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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Beaches in the World

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

What makes up a great beach all depends on the traveler. Some prefer wide, open beaches with throngs of things to do and people to watch, while others prefer deserted shorelines with calm waters. U.S. News took this and factors such as unique scenery and overall accessibility into consideration to determine the world's best beach destinations. Want to put in your two cents? Cast your vote below for next year's ranking.  

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#1 Bali

#1 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Bali's beaches are by far this island's most magnificent attribute. Crystal clear blue waters, white sands and legendary sunsets tend to be the norm here. What's more, direct beach access is common at the numerous five-star resorts situated throughout the island. Read More »

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Sunrise
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#2 Amalfi Coast

#2 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: What the Amalfi Coast's beaches lack in size they make up for in spellbinding beauty. Tucked between sky-high coastal cliffs, the coast's shorelines create a picture-perfect setting unmatched by other Italian beaches. Visit Marina Grande in Positano, but save time for popular secluded spots such as the Furore Fiordo. Read More »

Amalfi Coast
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#3 Honolulu - Oahu

#3 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Our ranking wouldn't be complete without this iconic beach town. The North Shore is considered one of the best places to surf in the United States, Waikiki Beach is one of the most-visited beaches in America (7.5 million visitors per year) and Waimea Bay served as inspiration for The Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet. Read More »

Surf's Up
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#4 Rio de Janeiro

#4 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: There's always a party happening in Rio, and its beaches are no different. The most popular beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana, are both 2 miles long and can hold hundreds of sun seekers at any given time. That coupled with the views of Sugarloaf Mountain make it an unforgettable beach experience. Read More »

Rio
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#5 Maui

#5 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: If you're looking for a taste of Hawaii's beautiful beaches without the crowds on Oahu, retreat to Maui. The island boasts impressive beaches both big and small, adult and family-friendly as well as the black-sand shores at Waianapanapa State Park. Read More »

Hula Dancing
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#6 Kauai

#6 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Adventure travelers flock here in droves for the many heart-pumping excursions the island has to offer. And its beaches are no less action packed. Take a trip to the infamous Kalalau Trail to hit secluded shorelines. Or relax on one of the numerous easily accessible shores like Po'ipu Beach. Read More »

Lighthouse at Sunset
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#7 Santorini

#7 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: The renowned white and pastel-colored homes that pervade Oia tend to distract from the fact that this Grecian island is home to some pretty unique beaches. Venture down the island's famous cliffs and you'll find red sand at Red Beach, black sand at Kamari Beach and turquoise waters at Amoudi Bay. Read More »

Santorini Churches
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#8 San Sebastian

#8 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Quality makes up for quantity when it comes to San Sebastian's beaches. Located smack dab in the middle of the city, the seashell-shaped La Concha Beach helped cement San Sebastian as the must-visit beach town in Spain. The nearby Playa La Zurriola is known as a top surf spot.

San Sebastian
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#9 Puerto Rico

#9 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Known as one of the Caribbean's most affordable destinations, Puerto Rico's beaches don't disappoint. Palm tree-lined beaches awash with soft sands and rich blue waters permeate the island. Visitors have 270 miles of shore to explore, including secluded spots like Caja de Muertos and big beaches like Carolina. Read More »

Puerto Rico Skyline
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#10 Sicily

#10 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: As the Mediterranean's biggest island, you can expect loads of picturesque beaches. Bright blue waters flank charming Italian towns and craggy costal cliffs. You won't find any waves here and there's plenty of space to stretch your legs, so Sicily's no-fuss shorelines are perfect for relaxation seekers. Read More »

Sicily
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#11 Cinque Terre

#11 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Cinque Terre's beaches are small and rocky, but the scenery is otherworldly. The region's topography is home to  numerous beaches tucked between oceanfront cliffs and  colorful seaside villages. The biggest beach, Monterosso Al Mare, sees a lot of traffic but for ultimate seclusion, visit Corniglia.

Cinque Terre
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#12 Hawaii - The Big Island

#12 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: The Big Island's beaches stand out for their connection to the renowned Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The unique black sands of Punalu'u Beach are a direct result of volcanic activity, as are the green sands of Papakolea Beach. If you don't care what color the sand is, head to local favorite Hapuna Beach State Park or the tourist-friendly Kaunaoa. Read More »

Hawaii - The Big Island
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#13 Costa Rica

#13 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Costa Rica's vibrant flora provides a stunning backdrop to its plentiful shorelines. Beaches here are often backed by forests or flanked by lush mountain peaks. Travelers say that the 80-mile Nicoya Peninsula (home to the popular Nosara Beach), Guanacaste, dubbed as the country's "Gold Coast," and Manuel Antonio Beach are among the best places for beaches.   Read More »

Every Night in Costa Rica
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#14 Miami Beach

#14 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: There are few places better for a party than Miami Beach. That's because Miami Beach is home to the famous South Beach, which is awash with nightlife options galore. While South Beach has a reputation for attracting pretty party people, North Beach is a great place to bring families for its calm waters, wide, less crowded sands. Read More »

Ocean Drive
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#15 Phuket

#15 in Best Beaches in the World

Why go: Trust us, you're going to want to go the extra miles for a vacation on Phuket's captivating beaches. That's because this Thai island is home to natural wonders such as Phang Nga Bay and Railay Beach. Both are widely photographed for the lush, limestone peaks that rise from the water, which you can explore on a long-tail boat.

Sailing onto Shore
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