8 Hidden Beaches Around the World
From Santa Monica to South Beach, sun-chasers spend their summer days flocking to the beach. Wherever you may live, and however long it may take you to reach the nearest sandy shoreline, the truth is we all have a few favorites. But most times, we’re not alone. These preferred beaches are popular for a reason, drawing throngs of visitors from near and far each day, and making it tricky at times to secure your perfect sandy spot.
Luckily, for every well-known beach that’s on the map, there are countless other secluded shores just waiting to be explored—many without another person in sight. Here are eight of our favorite hidden beaches located around the world, inviting you to experience beach bliss away from the crowds.
Navagio Beach, Ionian Islands, Greece
Tucked along the northwestern tip of Zakynthos, you’ll find an exposed cove known as Navagio. Locals also recognize it as Shipwreck Beach, so named for the contemporary wreckage of the 160-foot ship Panagiotis that has rested on its shores since 1980. This sandy spot is a true jawdropper, with marble cliffs encircling a ribbon of sparkling white sand that borders clear azure waters. As lovely and secluded as it is, getting here will take some work. The easiest way is by boat, available from most hotels on the island of Zakynthos.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Occupying 100 square miles and composed of seven tiny islands, the Dry Tortugas are far more water than land. Still, despite the relatively small total land mass, hidden beaches abound here. There’s also the historic, 19th-century Fort Jefferson—a primary attraction in the park. Located 70 miles west of Key West, the area is accessible only by seaplane or by boat (the 2 hour and 15 minute ride on the Yankee Freedom ferry is your best bet). Once there, you’ll find an abundance of secluded beaches and snorkeling spots to fill the day in blissful solitude.
Walvis Bay, Namibia
At once the name of the southwest African city and the bay it fringes, Walvis Bay is technically a tidal lagoon. But what it lacks in sandy shoreline, it more than makes up for in sweeping vistas and stunning biodiversity. Head to the water’s edge to spot flamingos, pelicans and a myriad of other species. From rare indigenous birds, to dolphins and Cape fur seals, you’re likely to see many varieties of wildlife here. Take in unforgettable sunrise and sunset views from the beach, or opt for a boat excursion to experience the bay from the outside looking back. Either way, this isn’t the easiest coastal spot to access—but it pays off in serene seclusion.
Anapai Beach, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
Located on the less populated South Island of New Zealand, Anapai Beach actually comprises two distinct beaches. The first of these that you’ll encounter upon arrival is also the longest, as well as the most popular. Still, “popular” is a relative term in Abel Tasman National Park, and you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect, uncrowded spot to call your own for the day. Farther down the shore, you’ll also find the smaller of Anapai’s two beaches, which is often completely deserted. You’re unlikely to find a water taxi to take you all the way to Anapai, so be prepared for a roughly three-hour hike from nearby Totaranui in order to reach this hidden treasure.
Kauapea Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Nicknamed the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is renowned for its dense natural rainforests, along with its secluded beaches tucked beneath soaring cliffs. While the dramatic Na Pali Coast gets most of the attention here, the more subdued Kauapea Beach—known locally as Secret Beach—is a must-see for any fan of truly hidden beaches. So named because there are no public roads leading to its shoreline, this sprawling “secret” beach is nestled just a half-mile northwest of Kilauea. An unmarked footpath leads down a steep hill through brush and rugged terrain, but the 10-minute hike ends at over 3,000 feet of golden sand and uninterrupted shoreline.
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
While Nassau and Freeport draw most beachgoers in the Bahamas, the smaller and less trafficked Out Islands offer secluded beaches at nearly every turn. Among the most visually tantalizing spots, Harbour Island is home to Pink Sand Beach, and it truly lives up to its name. This roughly 3-mile-long section of coast features notably rose-colored sand thanks to foraminifera, a class of single-celled marine species with red shells. Over time, these shells eventually crush to mix in with the otherwise white granules of sand. Access the beach by flying to the North Eleuthera airstrip, take a short taxi to the ferry dock, then catch a boat to Harbour Island. It will take some time, but it’s worth the journey.
Koh Lanta and Koh Ha, Thailand
While crowds flock to the shores of more popular islands in Thailand, quiet Koh Lanta is a destination for those in the know. Located in Krabi Province along the Andaman coast, this district is home to a smattering of tranquil fishing villages. It also boasts some of the nation’s most spectacular diving spots, thanks to the intricate reef and underwater cave system that fringes the small islets. Head to Mu Ko Lanta National Park, which technically spans a handful of islands and their surrounding waters, for postcard-worthy stretches of shoreline and total seclusion. Then hop an hour-long boat ride to nearby Koh Ha, where you can experience unforgettable snorkeling.
Assateague Beach, Maryland
The 37-mile-long barrier island of Assateague spans both Maryland and Virginia, but you’ll feel a world away from east coast civilization when you’re on its shores. And if you love wildlife, there’s something extra special for you here. In addition to the natural salt marshes and wetlands that foster an abundance of biodiversity, this beach is also home to a nature sanctuary for wild horses. Thought to be descendents from the horses of our early settlers, these horses—also referred to as Chincoteague ponies—are truly wild and untamed. To see them yourself, enter Assateague from the south just outside of Chincoteague, Virginia, or from the north just 8 miles out from Ocean City, Maryland.
Planning for Your Next Hidden Beach Excursion
Secluded seaside spots can be the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable beach day (or several) away from the usual crowds. Just remember, these locations are so remote that they’re unlikely to have the usual beach bars, shops and restaurants crowding the shores. So you’ll need to plan accordingly.
Dress for the weather, including suitable layers for every sun stage, and bring along your favorite UPF rated hat. Pack a bag or backpack with plenty of water, snacks and other refreshments and ensure you have ample sunscreen with you, as well as on you, before you go. And of course, bring your phone or camera to capture the stunning views from your own slice of beach paradise.