The beaches of Koh Samui, Ibiza and Cancun may be legendary, with their buzzing nightlife and unrelenting energy, but there are times when you want nothing more out of a beach vacation than some solitude. If you’re looking for a secluded spot far from tourist swarms and pulsing music for your next laidback getaway, check out our favorite under-the-radar beaches. You won't need more than sunscreen and a book for company.
Pianosa, Italy: One of the islands forming the Tuscan archipelago, Pianosa has clear blue waters, pristine white sand beaches and even a protected wildlife sanctuary. Fun fact: the island, which was once a penal colony, is now home to a tiny 11-room hotel run by convicts.
Cayucos, USA: This little surf town north of Los Angeles is known for its antiques shops, charming restaurants and a pier that stretches nearly 1000 feet into the ocean. Choose to stay at one of the town’s boutique hotels, like the five-room Cass House, an 1867 building that was recently restored.
Image: Cass House
Lord Howe Island, Australia: Just a two-hour flight away from Sydney lies a tiny island with lush greenery, a coral-reef lagoon and rugged mountains. Spend your days snorkeling, fishing, kayaking or hiking and nights in one of the island’s quaint boutique hotels, like the nine-room Capella Lodge.
Image: Capella Lodge
Saline Beach, St Barts: This long stretch of white sand in St Barts, which gets its name from salt ponds in the area, is quiet and pristine, undisturbed by snack stands and hordes of swimmers. Tip: Visit the nearby restaurant Le Grain de Sel for an authentic Creole dinner.
Bathsheba, Barbados: This sleepy fishing village on the east coast of Barbados is the polar opposite of the island’s west coast, which is flush with tourists and luxury resorts. For a break from beach-lounging, head to nearby Flower Forest, a horticultural park; Andromeda Gardens, a botanical garden; or Cotton Tower, a historic signal station with majestic views of the coastline.
Polihale Beach, USA: This remote seventeen-mile beach on the west side of Kauai in Hawaii can only be accessed by a dirt road, and is a truly picturesque spot with 100-foot sand dunes and breathtaking sunsets.
Image: Travel + Leisure
Koh Rok, Thailand: The twin islands of Koh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok are filled with natural beauty—coral reefs, rugged cliffs and white sandy beaches. Protected from over-development as part of the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, these secluded islands are the perfect spot for a low-key holiday.
Image: The Guardian