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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.”

Surf

 

About The Author

Michelle Schusterman

Michelle is a musician, writer, and teacher just trying to see the world while doing what she loves for a living. She's taught ESL in Salvador, Brazil and kindergarten in Suwon, Korea, and now she's a full-time freelance writer living in Seattle (just to keep the city alliteration going). She'll try pretty much any food once and believes coffee is its own food group.

  • Megan Lee

    this doesn’t make choosing a vacation destination any easier! :)

  • Josefina Avelin

    Awesome pictures! Proud to see 2 argentinean beaches in this list :) I´m surprised not to find New Zealand and Uruguay in here though (Cabo Polonio should definitely be on it!)!

  • Herma Otter

    WOW these are beautiful! Spotted my dream house in picture. 12………

    • Nel Wolvers

      Hallo Herma, ik heb jou een vriendschapverzoek gestuurd, weet niet hoe ik je anders een bericht kan sturen dus ik doe het maar ff zo! Ik weet niet of je me nog kent…maar wij waren vroeger in Assen vriendinnen ik heete toen Nelly v.d Sloot, ben vaak bij jou thuis geweest volgens mij woonde jij achter m,n ouders ik woonde in de Vennebroekstr nr 17 geloof ik. Zou het leuk vinden om te weten hoe het in jou leven is verlopen. gr Nel wolvers

  • Tai Santos

    wow!

    • Jacek Gruszczynski

      and where is Brasil..New Zealand…Samoa…Vanuatu..and many many others…..I agree-amazing pictures…..

  • Herman Halberstadt

    Beautiful, but you missed Schiermonnikoog.

  • Darren Mitchell

    Been to a few of these places, and I have to say, they may be nice places. But pictures are quality making them look even better than they really are. What you see here is not real life, sorry folks!

  • Alastair Gill

    Little diversity in this selection. Beautiful spots but why the predominance of Pacific and Asian ‘desert island’ beaches and relatively unremarkable locations in the UK and continental US? Where are the dune beaches of Arabia? The fjord landscapes of Norway? The awe-inspiring glaciers of Greenland? The towering 800 metre vertical cliffs of the Faroe Islands? New Zealand? I think this selection is lazy and poorly-researched.

  • Kristy Wisneski

    I think you could have combined Minolic Island, El Nido, and Palawan into one location and made room for other beaches/coastlines. El Nido is a town on Palawan and Minolic Island is an island off the coast of El Nido in the Bacuit Archipelago. Truly stunning area, but I think one listing would suffice.

    • Noel Coloma Acosta

      Hi Kristy. I agree with you. And I wish more places (maybe from the Philippines, too) made it to this list.

  • Noel Coloma Acosta

    4 out 37 from the Philippines! Come visit us. :-)

  • Noel Coloma Acosta

    4 out 37 from the Philippines! (Although 3 of them are from the same island group/province–Palawan.) Come visit us. :-)

    • Tiago Silva

      The Philippine coastline looks amazing. I’m probably going to pay you a visit later this year. Cheers!

    • Joan McKniff

      I fell in love on and with Jolo more than 40 years ago.

    • Noel Coloma Acosta

      Just realized they’re all in Palawan :-)

  • Angel Sierra

    Sad to see Puerto Rico didn’t make the list.

  • Vandana Joshi Kuusinen

    Awesome pictures…

  • Junior Simões

    Impossible to do a list like this with 37 beaches and didn’t include any one from Brazil!

  • Tiago Silva

    Amazing Pictures!

  • Jennifer Cohen

    I would add Source D’Argent, Le Digue, Seychelles.

  • Michelle Tarpening Parsons

    Visited several of these beaches, and Kauai takes the cake!

  • Willem Botha

    Not one from Africa?

  • Davide Sini

    Bellissime …peccato che ci manca la Sardegna

  • Aglaée Paleo RD

    Bahia Tortuga, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador should be there too!

  • Paul Ignatius Valdehueza

    4 are in the PH. And all of them are in Palawan (according to a comment on the site). Must visit at least one soon. :)

  • Samuel Jozua Fourie

    This has nothing to so with beaches.. its about photography. Get real. A beach in South Africa has won many award bestowed on beaches all over the world for beauty and other criteria and it is not listed here…. Good photography though. this link is a more realistic measure…… http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/worlds-50-best-beaches-364981

  • Zach Martinez

    Amazing ! My inspiration to spread beauty of this great world we live in.

    • Roxana Martinez

      Hello!!

    • Roxana Martinez

      I just was looking some pics of Miniloc Island, Philippines!! I have a friend in the school that she was there <3 .. She said its awesome!!

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

  • Jona Chan

    ohh am so proud to have been to one of the “surreal beaches and coastlines on the planet” m/.

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