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AFAR Explorer’s Beaches

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Pamalican Island, Sulu Archipelago, Agutaya, Palawan, Philippines
Occupying its own island in the Cyuo Archipelago—where members of the animal kingdom outnumber humans by some comical order of magnitude—Amanpulo is the consummate artist’s escape. Adding to the resort’s castaway cred is...
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Rottnest Island WA 6161, Australia
There's not too much to do on Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Perth in Western Australia, unless you want there to be! Since there aren't cars on the island, excepting the off maintenance vehicle and one bus, visitors use their two feet or...
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Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan, Philippines
Malapascua, a tiny island in the Visayan Sea north of Cebu, is well-known for its thresher-shark cleaning station, where divers gather daily to see these beautiful creatures ascend from below to be cleaned by fish before returning to deeper...
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Praia do Arpoador - Avenida Francisco Bhering, s/n - Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22080-050, Brazil
There may be no better place in Rio to watch the sunset than Arpoador Rock. Wedged in between Ipanema and Copacabana, is it a gathering point for Cariocas and tourists alike to toast the day with a fresh caipirinha. Watch the sun fade behind...
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Fernando de Noronha - State of Pernambuco, Brazil
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. This 21-island archipelago off the northeast coast of Brazil is a dream destination for Brazilians and international visitors alike—especially surfers, who find reef and point breaks as well as...
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This was the end of the Hana Highway in Maui. Our guidebook told of a red sand beach, but it specifically left out information on how to get there, in an effort to keep people from spoiling it. Before our trip, I printed out some instructions from...
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Carretera Federal & Cancún - Chetumal Km 230 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A visit to old Mayan Ruins is a must when you are vacationing in Tulum. It's a perfect trip to sneak in some history and activity without too much effort and without loosing sight of ocean and the beach. Being built in 13th century Tulum Ruins...
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Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia
A visit to the Perhentian Islands is a must if you find yourself in Malaysia and want some beach time! If you want a nice quaint island stay on Perhentian Besar. If you are looking for more action then stay on Perhentian Kecil, but even Kecil is...
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Carretera Ecenica Sn, Playa la Ropa, 40895 Zihuatanejo, Gro., Mexico
Guests who lounge too long on the Viceroy Zihuatanejo’s La Ropa beach can find instant relief at the resort’s six-room spa, which features a sunburn-soothing treatment of freshly picked aloe vera, Baja lavender, and organic chamomile. Nearby,...
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Playón Chico, Panama
The family-owned Yandup Island Lodge is located on a private island across from the remote Playon Chico community on the Caribbean coastline of San Blas, Panama. The eco-lodge offers two tours a day: a visit to a beach on one of the archipelago's...
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La Gloria, Isla Mujeres, Q.R., Mexico
If you're not a fan of huge resorts and big hotels, Isla Mujeres is the perfect getaway from Cancun. Just catch the ferry to the island located 13km to the northeast of Cancun. The ferry ride in itself is enjoyable, as you float over shallow reefs...
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Bãi Sao An Thới, Thị Trấn An Thới, Phú Quốc, An Thới, Phú Quốc, tỉnh Kiên Giang, Vietnam
The beach that will leave you speechless. Bai Sao (South Beach - in English) is located on the Vietnamese island, Phu Quoc. This place oozes relaxation. The mood on the island is very different from mainland Vietnam and if you have any inclination...
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2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
Natural Bridges State Beach is a great place to unwind near the bohemian surfer town of Santa Cruz
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Gibson Rd, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Every once in a while, the sun shines bright in San Francisco and every city residents flocks to the nearest park or beach to soak up the sun and day drink. Baker Beach, in the confines of SF, seems worlds away from city life. The view of the...
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45500 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
One of my favorite campgrounds in Big Sur is the big open meadow at Andrew Molera State Park. It's great for large groups and it's one of the best bases for hiking and surfing in the area. More than 20 miles of trails run throughout the park's...
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1 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
While staying in South Beach, I can't imagine wanting to dine anywhere else but on the water. The DiLido Beach Club at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach is the only oceanfront restaurant in the area. Make your way to one of the brown and Tiffany Blue...
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34600 Gary St, Nehalem, OR 97131, USA
Nehalem Bay State Park boasts 5 undeveloped and uninterrupted miles of sandy beach. Even when the adjacent campgrounds are full, you may just have a stretch of personal space the size of a football field. Just book your stay well in advance--as...
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119 Beach St, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944, USA
My favorite beach in the Northeast is named for the way the sand squeaks underfoot. The quintessential New England seaside town of Manchester-by-the-Sea feels straight out of the 1950s and lightyears away from nearby Boston. Catch the train if...
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6747 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, USA
Crandon Park’s beautiful two-mile beach on Key Biscayne is known for its pristine sand and calm waters, as well as its mangroves, coastal dunes, and sea grass beds. There’s also an amusement center as well as a nature center where you can see...
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Goose Rocks Beach, Maine 04046, USA
A great find in Southern Maine, a beautiful five mile beach with spectacular views & white sand. No place can compare to the beauty that this beach embraces that families have come to summer for many generations. A perfect day to relax, take...
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20063 Cabrillo Hwy S, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
San Francisco is a great starting point for a road trip. Drive north or south on the HWY 1 and you're bound to find fun towns, beautiful winding roads and gorgeous coastal scenery. This cave is about an hour drive south of San Francisco, and then...
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Avon-By-The-Sea, NJ, USA
Well, my favorite beach at Washington Ave. in Avon, New Jersey is ready for the Summer of 2013. After the severe damage to our area beaches and beach towns, New Jersey is "Stronger than the Storm." On June 15th, the season will begin. Not...
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Marooned thirty miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Nantucket is an island with many personalities. The month you decide to visit will greatly determine the character, mood and people you’ll encounter on island. The summer months are what most people...
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Dennis, MA, USA
After some of the views I've seen on Cape Cod beaches I don't know if I would ever want to be there without access to a camera. These beaches are lively during the Summer but calm and quiet during the offeason. I could walk them for hours.
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Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
it was a nice trip, we had lots of fun here. enjoyed the nightlife in Myrtle Beach.
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101 E Arctic Ave, Folly Beach, SC 29439, USA
Officially named the Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Fishing Pier, this landmark extends 1,045 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, making it the second-longest pier on the East Coast. It’s also 25 feet wide, allowing ample room for walkers, fishermen,...
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64 Bradley Beach Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, USA
Driessen Beach is a quiet alternative to bustling Coligny Beach on Hilton Head. It's slightly off to the side of the island, but it has a much more mellow vibe, with fewer people sunbathing and swimming, and more people enjoying active pursuits...
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Rosemary Beach, FL 32413, USA
Located in South Walton—roughly in between Panama City and Destin on Florida’s scenic coastal route, 30A—Rosemary Beach’s perfect white sand and clear turquoise waters are as close to the Caribbean as Florida comes. Unless...
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7 Rockaway St, Clearwater, FL 33767, USA
$$$$
It’s not easy to find beachfront dining in the Tampa area, but you can nearly put your feet in the sand at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill on Clearwater Beach. The most popular item on the menu is the grouper sandwich; made fresh from the Gulf of Mexico...
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1923 Boddeker Rd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
East Beach is the biggest public beach in Texas. Located at the far eastern tip of Galveston Island, East Beach is known for its beach parties, fishing, and bird watching.You can rent chairs and umbrellas, which are usually in ample supply. Expect...
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2740 S Pacific St, Cannon Beach, OR 97110, USA
For those of you familiar with the iconic 1985 film, the Haystack Rocks meant the world to kids from the Goon Docks. It had always been a lifelong dream of mine to venture to the setting of the movie and find my own "treasure." The Pacific Coast...
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Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, OR 97112, USA
The Oregon Coast is always spectacular, but on warm, sunny days like this, there are not many better places to be. This photo is looking north from the top of the sand dunes at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City. Climbing these dunes in a few minutes...
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Short Sand Beach, Oregon 97102, USA
California is usually the state most associated with sun-drenched beaches. But in my opinion, the Oregon coastline trumps the Golden State in terms of sheer beauty. Located 10 miles south of the more popular Cannon Beach is Oswald West State Park,...
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Port Angeles, WA, WA, USA
You'll find the Second Beach trail head located on La Push Rd on the Quileute Indian Reservation. After a 0.7 mile hike through the Olympic National Forest you'll emerge from the trees to a nest of driftwood clustered up to where the the trail...
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Sand Beach, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
Sand Beach is the only sandy beach on Mount Desert Island, which makes it really busy during the day. The best time to escape the crowds is during a moonlight night. When the beach will be mostly empty (other than the occasional ranger program)....
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I spent a year living in the Caribbean where as a local "resident" the standard Sunday Fun Day activity is a boat trip from the US Virgin Islands to Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. The traditional stop along the way is at Sandy Spit...
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British Virgin Islands
This beach was one of my favorites in Tortola. I would likely say the same about every beach I've been to in Tortola so don't mind me. I will say, however, the mosquitoes are rampant as the sunset nears. Bring repellent! I also had a wicked Pain...
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Lee Road, Valley, Spanish Town VG 1150, British Virgin Islands
The Baths at Virgin Gorda were so beautiful and fascinating. You become a child again as you explore around the rocks, climbing up and down through the crevices (don't worry, you'll fit). The water was a bit rough the day I went so I didn't get...
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Playa Sun Bay, Vieques 00765, Puerto Rico
We were lying in the sand in Vieques. We'd been told to watch out for horses, but nothing could prepare me for this. What a majestic experience to see wild horses free on the sands of Sun Bay Beach.
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Puerto Ferro, Puerto Rico
One of my favorite places in the whole world—Vieques! I'm actually a little apprehensive to share, because I'd love to keep it the semi-secret it is. If you time it well, you can have this beach all to yourself.
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Flamenco, Culebra, Puerto Rico
Suppose I told you there was a small, remarkably idyllic and fairly unpopulated island in the Caribbean just a short distance from the mainland United States, an island so immaculate, plans were in the works to make it a National Wildlife Refuge,...
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Pristine, untouched and unforgettable: There's no other way to describe this natural park just off the northeast coast of St. Croix. Walking trails crisscross the expanse through frangipani and tamarind trees and cacti to beautiful...

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Crocus Hill 2640, Anguilla
One of Anguilla's most secluded beaches, Little Bay is tucked beneath a series of bluffs on the island’s northwest. Usually reached by boat or kayak from Crocus Bay, this tiny, undeveloped stretch of sand hugs a cove with calm turquoise...
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Salmond, Barbados
Heading up north in Barbados is a great way to get away from the bustle of Bridgetown and the hustle of the west coast. And if you’re going north, why not go all the way to North Point? First off, Mondays are the best day for this excursion as...
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Retreat, St Vincent and the Grenadines
Petite Tabac is one of five tiny islets that make up the Tobago Cays archipelago in the Grenadines. Everything you could ever want in a deserted island paradise is here. You’ll find shallow, crystalline waters teaming with colorful sea life...
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Fajardo, PR, Puerto Rico
Pictured is Siete Mares Playa (or Seven Seas Beach) in Fajardo, Puerto Rico—a sneaky strip of sand and local favorite that hides not one, but two semi-private playas off the beaten path. On the far left side of the beach you can find an enticing...
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St John, USVI
Many islands have laws with steep fines against wearing beach wear when not on the sandy shoreline and while you may have heard of folks going au-naturel on St. Martin, that’s certainly not the norm throughout the region. On St. John, however,...
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Happy Bay, St Martin
The start of the path is quite easy to find in Friar’s Bay. Just walk North past Kali’s Beach Bar and past Friar’s Bay Beach Bar until you see a path marked by orange arrows. It should lead up a hill. (There appears to be another path that goes...
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Woodlands, Montserrat
Montserrat, like many islands in the Lesser Antilles, is volcanic by origin and the island’s features are those typical of a volcanic island: steep hills, rich soil, and something many Americans have never experienced, black sand beaches. So,...
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Castara, Trinidad and Tobago
Pressed into the leeward side of Tobago between the sea and the steep rise up to the island’s mountainous Main Ridge spine, the tiny village of Castara offers intrepid travelers the essential aspects of the uncommon Caribbean. On the day we...