2020 Top 10 Best Island Beaches in the World

The Earth’s surface comprises 71% water, and the ocean holds about 96.5% of these waters, gifting us with thousands and thousands of stunning beaches. Now, choosing the very best island beach in the world could be a little subjective. So, we refer to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Award for the world’s top island beaches. Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by a global mass media company Condé Nast, owned by Advance Publications.

In their 2020 Readers’ Choice Award, CNT listed the top 25 island beaches globally, but we’ll discuss the top 10 – best of the best in this article. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. Travel restrictions are still in place in most countries, if not all, due to the current pandemic, but this shouldn’t stop us from planning a getaway when things get back to normal. Let’s make our selection out of these island beaches and add them to our bucket list.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 island beaches of the world.

Gouverneur, St. Barts (St. Barthelémy)

Gouverneur St. Barts (St. Barthelémy)
Photo from St. Barth Properties

The island of St. Barthelémy or St. Barts has 22 beaches, and Gouverneur (or Anse du Gouverneur) is one. The island can be found in the southern part of the island, and you can get there by driving down a twisty, narrow road from the town of Lurin. The beach has great waves and plenty of space in the sand to spread your towel, a chair, and umbrella. Please note that this public beach has no cottages and shades, so make sure to bring an umbrella. And if you are planning on going most of the day, pack lunch since there are no vendors. On this island beach, there are no lifeguards, so make sure to watch over your kids if they are in the water. 

There is a small well-maintained parking lot in front of the beach entrance. In the eastern end of the beach, the farther you walk, you can find a small shady grove of trees, a popular picnic spot that gives you access to the shaded part of the beach. And, along the eastern edge of the cove, you can find spectacular snorkeling opportunities. While on the west side, you will find fewer people the farther you walk but, expect to encounter wild goats.

White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

White Beach Boracay
Photo from TripAdvisor

White Beach is the most loved and known beach in Boracay and is in its western part. It is about 4 kilometers long of white sand and turquoise water with palm trees towering in the background. It has easy access to resorts, hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses as they are just in front of the beach. The water is usually sandy flat, has no current, and becomes deep gradually, making it an excellent swim.

The White beach has three sections, namely Station 1, Station 2, and Station 3. There is no visible separation between these stations when you’re walking on the beach. It will be easier to refer to them as the north, middle and south side, respectively. Station 1 is home to luxurious beach resorts and where you can find Willy’s Rock, Boracay’s famous visual landing. Station 2, the center, is where you can find mid-range resorts, and it could be crowded sometimes around sunset. While Station 3 is the home of budget and backpacker hostels and the quietest station among the three.

The island of Boracay was closed for rehabilitation by the Philippine government last April 26, 2018, and was re-opened to tourists in October 2018. The beachfront and the water are much cleaner now. New guidelines are also implemented for tourists. If you plan to visit Boracay, you will need a printed voucher from an accredited resort or hotel, so you need to have a confirmed booking. Without the vouch, you will be denied entry to the island.

North Island, Seychelles

North Island Seychelles
Photo from TheMilliardaire

It is one of the 42 inner islands of Seychelles. An exclusive island resort about 42 kilometers north of Mahé Island and can be reached by helicopter transfer. North Island is also known as Sunset beach – the sea turns pink as the sunsets. The island has four beaches: East Beach, West Beach (or Grande Arse), Honeymoon Cove, and Dive Cove. You can do several activities on the island like mountain biking, scuba diving, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, and sunset cruises.

The island was once a plantation that has been transformed into a sanctuary for endangered species. It has luminous white beaches that are home to nesting sea turtles. The island’s green palm tree background is also a home to giant Aldabra tortoises and rare Seychelles white-eyes.

Reethi Rah, North Malé Atoll, Maldives

Reethi Rah North Malé Atoll Maldives
Photo from Booking.com

Reethi Rah, which means “beautiful island” in Dhivehi (Maldivian language), is another luxury island resort located in North Malé Atoll. A private island and one of the largest in the Maldives. This octopus-shaped, reclaimed island (60% of the island is made up of reclaimed land) is home to coral atolls. It also has a clear aqua lagoon and tropical jungles with palm-fringed beaches.

Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos

Parrot Cay Turks and Caicos
Photo from Luxuvere

It is an island with 1000 acres of land and a mile-long of white sand beach. Parrot Cay is a high-end private beach resort located about 575 miles southeast of Miami. You can reach this island beach from Providenciales with a 35-minute boat ride. The island was initially named Pirate Cay because of a local legend of Anne Bonny, a famous female pirate, that camped here in the 1720s. But it was later renamed Parrot Cay as not to frighten guests. 

The island is a popular destination for celebrities because of its secluded location and the privacy it provides. You can go diving and snorkeling on the island. And if you are into a wellness program, you can try yoga and Pilates – the resort offers facilities.

Maundays Bay, Anguilla

Maundays Bay Anguilla
Photo from TripAdvisor

Maundays Bay is positioned along the westernmost tip of the Anguilla island and a short distance from Meads Bay and Rendezvous Bay. It is a public beach, rarely crowded, with crystal-clear water, gradual slope, and pristine sand. From an aerial view of the beach, you will see that it is a perfect half-moon arc.

The beach is family-friendly as sightlines are uninterrupted, and there are rarely any waves. There are also local rental shops that can provide you the gear you need for swimming or snorkeling. However, you may need to plan as there are no public restrooms onsite.

You don’t have to worry about getting starved after a swim since there are food pop-ups and beach shacks that serve a wide range of fresh and delicious island food, just a few steps from the sand. And If you are tired of playing on the beach, you can take a break and visit spots like Old Salt Factory and Pumphouse or the Devonish Art Gallery.

Marco Island, Florida, USA

Marco Island Florida USA
Photo from TripAdvisor

Marco Island is a small sea or barrier island on the Gulf Coast of the United States – primarily a year-round beach and boating resort. It is 20 miles south of Naples in Collier County, Florida. With its six miles of beaches that feature bright white and sugary sand, you can enjoy hunting colorful shells. Or, you can do other activities like fishing, boating, dolphin watching, kayaking, and canoeing. You can also explore the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge Park.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA

Kiawah Island South Carolina USA
Photo from SC Picture Project

This beach island is located 25 miles southwest of Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina is a sea or barrier island on the Atlantic coast of the United States. It has flat sand and shallow water. Kiawah Island is a safe place to go swimming since there are lifeguards on duty. 

But, sunbathing and swimming are not the only activities you can do here. You can also enjoy boating, fishing, walking, biking, and playing golf. And, you can also visit the Beachwalker County Park located on the west end of the island.

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido Palawan
Photo from Project LUPAD

Another stunning beach in the Philippines is El Nido. This island is located about 148 miles northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital. El Nido boasts 50 white sand beaches with crystal clear turquoise water, vibrant coral reefs, dramatic limestone cliffs – a gateway to Bacuit archipelago. 

Besides swimming, you can enjoy different activities like island hopping tours, kayaking, surfing at Duli beach, ziplining, hiking at Taraw Cliff, diving, snorkeling, and watching the sunset in Las Cabanas beach.

Seger Beach, Lombok, Indonesia

Seger Beach Lombok Indonesia
Photo from Luscious Hustle (Pinterest)

Seger beach is a strip of sand with turquoise water sheltered by a headland that offers epic views of the Indian Ocean. It is a short drive to the east of Kuta beach. You can have fun swimming, sunbathing, and surfing or climb the surrounding hills to get an excellent vantage point over the water. Watching the sunset is also an activity you can enjoy here while enjoying a cold Bintang or coconut water from one of the makeshift warungs (café) set up on the sand.

There is no accommodation in Seger beach, so make the town of Kuta your home base as there are several options there.


Unfortunately, we can only make plans to go once the airport, terminal, and seaports open due to the current global situation. All we can do right now is just check places we want to go and add them to our bucket list – just imagine them for now.

If you love diving, you can check Top Diving Sites in the World to Add to Your Bucket List.

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