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The 40 Best Beaches on Earth

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Let's face ain't summertime without at least spending a few days at the beach soaking up the rays and relaxing with family and friends. In the spirit of summer, we've gone to the travelers community at travel community to find the best beaches from around the world, those drops of white sand paradise that we yearn for all year round. From South Pacific desert islands to the coasts of Europe and Africa, here are the 40 best beaches on Earth.

1.) Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos
Everyone who sets foot on the white sands of Grace Bay comes to the same conclusion: this is paradise. Not only is the beach incredibly long and relatively crowd-free, it's also surrounded by reefs that'll make any avid snorkeler drool. (Photo by Daniel E. Castaño)

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2.) Navagio Beach, Greece
Surrounded by white limestone cliffs and clear blue waters, Navagio Beach on the Greek isle of Zakynthos is undoubtedly the most famous beach in Greece, and perhaps the most photographed beach on Earth. One look and it's not hard to see why! (Photo by Terry Bamforth)

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3.) Isola dei Conigli, Italy
Isola dei Conigli, a small islet off of Lampedusa, Italy, is home to some of the Med's most dramatically beautiful beaches. While it's becoming increasingly popular, its relative istolation and status as a protected nature reserve means that you can enjoy this island paradise in peace. (Photo by Lucio Sassi)

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4.) Jericoacoara, Brazil
The golden sand dunes of Jericoacoara, Brazil are worth the trip, but the real reason most tourists visit is to take a dip in the warm waters of Lagoa do Paraiso, an impossibly-clear lagoon filled with public hammocks. Can you imagine a better place for an afternoon nap? (Photo by Aloha Eveline Padilha)

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5.) Matira Point, French Polynesia
Though Bora Bora is usually the haunt of celebs and jetsetters lounging on idyllic private beaches, there is a public beach that's every bit as stunning: Matira. As one traveler put it: "Heaven exists, and it's in the middle of the South Pacific." (Photo by Lo Stampa)

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6.) Île Plate, Mauritius
Just off the northern tip of Mauritius, Robinson Crusoe wannabes will find Île Plate, a white-sand island paradise that's also one of the country's top spots for snorkelers and divers due to its unique conditions which attract reef sharks and other marine life (Photo by Christophe Pibouleou)

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7.) Ko Poda Beach, Thailand
The iconic karsts, photogenic long-tail boats, and crystal-clear waters of Ko Poda have made the island synonymous with tropical paradise. The abundance of rocks, reefs, and fish also assure that the underwater views are just as spectacular as those from your beach chair. (Photo by Naxos)

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8.) San Blas Islands, Panama
Sure, these beaches are beautiful, but that means they're also crowded, right? Well, not in the case of San Blas Islands, an archipelago and natural park in the Panamanian Caribbean. With over 400 beautiful islands, you're sure to find your very own slice of desert island paradise. (Photo by Naxos)

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9.) Los Roques, Venezuela
Though long popular among European and Latin American travelers, Venezuela's Los Roques Archipelago is still one of the Caribbean's best kept secrets. The real magic happens when the tides recede and dozens of white-sand keys appear amid the colorful Caribbean reefs. (Photo by Naxos)

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10.) Anse Source D'Argent, Seychelles
Anse Source D'Argent is the classic Seychelles beach, pretty much guaranteeing it's among the most beautiful in the world. To get there, you'll pass through vanilla plantations and giant turtle reserves before finally reaching a series of paradisaical white sand coves divided by the islands' trademark boulders. (Photo by Lucio Sassi)

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11.) Maya Bay, Thailand
Maya Bay's beauty is such that it managed to outshine Leonardo DiCaprio and become the real star of 2000's The Beach. While Maya Bay has experienced a boom in recent years, visitors in the off-season will still find the sheltered paradise made famous in the film. (Photo by Trevi)

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12.) Ari Atoll, Maldives
Ok, so Ari Atoll isn't a beach proper, but rather a group of coral island surrounding one of the Earth's most beautiful lagoons. Rustic bungalows, bougainvillea, and nothing to do but eat, swim, and sprawl out on the fluffy white beach. There are over 20 islands with resorts, each more beautiful than the last! (Photo by Toy76)

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13.) Cala Luna, Italy
Cala Luna is one of the undisputed stars of Sardinia's already legendary coast. Nestled within the bounds of the Gennargentu National Park, this white-sand beach is surrounded by fragrant pine forests, impossibly-turquoise water, and large beach caves perfect for an afternoon snooze in the shade. (Photo by Naxos)

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14.) Île Aux Cerfs, Mauritius
The uninhabited private island of Île Aux Cerfs has long been a favorite of the privacy-seeking jet-set, but the sheltered beaches and teeming reefs of this untouched island paradise are also open to day-trippers on inexpensive catamaran tours from the mainland. (Photo by Roberto Gonzalez)

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15.) Sarakiniko Beach, Greece
The gleaming limestone shore of Greece's Sarakiniko Beach makes it not only one of the prettiest beaches in Greece, but also one of the most unusual. The fact that it's almost totally undeveloped means that you'll also be able to enjoy the views without the crowds. (Photo by Naxos)

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16.) Barbuda, Antigua & Barbuda
While neighboring Antigua usually attracts all the tourists, the small neighboring island of Barbuda is the choice for beach-lovers in the know. Why? Well, with Barbuda's population at less than 2,000 inhabitants, visitors are sure to find plenty golden virgin sand all to themselves. (Photo by Lucio Sassi)

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17.) Bayahibe, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has some of the Caribbean's best beaches and nowhere is this more apparent than in Bayahibe, a small fishing village whose delightfully uncrowded beaches are surrounded by amazing reefs and plenty of snack bars serving up fresh lobster and coconut milk. (Photo by Nicolas Moreau)

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18.) Oludeniz Beach, Turkey
Looking for clean water and adventure? Then head to Oludeniz, the Turkish Riviera's most famous stretch of sand. Oludeniz has also become popular with hang-gliders and sky-divers looking to catch a bird's eye view of the stunning coastline and beautiful Blue Lagoon. (Photo by Monique Ribeiro)

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19.) South Beach, USA
South Beach needs no introduction. Where else can you find a palm-lined white-sand beach backed up by the rich cultural offers and night-life of a city like Miami? Whether you want to people-watch, party, or work on your tan, South Beach is definitely the place to be. (Photo by Chini Carpenter)

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20.) Na Balam Beach, Mexico
A good way to think of Mexico's Na Balam Beach is as a huge natural swimming pool whose shallow crystalline waters are populated with friendly sea turtles and manta rays. Nice, huh? The fact that it's only a short boat ride from the resorts of Cancun makes it all the better. (Photo by Miguel Eguido)

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21.) White Beach, Philippines
The Philippines are experiencing a tourism boom thanks to incredible beaches like the aptly-named White Beach on the small island of Boracay. You can hit the nearby desert islands during the day and catch some of the nation's leading DJ's in the local clubs at night. (Photo by Angel Catalan)

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22.) Anse Lazio, Seychelles
"This place doesn't seem real," is how one awe-struck traveler put it. Anse Lazio is the kind of place where time seems to stop and there's nothing to do but take a stroll on the soft sand, lounge in the sun with a good book, or strap on the goggles and explore the crystal-blue bay. (Photo by Antxoka Gómez)

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23.) As Catedrais Beach, Spain
As Catedrais Beach in the Spanish region of Galicia is rightly famous for being one of the best beaches in the world. While the waters are cold, a low-tide visit to explore the rock arches, massive caves, and labyrinthine passageways is an experience you'll never forget. (Photo by Juan Carlos Ibañez)

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24.) Nungwi Beach, Tanazania
Nungwi Beach on Zanzibar's northern coast has the perfect mix of natural beauty and culture. Aside from the gorgeous beaches and world-class reef diving, the view of the sun setting on the horizon while the tradition dhow boats bring in their catch is about as relaxing as it gets. (Photo by Colajet)

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25.) Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Australia's Whitehaven Beach is known for having pretty much the whitest sand on the planet (it's almost pure silica, after all). As a virtually tourist-free UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's also among the cleanest on the planet. This is bucket list material here, folks! (Photo by JC Mauguit)

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26.) Scala dei Turchi, Italy
Sicily's Scala dei Turchi is not your typical Mediterranean beach. Yes, it has southern Italy's usual beautiful turquoise waters, but this particular beach is surrounded by pearly white limestone cliffs which form natural terraces. The sight when the sun hits needs to be seen to be believed. (Photo by Silpan)

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27.) Blue Lagoon, Malta
The Blue Lagoon on the Maltese island of Comino is one of those places you only thought existed in the South Pacific. The combo of white sand, clear water, and sunshine results in a huge natural swimming pool so turquoise it seems almost too good to be real (it is!). (Photo by Cristina Serrano)

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28.) Boulders Beach, South Africa
South Africa has its share of great beaches, but Boulders Beach in Table Mountain National Park is in a league of its own. Aside from the clear blue waters and namesake boulders, the beach is also home to a huge colony of playful African Penguins. (Photo by Josema Lopez)

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29.) Legzira Beach, Morocco
Aside from being wind-swept and rugged, Morocco's Altantic coast can also be striking beautiful. Just take Legzira Beach; years of heavy wind and waves have carved jaw-dropping arches and tunnels into the red cliffs and made the beach a haven for adventurous surfers. (Photo by Zakaria Ait Wakrim)

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30.) Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
The uninhabited island of Vieques, Puerto Rico is another of the Caribbean's best kept secrets. An off-limits military base until recently, Vieques and its virgin beaches are still delightfully undeveloped and waiting to be discovered by beach-goers willing to get off the beaten path. (Photo by Naxos)

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31.) Twelve Apostles, Australia
The Twelve Apostles are rightfully one of the top spots along Australia's Great Ocean Drive. While it's not the ideal place to sprawl our with the sunscreen, the combination of cliffs, waves, and the 8 iconic stacks make it one the most epic beaches found anywhere. (Photo by Naxos)

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32.) Long Beach, Malaysia
Long Beach on the Malaysian island of Pulau Redang is the definition of tropical paradise: white sand, a bay full of sea turtles and small sharks, and plenty of flowers and palm trees. Add in inexpensive fresh fish and the fact that it's still not thronged by tourists and yeah...paradise! (Photo by Macgreg)

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33.) Playa de Rodas, Spain
Despite being in the green, rainy region of Galicia, Playa de Rodas seems more like the South Pacific than Scotland. While the water is a bit chilly for those with tropical tastes, it's perfectly transparent and surrounded by a long white-sand beach offering gorgeous views of the mainland. (Photo by Macbel)

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34.) Orient Beach, Guadeloupe
Despite being one of the Caribbean's most famous beaches, Orient Beach hasn't lost any of its scenic charm and has managed to retain the virgin feel that earned the beach its popularity in the first place. It's a piece of white-sand paradise wedged between the sea and sky! (Photo by Roberto Gonzalez)

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35.) Lanikai Beach, USA
You didn't think we'd forget Hawaii, did you? Oahu's Lanikai Beach is famous the world over for its beautiful water, laid-back atmosphere, and scenic view of the Na Mokulua islands on the horizon. Tip: visit during the week and you'll have the place practically to yourself. (Photo by Lucia)

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36.) Honeymoon Island, Cook Islands
Despite the name, you don't have to be a newlywed to enjoy this spectacular coral atoll. While the shady palms and nesting seabirds add a colorful touch, it's the white beaches and immense mirror-like lagoon that'll really help you forget the outside world. (Photo by Un Cambio de Aires)

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37.) Byron Bay, Australia
Byron Bay in New South Wales is a place that just oozes "good vibes." Long popular among surfers, the beach is now a haven for easy-going youth looking to relax on the sand or have a beach-side barbecue. Don't miss the chance to kayak with the dolphins on Cape Byron. (Photo by Marine)

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38.) Praia do Camilo, Portugal
When you reach the stairs leading to Praia do Camilo, it's like stepping into a postcard. Set among the scenic cliffs and stacks of Portugal's Algarve region, Praia do Camilo is the place to go to enjoy a quiet day in the sun or explore the famous Ponta de Piedade. (Photo by Francisco Zurera)

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39.) Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Simply put, the beach in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil is breathtaking: the area is a protected park (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that's a veritable Garden of Eden of marine and bird life. Oh, and the views of the rocky islands from the golden beaches are unbeatable. (Photo by Herlon Leao)

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40.) Calanque d'En Vau, France
While not far from the ritzy resorts and packed beaches of the French Riviera, and sheltered cove of Calanque d'En Vau seems like it's in another universe. The combination of crystal-blue Mediterranean waters, green pines, and gigantic cliffs is simple perfect. (Photo by Sophie P.)

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