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This is our grand finalé in our series of blogs on the rainbow of colored-sand beaches. If you have been following our blogs or have visited our website, you already know how much we love beaches. . . . all beaches! We also like to see some snow during the holidays; however, here in Northeast Tennessee, we rarely see a white Christmas. So if you were dreaming of a white Christmas but didn’t get one, how about a unique alternative–a white-sand New Year? Or perhaps you live in an area where you have already seen and shoveled more snow than you care to this winter. If so, how about an escape to white sands, warm weather and swaying palm trees? If this sounds good, read on and consider choosing one of these best beach vacation destinations for white sands to relax and recover from the holidays!
Siesta Key, Florida:
Siesta Key, just south of Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is a must-see for every beach lover. The 99.9 percent quartz crystal sands, the color and consistency of powdered sugar, and the crystal-clear, blue waters from the Gulf of Mexico are simply amazing!
The history of the formation of West Florida’s beaches is of particular interest to us: some of the quartz crystals originated in the Appalachian Mountains, not far from our home here in Northeast Tennessee! The particles washed down from the mountains, flowing into the rivers and settling on Siesta Key. We are absolutely delighted to learn that our mountains have actually contributed to the formation of one of the best beaches in the world! The Gulf of Mexico, another area we love, has also contributed quartz particles to the western coastline of Florida.
Just a few tributes to just how perfect this sand really is: Siesta Key is the location of annual sand sculpting championships, with the sculptures being created from nothing more than sand from the beach and water. And some sculptures exceed 8-feet tall! And Siesta Beach has won a number of impressive awards, including: the 1987 Great International Sand Challenge, for having the finest, whitest sand in the world; and the number one beach in America in 2011 by Dr. Stephen Leatherman (Dr. Beach). And these beaches continue to win awards and rank high on Top 10 Beaches lists!
Here’s hoping you get the chance to visit Siesta Key and kick off your shoes on this carpet of sand so soft it’s just plain fun to walk on. And many visitors say the sand is so clean it actually squeaks when you walk on it!
(In our opinion, you just can’t go wrong with any of the beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast. But these are some more popular white-sand choices: St. Pete Beach, Anna Maria Island, Lido Key, Longboat Key, Boca Grande, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and Naples.)
Trunk Bay, St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands):
Trunk Bay is one of the most popular beach destinations in the Caribbean, especially among cruise ship passengers. This area is perhaps most known for its marked underwater snorkeling trail along the reef with beautiful, colorful tropical fish. . . . and its gorgeous white-sand beach!
St. Maarten/St. Martin:
The island of St. Martin boasts 39 white-sand beaches! About half of these are located on the French side with some favorites being Friar’s Bay, Long Bay, Pinel Island and Orient Beach (please note: Orient Beach is considered clothing optional.) The other half are located on the Dutch side with favorites being Dawn Beach, Great Bay Beach, Maho Beach and Mullet Bay Beach, just to name a few.
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands:
This one-mile (2km) stretch of white-sand beach is known as one of the most magnificent beaches in the Caribbean and is especially popular among beach joggers.
The island of Martinique offers an amazing variety of gorgeous beaches. The almost transparent turquoise waters maintain a nice, comfortable temperature of at least 77°F (25°C).
Diamond Beach is one particularly scenic choice with six miles (10km) of glistening white sands facing the scenic rocky island of Diamond Rock just offshore.
The Big Island, Hawaii:
Although the Big Island is blessed with many white-sand beaches, the biggest and most-developed are on the coastlines of Kona and Kohala, on the lee-side of the island where coral reefs flourish. Favorite beaches are Anaeho’omalu, Hapuna, Wailea (Beach 69) and Makalawena. White sands and brilliant turquoise waters provide amazing snorkeling as the white sandy shore bottom reflects lots of light. Wailea Beach has the best snorkeling for seeing lots of colorful tropical fish.
Tulum is perhaps most famous for being one of three top locations of Mayan archeological ruins. History buffs are drawn to this feature, with the ruins uniquely located on the edge of a cliff. Beach lovers are drawn to the area beneath the cliff, with sands the color and texture of baby powder, beautiful turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and diving, and unique cenotes (sinkholes) to explore!
Bermuda is a British overseas territory of almost 140 small islands located off the United States East Coast in the North Atlantic. You may also hear Bermuda referred to as the Bermudas or the Somers Isles. A number of our friends have visited Bermuda and absolutely loved it!
One interesting choice is St. Catherine’s Beach located on St. George’s Island on the northeast coast of Bermuda. Enjoy dazzling white sands and beautiful blue waters so clear you can see the bottom, perfect for enjoying some amazing swimming and snorkeling. The beach is just close enough to town to enjoy shopping and dining, but far enough away for a private, natural atmosphere. The setting of St. Catherine’s Fort provides a unique and scenic backdrop to the beach, completing the picture-perfect view. Be sure to visit the Fort while you are in the area for an up-close view.
Palm Beach, Aruba:
This beautiful white-sand beach is the one that made Aruba famous. Palm Beach was rated as one of the 12 best beaches in the world in Condé Nast Traveler.
Palm Beach is a great destination for swimming, sailing and fishing. . . . or just enjoying the amazing view!
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands:
Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach is actually only between five and six miles (9km) long, but we’re not complaining; this is one of the most amazing white-sand beaches we have ever visited with 80-degree (winter temperature!) crystal-clear aquamarine waters and a backdrop of Australian pines.
This beach is perfect for enjoying a variety of popular watersports. One of the highlights of our visit was an amazing submarine tour. This is one beach we would definitely like to visit again someday!
Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica:
This Seven Mile Beach really is almost 7 miles (11km) of beautiful white sands, located on the northwestern end of the island of Jamaica.
(Just a “heads-up”: This beach may not be for the more conservative beach-goers, as the area can get a bit rowdy and has some nudist areas, including Booby Cay just offshore.)
Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico:
This gorgeous 30-mile-long (48km) stretch of bright-white sandy beach graces a crescent-shaped bay with a fringe of coconut palms. While most popular for its postcard-quality blinding-white sands, Luquillo Beach goes the extra mile with its crystal-clear lagoon and coral reefs protecting the area from the often rough Atlantic Ocean.
Australia has so many amazing beaches that it’s difficult to choose favorites! These are three of the best white-sand beaches:
Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay:
Hyams Beach, located in a village in New South Wales, actually has a place in the Guinness World Records as having the whitest sand in the world! While the gorgeous, pristine sand is the area’s main attraction, you will also find an added bonus of amazing crystal-clear blue waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Whitehaven Beach, Queensland:
Whitehaven is another great choice. Located in Whitsunday Islands National Park, this 2 miles (4km) of white-sand beach is known for being just plain drop-dead gorgeous, with fine-textured white silica sand, said to be so clean it squeaks, bordering the warm, crystal-clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. This postcard-perfect beach won the CNN award for the Most Eco Friendly Beach in 2010!
75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island:
This Australian favorite lives up to its name with a generous 75 miles of hard-packed white sand beach. It’s also a highway and a runway of sorts with areas for four-wheel-drives and landing strips for small planes. But don’t worry; there’s plenty of beach for sunbathing and volleyball. Be sure to check out the shallow, rocky Champagne Pools on the northern end of the beach and enjoy splashing and exploring.
Grace Bay Beach (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos):
This 12 miles (20 km) of baby powder-white sands is known as the pride of Provo and was named the World’s Leading Beach at the World Travel Awards for at least 4 years in a row!
A coral reef just a couple of miles out from the shore on the northern end of the island offers an amazing snorkeling site!
The Grenadines boasts a number of spectacular white-sand beaches. The tiny, remote Canouan Island just south of St. Vincent is known as one of the pearls of the Grenadines, with crystal-clear waters and a secluded white-sand beach, described by those who visit as just about as close to perfect as it gets! Tobago Quays, in the Southern Caribbean, is another great choice. And this photo of a white-sand beach on Mayreau Island pretty much speaks for itself!
The Island of Tobago, the smaller of the two islands that are part of the Republic of Trinidad, offers almost 26 miles (41 km) of one gorgeous powder-white-sand carpeted beach after another! The glistening blue waters of the Caribbean and a backdrop of coconut and almond trees complete this postcard-quality scene.
Pigeon Point is considered the crowning point of the island with perhaps the most-photographed jetty in the world! Many describe this beach as nothing short of a dream-like example of the perfect Caribbean beach! A favorite sport at Pigeon Point is beach volleyball.
The Island Country of Grenada boasts 133-square-miles (344 sq. km) and at least 45 beautiful white-sand beaches!
This island country includes the island of Grenada plus six smaller islands located in the southeastern Caribbean at the southern end of the Grenadines. Also known as the Island of Spice, Grenada is one of the largest exporters of nutmeg and mace in the world.
Grand Anse Beach in particular is only a 2-mile (3km) stretch of beach, but is said to be worth the trip to Grenada in itself! Locals consider Grand Anse a magical favorite of the island with its sugar-white sands that don’t end with the beach itself, but extend all the way out into the deep waters of the Caribbean!
Playa Paraiso, Cuba:
The island of Playa Paraiso is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, 12 miles (19km) north of Playa del Carmen. Playa Paraiso means paradise beach and is considered Cuba’s finest beach island. With calm weather (rarely ever a cloud in the sky) and a shallow sea most of the year, this island paradise certainly lives up to its name!
Surrounded by the gorgeous Caribbean Sea, this beach is a perfect place to relax and just take in the beauty of water as clear as crystal and sand the color and texture of sugar. You may find a few beach umbrellas and a small bar; otherwise, it’s all about sand and sea at Playa Paraiso.
The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands with so many gorgeous beaches you can literally sail out and find your very own tropical beach for the day! How’s that for kicking back and getting in touch with nature?!? With rocky coves, lush rainforests and sands as white as sugar, the beaches of Palawan are unbelievably beautiful and exotic. Even the locals refer to this as their country’s last frontier.
One of the most popular areas in Palawan is Honda Bay with islets including Cannon Island, Bat Island and Starfish Island.
Another great choice is White Beach in Boracay which definitely lives up to its famous tropical paradise name with white powdery beaches and a nice variety of watersports.
I had never really thought about going to Cambodia before doing the research for this blog, but this beach is looking and sounding really good!
A beautiful white-sand beach in Cambodia
Koh Rong in particular is one of the most beautiful islands in the Gulf of Thailand with almost 27 miles (43km) of gorgeous beach. On the island’s southwestern side, Southwestern Beach boasts 3 miles (about 5km) of seemingly untouched white sand and palm trees bordering glistening turquoise waters. The southernmost end of the island is a great spot to snorkel and swim with schools of colorful tropical fish including parrot fish, rabbitfish and sergeant fish.
The island of Anguilla has 33 amazing white-sand beaches with a quiet, natural beauty.
Some of the most popular white-sand beaches on this seemingly endless list include: Shoal Bay East, the island’s most popular beach; Cove Bay, Mead’s Bay and Rendezvous Bay, known for their long, curvy stretches of perfect beach; Limestone Bay, Scrub Island, Prickly Pear and Dog Island, all popular beaches for great snorkeling; and more remote beaches at Captain’s Bay, Junk’s Hole Bay, and Little Bay which is accessible only by boat.
Enjoy interacting with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery, biking, bird-watching (136 species), and horseback riding. Art fans will enjoy 16 galleries with crafts including hand-blown glass, woodcarving and fine art. Also, be sure to visit the caverns at Big Springs Heritage Site and see the Arawak “spirit eyes” petroglyphs (rock carvings) and Heritage Collection Museum’s 1,000-year-old artifacts.
Also, Anguilla is considered the cuisine capital of the Caribbean with choices ranging from casual bistros by the beach to elegant, fine dining.
The Dominican Republic:
The Dominican Republic offers 200 miles of coastline with a list of amazing beaches. These are a couple of favorites:
Punta Cana, located at the easternmost tip of the island, is a 19-mile (30km) stretch of white sands with just the perfect number of palm trees completing this gorgeous tropical setting.
Playa Dorada, on the northern coast of the island along the Atlantic, is another great choice with lengthy white or beige-sand beaches.
Antiguans proudly claim a legend that their island has a beautiful beach for every day of the year!
Two favorites are Dickenson Bay, on the northwest corner of the island, and Half Moon Bay, a mile-long white-sand crescent of beach along the eastern coast of the island.
The Village of Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania:
The island of Zanzibar is known as the jewel of the east-African coast. And with its soft, white sands and gorgeous blue waters, it’s easy to see why! A shallow slope and a natural build-up of coral provides miles of calm waters with a nice variety of marine life to enjoy.
In addition to being loved by visitors for its 30 or so beautiful, natural beaches, its interesting old Stone Town and tiny fishing villages are of particular interest as well. The town is still reflective of the area’s historic spice trade and much of the area has changed very little in centuries, leaving an enduring, charming feel of almost standing still in time.
Scotland has an estimated 8,197 miles (13,115 km) of coastline and an amazing variety of beautiful beaches galore! The white-sand beaches in Iona are looking really good:
And Sinclair’s Bay in Caithness is another great choice, described by some as a post-card quality scene from a perfect Caribbean beach with its beautiful white-sand beach and blue sea. There are 16th-century castles at each end of the beach and you can even stay in a 15th-century castle, Ackergill Tower, right there next to the beach!
Galicia has 800 miles (1,287 km) of coastline with more than 700 beautiful beaches!
One favorite is Las Islas Cíes, known as one of the jewels of the Galicia Coast! With gorgeous white sands and turquoise waters, and just a 40-minute boat ride from the town of Baiona, locals refer to Las Islas Cíes as their Caribbean Beach!
Enjoy! And Happy New Year to You and Yours!
(Please note: While we feel that we have done a fairly thorough research process and explored many of the best beaches for each sand color in the series of blogs we just completed, we realize that covering every beach would have been an impossible task. We offer our apologies for any great beaches we may have missed and always welcome your comments, questions, corrections and suggestions!)
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