The 31 Best Beach Vacations

Whether you want to stroll for seashells, ride waves, or build sand castles, our list of amazing beaches will guide you to your new favorite coastal playground.

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Saona Island, Dominican Republic
Photographer Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

More Beaches To Go For A Swim

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Florida: Emerald water, gentle surf, white coral sand, palm trees, and a climbable lighthouse (305/361-5811 or

Carpinteria, California: Mild waves and no rip currents make it one of two claimants to the title of “world’s safest beach.” Great tide pooling, too (805/968-1033 or

Fort Myers Beach, Florida: Also promoted as “world’s safest” because it lacks rip currents, this white-sand beach slopes very gradually; you can walk a long way out into the warm, green-blue Gulf of Mexico (800/237-6444 or

Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina: The Charleston area’s best beach, with dressing areas, showers, and seasonal lifeguards (843/768-9166 or

Saona Island, Dominican Republic: Swim with the sea stars—hundreds of them—at this nature reserve off the southeastern Dominican mainland. You’ll share the shallow water with exotic wildlife and day-tripping tourists. Catalonia Gran Dominicus (888/774-0040 or arranges excursions from nearby Bayahibe.

More Ways To Get Coastal Living



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20 Beautiful Beach Cottages

From polished and sophisticated to rustic and casual, browse through this roundup of beach cottages to find your favorite coastal style.

Room to Breathe