Buying a slice of paradise might not fit into your budget, but there are a few spots around the world where you can still enjoy a mostly empty stretch of sand and coast. From Florida to South Africa, we’ve highlighted some of the most breathtakingly beautiful secluded beaches on the planet. These 19 spots might be tough to find and hard to access, but they are worth the trek.
This incredible island once hosted adventurous hikers, campers and surfers on its otherwise quiet shores, but in April of 2014 the U.S. Navy ordered the island closed to visitors. The closure came as an unpleasant surprise to many, including park officials, and the island has yet to be reopened. If the island’s 27-mile stretch of beautiful coastline would have been considered secluded before, it is now desolate. San Miguel Island was once considered America’s version of the Galapagos, rugged, wild and a haven for wildlife like seals, sea lions and seabirds. Now the island is closed to humans and the beaches couldn’t be any quieter.
Once a hotspot for tourists, Kaupoa beach is now practically empty—a stark contrast to most other beaches in the area. The Kaupoa resort that once ensured a steady stream of tourists closed down in 2008 and left behind the dark sand beach, abandoned beach huts and a series of stunted palm trees.
A mere 10.5 miles from the bustling, tourist-packed beach resorts of Grand Anse sits La Sagesse Bay—a practically desolate section of paradise. The bay is not accessible by car so most beach-goers looking to access La Sagesse stay in the tiny 12-room hotel and enjoy clear shallow waters and hiking trails of La Sagesse’s nature center.
Located in the wild Tarutao National Park lays the island of Ko Adang. The roadless island is home to some seriously challenging hiking trails and small beaches that still belong primarily to the locals. With well-preserved coral reefs just offshore and waterfalls waiting inland, Ko Adang is an unspoiled wild haven not fit for those seeking an all-inclusive resort experience.
A long a path winds its way from Damouchari past olive groves and historically significant sites, onto the protected cove where you’ll find Fakistra Beach. The surrounding rock walls protect a picturesque inlet, complete with a waterfall and caves. This secluded spot requires a bit of a trek, but the atmosphere makes the trip well worth it.
Most beaches on Ambergris Caye aren’t named but the secluded Robles Point, which is only accessible by boat, is special enough to warrant one. Not only is Robles Point virtually tourist-free, but it’s one of just two spots on the island where the coral reef meets land.
This island cluster 70 miles off the coast of Florida is only accessible by boat but it’s certainly worth the trip. The national park is home to a historic abandoned fort and some of the least crowded beaches in the world. Plan ahead and camp out overnight in one of the few designated spots on the island to really take in the feeling of seclusion.
Chile is home to some of the last great wilderness and the country’s stunning beaches are no exception. Some are certainly more populated than others but this remote stretch off the southern coast requires a few flights and then a boat to access, which means you won’t have to share the beach with too many others—except maybe some sea lions.
The second largest of the British Virgin Islands, Anegada also happens to be the least populated of the main islands with less than 300 full-time residents. This quiet retreat features a coastline of pristine beaches with soft sand and clear waters. You won’t have to travel far to find a desolate stretch of beach on the “drowned island,” but should you run into the locals they are just about as friendly as they come.
Already one of the toughest countries to reach from the U.S., Australia is home to stunning landscapes and rare wildlife—Macushla Beach is no exception. Set in Hinchinbrook Island National Park, access to the beach has been limited to protect the aforementioned wildlife and the nearby Great Barrier Reef. Those able to stay in the tiny wilderness lodge on the island are treated to a nearly empty beach and some of the most beautiful sunsets anywhere in the world.
Pristine white sand and cerulean blue water awaits the lucky few who can find and access the stretch of beach known as Carro Quebrado. Spanish for “broken down car,” Carro Quebrado is nearly empty except for red cliffs, a tiny bar and the vast stretch of ocean.
In recent years Long Island has hosted growing crowds on its already busy and beautiful beaches, but there are still a few secluded spots left. Orient Beach, set in a state park, is located at the tip of Long Island’s North Fork and is quite a trip for most people who either don’t know of the place or would rather visit the popular beaches of the Hamptons. If you’d like to ditch the crowds, though, Orient Beach offers a small stretch of sand, some barbecue grills and kayak rentals and it’s a charming alternative to the packed beaches farther west.
The far-flung natural beauty of Rocktail Bay is undeveloped and seems almost entirely untouched. Travelers need to take several flights to access the bay and the Maputaland Marine Reserve, but once there can enjoy one of the most remote beaches and some of the best-preserved diving on earth.
This cove goes by many names: Navagio Beach, Shipwreck Beach, Smugglers Cove; whatever you call it, the site offers stellar views, incredible BASE jumping and a wild isolated feeling that is beyond unique. Located in the Greek Islands and set among limestone cliffs and white sand sits Panagiotis—the ship wrecked nearly three decades ago while attempting to transport cigarettes—according to legend.
Smuggler’s Cove is only accessible by boat and those trips do not come cheap, but travelers say the trip is completely worth the cost.
On the lively Hawaiian island of Maui, finding a secluded stretch of beach is no easy task, but after tracking down its location, getting there and then navigating the steep path to the shore, you’ll find the Red Sand Beach sparsely populated, if populated at all. Soaring cliffs surround an ocean-fed pool and a stretch of red earth (the remnants of an eroded volcanic cinder cone) beckons sunbathers. Though the rocks and currents make swimming dangerous, the view alone is reason enough to visit.
Somewhat of a local secret, Bai Dai Beach on the island of Phu Quoc is untouched by major tourism. The beach is home to a handful of vendors who supply food and water sport rentals to the few beach-goers fortunate enough to find this small stretch of bliss. Some predict the beach will soon be developed into a hotspot for tourists, but for now the beach remains undeveloped.
Once the go-to destination of the Carnegie family, Cumberland Island is now protected as a National Seashore, retaining its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife. From sea turtles to wild horses, the well preserved land is wild and in order to keep it that way the National Park Service limits the number of visitors. Call ahead to reserve a spot and be sure to make it to the ferry early, as there are only two departures each day.
This beach is so spectacular it’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located inland on the Marieta Islands and enclosed almost completely by a circular rock formation, visitors must swim through a 50-foot-long rock tunnel to access the beach. The only way to reach the island is by boat, but in recent years it’s turned into somewhat of a must-see for tourists, at times attracting many people to its remote shore.
Only accessible by boat or helicopter, Whitehaven Beach is set on the largest of the 74 Whitsunday Islands and it is surely one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. The entire island is a natural preserve, featuring some of the purest sand on earth, crystal clear waters and access to the Great Barrier Reef. Not only is it tough to get there, but there are no restaurants, bars or hotels, so you’ll need to plan ahead if you plan on staying awhile.