Tree Samui, Amanpuri, Trisara, Banyan Tree Phuket, Six Senses Yao Noi, Anantara Phuket, Conrad Samui.
Related post: top 10 best luxury hotels in Thailand.
With more than 7,000 islands dotted with beautiful white sand beaches that are lapped by warm aquamarine seas and edged by spectacular coral reefs, picking a favorite beach in the Philippines may sound like a challenging task. El Nido in Palawan, often dubbed as the Philippines’ last frontier, is definitely one the best destinations in the country, not only because of the powder-fine beaches and gin-clear waters, but also because of the area’s fabulous limestone formations, towering cliffs, prehistoric caves and thundering waterfalls.
- Best time to visit: there are two distinct weather patterns in the Philippines. The southwest monsoon, which runs from May to October, brings the rains and the northeast monsoon, which prevails from November to early May is the dry season. For most of the country, the wet season starts in June, peaks in July to September, and fades out in October. Typhoons are common from June to November with storms raging up the east coast. January to May is the best time to visit.
- My selection of luxury hotels: Amanpulo, Shangri La Boracay, Dedon Island.
8. NORTHWESTERN USA & CANADA
The Northwest of American continent boasts some of the most spectacular wild beaches in the worlds, in particular Second Beach in Olympic National Park (USA) and Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park (Canada). Do not expect a tropical idyll though, since these are some of the wettest places on earth. Here, you can walk on miles of long sandy beaches, backed by lush, old-growth rainforest while watching the thundering waves of the Pacific Ocean, with the occasional whale breaching at the horizon.
- Best time to visit: it depends on your interests. In the winter you can expect a lot of rain and potentially high winds but many people go just to storm watch. July and August would be the best time in terms of less precipitation, warmer temperatures and sunshine but fog is often a plague in the morning.
- My selection of luxury resorts: Long Beach Lodge, Wickaninnish Inn, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.
Related post: top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in Canada.
7. QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
All of Queensland’s hundreds of beaches are not only world-class, they each offer a distinctive experience. Whitehaven Beach, located on the largest of the Whitsunday Islands, has repeatedly been voted amongst the most beautiful beaches of the globe: stretching over 3,7 miles (6km) and boasting brilliant silica sand, among the purest in the world, you’ll soon realize why. Another favorite is Seventy-five Mile Beach, which is Australia’s premier four-wheel driving location and runs along Fraser Island’s east coast: the fabulous beach boasts miles upon miles of pristine sand and sea, as well as a vast array of wildlife.
- Best time to visit: April through October (winter time down Under) is the best time to visit with abundant sunshine and less rain. It is also peak visibility time for divers. The Australian summer months from November to April are hot and sticky across Queensland. In the North of the state, heavy rains, high temperatures, extreme humidity, and cyclones, the summer deserves its alternative name of the “Green” season.
- My selection of luxury resorts: Qualia Great Barrier Reef, One&Only Haymand Island.
Related post: top 10 best luxury hotels in Australia.
6. CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Town, also called the Mother City and one of the world’s most beautiful cities, has some of the world’s best beaches on offer, just minutes from the city centre and all backed by the epic Table Mountain. From the family beaches on the False Bay coastline to the gorgeous playground beaches for the rich and beautiful on the incredibly spectacular Atlantic Seaboard, you’re sure to find a stretch of sand that suits your fancy. My favorite beaches are Camps Bay, Clifton and Llandudno.
- Best time to visit: Cape Town’s hot, dry summer months run from late October to March/April. Temperatures reach their peak between December and February, and this is generally seen as when to go to Cape Town for the best beach weather.
- My selection of luxury hotels: One & Only Hotel, 12 Apostles Hotel, Ellerman House.
Related post: top 10 things to see and do in Cape Town.
5. HAWAII, USA
Besides jaw-dropping natural scenery (think active volcanoes, towering cliffs, and dense jungle), Hawaii boasts also some of the best beaches in the world, some built around the high drama of intense waves crashing against razor-sharp lava rocks, some so remote that they are only accessible by helicopter or landing watercraft, and some so hidden and gorgeous that they need to remain a secret.
- Best time to visit: the off-season, when the best rates are available and the islands are less crowded, is spring (Apr to June) and fall (Sept to November) — a paradox because these are the best seasons to be in Hawaii, in terms of reliably great weather. Winter (December to March) can be surprisingly wet and cloudy.
- My selection of luxury resorts: Travaasa Hana, Andaz Maui, St Regis Princeville, Four Seasons Lana’i, Four Seasons Hualalai, Four Seasons Wailea, Fairmont Kea Lani, Halekulani, Grand Wailea.
4. FRENCH POLYNESIA
With 118 islands dotted in the mighty blue South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia has, as you probably expect, some pretty awesome beaches. Just 12 miles (19 km long), the lush little slipper of land called Bora Bora lies in French Polynesia’s most mesmerizing lagoon edged by fine white sandy shores. Luxurious over-water bungalows nestled over the world’s most beautiful lagoon with a tropical backdrop make Bora Bora a top destination for the discerning traveler.
- Best time to visit: the wet season (Polynesian summers) runs from November till April. During these times the humidity levels can be at an all time high and storms are frequent and unpredictable. The dry season from May to October is when tourism is at its peak on the Island. During these months the temperature is a few degrees lower and rain is rare.
- My selection of luxury resorts: St Regis Bora Bora, Four Seasons Bora Bora, Intercontinental Bora Bora.
Related post: top 10 best luxury resorts in French Polynesia.
3. TURKS AND CAICOS
The Turks and Caicos Islands have some of the planet’s most ethereal turquoise seas and finest powdery-sand beaches, and are surrounded by the globe’s third-largest coral reef. While their western neighbours of the Bahamas went mass with their lost-on-the-way-to-Las-Vegas resorts, the Turks went class, quietly opening a string of very luxurious resorts in the past decade.
- Best time to visit: like other islands in the Caribbean, Turks & Caicos’ dry seasons and peak travel period lasts from December to March. However, the best time to visit Turks & Caicos is April and May, a sweet spot featuring lower prices and fewer crowds. The weather is pleasant year-round with average highs that hover in the 80s, but these islands do experience a rainy season, and the threat of hurricanes lingers from June to November.
- My selection of luxury resorts: Amanyara, Parrot Cay.
Related post: top 10 best luxury resorts in the Caribbean.
Located on the equator towards the south of India, and stretching over 500 miles (800 km), the Maldives are the visible coral tips of an oceanic volcanic mountain range whose outer edge at some points plunge to depths of over 2 miles (3 km). The islands are blessed with stunning white beaches, crystal clear blue lagoons, incredible underwater wildlife, and unrivaled luxury resorts.
- Best time to visit: the best weather is between January and April, which also means high season (and high hotel prices). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June. It is worth paying higher prices and sticking to the dry season as there is nothing to do on a rainy day except drink, work out or scuba dive. Especially November and December, which are often labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled recent years.
- My selection of luxury resorts: Soneva Jani, One & Only Reethi Rah, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, Gili Lankanfushi, Naladhu, W Retreat, Shangri La Villingili, Conrad Rangali, Six Senses Laamu, Soneva Fushi, Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi.
Related post: top 10 best luxury resorts in the Maldives.
Mother Nature was extremely generous with these 115 scenic islands scattered in the Indian Ocean east of Kenia and has spoiled them rotten. Undeniably, the beauty of the beaches is beyond words: exquisite ribbons of powdery-soft white sand are lapped by turquoise waters and backed by palm tree covered hills and big rocky boulders. Recent years, some uberluxurious resorts opened their doors in this slide of paradise.
- Best time to visit: Seychelles is often sold as a year round destination and it is. However there is more chance of bad weather, that is to say rain, from November to March. The transitional months of October and April are excellent for a visit as the oceans are very calm and the weather balmy. During the dry seasons (May to September), it can be windy (causing seaweed on the south or south-easterly side of the islands) with rough seas.
- My selection of luxury resorts: Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Four Seasons Resort, Raffles Praslin, Banyan Tree Seychelles, North Island, Maia Luxury Resort.
Related post: top 10 best luxury resorts in the Seychelles.