When it comes to downtime, few locations beat the beach. But would you rather spend your time surrounded by kids screaming in a sandcastle duel to the death with the family next to them, or would you like to sit back, chill out and read a nice book? Nevermind, we know the answer.
We’ve rounded up our favorite 10 tranquil beaches around the world – from remote wild dunes and volcanic rock, to obscure castaway-style islands.
Grab your towel and find your own way there (but tell no one).
If you want something a little more wild, then try this Spanish national park. Cabo de Gata (pictured above) is still under the radar of most tourists, but its huge sand dunes and volcanic rock sculptures make it truly special. You can also see 1,000 year old fortresses along the coast.
Ok, so California’s not short when it comes to beaches, but finding one that’s more private can be a little more difficult. Zmudowski is near a natural preserve for wildlife and the beach is used by bird watchers and fishermen more than anything else. It’s a peaceful haven a million miles away from the beaches of LA.
A beachside backwater of Auckland, Beach Haven was still wild land only 100 years ago (and a prime strawberry growing spot). Visit the tranquil beach on Charcoal Bay – it’s one of New Zealand’s best.
Ah Thailand, land of pristine beaches, full moon parties and fun. But should you want a more peaceful and serene seaside experience, head to the Ko Tarutao Marine National Park. Made up of 51 islands, you’ll find thick rainforest, white sand beaches and perfect coral reefs (minus the party-goers).
Everyone heads to Rio for Copacabana, but just outside the city, Brazil’s beaches come into their own. Grumari is part of a protected park, surrounded by cliffs. The country’s best surfers flock to this secret spot and ride the waves ‘til sunset.
Travel + Leisure named this one of its best beaches on earth. Sitting next to Washington State forest, the calm turquoise waters of Santa Rosa beach are home to Gulf Place, an artists’ colony. Definitely one of Florida’s more secret spots.
Otherwise known as the Swedish riviera, Falsterbo combines high dunes with clean Swedish design in a six-mile stretch of beach that culminates at a lighthouse. Head right to the lighthouse end for true tranquility.
Cumberland Island is one of the USA’s best wild beaches. No ice cream here. Instead you’ll find fresh water lakes, sand dunes and pelicans, turtles and um, crocodiles (maybe beach nap with one eye open).
The island of Okinawa offers a different slice of Japan. Think semi-tropical landscapes and azure seas. From Okinawa you can do day-trips to more far-flung islands, where you’ll find completely deserted white sand beaches to live out those castaway fantasies.
Sat in the English Channel, the Isle of Wight is a charming, old-fashioned kind of place, with plenty of sleepy, secluded beaches. Steephill Cove is our favorite, known for its lobster pots and rocky hideaways.