Sometimes, it’s nice to go to a bustling, busy beach: the laughing children, entire cities of sandcastles, other sunbathers to lie next to in solidarity, maybe your summertime fling, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Other times, you just want to go on holiday to relax, so the calmer the beach, the better. To help you find your perfect hidden beach, we’ve put together a list of some lesser-explored beaches, sandy strips just waiting for you to claim them as your own.
HOLBOX BEACH • ISLA HOLBOX • MEXICO
The stunning Holbox Beach is not quite well-known enough yet to get busy during holiday seasons, but it’ll only stay like this for so long! Located on Holbox Island, the area has a very relaxed vibe, to the point that most people don’t even bother wearing shoes. The local population are very friendly and always happy to welcome tourists – perhaps because they don’t tend to have that many!
Holbox is a Nature Preserve, meaning that it’s still absolutely packed with natural beauty, and can only be accessed from the mainland by ferry or boat, so you’ll be completely cut off from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Don’t worry about being cut off from civilisation entirely, though! The island is also home to a small town, also called Holbox, which has about 1,500 inhabitants. Visiting the area often feels like travelling back in time to those who come from busier areas.
The island itself is a spacious 26 miles long, with broad beaches and calm, jade-green waters. The calm waters and low population also make it a safe and friendly place to bring kids, with lovely shallow water and a very gently sloping seabed. Many of the locals are fishermen by trade, so the local restaurants will serve some of the freshest seafood you could possibly hope for!
BOWMAN’S BEACH • FLORIDA • U.S.A.
Alright, so Florida probably isn’t the first place you’ll think of if you’re looking for a nice, quiet beach, but Bowman’s Beach really is an exception to the rule. Located on Sanibel Island near Fort Myers in the South West of Florida, this beach is often considered one of the best in the country, and for good reason.
Excluding the footbridge you have to cross to reach the beach, which is accompanied by some bathrooms, an outdoor shower and some picnic tables with barbecue grills, Bowman’s Beach is completely natural and (importantly) almost entirely uncommercialised. Splitting the beach even from its own amenities are some woods and grass, opening onto several miles of beautiful, pristine beach. Catch it now before it turns into a major tourist destination!
HONEYMOON BEACH • PETER ISLAND • BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
One of the five beautiful white sand beaches at the Peter Island Resort & Spa, Honeymoon Beach is a secluded, intimate little beach which is ideal for a getaway designed just for you and your other half. Bask in the sunshine in perfect privacy on a beach which, as suggested by its name, could have been designed specifically for honeymooners. To top it all off, the beach itself can be reserved, so you’ll know that you can rely on absolute solitude.
When you’re done on the beach for the day, you can return to one of the resort’s beautiful little suites which offer double showers, jacuzzis and private balconies and patios. Honeymooners can book a private dinner on the beach, visit the spa, and will even receive a free bottle of sparkling wine – it’s the perfect romantic getaway.
Check out our post on the best Honeymoon Beaches!
WHITE SAND BEACH • BALI • INDONESIA
The vast majority of Bali’s beaches are covered in thick black sand, but this beauty is yet another exception to a rule. Hidden in a tiny little cove on the East Coast of Bali, until recently this beach only held a tiny handful of fishermen. Since its discovery, however, sunbeds and seafood grills have began to emerge, so you really need to catch it while you can.
SALEMA • ALGARVE • PORTUGAL
Flying over to Europe, one of the best beaches you can visit which has retained its natural, secluded charm has to be in Salema, Portugal. This is a beautiful spot which has been protected from being built up and spoiled, a fairly unusual sight today! Salema is a tiny little down dotted with equally tiny whitewashed houses, and is definitely one you’ll want to check out if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and the constant greys of the city.
In the unlikely event that you get bored of Salema’s beautiful beach, there’s plenty to check out in the area away from the shore. Check out the incredible dinosaur tracks in the nearby limestone rocks, watch the fishermen bring in their catch of the day, and just generally enjoy this quaint little town.
Just across the street from the beach, you’ll find the Hotel Residencial Salema, a lovely little hotel which is perfect for your stay. Every room has a view of the beach from their tiny balconies. Around the town, you’ll find loads of wonderful little restaurants with quite possibly the freshest fish you’ll ever eat. It’s certainly somewhere you need to go before it disappears.
(It also happens to be a great place to take your munchkins too! Have a look at our Top 4 Beaches to take your toddlers.)
EL COTILLO • FUERTEVENTURA • SPAIN
The beautiful El Cotillo beach in Fuerteventura, with its white sands and spotless lagoons, can be reached by a number of footpaths which lead out from the quiet fishing village of El Cotillo.
Pronounced ‘El Coateeyo’, this tiny village is dedicated to the ‘Virgin de Buen Viaje’, that is, the virgin of good travel, as you can tell by the words which you can see painted onto the cliffs at the old harbour. The village itself may be tranquil, but it still has plenty of great restaurants, bars, shops and accommodation options, so you won’t have to sacrifice entertainment in the name of peace.
Unfortunately, like many of the beaches on this list, it’s looking like El Cotillo is soon to become the island’s newest tourist hotspot, drawing visitors in with its glorious beaches and lagoons, so you’ll have to act fast and catch it while you can!
We hope you found something on our list that caught your eye (and that you’ll be able to catch a spot before they’re all snatched up by tourists) but if you’re still not happy, feel free to enter your more specific requirements into our 3-step beach matchmaker, and we’ll get some more options to you in a jiffy!