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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. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)
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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, where you'll find dreamy Trunk Bay and Caneel Bay.
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Grace Bay on Providenciales is one of those incredible Caribbean beaches where you'll discover crystal-clear water, powdery sand and a colorful coral reef just waiting to be explored. There are also numerous restaurants, shopping plazas and 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 stretch of sand for everyone, so feel free to plan your visits to these sandy shores based on your mood.
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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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Anguilla's sands are legendary. Even though the island only stretches across 16 miles, it's home to 33 beaches. Shoal Bay East is a popular option thanks to its convenient on-site equipment rentals. But if you're hoping to avoid the crowds, head to Rendezvous Bay instead. Meads Bay is another highly regarded 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 calm 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, unwind at the remote Point of Sand in Little Cayman or eye the scenery at The Bluff on Cayman Brac.
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Comprising 32 islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is full of beautiful beaches. You've actually probably seen some of them already, as the area's sands were featured in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean." When you arrive, be sure to check out Tobago Cays; these uninhabited islands in the Grenadines have some great beaches for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling. If you aren't up for making the arrangements to get to the cays, park yourself at Mayreau island, where you'll find the beautiful Salt Whistle Bay beach, among other great shores.
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Benefitting from being outside of the hurricane belt, Aruba and its beaches welcome visitors with sunny skies, warm temperatures and beautiful scenery year-round. Start your trip by swimming in the calm waves of Palm Beach, then head south to Eagle Beach to get your blood pumping by Jet Skiing or kayaking (water sports rental options abound). Looking for even more adventure? Consider scuba diving to the Antilla wreck or the Pedernales Wreck.
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Set along the west side of Barbados – an area known as the Platinum Coast – is a shoreline so gorgeous that the poshest hotels have all jockeyed for spots there. Noteworthy beaches on this side of the island include Paynes Bay, Brighton Beach, Brandons Beach and many more. But if you aren't resting your head at a major resort, you'll have just as much fun at other top-notch shores, including southern options like Carlisle Bay and Dover Beach.
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These tiny twin islands offer plenty of rewards for those who are willing to make the trek. Striking shorelines abound, including the honey-tinted sands of Oualie Beach or Pinney's Beach on the island of Nevis. On St. Kitts you'll find Cockleshell Bay, which offers great views of neighboring Nevis, and the bustling Frigate Bay, which is close to plenty of hotels and nightlife venues.
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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 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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With 365 beaches on one island, chances are you won't have a hard time claiming a spot on the sand. Not only that, but there's a shoreline for every type of beachgoer. Half Moon Bay offers a secluded feel thanks to its location away from cities and towns. Plus, the bay's versatile conditions are ideal for water sports ranging from snorkeling to windsurfing. Dickenson Bay is great for loungers and visiting cruisers (the beach is a short drive from the port), and Galley Bay Beach's waves are perfect for surfers.
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You will never find yourself bored on Grenada thanks to the island's roster of 45 beaches. Grand Anse Beach is the island's most popular shoreline, as it offers azure water, nearly white sand and plenty of amenities. For a more secluded experience, hit up Grenada's smaller islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, for beaches where (depending on when you visit) you may not have to share the sand with anyone.
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This island (one side is Dutch and the other is French) offers a unique travel experience unlike anywhere else in the world. Aside from culture, the beaches also share important distinctions. Orient Bay is St. Martin's only official clothing-optional beach, but you might encounter some sort of nudity on other local beaches. If this type of beach vibe isn't your style, stay in St. Maarten and visit family-friendly Friar's Bay or famous Maho Bay, where you can watch the planes descend practically on the beach thanks to the nearby airport.
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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 sand and calm water, while Boston Beach in Port Antonio is great for surfers seeking waves and sunshine. For a beach with an abundance of amenities, including water sports equipment rentals, check out popular Doctor's Cave Beach. Keep in mind, though, that the beach charges a nominal entry fee.
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