As part of our 2017 Flip Flop Report, we asked more than 15,000 people in 17 different countries which iconic beaches are on their bucket lists. The results speak for themselves. From tranquil, secluded shorelines to all-night party spots, the 16 destinations on our ultimate Beach Bucket List offer a little bit of paradise for every type of beachgoer.
Once you’ve worked out where to go, what to pack is the next big question. The Flip Flop report shows around 30 percent of Americans spend more time packing than actually on vacation! Don’t worry, we’ve got you sorted there too, with our beach packing tips and tricks.
Ready to go? Pull out your swimsuit and sunhat, and join us as we live out our own version of the endless summer, one beach at a time:
1. Waikiki, Hawaii
Almost everyone we surveyed has Waikiki on their bucket list – more than 90% of people rated the long, idyllic stretch of white-sand beach, with the majestic crater of Diamond Head towering in the backdrop, as top of their list. Luckily Waikiki really is as beautiful as the postcards. Jumpstart your vacation planning with our guide to all the ways of experiencing the wonders of Waikiki.
2. Ibiza, Spain
Famous for beach clubs and boat parties, Ibiza ranks at the top of the bucket list for respondents in Latin America, and comes in at number two globally. This destination might be best known as the clubbing capital of the Universe, but there’s so much more to the White Isle than epic nightlife. For those looking to uncover the quieter side of the island—or at the very least, explore its other offerings before hitting the clubs at night—we’ve rounded up our top 10 things to do in Ibiza that don’t include champagne showers or foam parties.
3. Paradise Beach, Greece
Paradise Beach on Mykonos is the top ranked beach bucket list destination for European respondents, who prize its bright sand, clear turquoise water and ample sunshine most days of the year. Rent one of the many sun loungers and beach umbrellas lined up along the sand for a day in paradise. It’s just one of the many things to do in Mykonos . Spend time exploring the cube-like white houses—distinctive of the Cyclades—scattered along its rocky coastal bluffs, and iconic windmills line the blustery clifftops.
4. Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio’s famous golden stretches of sand and vibrant beach culture are iconic, so any trip to this city will inevitably involve lots of beach time. In between sunbathing, laid-back beach games and enjoying the people watching, there are plenty of ways to explore the coastline. Here are our favorite things to do in Rio that get you out of your Copacabana hotel and off your towel while still letting you soak up the splendor of the area’s best beaches.
5. Bondi, Australia
Rounding out the top five is Bondi Beach, one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. The beautiful, bustling half-mile stretch of beach is just six miles from Sydney’s city center and is beloved by local surfers and swimmers. The beachfront promenade is lined by cafes and upscale restaurants to refuel hungry beachgoers, along with shops for souvenir hunters. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to make the most of your time on this down under beach.
6. Seminyak, Bali
Sandwiched between the non-stop nightlife of Kuta to the south and the organic cafes in Canggu to the north, Seminyak is a quiet retreat along Bali’s west coast. It’s the place to go for indulgent spa treatments and boutique shopping, but that doesn’t mean its beaches are anything to skip over. Leave your Bali accommodation to take a surfing lesson to catch the sets off Legian Beach, grab a sun chair to spend your afternoons watching the waves roll in or pop into beachfront bars for sundowners.
7. Whitsundays, Australia
When it comes to the Whitsunday Islands, even the locals are blown away by the pure silicone beaches and crystal-clear waters just off Queensland’s coast. This 74-island archipelago is home to famous destinations like Whitehaven Beach, whose bright white sands beckon travelers from around the globe, and the glamorous Hamilton Island. We’ve picked out some of the best things to do in the Whitsundays so you can make the most of your trip to this aquatic utopia.
8. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
The beachside town of Playa del Carmen, in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region, is one of those spots you’ll visit once and never want to leave. The brilliant turquoise water, swaying palm trees and fairy-light strewn streets of this Caribbean coastline offer a little slice of paradise – check out all the ways to enjoy it here.
9. Amalfi, Italy
There are more than a few compelling reasons to visit Italy, not the least of which is this stretch of UNESCO-listed coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea. For those who love the sand, sun and a bit of heart-pumping adventure, the beaches of the Amalfi Coast continue to beckon. Read on for our top things to do on the Amalfi Coast, including ways to take advantage of the region’s idyllic beaches.
10. Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tenerife, the largest and most populated of the Spanish Canary Islands, is off the coast of West Africa and home to some of the Atlantic’s nicest coastline. Whether you want white sands, black sands, or no sand, you’ll find it in the combination of high massifs, volcanic pebbles and fine-grained shores. Add Spain’s tallest mountain and a Carnaval rivaled only by Rio, and this place has a little bit of something for everybody. Check out our picks for what to do while you’re there.
11. Havelock, Andamans
Smooth, white sand that stretches as far as the eye can see and a glimmering underwater world where the marine life remains miraculously unspoiled… If it sounds too good to be true, think again. At Havelock Island—part of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands—an otherworldly tropical oasis awaits. Sure, getting there can be a bit of a trek, but its remoteness is part of the allure. Check out a few Havelock accommodation options here.
12. Huntington Beach, California, USA
Officially dubbed “Surf City USA”, Huntington Beach is a low-key, laid-back beach town that embodies the quintessential Southern California coastal way of life. Situated in Orange County, between Los Angeles and San Diego, its 10-mile stretch of shimmering white sand, consistent waves and unpretentious dining and shopping scene make it a SoCal gem with tons to see and do.
13. The Hamptons, New York, USA
Strung along Long Island’s easternmost shores, the Hamptons beckon New Yorkers looking to swap the city for some sun, sand and history. The Hamptons are lined with sprawling estates separated by boxy hedgerows, charming farms where you can swing in for homemade goods, and boutique shops selling everything from designer wares to dusty antiques. Check out our guide on how to spend a perfect weekend in the Hamptons.
14. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
A hop-skip-and-a-jump from mainland United States, the island of Bermuda beckons with its pink-sand beaches and waving coconut palms. After settling into your Bermuda hotel, use this guide to discover 8 things to do in Bermuda if your getaway goals involve soaking up a bit of sun at the island’s best beaches.
15. Camps Bay, South Africa
Cape Town didn’t become one of Africa’s best beach destinations by accident. There’s the brilliant, fine sands at Camps Bay and Clifton Beach, the giant, smooth boulders on the shore at Kommetjie, and the cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope—all waiting for the intrepid vacationer to show up, kick back, and admire the scenery at the gateway to the Atlantic. Not convinced? Check out more things to do in Cape Town here.
16. Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Enveloped by sugary white sand and indigo blue waters, the shores of Aitutaki and Rarotonga are almost too good to be true. Located in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are where you go when you want to escape everything but the sun and surf. There are plenty of things to do in Rarotonga aside from achieving a perfect bronze, from beach games at charming oceanfront bars to breezy rides around the island on electric tuk tuks and deep-water dives over coral reefs.
What beach is on your bucket list?!