082815 scldd bchs as 1 310

24 Secluded Beach Paradises Around the World

View Slideshow
082815 scldd bchs as slide 0 fs

SUN, SAND, SURF, AND SOLITUDE

With overtourism triggering the closure of some of Southeast Asia’s most famed and picturesque beaches, finding your own idyllic slice of paradise may seem like an increasingly challenging prospect. But not to worry, there are still plenty of secluded stretches of sand to be found around the world, places that don’t require staying at an exclusive private resort to gain access. While these off-the-beaten-path destinations may not necessarily be easy to reach, the reward is peaceful and pristine beach experience, far from the crowds.

Related: 50 of the Best Beaches in America

La Playuela (Also Known As Playa Sucia), Puerto Rico
Courtesy of raulcolon.net

LA PLAYUELA (ALSO KNOWN AS PLAYA SUCIA), PUERTO RICO

A half-moon shaped beach that’s described as a haven for nature lovers, La Playuela can be found in the family and budget-friendly town of Cabo Rojo. It’s about a 2½-hour drive from San Juan to reach this beach, but the reward is an opportunity to explore hidden caves, private beach coves and dramatic limestone cliffs. There’s also bird watching and scenic hiking trails. There’s a variety of inexpensive lodging in the Cabo Rojo area including the three-star Hotel Aquarius Vacation Club Boqueron, where prices start around $124.

Sunset Beach, Brunswick Islands, North Carolina
Courtesy of blog.ncbrunswick.com

SUNSET BEACH, BRUNSWICK ISLANDS, NORTH CAROLINA

You don’t need to fly halfway around the world to find an unspoiled stretch of sand. The remote Sunset Beach is the southernmost barrier island beach on North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. It offers sweeping views and plenty of space to reconnect with nature. Another stunning attraction here is the Bird Island Reserve, which features pristine sandy white beaches, high natural dunes, and more than 1,200 acres of beautiful salt marsh and tidal creeks. The Sunset Inn, an intimate bed and breakfast, overlooks the marshes and provides views of the ocean. Rates start at $119 in off-season and during the summer increase to between $209 and $239.

Batibou Beach, Dominica
Tom Madge-Wyld/istockphoto

BATIBOU BEACH, DOMINICA

If your definition of beach paradise includes crystal clear waters, golden sand and palm trees lining the shore, look no further than Dominica’s Batibou Beach. Picturesque and untouched, visitors can access the beach by driving or hiking through a private coconut palm farm. While there are not many hotel choices right on the beach, in nearby Calibishie, there are several budget-friendly options including Rainbow Beach Apartments & Rooms, where prices start at about $92.

Kabira Bay, Ishigaki Island, Japan
Takosan/istockphoto

KABIRA BAY, ISHIGAKI ISLAND, JAPAN

While Japan may not necessarily spring to mind when thinking about the planet’s top beach destinations, the Okinawa region of the country is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The region has more than 100 islands. Perhaps one of the most secluded, remote, and breathtaking options here can be found on Ishigaki Island. Located along the Ishigaki’s northern coast, Kabira Bay is known for turquoise waters, white sand, and lush greenery. With its coral reefs, Kabira Bay is also a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. Travelers can get to Kabira Bay by flying into the New Ishigaki Airport and taking the local public transportation. Budget-friendly accommodations can be found at Hotel WBF Abiyanpana Ishigakijima, where prices start at about $59.

Maguana, Baracoa, Cuba
vgabusi/istockphoto

MAGUANA, BARACOA, CUBA

Located in a coffee- and cacao-producing region of Cuba, Baracoa is a city and municipality at the eastern tip of the island that’s home to dozens of small, solitary beaches, says Boaz Sobrado, who runs the site Why Not Cuba. His personal favorite is Maguana, an extremely secluded white-sand beach visited by only the most dedicated of travelers. Airbnb lists rooms in the Baracoa area for as little as $17 per night.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia
BeyondImages/istockphoto

WHITEHAVEN BEACH, WHITSUNDAY ISLAND, AUSTRALIA

Having visited more than 73 countries, Jeff Miller and his wife, Kristen, creators of the site Our Passion for Travel, particularly love coming across hidden beaches. Among their favorites on the planet is Australia’s Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, a place known for brilliant white silica sand that’s among the purest in the world. The island is accessible by boat, seaplane, or helicopter from nearby Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island. “Anyone visiting this region of Australia, famed for its endless sunshine, would do well to jump on a day trip or cruise to see this narrow strip of sand and enjoy playing in the azure colored waters,” Jeff Miller said. Budget accommodations can be found in Airlie Beach, where prices at the Airlie Beach Hotel start around $96.

Placencia, Belize
Simon Dannhauer/istockphoto

PLACENCIA, BELIZE

An emerald peninsula in southern Belize with 16 miles of sandy beach, Placencia is the definition of remote tropical paradise. “It’s a small community that is not well known, and people who visit like it that way,” said David Keener, a Belize vacation expert and owner of a private island, adding that the entire peninsula can be navigated on a beach-cruiser bike. And don’t miss the Placencia Lagoon, which is home to manatees. Another highlight here is diving just offshore on the Belize Barrier Reef. Rooms at the charming Placencia Villas, where the rooms have just been remodeled and start at around $89.

Duck, North Carolina
Courtesy of townofduck.com

DUCK, NORTH CAROLINA

Another North Carolina gem, this off-the-beaten-path paradise can be found in the Outer Banks between Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. An unspoiled beach destination, Duck offers adventure and relaxation. Visitors will find clean waters and beaches, maritime forests, wetlands, and dunescapes. At the four-star Sanderling Resort, which is set on Currituck Sound just a few miles from the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary, rooms can be found for around $149.

Point Sal State Beach, California
Courtesy of countyofsb.org

POINT SAL STATE BEACH, CALIFORNIA

The central California coast is home to some of the state’s most beautiful beaches, but one of the most scenic and least-visited is Point Sal. The state park that makes up Point Sal includes about 80 acres and just over 1½ miles of ocean frontage. The coastline views here will take your breath away. And just offshore is Lion Rock, an important bird-roosting site that’s also frequented by sea lions. The best place to stay when visiting is nearby in Santa Maria. At the three-star Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, rooms can be found for around $88.

Hyams Beach, New South Wales, Australia
tomograf/istockphoto

HYAMS BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

Located on the south coast of New South Wales on Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach is credited with having the world's whitest sand, says Jeff Miller, creator of the site Our Passion for Travel. “This beach is tucked away in a small coastal town with nearby rock pools, a gentle surf and clear water,” said Miller, who adds that the Jervis Bay region has numerous campgrounds that offer onsite cabins. His top pick is Holiday Haven Huskisson Beach, which also has access to its own beautiful beachfront and is just a short walk to the main town of Huskisson. Cabins start at about $110 per night.

Playa Caracas, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of afar.com

PLAYA CARACAS, VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO

An island located off the east coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques, is an exquisite paradise featuring crystal blue water and the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. The beach Playa Caracas is a favorite among locals. The sand is a soft, white coral, and its waters are known for gentle waves, making the place a good choice for children. The dramatic cliffs in the distance add to the charm of this picturesque beach that has even been visited by Victoria’s Secret models for a photo shoot. Stay at the contemporary El Blok Hotel, which offers chic rooms and sea views with rates starting around $162.

082815 scldd bchs as slide 1 fs

KOH THMEI, CAMBODIA

Most beachgoers in Cambodia head straight to Sihanoukville peninsula and its surrounding islands. To avoid mobs of “flashpackers” (upscale backpackers) and the inevitable “foreigner tax” added to every purchase, head to Koh Thmei in Ream National Park. The pristine island, home to a few local families and a small shrimp fishery, is about 3½ hours from Phnom Penh and can be reached by boat. It’s about a one-hour boat ride from Koh Kchhang Fishing Village. The main accommodations here are the eight little beach bungalows of the eco-friendly, solar-powered Koh Thmei Resort. The lodging is basic and prices range from $20 to $60 per night depending on the season.

082815 scldd bchs as slide 3 fs

RAWA ISLAND, MALAYSIA

This tiny beach paradise is owned by the Sultanate of Johor. “Secluded,” “remote,” and “idyllic” are some of the words repeated by visitors and travel writers when describing Rawa Island. Ten miles off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, Rawa draws mostly Singaporeans looking for a weekend getaway. No shopping or tourist traps here; just white sand, excellent snorkeling, and a nightly buffet of fresh-caught seafood. There are only a few places to stay on the island, including Alang’s Rawa, which offers package rates that include two nights’ accommodation, boat transfers, and all meals from dinner on the evening of arrival to lunch on the day of departure. Rates vary depending on the number of people per room, but start around $146 for jungle-side rooms.

082815 scldd bchs as slide 4 fs

NABULE, MYANMAR

In a country that is already well off the tourist trail, Nabule Beach is a remote beach getaway in the vein of Robinson Crusoe. Getting here won’t be easy. The beach is located 12 miles off Maungmagan Beach in southeastern Myanmar. Those who make the trek will find a golden stupa, or Buddhist shrine, sitting atop a huge rock overlooking the deep blue water and a beach dotted with smaller boulders beckoning to be climbed. Boat tours, jet skis, fruit stands, and backpacker hostels are conspicuously absent. There's really no one trying to sell or buy anything at Nabule — just the sound of the waves and the sand between your toes. Accommodations can be found in Maungmagan Beach. At the Coconut Guesthouse, rooms start at around $19.

082815 scldd bchs as slide 5 fs

ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS, INDIA

Sprinkled in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are some of the most remote places on the planet — and certainly the least visited on this list. Officially part of India, the islands are closer geographically to Thailand and Myanmar. Most of the hundreds of islands are uninhabited. The least visited is Rutland Island, on the southern end of the archipelago. Your feet may be the first to imprint the sand on any given day, and it's easy to see the sun set without having talked to another soul. Head to Baratang or Havelock Islands for a beach with slightly more amenities. There’s a variety of accommodations to choose from on Baratang and Havelock including the Havelock Island Beach Resort, which is a two-minute walk from Govind Nagar Beach. Prices are around $39.

Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
jackmalipan/istockphoto

KOH RONG ISLAND, CAMBODIA

An accessible and affordable beach paradise, Koh Rong is described as nothing short of magical by Alex Waltner, creator of the popular travel blog Swedishnomad. “It has the finest white sand and turquoise water,” Waltner said. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, there are four small villages on the island and more than one dozen guesthouses and bungalows. Waltner recommends White Beach Bungalow, where 17 bungalows are located on the beach and prices start around $36.

1000 Steps Beach, Bonaire
CircleEyes/istockphoto

1000 STEPS BEACH, BONAIRE

Bonaire is an island that’s been overlooked for far too long, says Yasmin Parsloe, who runs the website Beach. A destination of understated charm, Bonaire is home to about 22 mostly secluded beaches, according to Parsloe. “My favorite is 1000 Steps. You have to climb carefully down a limestone staircase to get to the sand, but the scenery is well worth it,” Parsloe said. Those who make the trek down will find white sand, bleached chunks of coral and a cove ringed by limestone cliffs. The beach is also a good place for diving and snorkeling as turtles can often be spotted in the shallow turquoise waters. Parsloe recommends staying at Delfins Beach Resort, where prices are around $170.

Cala Fonda (Aka Waikiki Beach), Tarragona, Spain
aaphotography/istockphoto

CALA FONDA (AKA WAIKIKI BEACH), TARRAGONA, SPAIN

A beach that comes highly recommended from the operators of Barcelona Eat Local Food Tours, Cala Fonda is locally known as Waikiki Beach, says company co-founder Marina Manasyan. “It’s one of the best-preserved beaches in Spain, totally unspoiled, accessible only by foot through Platja Llarga following a signposted path, crossing a pine forest,” Manasyan said. If you want to stay in the area, there’s a variety of Airbnb listings, some starting at just $28 per night.

Vathy, Sifnos
photo_stella/istockphoto

VATHY, SIFNOS

One of Greece’s less well-known islands (at least among tourists), Sifnos is fringed by sandy beaches. But to get even further off the grid, make the drive to the tiny little harbor town of Vathy. To protect this little slice of paradise, there are no roads inside Vathy, you’ll have to park in a lot at the edge of town. The beach here stretches for about 1 mile and the water is shallow, making it a good option for those traveling with children. Aerides Boutique Rooms offers accommodations here for about $42 per night, and is one of a handful of hotel options.

082815 scldd bchs as slide 2 fs

ARUGAM BAY, SRI LANKA

Tucked away on the remote southeast coast of Sri Lanka is a curve of golden sand known as Arugam Bay. A humble fishing village with a population of just a few hundred, it's basically one road running along the beach, dotted with small restaurants and guesthouses. This little village on the Indian Ocean is known as the best surf spot in Sri Lanka, attracting an eclectic mix of travelers who mingle with local surfers. (“Best” doesn't mean big waves, though; it's ideal for beginners.) During peak surf season in July and August, it's not uncommon for an impromptu seafood barbecue to spring up on the beach, with music and plenty of the local coconut rum, while the Muslim call to prayer spirals across the village from the mosque. Rooms here can be found for as little as $20 per night, sometimes even less.

082815 scldd bchs as slide 6 fs

HOUHAI BEACH, HAINAN, CHINA

China's southernmost point is called “the Hawaii of China,” but it's much cheaper and draws fewer visitors. Hainan is an island about the size of Belgium in the South China Sea where development has started only within the past 30 years. Sanya Bay is the most popular beach and offers great people watching, with Chinese tourists singing, playing music, and enjoying the sand and surf. For something a little quieter (and cheaper), head to the beach towns along the east coast. Houhai Beach is a charming stretch of sand with a few small restaurants and fruit stands and signs of a burgeoning surf scene. Local guesthouses are the best option near Houhai.

Isla Caja De Muertos, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of marinas.com

ISLA CAJA DE MUERTOS, PUERTO RICO

One of Puerto Rico’s best-kept secrets, Isla Caja de Muertos is a designated nature reserve run by Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. It’s located off the south coast of Puerto Rico, and perfect for a day trip. The best way to get to this little piece of paradise is by catching a ferry boat that runs from Ponce. You can’t stay on the island itself. The nearest accommodations can be found in and around Ponce. At the charming Hotel Melia, rooms are about $100 per night.

082815 scldd bchs as slide 9 fs

GILI MENO, INDONESIA

Just next door to overdeveloped, highly touristed Bali is a secret of the Java Sea: the three Gilis. Enchanting Gili Meno is tiny, and visitors can make their way around the entire island in about 90 minutes by foot on the coastal path. The local culture is an eclectic blend of Islam, aboriginal Sasak, and bohemian flair. The island is not easy to access, typically requiring a combination of bus rides, boat trips, and short flights (not to mention a ride on a horse-drawn cart once you reach the island), which is one reason most tourists skip it. But the journey is worth the chance to relax in a seaside hammock while gazing across the waves at rice terraces carved into the sides of the volcano of Lombok. At the minimalist beachfront resort Mahamaya Gili Meno, rooms in the low season are around $210 and inch up to about $280 in the high season.

Jekyll Island, Georgia
JSvideos/shutterstock

DRIFTWOOD BEACH, JEKYLL ISLAND, GEORGIA

One last option is another beach that proves you don’t have to travel the world to find sun-drenched solitude. Driftwood Beach on Georgia’s Jekyll Island has been repeatedly voted one of America’s “Ten Most Romantic Beaches.” Nestled between cool blue waters and majestic life oaks, visitors will find a swath of sand dotted with pieces of ancient driftwood, making the entire place resembles a hauntingly gorgeous tree graveyard. Rooms at the Quality Inn & Suites are available for about $157.