The 15 best beaches to visit this winter

1/15

Macaroni Beach, Mustique

The Grenadines

The sea has washed away many famous footprints on this beach, from rock god Mick Jagger to Princess Margaret. Macaroni Beach is one of those celebrity favourite Caribbean destinations, far from the prying eyes of the press and flanked by an oasis of green. Picnic tables sit beneath the splayed fingers of palm trees where world class chefs execute artful dishes.

A smattering of millionaire villas hide in the trees and the beach is private so for those seeking to spend a night or two bobbing offshore, you'll need to know someone on the inside or sweet talk your way in.

Picture courtesy of the Mustique Company

2/15

Tahiti Beach, Abacos Islands

The Bahamas

On the southern tip of the The Bahamas' Abacos Islands lies Elbow Cay, which is home to the secluded white sands of coconut tree-lined Tahiti Beach. This idyllic spot can only be reached by foot, bike or boat, making it ultra exclusive and very much off-the-grid. Laze away a few hours indulging in a cup of rum punch, swimming its shallow waters, collecting shells, starfish and sand dollars, and, at low tide, wandering along its sandbar.

Picture courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

3/15

Pink Sands

Harbour Island, Bahamas

Don’t just think pink — contemplate nearly five kilometres of it. Harbour Island’s famous beaches stretch along its entire eastern side, and “many clients consider them the most pristine in the world,” says Barbara Dawson, senior charter broker at Camper & Nicholsons. “Pale-pink hues, with warm, balmy breezes and crystal-clear blue waters, invite you back every time!”

One for your Caribbean bucket list, the beaches get their colour from tiny microscopic bright-pink or red-shelled animals called Foraminifera, which live on the underside of reefs, beneath rocks and on the sea floor before they get washed up on shore. The coral reef offshore adds to the area’s magnificence, creating dreamy, calm waters that are ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Enjoy the hue view with conch fritters and a cocktail from Blue Bar & Restaurant at Pink Sands Resort, then rent a golf cart and explore Dunmore Town, one of the Bahamas’ oldest settlements.

Picture courtesy of the Bahamas Tourism Board

4/15

Stocking Island

Exumas

About 1.5 kilometres east of Great Exuma Island’s capital George Town is Stocking Island and its bounty of beaches, including one on its eastern side that is eight kilometres long and Sand Dollar Beach and Starfish Beach on its western side. While here, snorkel the coral gardens offshore or the island’s blue hole, known as “Mystery Cave,” which drops down about 30 metres and then runs under the island out to the ocean. On land, hike an hour from St. Francis Resort to Monument Hill’s 360-degree views over the island, then pop in to Chat ‘N’ Chill beach bar and grill at The Point for a conch burger or conch salad and a Goombay Smash.

Picture courtesy of iStock.com / Pjphoto69

5/15

Landaa Giraavaru

Maldives

The 178,062 square metre island of Landaa Giraavaru, in the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, exudes beach glamour — and its luxury resort, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, doesn’t hurt. Tender to the main jetty and walk west along the beach to open-air Blu restaurant, which features delicacies such as hand-cut Maldivian white snapper Carpaccio. Later, check out the coral propagation project happening just off the beach, in the 19 kilometre lagoon, meet the turtles in the turtle rehabilitation centre and test your adrenaline-threshold during a jet-blading session.

And, if you’re here between June and November, during a full or new moon, don’t miss nearby Hanifaru Bay, a Marine Protected Area where aggregations of up to 200 manta rays are sometimes observed.

Picture courtesy of Four Seasons / Ken Seet

6/15

Labi Bay

Lampi Island, Mergui Archipelago

The 800 predominantly limestone islands in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago offer plenty of choices for a day in the sun; however, the approximately three kilometre beach at Labi Bay, on the southwestern end of seahorse-shaped Lampi Island is particularly enticing.

From your yacht, paddleboard or kayak to its southern end, then tender through the nearby mangrove forests, part of Lampi Marine National Park. By the time you return to the sand, your crew will have set up beach chairs, umbrellas and coolers full of icy Myanmar beer. Before you relax, though, take a long walk toward the sand spit and small islet at the beach’s northern end. The beer will taste better afterwards anyway.

Picture courtesy of iStock.com / edenexposed

7/15

Grace Bay Beach

Turks and Caicos

On the north coast of 61 kilometre Providenciales (or Provo) is the 19 kilometre long Grace Bay Beach, gateway to Princess Alexandra Marine Park and a must-see for anyone exploring the Turks and Caicos Islands on a superyacht.

“With its powdery-soft white sand, calm turquoise waters and snorkel spots, it’s one of my favourite beaches,” says Lara-Jo Houghting, charter fleet manager at Churchill Yacht Partners. “You have views of gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, perfect for morning or evening strolls, and a wonderful private tiki for couple’s massages. And you are never far from great hospitality!”

After snorkelling Smith’s Reef and Bight Reef and engaging in a SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard) yoga session, amble or tender along shore in search of a sexy cocktail — the 27 metre long Infiniti Bar at Grace Bay Club, the longest bar in the Caribbean, is a worthy choice, says Houghting.

Picture courtesy of Brilliant Studios for TCI Tourist Board

8/15

Hazard Bay

Orpheus Island, Australia

The slender, sandy beach rimming secluded Hazard Bay, on the western side of 12.9 square kilometre Orpheus Island National Park, isn’t the sort of place you’d go for a casual picnic. Why? The beach borders 14-room Orpheus Island Resort, where the locally sourced fusion cuisine — think seared scallop with sweet corn cromesquis, sweet corn salsa, mango and chili gel, curried caramel and squid ink crisp — is tempting enough to merit a meal off the yacht.

After lunch, snorkel in Hazard Bay’s giant clam garden and the nearby fringing reefs, a short tender ride away and part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. (The outer reef, about 75 minutes away, can wait for tomorrow.)

Later, amble to one of two lookouts and peer out over Orpheus Island’s eastern side, toward other islands in the Palm Group. Then, returning to Hazard Bay, pour a chilled glass of Australian wine and settle into a beach chair for sunset.

James Walshe Photography

9/15

Laughing Bird Caye

Belize

Almost 18 kilometres east of Placencia (which also has miles of gorgeous beaches) is a palm-studded island and national park. Perched on the edge of a shelf atoll, or faro, it is a protected area within the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. Named for birds that used to breed here (and are still present), the caye is surrounded by shallow coral reef. 

If you're discovering Belize on a superyacht, set up beach camp on its south west end and snorkel from shore, then dive the eastern side. (It is a popular day trip from Placencia, though, so your jolliest hours here will occur after other guests have returned to the mainland.)

Picture courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board

For more destination inspiration, get the latest issue of boat international sent straight to your door

SHOP NOW
10/15

The Baths

Virgin Gorda, BVI

At the southwestern tip of Virgin Gorda, The Baths are a series of massive granite boulders, created by volcanic activity and strewn over a beach, with sheltered rock pools between them. Hike south through the caves area — carefully climbing, crawling and wading through water — to Devil’s Bay Beach, one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and home to large boulders. It's a lovely place for a swim and snorkeling before you rejoin your yacht. Keep in mind, though, that The Baths are quite popular; avoid the crowds and arrive either very early or late — your photos will be better then, too.

Picture courtesy of the British Virgin Islands

SPONSORED LISTINGS