Beach season is officially here, and though there are many amazing shorelines to explore, our readers are partial to island beaches. Here are their ranked favorites in countries across the globe.
OUR FAVORITE: Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue
THE LOOK: Dazzling white sand, huge granite boulders, cerulean water, and swaying palm trees. It would be harder to imagine a more perfect paradise.
TOP TIP: Come late in the day to avoid day-trippers, beat the heat, and take a stroll around historic L’Union Estate (home to giant land turtles).
OUR FAVORITE: Your own
THE LOOK: With over 1,000 small islands in 26 atolls there’s no "best" beach here—they’re all gorgeous, and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean are home to some of the world’s most colorful tropical marine life.
TOP TIP: Pick your island resort wisely—some are so small you might feel too "Crusoe," while others have overwater bungalows so far from land it’s akin to being at sea.
OUR FAVORITE: Saltwhistle Bay, Mayreau
THE LOOK: Two perfect strands of sand, one facing a calm bay, the other the Atlantic. It’s the best of both worlds.
TOP TIP: Getting here has become easier, with nonstop flights from the U.S. to Barbados and frequent puddle jumpers to the St. Vincent and a handful of Grenadines.
OUR FAVORITE: Shoal Bay West
THE LOOK: A mile of soft sand with views of neighboring St. Martin and the distant, dramatic silhouette of little-visited Saba. Not to be confused with much busier Shoal Bay East.
TOP TIP: Watch for the gravel, left-hand turn-off at the end of West End road. Good snorkeling at the very west end of the beach in and around underwater rocks.
OUR FAVORITE: Elbow Beach
THE LOOK: Pink sand, naturally, but quieter than other beaches on this blessed island—though one of the closest to the city of Hamilton.
TOP TIP: Best spot to throw down your towel is via the public access path at the end of Tribe Road #4 between the Elbow Beach and Coco Reef resorts.
BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
OUR FAVORITE: Motu Tapu
THE LOOK: A tiny, uninhabited island in the western half of the lagoon from which views across a million shades of blue water are complimented by a full panorama of the main island’s dramatic green mountains.
TOP TIP: Arrange for a private boat and picnic (through your resort) a few days in advance—weekends can actually be quieter, when the majority of vacationers are departing the South Seas.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
OUR FAVORITE: Sandy Spit & Green Cay (near Tortola)
THE LOOK: Miniature islands, encircled by sand with excellent snorkeling and 360-degree views of neighboring islands.
TOP TIP: Rent a dinghy in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke—but only on calm days unless you’re up for a soaking and tricky landing.
TURKS & CAICOS
OUR FAVORITE: Long Bay Beach, Providenciales
THE LOOK: Surrounded by the world’s third largest barrier reef, all of the beaches here are protected from ocean surges and most are completely waveless. Long Bay is one of the least developed.
TOP TIP: Arrange for a private, guided horseback ride on the beach (and into the water) with Provo Ponies—they’ll pick you up and drop you off from your resort.
MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
OUR FAVORITE: Temae
THE LOOK: Renowned for its jagged mountains and lush, jungle valleys, beaches here are on the smaller side and often attached to single resorts—all but quiet Temae on the northeastern coast.
TOP TIP: Hop a taxi to the Sofitel resort and walk the long stretch of beach all the way to and from airport.
OUR FAVORITE: Salines
THE LOOK: Hidden from a small parking lot overlooking the salt basin, and accessed only up and down a rocky/sandy trail, of all the beautiful beaches on St. Barts this one is by far the most laid-back.v TOP TIP: Bring supplies if you intend to spend the day—but keep an eye on hungry goats looking for your fancy French picnic in the surrounding hills.
More on Island Travel:
The 12 Top Scenic Islands in the World
The Best International Beach Resorts
Best U.S. Islands For Beaches