Summer has come to an end, but that doesn't mean we have to give up our dreams of sipping cocktails on warm, sunny beaches. Whether you plan to soak up the rays on a tropical winter getaway or you want to start planning for your summer honeymoon, now is the time! And while you're enjoying your time away from home why not explore a lesser-known beach and get away from the crowds. You'll have better stories to share with your jealous friends and family, and you'll have better quality time with your vacation-mates.
Not sure if there are any hidden wonders for you to find?
We've put together this stellar guide to some of the world's least-known beaches, so you can enjoy a little slice of paradise. And the best part? You don't have to go broke to do it.
Planning a honeymoon on a budget? Many of these beautiful beaches are located in non-tourist countries where prices are nearly rock-bottom. We've even included best times to travel for each beach, so you can be sure to stay within budget and still soak up the sun's rays. Of course, you can always choose a different time to visit these locations, if you don't mind dropping tons of cash on lodging and food.
Even if you're just planning a quiet getaway with friends or family (or even solo) these locations will give you the rest and relaxation you deserve, so check 'em out!
La Pedrera Beach (La Pedrera, Uruguay)
Although Uruguay has become a hot spot for tourists, La Pedrera has remained quiet and relatively unknown. It is known as a laid-back, low-cost place to enjoy the beach. There are no high-end resorts in this rural town, but it is full of charm and natural beauty. Tourist accommodations are generally limited to tents or hostels, making this beach stay a quaint adventure!
Best Time to Visit: If you want nice, hot weather (between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit) you'll want to visit between December and February, the Southern Hemisphere's summer months. But if you're more concerned with cost, your best bet is to travel in the off seasons, particularly during spring (Sept - Nov) and fall (March - May). Winter months are not ideal for visiting.
Indian Beach (Ecola State Park, Oregon)
This day use only beach is part of Ecola State Park and is a popular place for surfers and kayakers. It is the most secluded beach in the park, about a seven mile trek (round trip) from the parking lot. But the beautiful beach is well worth the trip, boasting driftwood benches and beautiful Pacific waves.
Best Time to Visit: September, the crowds will be thin, prices will be down, and the weather will still be nice!
Makalawena Beach (local name: Maks)(Kailua-Kona, Hawaii)
Makalawena Beach is a beautiful remote beach characterized by white sand, crystal clear water and two lava pools. It is only accessible by foot, and the hike takes about 25 minutes after a short drive down a dirt road. Because of its seclusion, the beach is nearly always empty, especially on weekdays. Observe wildlife and check out the lava beds while enjoying this alluring getaway.
Best Time to Visit: For the best prices and the least amount of crowds, you'll want to visit the big island between April and June, as well as August through early November. School vacation times tend to draw heavier crowds and increased prices. The temperature fluctuates between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year round.
Jungle Beach (Vietnam)
Jungle Beach is a laid-back, communal farm bordered on one side by South China Sea/East Sea and on the opposite side with jungle mountains. It is a family-owned farm with breath-taking beach access within walking distance of even more secluded beaches. Although it is a bit pricey for the accommodations, pricing includes a private breakfast and a communal lunch and dinner. While some may be turned off by the communal atmosphere, it is an excellent place to make friends, and the limited space makes this beach a secluded, authentic Vietnam getaway. It is relatively easy to access, but most people have to rent a motorbike or minibus to get from the nearest town, Doc Let, to the homestay.
Best Time to Visit: Mid to late May is the best time to visit this area of Vietnam. The weather is nice and the crowds are thin. Most Vietnamese families wait until mid-June to fill the beaches and there aren't many festivals during this time so there are fewer tourists.
Playa Cocalito (Drake Bay, Costa Rica)
Playa Cocalito, a short 30-minute walk from Drake Bay, is one of Costa Rica's quietest beaches. To access the beach, you must cross a suspension bridge that hangs over the Agujitas River. This crossing combined with the walk results in a nearly always quiet and empty beach, where visitors can observe monkeys and marine life, soak up the sun, and enjoy the soft sand and swaying palm trees.
Best Time to Visit: December through April are Costa Rica's dry months but this is also the time when tourist populations and prices are high. June and July offer a brief respite from the rainy season (May-November), and because of Costa Rica's proximity to the equator, temperatures stay up year round, especially along the coast. To save money and enjoy your stay on the beach June is the best month to visit.
Had Yao Beach (Koh Yao Noi, Thailand)
Had Yao Beach is a small, very secluded and difficult-to-access beach. A small wooden sign (painted with the word beach) marks the rough trail head. Past visitors say it is best to hike or scooter down the trail as it becomes very narrow and bumpy. Swimming isn't ideal on this beach as the water remains shallow (about shin deep) 50 yards out and beyond that you'll find tons of sharp coral. However, the romantic seclusion of the 1.9 mile long beach, where you may spend the entire day without seeing another person, makes the long trek worth it.
Best Time to Visit: It is best to visit this island beach during Thailand's dry season (November to February) to avoid choppy waters, monsoons, and heavy rains. Unfortunately, this means you'll have to pay more for your stay because this is high tourist season. This particular beach is generally uncrowded year round, but to be safe, plan to visit in January or February, after the holidays and festivals.
Eel Point (Nantucket, Massachusetts)
Eel Point is a remote beach on the western end of the North Shore in Nantucket. It is best reached by foot off of Eel Point Rd. While not an ideal place for swimming as there is a lot of seagrass (that eels love) it is the island's top shelling beach and is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Best Time to Visit: Beach weather is best between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year, but this is also when prices spike and crowds begin filing onto the island. For fewer crowds and better prices, visit in spring or fall (but be prepared to wear a sweater and pants on the beach).
Otres Beach (Sihanoukville, Cambodia)
Still mostly quiet and difficult to get to, there are a variety of bungalows to stay in located right on the beach. There are also tons of cushion chairs to sit in and soak up the sun. The water is clean, the stay is cheap, and the view is beautiful!
Best Time to Visit: Prices remain affordable year-round in Cambodia, although there may be a slight drop during the rainy season. To fully enjoy the beach and soak up the sun, plan to visit between October and May.
Playa de Amor(Marieta Islands, Mexico)
Also known as the Hidden Beach, this is literally a hidden beach tucked under the surface of the island. Rumors say that the gaping hole was created by test bombs detonated by the Mexican government. The beach is only accessible through a long water tunnel linking the beach to the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can get to the beach by swimming or kayaking, making it a great place for romantic getaways.
Best Time to Visit: This small beach can actually get pretty packed during the high tourist times (December), so plan to go at a different time. The waters are clearest during winter months and the beach is usually crowd-free in November.
Mushroom Bay (Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia)
Mushroom Bay is a small and sheltered beach that is virtually empty after 3pm. Featuring a few cozy restaurants and beautiful white sand, this beach is an excellent place to relax and enjoy yourself.
Best Time to Visit: The dry season on Bali is between April and September, but tourists fill the island between June and September, so for the least amount of crowds, best weather and prices plan to visit in April or May.
Blinky Beach (Lord Howe Island, Australia)
Lord Howe Island is one of Australia's best kept secrets and is an excellent romantic getaway. Tourist numbers are capped at 400, so you want to plan this trip ahead of time. Blinky Beach is a hot-spot for surfers, but the waves are the least crowded in all of Australia. The pure white sand is the ideal place for a picnic and a refreshing swim. Fishing is also an option in this beautiful location.
Best Time to Visit: Average temperatures are in the 70s (F) year round, so weather-wise any time is good. The island limits the number of tourists who can be on the island at any given time, so crowds aren't usually a problem. For best prices visit during Australia's winter months (July and August) - you'll still enjoy great weather during this time.
Laughing Bird Caye (Belize)
Part of the Laughing Bird Caye National Park, this 1.4 acre island is a little slice of paradise. It is located 12 miles off the coast of Placencia, Belize, and is situated on a long narrow reef known as a faro. Beautiful palm trees dot the island, and sandy shallow areas are a great place for swimming. Many visitors take advantage of the diving opportunities around the island.
Best Time to Visit: The dry season in Belize runs between late November and mid-April. The warm weather attracts many tourists, but unfortunately the beaches aren't very fun during the rainy season. Many businesses shut down during the rainy season, so your best bet is to spend a little bit extra to enjoy beautiful weather and calm water.
Salema Beach (Salema, Portugal)
This old fishing village is still unspoiled by tourist masses. On the beach itself, you can watch fishermen unloading their boats each morning with octopus, sardines, and various other fish. Homes and restaurants line the beach road. Although the beach is only a half-mile long, it is filled with pure golden sand and has a Blue Flag certification - high standard for water quality and environmental education. The ocean waters are crystal clear and calm, so beach goers enjoy calm swimming and windsurfing. A perfect place for a relaxing, cozy getaway.
Best Time to Visit: Temperatures in southern Portugal remain mild year round, but beaches are crowded during July and August (holiday months in Portugal), so for the best prices and weather, plan to visit Salema in late spring (April-May) or early autumn (October).
Palm Beach (Barbuda)
This 13.6 mile long beach is most easily accessed by boat, making it a secluded, beautiful getaway. The beach boasts blindingly white and pink sand - pink from seashell pieces. The crystal blue water is ideal for swimming and snorkeling, but there is little shade, so make sure to ask your boatman to drop you off near some Casuarina trees, and don't forget to give your boatman a time to pick you up later!
Best Time to Visit: To avoid the crowds and pay the best prices plan to visit Barbuda during the off-season (May to November). There is a slight hurricane threat during this time, but temperatures stay around 80 degrees and accommodation prices drop dramatically.
Happy Bay (St. Martin)
Happy Bay is located on the French side of St. Martin Island in the Caribbean Sea. One of the unique aspects of this beach is that it is clothing-optional. And because it is a 10-15 minute hike to the beach on a path marked by orange arrows, and the beach lacks facilities, most tourist crowds avoid it. The picturesque beach is lined by coconut trees and dazzling white sand. Also known as one of the island's most beautiful beaches.
Best Time to Visit: Mid-December through April are the peak tourist months on St. Martin, so if you don't want to go broke, plan to stay home during this time. Visit during May, June, or November to take advantage of great prices and beautiful weather (70-80 F). You might experience some light rains in May or June, but the slash in prices is worth it (up to 50% less than the on-season).