10 Secret Beaches Hiding Off-the-Radar, for Now

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Cabo de la Vela

On the tucked-away coast of Colombia, Cabo de la Vela is a hotspot amongst locals and backpackers as a kite-surfing destination. A holiday spot for many, this hidden beach offers several miles of sandy surf to enjoy.

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Chesterton, Indiana

Chesteron, Indiana, is perched on the shore of Lake Michigan roughly an hour to the southeast of Chicago. The area is famous for its dunes that hug the lake—which can get crowded in peak seasons—in addition to the city's famed weekly European market that runs each Saturday, from May to October. Head to the Beverly Shores area for optimal, uncrowded beaching.

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Papohaku Beach, Molokai

Hawaii's "Three Mile Beach" is a white-sand beach nearly 100 yards wide and unspoiled. Part of the allure of Papohaku Beach is that it's hidden on the western side of Molokai, one of Hawaii's least developed islands. While the beach has its own park entrance with the expected amenities—bathrooms and picnic areas—it remains secluded.

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Ruby Beach, Washington

As one of the northernmost beaches in Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach is smaller than more popular beaches in the area—like Rialto and Second Beach—but packs in a lot to things to do and see. Giant sea stacks stand out in the surf and the area is known for its dense deposits of gnarled driftwood that floats ashore.

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Dry Tortugas National Park

Hidden off the coast of Florida amongst the hundreds of Florida Keys. A two-hour catamaran ride from Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is part historic fort, part ocean-lovers' playground. Snorkel in the pristine reefs around the fort and bask on the sandy beach which is almost guaranteed to be empty of other sunbathers.

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Cola Beach

The 30-mile drive from Goa, India, to this quaint and quiet beach will take travelers over rough roads. The adventure to make it to this isolated beach where a small river flows out to meet the ocean, forming a calm lagoon is well worth the drive in a region known for pristine beaches. There are few lodging options and restaurants near the surf as the crowds haven't made it to Cola Beach in droves yet.

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Tulum, Mexico

This tiny beach town known for prime surfing hugs the coast. The Mayan ruins that the area is famous for are hundreds of years old and add intrigue and interesting shadows to swim in. The Caribbean Sea rises up to meet the city with clear, blue waters that have inspired artists for centuries in addition to the long sunrises this east coast town boasts.

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Garrapata State Park, California

A jewel coast in Big Sur, California, Garrapata State Park is hidden behind one well-marked sign and over a dozen discreet turnout markers indicating the way to this unspoiled beach and several observation and hiking areas. A short drive from Carmel, California, this area is perfect for day hiking, whale viewing—during the winter migrations—and ocean fishing.

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Thom Beach, Vietnam

On the beach paradise found in Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, Thom Beach is one of the most pristine and undisturbed beaches around the island. Hidden on the northern tip of the island, Thom Beach offers wafting scents of cashew fruit and the sounds of cicadas. The area is open for exploring but remote—the beach can only be found via dirt roads that race up to the northern tip of the island. 

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Fort Morgan Beach

A majority of the Alabama peninsula that is Fort Morgan Beach is protected as part of the Bon Secour area providing safe haven for migratory birds. The area is remote enough that any major purchases of snacks and supplies have to be made in the Gulf Shores and Orange Bay areas roughly 20 miles down the beach.

Heaven on earth might just be the isolated shores of a beach perfect for walking, pondering and relaxing. 

While white-sand waterfronts are magnets for tourists, sunworshippers and young families, even the most gorgeous of coast faces can be marred with too many people. Enjoy sunset or sunrise strolls along these tucked-away retreats nestled all over the world for a true glimpse of what having a private beach might feel like. 

Relax in far away destinations at these shores, or find some closer to home than expected.