For those of us that worship the sun, we are perpetually searching for the perfect spot to worship. What makes a spot perfect? Well, that can vary greatly from one person to the next. Some of us prefer a quiet spot where we can enjoy the sun in peace. Some of us want to be where we can show off our designer swimwear and toned body. Still others are looking to worship without getting those annoying tan lines. Regardless of your personal tanning style, we would all agree that the three essential ingredients for a world class sunbathing spot are sun, sand and surroundings. With those three ingredients in mind, we’ve listed the best of the best. From famous to infamous, secluded to crowded and fashion conscious to bathing suits optional, you are sure to find a beach on the list that agrees with your style. This list is in no particular order.
The beaches of the Dominican Republic are renowned for their beauty and tranquility. Pristine, unspoiled and scenic, you almost can’t go wrong anywhere in the D.R. The only way to access La Minitas Beach is by a ten minute shuttle or golf cart ride, making this a great pick for those that prefer to sunbathe in relative seclusion. Despite being relatively secluded, there are restaurants fairly close if you get hungry, and, best of all, there is a massage room directly on the beach. Sunbathing and a massage – how can you go wrong?
Over two miles of powder soft white sands that never get hot. Can we say sunbather’s paradise? This little slice of heaven lay virtually untouched until about 30 years ago. It is now considered by most to be one the best tropical vacation spots in the world. Make sure you go during Amihan (roughly September through June) when the temperatures are moderate, there is little rain and the prevailing wind blows a cool breeze in from the East.
South Beach is the “see and be seen” beach. For those who love a little eye candy while soaking up the rays, this is the place for you. South Beach really comes alive at night, though, and you are almost assured of seeing someone famous if you spend any time there. If quiet and peaceful is not your idea of the way to worship the sun, then renew your gym membership and plan a trip down to Miami.
Santorini’s Red Beach is one of the most picturesque locations on the list. Surrounded by soaring red lava cliffs (hence the name), this beach also has some of the most beautiful and unique red sand in the world. The beach is only accessible by boat, or by a ten minute descent by foot from above. The entire island was formed from a now-sleeping volcano – sleeping but not dead. Santorini is said to be the true Atlantis, as much of the island literally slipped below the sea in the course of a night.
Mexico is hardly short of beautiful cities, with gorgeous beaches. What sets Tulum apart is the proximity to some of the most stunning Mayan ruins in all of Mexico. Tulum lies about 80 miles from Cancun, making it close enough to explore Cancun if you choose, yet far enough away to escape the crowds and over abundance of hotels. In fact, Tulum has yet to be completely invaded by tourism and is, therefore, still rather secluded and peaceful. If you have an interest in archeology, ancient civilizations or just love exploring, then Tulum is the perfect combination of sun and adventure.
If you simply abhor those pesky tan lines, then try the naturalist beach in Vrboska. Surrounded by vineyards, pine groves and olive trees, this little cove is an incredibly beautiful spot for nude sunbathing. The beach has a plethora of rock outcroppings which can provide a secluded spot for sunbathing in your birthday suit, if you prefer privacy. If the full naturalist experience is more your style, then you may want to camp at the naturalist camp nearby complete with a small restaurant, store and gas station.
If picturesque is what you are looking for in a sunbathing experience, then Hanalei Bay Beach is a must-see. A near perfect semi-circle of white sand is surrounded by a backdrop of waterfalls and gorgeous mountains stretching up past the clouds. While it can get crowded, especially during the winter when the surfing is excellent, you won’t find a more stunning view to gaze at while tanning anywhere in the world.
If privacy and seclusion are what you look for in a sunbathing location, then look no further. This little gem of a spot can only be reached by boat, private plane or ferry. While modern electronics (ie: phones and computers) have reached this island paradise, they are still frowned on. The wilderness beach on Ocracoke has some of the most pristine sand to be found. Relax, get that book out you’ve been wanting to read and enjoy the rays.
Yes, the beach made famous by the song! Actually, Ipanema became famous in the 1970s when women first started wearing tangas (precursor to today’s thong bathing suit) on its shores. That atmosphere of freedom is still alive and well in Rio de Janero. It is a city full of life and is more than tolerant of self expression – on the beach or off. Topless sunbathing is common and thongs are still the preferred beachwear. If you want to let your hair down and show off your hard work at the gym, Rio is the place to do it.
Santa Cruz is classic California sunbathing. With almost 30 miles of oceanfront beaches to choose from, you can’t go wrong in Santa Cruz. If you are a big wave surfer, or just like to watch them, then Steamer Lane is the beach for you. If you want privacy and romance , try catching some rays at Seascape Beach. If you want some fun mixed in with your sun worship, then Main Beach is the place to be. Main Beach has an old fashioned boardwalk and amusement park, complete with rides, games and food just steps from the beach. Santa Cruz has something for everyone and a beach to suit everyone’s style.