01/15/2013 07:05 am ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

The Best Beaches On Earth (PHOTOS)

There are an infinite number of beaches around the globe, but this year -- to better determine the best sandy spots -- Travel + Leisure launched its first annual Best Beaches Survey, asking savvy travelers to reveal their favorite places.

The list started with 54 famous beaches, grouped by type, and voters ranked the idylls they love. One point came across loud and clear: you don't have to travel far to experience a spectacular beach. In fact, U.S. beaches won out in almost every category, from seclusion to people-watching. You'll have to travel the distance to reach the ultimate destination for wildlife spotting: Bahia Gardner, in the Galápagos Islands.

-- Sterling Kelso

Best Beaches on Earth (PHOTOS)

Read on for the top 30 beautiful beaches, both familiar and lesser known.

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