These are the top unique beaches to visit in your lifetime. When you think of The Beach, you automatically think of palm trees, golden sand, and crashing waves. But, have you ever imagined a red beach or lying in the sand and having hot water from hot springs come rushing up beneath you?
Unique Beaches of the World
Or how about a beach where you can see the sun rise and set from the very same place? Beaches and islands are my favorite travel destinations, and I’ve been to some pretty interesting ones. Here is a list of my experiences on thirteen of the most unique beaches!
1. Playa Las Galeras-Samana, Dominican Republic
The locals call this “The Fisherman’s Beach”, and I would have to say it is the most beautiful beach that I’ve ever been on. It’s on the Samana Peninsula of the Dominican Republic.
While you can get there by road, the roads are very rutted, so I took a boat to get there.
This is the perfect paradise beach that you fantasize about. Everything is technicolor, no one seems to be around, and the biggest dangers seem to be either getting hit in the head with a coconut or running out of rum.
Which I did, and so I hired a motorcycle driver to go buy me some more! I rarely saw anyone all day.
Besides the guy with the motorcycle, a woman appeared seemingly out of nowhere to sell me some coconut bread which was absolutely delicious. Really, what more could you need?
2. Sunrise Beach-Koh Lipe, Thailand
Just getting to Koh Lipe is an accomplishment in itself. I took a six-hour minibus ride to catch a ferry. The ferry dropped me off at a pontoon on Sunrise Beach, where I then got on a longboat which dropped me off on the beach.
I loved waking up to the sound of the longboats going out to sea each morning, sitting and taking in the idyllic views, and enjoying the calmness of the water. I have never seen prettier sunrises in my life, and I loved the fact that I could go snorkeling right off the beach.
I stayed in a hotel that had cabanas right on the beach and the best part was watching the sun come up while I was still in bed. It’s remote location made me feel like I had truly gotten away from it all. See another beach destination in Thailand – The Best Things to do in Koh Samui
3. Railay Beach-Krabi, Thailand
Railay Beach is just stunning, as it’s surrounded by towering limestone cliffs on both sides. But, what I found the most magical was the Hidden Lagoon. It’s a hike to get to the lagoon part but definitely worth it. I have never seen such emerald-green waters before.
The sand at Railay Beach was fine and soft. The most fun part was watching all the rock climbers scaling the cliffs hovering over the beach. There’s a cave you can also hike to, although I didn’t. (We, Dave and Deb did though) Read more: Things to do in Krabi
This beach is on the Andaman Sea, so the water is warm and with its kayaking, snorkeling, hiking and rock climbing, it’s the perfect beach for adventurers.
4. The Split- Caye Caulker, Belize
Well, The Split in Belize definitely isn’t your typical beach.
The split is more of a waterway that bisects the island, and the locals and tourists have turned it into a beach.
It is a lively area with a beach bar where people congregate, swim, and lie out on the fishing docks or the little bit of sand. The best part of this beach is its laid back rasta vibe.
Not only that, the water is stunningly clear, and if you walk over to the mangroves, you will find seahorses.
For me, seeing a seahorse for the first time was the equivalent of seeing a unicorn. I had thought of them as mystical creatures, and to actually see a real one just took my breath away!
Caye Caulker’s motto is “go slow”.
They believe in this motto so much, that one restaurant owner was even building a speed bump out of dirt in front of his restaurant for the bicycles that were going by. One thing’s for sure, on this beach you will forget that time even exists.
5. Madrigal Beach-Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Imagine getting to lie in the sun on a deserted beach, while monkeys play in the treetops of the jungle behind you, butterflies and dragonflies land on your brown skin, and scarlet macaws fly overhead.
That is exactly what I got to do on this beach on the Osa Peninsula. There was a freshwater lagoon for swimming.
The jungle was right behind me and was full of monkeys, coati, big blue butterflies, and poison dart frogs.
The sunsets at this beach were stunning. It also happened to be one of those magical beaches where you could see the sunrise and set on the same beach.
While staying on this beach I met butterfly researchers, bird watchers, hikers, and artists.
The wide variety of people who come here are worth the journey itself.
6. Puerto Viejo Beach, Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo is one of those relaxing beach towns with a Caribbean feel. However, you will notice a few differences. There are sloths in the trees surrounding the beach.
The waves are huge!! Surfers come from all over the world to ride these waves. You can get lost just watching them all day. Or you can take surfing lessons and ride them yourself.
At night, fire dancers come and perform on the beach and the crowd gets lively. But during the day, you feel almost like you have discovered a small fishing village.
This is a beach for people watching, relaxing, and tasting the wares of the local vendors.
Kick back, have some coconut water, or eat a homemade popsicle and let your worries fade away! Read more: 16 Best Things to do in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica
7. Zipolite Beach-Oaxaca, Mexico
Playa Zipolite is also known as “beach of the dead”.
There can be a lot of dangerous currents and it was an incredible sight to watch the ocean waves intersect and bisect each other in a way that I had never seen before. There were, however, safe areas for swimming.
I loved body surfing in this beach. The water here was a beautiful blueish green, but what I remember the most about this beach was the light.
The light of Oaxaca is an amazing golden color that attracts many painters and photographers.
My favorite time to wake up each day was at sunrise when everything was bathed in its beautiful bronzy hue. There are many hotels to stay here that are steps from the water, and I loved having the waves crash into my dreams each night. Read more: 4 Days in Oaxaca City, Mexico – The Ultimate Itinerary
8. Playa La Poza-Todos Santos, Mexico
What is so unusual about this beach is the freshwater lagoon that runs into it. It draws an amazing number of birds. Herons, egrets, gulls, frigates, ibis, ducks, cormorants, pelicans and sandpipers are just a few of the birds that I saw on my visit.
The beach itself is almost deserted. The waves are very strong and this was one place that I stayed out of the water.
At certain times of year, whales are known to come very close to the shore. If you are a birdwatcher who also loves the beach, do not miss this spot! Read more: 25 Best Places To Visit in Mexico
9. Playa Balandra-La Paz, Mexico
Playa Balandra has some of the clearest waters I’ve ever seen on a beach. Many people overlook La Paz in favor of Cabo, but they are missing out!
This beach is off of a shallow bay. I walked out halfway and the water was only at my knees.
The sand is white and powdery. You are surrounded by sand dunes and cactus and it seems like a beach that time forgot. It is definitely the prettiest beach in all of Baja. Read more: 19 Best Things to do in La Paz, Mexico
10. Red Beach-Santorini, Greece
Yes, that is red sand that you see! On an island that is already way too beautiful for words, the red sand on this beach really leaves you speechless. The color comes from the red lava rock of the cliffs nearby. This beach is in its own protected cove.
It is a bit of a hike to get there, but the brilliant blue of the Aegean Sea contrasting with the vibrant red of the towering cliffs, will leave you feeling like it was more than worth your while.
- read more:
11. Super Paradise Beach-Mykonos, Greece
Super Paradise Beach on Mykonos, Greece definitely has two sides to her. Go in the morning, and you will find a quiet, beautiful place to swim. But as the afternoon lingers on, the music gets turned up. The music starts around two in the afternoon usually with chill music, but after about an hour, the dance party begins.
There are about three bars that are part of the beach, one of them with its own swimming pool on the cliff side above the whole scene. As the afternoon progresses, the music gets louder, and no one can resist dancing.
I find it very decadent to dance during the day, especially when I’m on the beach. My favorite part of the beach was getting here. I came by boat. Just don’t do what I did. I got so caught up in dancing that I missed the last one and had to hitchhike back! Read more: 22 Best Things to do in Mykonos, Greece
12. Trawangan Beach- Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Just a hop, skip, and a boat ride over from Bali is the beautiful island of Gili Trawangan. I felt like I had entered a dreamy paradise when I first caught sight of its clear blue waters.
I didn’t even need a snorkel mask to see the fish. The best part is that no cars or scooters are allowed on this island. The air is clean, the diving is beautiful, and the people are friendly.
This is another one of those beaches where the sun sets and rises in the same spot and it’s really quite enchanting. Read more: 28 Things to do in Bali – Local Insider Tips
13. Hot Water Beach, Coromandel – New Zealand
And for the most unusual beach of all, Hot Water Beach is very much the unforgettable experience. During low tide, hot water filters up from beneath the sand. The bed and breakfast that I stayed at gave me a bucket to mix in cold water from the ocean to get the temperature just right.
I always thought lying in a hammock was relaxing, but lying in the hot water on the edge of the ocean was just about the most tranquil experience I’ve ever had. I’ve heard it gets crowded, but I went during the week and practically had the place to myself. Read more 45 Best Things to do in New Zealand
I hope these unique beaches inspire you to go someplace new, someplace different and to discover some unusual places on your own!
Do you have a recommendation of some unique beaches to visit?
- Read Next:
- Best Tropical Islands
- 20 Most Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Put on The Bucket List
- 28 Best Beaches in the USA
- Beautiful Beaches in Thailand to Spark Your Wanderlust
- 23 Best Beaches in Florida for Fun in the Sun
- The 9 Best Beaches in St. Lucia
- Beaches of the Dominican Republic
- 18 Best Beaches in Jamaica – Top Places to Soak up the Sun
- 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World to Visit – That We’ve Been
29 thoughts on “13 Unique Beaches To Visit in Your Lifetime”
I think they fell a little short, missing some more beaches in Colombia, Mexico and some in Jamaica that deserve to be visited.
Krabi is definitely on my top travel list, the beaches look so clear and serene. Can’t wait to go there
This is awesome! I have not heard of most of these beaches but I’ve added most of them to my bucketlist! I especially like the sound of the Costa Rican beaches.
Love your post and amazing beaches and images.Makes you want to visit each one. I can relate to the Mermaid. My husband says I’m half Dolphin.
Thank you on a detailed impressive guide! Saved your post for the future ?
Thanks for posting this! Looks like so much fun!
That’s a great list! Want to visit them all! I’d also like to add the Driftwood beach in Georgia (USA) to the list. It’s a very unusual place with old driftwood lying all over the beach. Many tourists take photos of the driftwood and post them in the internet.
Thailand beaches are heaven. I had traveled chaweng koh samui beach. It was awesome experience of the life time. Beach was less crowded and it was very peaceful. The sea food at the restaurants were extremely tasty and delicious.
Puerto Viejo beach is next in my list and would definitely plan to visit the beach in coming years. Thanks Dave for the list of some great beaches.
Nice Article with lots of important information.
What about the Lama Island ??
I want to visit this Island.
Last vacation i spend my time in Fiji Island. Such a beautiful with Natural place.
If any one want to visit fiji, visit tourinfiji, best guidance for visitors.
Enjoy your Holiday in fiji
Trawangan is the best beach in the world !
Trawangan Beach is a beautiful beach, there are a lot of great view with a nice people 🙂
Zipolite is a real paradise. Delicious food, colors everywhere, huge waves, sky full of stars, even the milkyway is shown, the best views and sunsets I’ve ever seen before. A place to forget about time and worldly life and to conect with nature and spiritual life.
Las Galeras… OMG, such a great place. And the people is son nice!
For all those who have interest in Beaches in general, here an overview about 14 beaches in Bali!
Enjoy the island of the gods!
Quien no conozca Zipolite se ha perdido de concoer un pueblo, una playa con magia y embrujo, donde tu paz interior sale a respirar y a oxigenarse, donde no necesitas mas que Tu y tu SER para estar ahi y amar el lugar, puedes denusdarte es la playa nudista mas antigua de MEXICO fue durante muchos años el paraiso escondido hasta que la civilizacion los alcanzo pero solo tienes que conocer y amar ese lugar. ZIPOLITE es nombre de origen Zapoteca que significa lugar de muertos pero donde los vivos encontraran la paz…
I’ve been at Puerto Viejo Costa Rica, and is such a nice place! People are so nice and it feels like the time go slow…
how about padang2 beach?
I just flew back in the from the Dominican Republic last night, and I wish I went to that beach! The ones I did go to I wasn’t overly impressed with that’s for sure. Trip was fun, lots of adventure, and food poisoning.
I’m starring your blog post for my future beach-going adventures. 🙂
I think you miss one more beach, it is Goa, your beaches information is very nice, but i request you to add one more beach its’ “GOA”
Pilon de Azucar in Cabo de la vela is pretty spectacular as well! Check it out! 🙂
No beach holiday for me this year due to extreme money saving so I can spend next year on a beach! Definitely sold on Thailand, can’t wait to get out there.
Beautiful photos! Though I must say, be careful at the Split in Caye Caulker! I was swimming near the dock in June and there was a ton of razor sharp concrete and I sliced open my thigh. Not the best place in the world to need stitches 😉 I'm headed to Osa in a month, can't wait to check out that beach!
Hi Camille. Carate Beach, in Corcovado, Osa is fantastic. Check out Finca Exotica lodge. We're planning a diving trip to Los Mogos, Osa (Google search Los Mogos).
Do you miss La Pecora Nera?
Of course! When are you guys going to Osa?
Great selections. It was nicing to see i”ve been to half of these. There is a beach about 5 minutes from raileh that was actually our favorite in the world. Next would be the perhentian islands. We actually didnt like gili to much but not because of the beach, which is beautiful, but because of the intense hordes of tourists, and the intense amount of horses as transportaton. The dust kicked up from the was worse than some bikes 🙂
Its winter now and after 10 months in Asia, you just made me realize i need to get going again!
nice beaches! I would like to add Gramvousa in Crete to the list- most amazing beach I have ever been to. By far. It’s unlike any other beach I have ever been to! Just simply amazing. Hard to describe, but if you ever go there, you’ll see exactly what I mean.
This is the perfect post for us – We are beach mad!! And of all the beaches we have been to in our lives, we have been to ZERO of these so they are now all promptly on our list! We hot Mexico and Costa Rica in a few weeks so that will knock a few off the list. And the rest are now on my “Beach Bucket List”!