Whether you’re looking for adventure in Iceland or relaxation in the Caribbean, the perfect beach is just a cruise away.
Summer is here, and for many, that means it’s time to find the nearest beach. While one of our favorite partners, Royal Caribbean, sails to many destinations that make for the perfect spot to kick back in the summer sun, there are other types of beaches you can visit all year round, too.
From the dramatic black shores of Vik (Black Sand) Beach in Iceland to the Instagram-worthy Pink Sand Beach in The Bahamas, to the chill and active beach options at our private destination Perfect Day at CocoCay, in the Bahamas, there’s a beach (and a ship sailing there) for everyone. Don’t just take our word for it, though, check out this video to see some of the world’s best beaches:
Read on to discover what makes each of these beaches a must-see for your list:
Trunk Bay, St. John
First up is Trunk Bay in St. John. Located in the U.S. Virgin Islands, this beach is named after the Leatherback turtle—also known as a trunk turtle—which is native to the region. As part of the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay and its surrounding waters are not only home to local trunks, but also a colorful coral reef and more than 300 species of fish. It’s no surprise then that vacationers who go snorkeling while visiting St. John often come away with incredible photos of the 225-yard-long underwater coral trail.
Of course, you don’t need to dive underwater to enjoy the beach. The Virgin Islands National Park extends onto land as well, encompassing 0.3 miles of white sand, a subtropical rainforest and semi-arid scrubland. Before relaxing on the beach, take in the local wildlife of the marshes via an open-air jeep or go shopping in the nearby town of Cruz Bay.
Plan your next vacation to the island of St. John and other Caribbean islands here.
Bathsheba Beach, Barbados
If stunning, natural scenery is what you’re after, look no further than the eastern coast of Barbados, home to the striking Bathsheba Beach. From a distance, travelers are greeted by what appear to be massive rock formations that have washed ashore. They’re actually remnants of ancient coral. This makes Bathsheba Beach, along with other local sites like the six-acre Andromeda Gardens or the mountaintop Gun Hill Signal Station, a photographer’s dream.
Bathsheba Beach is also famous for drawing surfers from all over the world, who come to participate in local and international surfing competitions. Not quite ready to grab your board and enter a contest? You can still relax on the beach with a rum cocktail, and watch the surfers from afar.
Find out all the ways you can sail to Bathsheba Beach here.
Pink Sand Beach, The Bahamas
While The Bahamas is best known for its vibrant, lively capital, Nassau, not too far away is the more laidback Harbour Island, famous for its Pink Sand Beach. Stretching three miles along the coast, the beach is named after its pink-tinged sand, which comes from microscopic pieces of red coral that wash onto the shore.
With warm waters all year round and an easygoing vibe, Pink Sand Beach makes for the ideal getaway. You can sunbathe, snorkel and swim at your leisure since the water is relatively calm and shallow. Adventure is near, as a trip to Pink Sand Beach can easily be combined with an excursion to the nearby Atlantis waterpark.
Discover cruises that will take you to The Bahamas here.
Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland
It’s hard to believe that the otherworldly landscape of Reynisfjara Beach in Vik, Iceland, was purely formed by nature. Towering basalt sea stacks jut out of the water, staircase-like rock formations climb up the sides of cliffs, and the inky black pebbles and stones comprising the beach were all formed from a volcanic eruption during one of the last ice ages. The beach’s signature black sand took shape when lava flowed into the ocean and cooled instantly.
It’s quite a sight, and helps you imagine the incredible process that shaped the landscape so many years ago. From Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, adventurers can hike to the top of an active volcano; and for those not keen on getting so close, there’s always the option to view the country’s volcanoes and glaciers from above via a plane ride.
Let your wanderlust lead you to Iceland and other historic European destinations here.
Varadero Beach, Cuba
Spanning almost 13 miles, Cuba’s Varadero Beach features fine white sand, clear blue water and palm trees. No wonder it’s commonly referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With plenty of resorts nearby, vacationers will find that unwinding here is easy. Most of the local establishments provide all the amenities you need (like towels and drinks), so that your main priority is kicking back in an oceanside cabana.
Visitors can take in the local culture with various excursions in the Cuban cities of Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. Spend a day getting to know some of the island’s revolutionary history, perhaps by exploring historic castles, and cap it off with a night of dancing and rum or a visit to the legendary Tropicana Cabaret.
Find your cruise to Cuba here.
Which of your favorite beaches would you put on this list? Let us know in the comments.