Unless you’re lucky enough to be a professional scuba or surf instructor, a day on the beach is not usually part of the daily grind.
So a beach vacation is naturally one of the best options for guaranteed zen – and these are the 6 best beaches for relaxation, according to global travelers.*
Mangawhai, New Zealand
Mangawhai Estuary in the morning light
Not only is New Zealand’s South Island one of the world’s most popular destinations for adrenaline junkies, but it’s also great for a relaxing beach vacation. The township of Mangawhai in Mangawhai Harbor has one of the highest-rated beaches for relaxation. You can surfing on one side, go for a light harbor swim on the other, or just charter a boat to float further off the coast. Spend the morning on the beach and follow it up with brunch in town at Bennetts, a Mediterranean-inspired cafe with a courtyard and gelato shop. Tall Trees B&B has bedrooms that look out over the patio and the beautiful garden.
Chao Lao Beach, Thailand
Chao Lao Beach is remote and therefore relatively undiscovered
Close to the border with Cambodia, the wide, golden sands and quiet surf of Chao Lao Beach have fewer tourists than Thailand’s more developed coastal resorts. Spend a few days swimming, tanning, and feasting on fresh seafood marinated in chili and lime, or hike the trails through the area’s inland mangroves. The highly-rated Baan Vitamin Sea has its own private beach area for added peace and relaxation.
Santa Fe, Philippines
The only traffic you'll see on this island is bicycles
Santa Fe is a small town in the southern part of Bantayan Island, one of the Philippines’ most mellow tropical havens. Almost all the traffic you’ll see is from kids on bikes. The people are friendly, the sand is incredibly white, and lantern-lit beach huts make a memorable setting to watch the sun go down. For the raw beauty of a hut on the beach, combined with the luxury and comfort of a hotel, stay at Amihan Beach Cabanas.
Varca is a traditional southern Indian fishing village
Varca is a Goan fishing village, with rows of boats lining the long beach and fresh seafood as a local staple. You can order a signature Goan fish and coconut curry while looking out at the sea. The beach is also relatively quiet and free of vendors, while the town is a small collection of brightly-colored houses surrounded by coconut, mango, and banyan trees. Just a short walk from the beach, Majestic Beach Comfort has private beach cabins with bathrooms and air conditioning, plus an outdoor pool where you can sip on sunset cocktails.
Watch baby turtles making their way to sea in Montericco
The small beach town of Monterrico mostly attracts visitors from July through October, when you can watch baby turtles make their way across the beach and into the sea after hatching. But even turtle season is comparatively quiet for this beach area. With volcanoes in the background, ash-colored sand, and big waves, it’s an unusual and sedate tropical hideaway. Just a short walk from a nature reserve where you can interact with baby turtles, Dos Mundos Pacific Resort also has its own private beach and an outdoor pool.
Oxnard, California USA
Enjoy beautiful beaches and watch wildlife in Oxnard
Just an hour up the coast from L.A., Oxnard is often a gateway to the Channel Islands, a National Park archipelago rich with wildlife and natural beauty. Embark on a dolphin watching boat trip to these islands – but don’t forget to explore Downtown Oxnard, with historical streets, homes, and churches. For maximum relaxation, stay at the highest-rated accommodations in Oxnard, Homewood Suites.
**The data scientists at Booking.com used internal data to uncover the top destinations for “beach” combined with “‘relaxation,” according to Booking.com customers.