We went to the beach to show you what you need to pack to have the best day ever on your next beach trip.
Melissa Rorech, Reviewed
Warm breezes. Tropical drinks. Sun-kissed skin. Picturesque scenery. The sound of lapping or even crashing waves.
A day spent at the beach is never a wasted day, especially if you’re visiting that beach during a cruise ship voyage.
If you love sun and sand as much as Cruise Critic does, scroll through the gallery below to find out about 12 of the best beaches in the world to cruise to, including why the beaches amaze and what you can expect when you get there.
1. Eagle Beach, Oranjestad, Aruba
Featuring soft, white sand, Eagle Beach is located about 2 miles from the cruise port in Oranjestad, Aruba. The beach is open to the public for free, but it’s lined with hotels and resorts, meaning drinks and lounge chairs (both for a fee) are never far away.
2. La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Spain
Crescent-shaped La Concha Beach is a free public beach that can be accessed via river cruises that call on or near San Sebastian, Spain. At the time of publication, La Concha was rated on TripAdvisor as the number-one thing to do while you’re in the city, which is one of only a handful in the world to boast such a breathtaking urban beach.
3. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
Don’t be fooled by the name: Seven Mile Beach, just a short taxi ride from the cruise port in George Town, Grand Cayman, is actually 5.5 miles long. The beach, which is free and open to the public, features luxurious white sand for sunbathing and rocky areas and reefs that are ideal for snorkeling and diving.
4. Ka’anapali Beach, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Voted No. 4 of more than 90 things to do in Lahaina on TripAdvisor, Ka’anapali Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui is a 10- to 15-minute drive from the port area. Comprising 3 miles of white sand and strikingly clear water, it’s ideal for both beach bums and active types who enjoy water sports.
5. Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia
Although it’s about a half-hour ferry ride from where cruise ships currently dock in Sydney, Manly Beach is one of the star attractions in Manly, which boasts shops, restaurants and a market. The beach itself is free to use, offering golden sands and a great place to surf (or to learn how).
6. Kelingking Beach, Bali, Indonesia
Kelingking Beach is doable in a day, but you’ll have to check out the schedule for the ferry, which will take you from the cruise pier in Benoa to Nusa Penida (on an adjacent island) in about 45 minutes. There, you’ll find a secluded swath of white-sand beach and gorgeous teal water, but wear comfy shoes, as you might have to hike a little to reach it. There’s also a small entrance fee. Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the beach’s iconic T-Rex-shaped outcropping can do so from a viewing area above the beach.
7. Sonderstrand Beach, Skagen, Denmark
This free family-friendly beach is close to town, making it perfect for a day of fun if your cruise ship is docked in Skagen, which sits on the northernmost tip of Denmark. The Vippefyr or Bascule Light — a type of lantern formerly used as a nautical navigational aid — is also nearby, so you can experience two landmarks in one go. Take note, however, that this beach can be extremely cold and windy (which makes it perfect for kite-flying).
8. Cane Bay Beach, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Palm tree-lined Cane Bay Beach is great for diving, showcasing “the wall” — an underwater drop-off that plunges several thousand feet — and is home to fascinating wildlife. About a 30-minute drive or taxi ride from the cruise pier in St. Croix, this beach also features a handful of nearby restaurants and rentals for lounge chairs and water sports equipment.
9. Elia Beach, Mykonos, Greece
Less than 30 minutes from the cruise port in Mykonos, this jaw-droppingly gorgeous beach provides free entry to a long stretch of crystal-clear water and yellow sand with plenty of beach chairs and sunbeds for rent. It can be crowded, but it’s generally quiet and clean, and there are restaurant and resort facilities nearby. Be warned: Some sections of the beach are designated as “clothing optional.”
10. Dawn Beach, St. Maarten
Quiet, pristine Dawn Beach, known for its snorkeling opportunities, is a mere 15-minute ride from St. Maarten’s cruise terminal. It also affords impressive views of St. Barts in the distance. Because the water can be rough, this is not an ideal beach for families with young children, and parts of the area are still recovering from the effects of previous hurricanes. As such, seaweed is common.
11. Prainha Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This “hidden” beach offers a stunning, mountainous landscape. Carefully consider how much time you have in port before deciding if Prainha’s natural beauty is worth the trek, which will take more than 90 minutes from the cruise pier in Rio. This beach is great for surfing, but if you’re swimming, watch out for the undertow. If you’re short on time or just want to people-watch, instead try Ipanema Beach, which is more crowded but only about 40 minutes from port. There’s no entry fee for either beach.
12. Governor’s Beach, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
Governor’s Beach is only about 1 mile from the Grand Turk Cruise Center, which means you’ll spend very little time (less than 5 minutes) and money on a taxi ride. This free beach includes a strip of white sand and clear turquoise water; although it’s great for swimming, fans of snorkeling and diving should look elsewhere. It can be crowded, but it’s less touristy than beaches closer to the cruise terminal.
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