The Best 25 Beaches in the World

We searched the globe for the best beaches to suit every desire


These five fun crescents lure activity-lovers with sailing, scuba and more

Dickenson Bay, Antigua

Antiguans like to boast that their isle has 365 beaches—one for each day of the year—but the strand that's tops with water-sports fans is calm, clear Dickenson Bay. Even beginners can feel like pros as they sail, kayak or windsurf atop this warm, gentle Caribbean bay that laps the sandy shore. To get your heart racing, take a spin on a Hydrobike for two. To visit another world, gear up with masks and snorkels and spy on the colorful locals that play amid the reefs 24/7. Come sunset, leave all the water toys in the sand and sip a pair of icy umbrella drinks. Stay at: Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, which has added a posh all-suite Mediterranean Village to its Caribbean Village, home to sexy Rondoval Suites. (Doubles from $752, all-inclusive; 800-SANDALS or sandals.com) —Donna Heiderstadt

Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos

Invest in a good pair of sunglasses for a stay at this noteworthy strand, where blindingly white sand meets intensely turquoise sea. You'll be tempted to simply pull up two chaises and stare, but calm, clear Grace Bay on the island of Providenciales is the perfect place to express your love for the sea—by swimming in it, splashing in it and skimming over it. Most of the resorts that ring this luminous arc have water sports on hand. For serious action, check out Big Blue for scuba diving, Captain Marvin's for parasailing, and Nautique Sports for waterskiing. Theres plenty of time to sip Turk's Head beer after the sun sets. Stay at: The Regent Palms, where stellar views and a seriously serene spa make it difficult to spend time in the 72 suites. (Doubles from $300; 800-545-4000) —Donna Heiderstadt

Palm Beach, Aruba

With towering royal palms (and the isle's top resorts) as a backdrop, this pretty beach has not only miles of powdery sand and gentle, gin-clear water, but also a constant breeze that makes for ideal windsurfing, kite-surfing or a wild ride on one of those wacky banana things. It's also the place to catch a catamaran to snorkel over clouds of fish inhabiting the wreck of the Antilla. Or don a "snuba" helmet from De Palm Tours and float through this aquatic wonderland—no experience required. Then swap tales with the locals, Dutch ex-pats and tourists saluting the sunset at Bugaloe Beach Bar and Grill with rum and live rock 'n' roll. Stay at: Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino, set on 13 acres, it's the spot to kick back by day or share a private candlelit beach dinner by night. (Doubles from $315; 888-591-1234) —Peter Zaremba

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Okay, so it's actually five and a half miles long, but who can count when dazzled by this seemingly endless crescent of talc-white sand and mind-blowingly blue water? Justly considered one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches, it is truly relaxed: no pesky vendors or blasting music. More important, the water is transparent and irresistible. Rent a Sunfish sailboat or kayak from Red Sail Sports and get onto it; grab a mask and snorkel and explore under it; or get strapped to a parachute and soar above it with Parasailing Professionals Ltd. (345-916-2953). Afterward, slide into a hammock at the Lazy Lizard Beachouse Bar & Grill and sip a pair of icy cold Stingrays—the local brew. You've earned it! Stay at: The Ritz-Carlton Resort Grand Cayman, where you can play golf or tennis, enjoy a dive program by Jean-Michel Cousteau or snuggle in a chic beach cabana. (Doubles from $299; 800-542-8680) —Peter Zaremba

Trunk Bay Beach, St. John, U.S.V.I.

Like sands through the hourglass, it is fine, sifted, powdery fairy dust that fills the crescent shoreline of Trunk Bay Beach below a fringe of stunning green cliffs. But offshore, in the notably calm crystalline water, is where this beach really glimmers. Stick close to the coast and traverse the 225-yard underwater snorkel trail—an interactive aquarium that showcases sea life in gorgeous bas relief against the coral. Or head farther out, into the deeper water toward Tortola, and find yourself swarmed by schools of parrot fish, and visited by the occasional stingray, long-nosed trumpet fish or barracuda. When your feet are again in the sand, showers and changing areas make it easy to clean off. Stay at: Caneel Bay, home to seven fabulous beaches and an ideal spot for serenity-seeking couples. (Doubles from $395; 888-ROSE-WOOD)—Jean Tang

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