Start planning your tropical getaway now—these are the best beaches in the world.
20.Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI
Undeniably one of the most photographed beaches in the Caribbean, if not the world, Trunk Bay sits in the northwestern corner of the Virgin Islands National Park (it was donated to the park service by Laurence S. Rockefeller over 50 years ago). Calm, clear water and a 225-yard-long Underwater Trail for superb snorkeling are big draws, as are hiking trails up and into the surrounding greenery filled with the ruins of historic sugar cane plantations.
19.Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia
Australia is known for its spectacular beaches, including this stunning colored beach on Fraser Island. For starters, the entire island is World Heritage-listed for being the largest sand island in the world. Its golden beach is backed by fiery bronze cliffs (cliff erosion has exposed more than 70 different colors of sand along Rainbow Beach, created by combination of iron oxides and leached vegetable dyes); further beyond, you’ll find lush rainforest rich with native wildlife. It’s of equal beauty—and far less touristed—than the more famous Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef at large.
18.Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Brazil
Lopes Mendes is two miles of unspoiled, deserted, powder-white sand that leads to some of the world’s clearest, most crystalline waters. There are no beach shacks or restaurants here; instead, you’ll find thick, wild sea shrub, almond trees, and squat palms, perfect for napping beneath. It’s quite a trek—a three-hour drive to Angra dos Reis from Rio, then a ferry, then a taxi-boat, then a short hike through a forest—but well worth the effort.
17.Blinky Beach, Lord Howe Island, Australia
While many of the continent’s best beaches can be found on the mainland in Queensland, make no mistake—this incredibly remote island, nearly half-way to New Zealand, firmly holds it own. Besides its excellent surf, Blinky Beach, on the east side of Lord Howe, is fantastically beautiful: It’s situated between Blinky Point and a promontory known as Mutton Bird Lookout, and boasts the requisite powder-white sand and azure waters. Behind it, you’ll find tall dunes dotted with prickly spinifex and wild daisies.