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The worst thing about going to the shore for vacation is dealing with the crowds. No one wants to get splashed by kids they don't know or forced to listen to music they don't find relaxing. Well, these unknown beaches are not only peaceful, but also pristine. If you're willing to put in the time traveling to them—and sometimes navigating some rough waters or rocky terrain, too—you'll be rewarded with near-private retreats and unparalleled views.
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Navagio Beach, Greece
Often referred to as Smuggler's Cove, this sandy destination is lodged between two huge limestone cliffs. It's famous for having a three-decade-old shipwreck in the middle of it that tourists can explore when they get tired of laying out.
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Benagil Sea Cave, Portugal
Even though this natural cave is only accessible by water, it's worth the trip. It features a naturally occurring oculus on top of a secluded beach and is a mesmerizing sight to behold when the sun illuminates it from above.
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Kauapea Beach, Hawaii
The nickname of this waterfront is "Secret Beach," which says it all. It's located on the north shore of the island of Kauai and is a favorite of locals, in part because no public roads lead to it.
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Playa del Amor, Mexico
You might notice that there's a lot of land surrounding this beach—so how do you actually get to this wonder? You have to swim underwater through a short tunnel that connects to the hidden beach.
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Dry Tortugas, Florida
Even though Florida is known for its busy beaches, the island of Dry Tortugas is only accessible by boat or plane and is 70 miles off the shore of Key West, making it a welcome refuge from crowds.
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Whitehaven Beach, Australia
You have to take a tour boat to this island beach, but it's worth the trip. The sand is insanely white and considered to be some of the purest in the world—and the turquoise water only makes it more stunning.
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Pink Beach, Bonaire
You'd think visitors would flock to this beach to see the sand turn pink when it gets wet. But it's relatively secluded, because it's located on a narrow strip of sand without many facilities nearby.
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Koh Lanta, Thailand
Sometimes, the reason a beach is secluded is as simple as being far enough away from tourist hot spots. Such is the case for this quaint beach near a fishing village, which is only frequented by people lucky enough to get a tip from a local.
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Koh Ha, Thailand
If you're up for an hour-long boat ride from Koh Lanta, you'll find this even more secluded spot. The beach is part of five limestone islands and is an ideal destination for snorkelers.
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Holbox Island, Mexico
Located off of the Yucatán Peninsula, visitors have to take a ferry or boat to the Yum Balam Nature Reserve. Once you're there, you'll feel like you went back in time, as the tiny island doesn't have cars (only golf carts).
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Lord Howe Island, Australia
If you're wondering why this beautiful escape isn't more popular, it is. But tourists are capped at 400 at a time to prevent it from becoming overcrowded. As a result, the island is super low-key and most people travel by bicycle.
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Walvis Bay, Namibia
This South African tidal lagoon isn't easy to access, but climbing through the sand to get to the water is worth the trek. Flamingos, pelicans, and other birds are often scattered along the shores.
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Baia do Sancho, Brazil
Often ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it's no wonder why this sandy landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's practically untouched and visitors have to climb down a ladder and go through a tunnel to access it.
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Calanque d'En Vau, France
There's one word to describe this hidden treasure: rocky. To get there, most people hike from the fishing village of Cassis, which takes a few hours. The path can be very pebbly, so be careful!
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Carova Beach, North Carolina
You'll feel like you're on another planet at this pavement-free getaway. Because there are no roads on this part of the Outer Banks, make sure you have four-wheel drive to get around on the sand.
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Vatersay Beach, Scotland
The white sand and bright blue water of this Scottish island rivals that of the Caribbean, but you'll find fewer tourists here. Vatersay isn't totally uninhabited—like the nearby islands of Sandray, Pabbay, and Mingulay—but the population between the island and the connecting land of Barra only reaches around 1,200 people.
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Anapai Bay, New Zealand
This entire beach is surrounded by a rocky peninsula, making it as hidden as you can get. Water taxis don't usually go as far as this magical place, so your best bet is to drive to Totaranui, then hike three hours to your destination.
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Glass Beach, California
Located south of Fort Bragg MacKerricher State Park, this special beach was once a garbage dump. Its glass bottles were turned into colorful pebbles over time, but please note that it's illegal to take glass from the area.
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Playa Mina, Costa Rica
Walking the entire length of this deserted beach can be done in about 10 minutes—and all you'll pass is an abandoned house. Warning: It's safer to stay on shore, as the water here runs very deep, very fast.
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Coffee Bay, South Africa
This beautiful bay was named after a ship that once spilled its cargo of coffee beans on the coast. The white beaches are worth the four-hour drive from the nearest airport. Just watch out for wildlife, as animals are known to spontaneously cross the road, making driving here difficult—especially at night.
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Pwll Du Bay, Wales
Once a limestone quarry, this pebbly beach is even more amazing in person. To see it firsthand will take a lot of work, though, as it can't be reached by car. Prepare to walk 20 to 30 minutes to get to your destination.
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Sandbank Beach, Mozambique
It doesn't get more secluded than this. Located on Ibo Island, experience the Indian Ocean like never before on a quiet strip of sand surrounded by water. Just make sure you rent a boat or a sea plane to get there first.
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Platja de Castell, Spain
The creeks and mountains around this beach have remained relatively untouched over the years, thanks to local conservation groups. Even if other tourists do their research and find this beautiful spot, there are lots of hidden coves (like this!) to explore.
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Assateague Beach, Maryland
If you love horses, this special beach serves as a nature sanctuary, tucked away on a quiet island you can only enter on foot or by boat. Besides stunning views, you'll run into wild horses roaming the land.
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Sauteurs Beach, Grenada
The standout stars of Sauteurs Beach are the coconut palm trees. And, because tourists don't often know about this spot, you'll often find this retreat relatively empty and private.
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Cumberland Island, Georgia
This jungle-like getaway is only accessible by ferry. Once you arrive, you'll walk to the beach on sandy trails through rows of greenery and wildlife until you reach a wooden path that takes you out to the water.
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Anse Source d'Argent, Seychelles
If this place looks familiar to you, that's because it's been featured in movies like Cast Away. Despite its fame, this beach has lots of hidden sections to explore for a private day in the sand.
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Roque Bluffs Beach, Maine
The pebble beach along Englishman Bay is nothing short of breathtaking, and chances are you'll have the entire place (or at least most of it) to yourself. Why? The area's total population is only 300 people!