Best Caribbean Beaches
You visit Canada for undisturbed nature and friendly locals, and Europe for its history and rich cuisine. But you travel to the Caribbean for the beaches. The region is synonymous with incredible scenery, including idyllic islands, reefs and cays. But with so much variety, it can be difficult to pick which sandy strip to visit first. To help you choose, U.S. News – with the help of reader votes and expert opinions – ranked the best Caribbean beaches. These destinations feature the sugary sands and turquoise waves that have earned the region its outstanding reputation. Cast your vote below and help us rank next year's best destinations.
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If you are traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, a visit to Magens Bay is a must. St. Thomas' most famous shore is too beautiful for words, but be prepared to share the scenery with dozens of fellow tourists (especially if there are cruise ships in port). To avoid the crowds, head to quieter St. John, home of dreamy Trunk Bay and Caneel Bay.
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A popular stop for cruise ships, the Bahamas is made up of 700 islands that cover 100,000 square miles of ocean. In short: That's a lot of beach. Some traveler favorites include Pink Sand Beach on Harbour Island and Gold Rock Beach in Lucayan National Park (on Grand Bahama Island). For an even more unique experience, visit the famous Pig Beach in The Exumas to swim with the island's adorable potbellied inhabitants – and get photos that will last a lifetime.
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Grace Bay on Providenciales is one of those "do everything" beaches, complete with crystal-clear water, powdery sand, a colorful coral reef and a variety of restaurants. There are also shopping plazas and a number of hotels and resorts nearby. If Grace Bay is too crowded for you to secure a beach umbrella, try Governor's Beach or Pillory Beach on Grand Turk instead.
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These British isles have gorgeous beaches to hike on (the boulder-filled Baths), snorkel through (Smuggler's Cove), eat at (Cane Garden Bay) and party on (Jost Van Dyke during Old Year's Night, aka New Year's Eve). This means there is an ideal beach for everyone, so you should feel free to plan your visits to these sandy shores around your mood.
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Anguilla's silvery sands are legendary. Even though the island only stretches across 16 miles, it's home to a whopping 33 beaches. Shoal Bay East is a traveler favorite thanks to its convenient on-site equipment rentals. However, if you're hoping to avoid the crowds, head to Rendezvous Bay instead. Meads Bay is another popular but uncrowded spot in a great location, and you'll likely find lots of available beach chairs to rent.
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It's hard to top Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach: The white sand and warm waves are nothing short of spectacular. Another great option is Rum Point on the north side of the island, where you can mix with locals while sipping a tropical drink at the beachside bar. If you're headed to Grand Cayman's smaller sister islands, snorkel at Point of Sand in Little Cayman or go bird-watching at The Bluff on Cayman Brac.
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Comprising 32 islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not wanting for shoreline. You've probably seen some of it already, as the area's sands were featured in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." But you'll have to fork over a good amount of loot to see these beaches in person. When you do arrive, be sure to check out Tobago Cays; these uninhabited islands in the Grenadines have some of the best beaches for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling.
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If you like mingling with fellow travelers while at the beach, there's no island better than Aruba for making friends. Start your trip by swimming in the calm waves of Palm Beach, then head south to Eagle Beach to get your blood pumping with Jet Skiing and paddleboarding. Looking for even more adventure? Consider scuba diving to the Antilla wreck or the Pedernales Wreck.
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Two words come to mind when thinking of the beaches on St. Kitts and Nevis: black sand. For some of the most striking views, check out Pump Bay on St. Kitts. If traditional honey-tinted sands are more your speed, head to Oualie Beach or Pinney's Beach on the island of Nevis. Pinney's is especially popular, but the 4-mile stretch of sand never feels crowded.
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Set along the west side of Barbados – an area once known as the Gold Coast but more recently called the Platinum Coast – is a shoreline so gorgeous that the poshest hotels have all jockeyed for spots there. Noteworthy beaches on this side of town include Paynes Bay, Brighton Beach, Brandons Beach and Paradise Beach. But if you aren’t resting your head at a major resort, you'll have just as much fun on the glorious southeast shores of Foul Bay and Bottom Bay.
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St. Barts features a jaw-dropping collection of 14 beaches, all of which are open to the public. Baie de St-Jean (or the Bay of St. Jean) is a great spot for windsurfing and snorkeling, and it is lined with quaint boutiques and beachside eateries to keep you busy when you need a break from the sun. If it's stunning scenery you're after, pay a visit to Anse des Flamands on the northwest side of the island.
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No island captures the culture of the Caribbean quite like Jamaica. You may come for the reggae music, Blue Mountain coffee and climbable waterfalls, but you’ll stay for the sensational beaches. Seven Mile Beach in Negril will impress with its white sands and calm waters, while the shoreline of Blue Waters Beach Club in Falmouth is a must if you want to party the day away under the warm Caribbean sun.
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St. Lucia is a hit with honeymooners thanks to its romantic boutique hotels and secluded stretches of sand. Enjoy postcard-worthy views of The Pitons and the vast Caribbean Sea as you lounge along the island's bright white coastline. Favorite beaches include Reduit Beach on Rodney Bay, Jalousie Beach and Anse Chastanet. Grande Anse is also a special spot, as it welcomes hundreds of leatherback turtles that crawl onto the beach to lay their eggs every year.
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You can pack light for St. Martin-St. Maarten: In fact, you may only need sunglasses along some shores. That's because gorgeous strips of sand like Orient Bay and Cupecoy Beach are popular with nude sunbathers. For a more modest experience, watch planes land at Maho Bay, gather the family for a day at Friar's Bay or enjoy some seclusion with your loved one at Happy Bay Beach.
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The dual-island country of Trinidad and Tobago boasts a mix of pristine swimming beaches and nature-focused shores. Head to Pigeon Point on the south coast of Tobago to sunbathe, swim, snorkel, kayak and more – all with the comfort of nearby amenities like restrooms, changing rooms and a restaurant and bar. Or, visit the popular Maracas Bay on Trinidad for warm turquoise waters and palm tree-lined scenes straight out of a postcard.
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