Martianesque rocks, gorgeous water, wicked cloud formations, crazy shorebreak – these beaches show how diverse coastal terrain is around the world.
1. The Great Ocean Road, Australia

Iconic limestone stack formations, the “12 Apostles,” of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, which has made several of our most inspiring road roundups.

2. Miniloc Island, Philippines

MatadorU faculty member Scott Sporleder’s note: “to reach the entrance to this little lagoon on Miniloc Island you travel through the break in the cliff, making your way past reefs and dreamlike water.”

3. Kauai, Hawaii

The Napali coast from photographed from the Kalalu trail.

4. Pinamar, Argentina

Pinamar gets blown out in summer with vacationers from Buenos Aires. Here it is in winter, with a whole different onda.

5. Laguna Beach, California

Scott Sporleder got pinned against the rocks by heavy winter and rising tides while taking this shot.

Scott Sporleder

6. Dawlish, England
7. Alki Beach, Washington

Seattle skyline taken from Alki Beach across the Puget Sound early in the morning.

8. Aruba

Photo by Rick Seidel

9. Kauai, Hawaii

This aerial shot was taken over the Nā Pali Coast State Park, an area accessible only by foot or boat.

10. Cannon Beach, Oregon

The Oregon coast is home to massive headlands, dunes, and monstrous surf including the largest waves ever surfed in a kayak.

11. Okurakaigan, Japan

The photographer took this fisheye shot alone on a beach in Akashi, a city in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan.

12. El Nido, Philippines
13. Mar del Plata, Argentina
14. San Francisco, California

Seal Rocks on the north end of Ocean Beach.

15. Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts
16. Persian Gulf, Iran

Photographer Hamed Saber snapped this shot of Khezr Beach on Hormoz Island (Persian Gulf), a beach named for a prophet in the Quran. According to Saber, “local people say that this beach is named Khezr beach, because someday he walked in this beach. There is a small shrine with a green dome over it named “Khezr Footprint.”

17. Palawan, Philippines
18. Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

Maya Bay can get a bit crowded these days with tourist boats whipping down from Phuket, but if you get there early in the morning or stay long enough to let the boats leave, chances are you will have the place to yourself.

19. Ontario, Canada

Near The Blue Mountains in Grey County.

20. Robin Hood’s Bay, England

Although it’s not likely he was ever in the area, this small fishing village on the coast of North Yorkshire is named after the legendary thief. As the story goes, Robin Hood took on a band of French pirates in this spot and returned their loot to the villagers.

21. Daracton Island, Philippines
22. Santa Monica, California
23. India
24. Oahu, Hawaii

Haleiwa, a community located on Waialua Bay.

25. Morro Bay, California

This volcano-like sandcastle was built on Morro Strand State Beach. Photographer Mike Baird captured this shot with Morro Rock in the background a few minutes after sunset.

26. Aitutaki, Cook Islands
27. San Blas Islands, Panama

Home to the Kuna Indians, these small islands (some of them only large enough for a single palm tree) are located on the Caribbean side of Panama.

28. Queensland, Australia

The photographer warns that in these croc-infested Queensland waters, “danger prowls as floating logs.”

29. Kekaha, Hawaii

Paul Bica took this shot at the end of Kalalau trail. “I only hiked Kalalau trail to Hanakapi‘ai falls,” he says, “the portion that doesn’t require a permit.”

30. Yawsawa Islands, Fiji

“Walking along Champagne Bay was surreal. The sand was so white it nearly hurt my eyes and to top it all off, there was not a single foot print to be found.” (Photographer Scott Sporleder)

31. Worthing, England

“It’s always pretty tricky finding a good subject for long exposure that hasn’t already been done,” says photographer Paul Chaloner. “Especially during the day. And whilst this can be considered an experimental test of sorts, it turned out ok for a first stab.

I set the camera on the tripod, manually focused the area to include the shadow cast from the groin at the center of the picture. I experimented with a few different aperture values and eventually settled on f22, although I prefered f16 initially. I then worked through various different exposure times and found a nice balance at 30 seconds.”

32. Corfu Island, Greece

The photo, which the photographer calls “War,” was taken on Logas Beach, Corfu Island (the second-largest of the Ionian Islands).

33. Maldives
34. Coney Island, New York
35. Isla Providencia, Colombia
36. Maldives
37. North Ayrshire, Scotland

This photo was taken on Irvine Beach, near the town of Irvine in North Ayrshire (the site of the country’s military capital in the 12th century).

38. Punggol, Singapore

According to the photographer, “Punggol Beach used to be one of the Japanese killing fields during the Second World War. On Feb 28, 1942, about 1,000 Chinese from the area around Upper Serangoon Road were rounded up by the Japanese as part of the Sook Ching or mopping-up operation. All were executed at this beach as punishment for their resistance activities.”

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