A ‘behind-the-seas’ look at secret shores around the globe
Kauapea Beach (Secret Beach), Kauai
This marvelous piece of Hawaiian paradise lies on the north shore of Kauai. Appropriately nicknamed Secret Beach, Kauapea Beach is accessible via a short hike. The path can get steep, so appropriate shoes are a must, but the clandestine shore that awaits will be worth the walk. Large waves make this a great surf spot, and there’s plenty of space to lie out and sunbathe.
Monkey Beach, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Tucked away in the remarkable Phi Phi islands between Phuket and Krabi in Thailand, Monkey Beach is accessible by boat only. Just as the name implies, monkeys spend their days on the shore, mostly on the lookout for food from tourists. (Although, you shouldn’t feed them.) The monkeys are fun, but a dip in the crystal clear waters is even better. Don’t be surprised if the monkeys join you for a swim!
Sandbridge Beach, Virginia
Everyone knows to head shoreward in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where the most popular tourist attractions are, but it seems that only locals know to drive about 30 minutes south of the main strip to the lesser-known Sandbridge Beach. This stretch of sand is absent of boardwalk business. The quiet, open beachfront is free from noise pollution and overcrowding. Families travel from all over to rent beach houses close enough to guarantee their own slice of Sandbridge.
Ned’s Beach, Lord Howe Island, Australia
On an itty-bitty piece of Australia called Lord Howe Island, northern set Ned’s Beach offers secluded snorkeling and brilliantly gleaming waters that seem out of this world. Beachgoers effortlessly spot colorful fish throughout the various kinds of coral. The water is so clear, snorkelers barely have to enter the water to witness the magical marine life swimming about. To get to Lord Howe Island, however, you’ll have to arrive by air or boat.
Thousand Steps Beach, California
If you find yourself anywhere near Laguna Beach, California, you’re going to want to experience Thousand Steps Beach. A healthy hike is necessary to reach the shore (in case the name didn’t give it away), but when you’re surrounded by cliffs, caves and tide pools, you won’t regret the extra exercise. It should be a piece of cake to find a private area to relax afterwards, but be careful during high tide, when some areas aren’t accessible.
Cala Salada Beach, Ibiza, Spain
Off the coast of Spain, on the island of Ibiza, a cove laced with soft sands and surrounded by the astonishingly translucent waters of the Balearic Sea awaits only the luckiest beachgoers. Cala Salada Beach, accessible by road or boat, is only about 10 minutes away from the lively town of San Antonio, known for its booming nightlife. Visitors will want to arrive early, since parts of the road accessing Cala Salada close during the peak hours of the day in summertime.
Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
Often overlooked by some, but Georgia hosts the most underrated shores on its barrier islands. Cumberland Island National Seashore is the southernmost barrier island off the coast of Georgia. Run by the National Park Service, Cumberland Island can only be reached by boat. (It helps to bring a bicycle along on a local ferry ride or rent one while there). With 9,800 acres of federally protected land, the island offers camping, biking or beachgoing, along with some American history. “Natives, missionaries, enslaved African Americans and wealthy industrialists all walked here,” according to the National Park Service.
Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach), Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Summer sea seekers can only reach Playa del Amor, or Lover’s Beach, via water taxi from Cabo San Lucas, so reservations are required. At Lover’s Beach, storybook-like stone formations arch overhead, granting beachcombers access to an unforgettable sight, with swimming conditions that are usually favorable. Ironically enough, this covert shoreline sits adjacent to Divorce Beach, known more so for its rougher waters.
Shackleford Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina
The best beaches seem to be island destinations, such as Shackleford Banks, a barrier island off the Cape Lookout National Seashore of North Carolina, where wild horses roam freely. Animal lovers and shell collectors will absolutely love Shackleford Banks for the wildlife and the variety of shelling options. A water taxi will get you to the island, but bring everything you need, including a bag for your trash, since you might not have access to electricity or facilities on some parts of the beach.
Katherine Cove, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Canada
A hike along the coast of Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, can be a rewarding start to a beautiful beach day. For those who want to explore the park further, waterfalls and wildlife are good reason to detour, but the surrounding mountains and canyons on the lake grant a view that will inspire anyone. Bucket list-worthy by all accounts, this out-of-the-way beach is a must see, even if you have to hike a bit to do so.
Cobble Beach, Oregon
When looking for a cool beach in Oregon, head to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse near Newport and look for a massive set of stairs. Take your time stepping down to the sandless shoreline of Cobble Beach, where you’ll find a literal floor of basalt stones. Listen closely as the water washes over the smooth stones and makes them come alive with music. Tide pools hold ecosystems full of fish and other sea life, while teams of seals and birds have their own fun.
Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama
In the archipelago Bocas del Toro of Panama, a water taxi takes excited passengers to Red Frog Beach, where the rainforest meets the Caribbean Sea. Peace and privacy are easy to find on shore, but watch out for big waves when swimming. Keep your eyes peeled for the strawberry poison-dart frog that the island is named after. They’re hard to spot, but a friendly local might help you find one hiding in plain sight.
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