1. Waimanalo Beach, Oahu
No summer beach seems to capture the special vibe better than Hawaii’s Waimanalo Beach, on the southeast shore of Oahu. The day ends a one-minute walk from the beach at Hale Nalo, a three- suite rental home with the all-new Zen Treehouse loft. “Guests often have the entire beach all to themselves,” says Hale Nalo owner Herlinda Lopez. “They always mention this while deliriously happy.”
2. Meads Bay, Anguilla
Bays scooped from the shoreline like ice cream, sand as soft and bright as fresh snow. That is the cool vibe of Anguilla’s celebrated beaches. “If you want a blend of good hotels, 5-star Caribbean- fusion restaurants and a pure stretch of sand so fine that you’ll even notice the smallest pebble underfoot, Meads Bay is the perfect choice,” says Nori Evoy. See it all from Malliouhana Hotel & Spa on a bluff over the beach.
3. Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas
For a famous beach that’s actually pink — thanks to tiny bits of red shell in the white sand — there’s room to relax and roam. “In the summer, a crowd is 20 people,” says Robert Arthur, and Arthur’s Bakery on Harbour Island. The colonial homes and pineapple trees fit nicely alongside Pink Sands’ 25 cottages. And our resort contact promises us, “The beach is never, ever crowded.”
4. Hanalei Bay, Kauai
The famous Dr. Beach put this two-mile crescent of sandy perfection on the very top of his 2009 Top 10 beaches, island or otherwise. The peaks, the palms, the pier — all frame Hanalei Bay as the Hawaii of timeless daydreams. Outside of rentals, there’s the Hanalei Inn in town, plus an islands favorite, the St. Regis Princeville Resort on the bayfront bluff next to Hanalei Beach Park and a quiet nook of sand.
5. Cane Garden Bay, BVI
Honestly, the British Virgin Islands could have had their own “Best Summer Beaches” list. So our experts helped narrow the search down to Tortola for its small beachfront communities with just enough going on in the summer — but not too much. Feel like you live here when you rent the three-bedroom Cane Garden Bay Beach House.
6. Paia Beach, Maui
Cue the summer montage of beach barbecues, beach races and beach concerts. The little town of Paia on this little beach blossoms with the annual Paia Fest, set for June 27 this year. It’s a naturally happy place already. End your day with one of those summer beach barbecues, with live jazz, at the Paia Inn Hotel. It’s right on the beach, of course, and could be your happiest place on earth.
7. Sun Bay Beach, Vieques
Just imagine if you could close your eyes right now, make a wish, then open them and see yourself on Sun Bay Beach. It’s a Puerto Rican gem, hiding in plain sight on the southern shore of Vieques, a glowing beacon for beach lovers everywhere. The town of Esperanza is less than a mile west, with accommodations including the Villa Coral guest house.
8. Rum Point, Grand Cayman
Seven Mile Beach certainly deserves the notoriety — and the luxury resorts, spas and restaurants. But for a Grand Cayman island that’s all about spending a summer day with locals and expats, rent a car and head up to Rum Point, which still has about six miles of beach. Live like an expat with a house rental from Cayman Kai.
9. Pigeon Point, Tobago
If you’ve ever seen a Tobago brochure, you’ve likely seen Pigeon Point. Yet this beach still seems undiscovered. The Pigeon Point Heritage Park ensures the natural atmosphere and helps with the stellar snorkeling at Buccoo Reef. Just south of Pigeon Point, the Coco Reef Resort offers even more amenities, though you may be already too relaxed for the spa.
10. Ilet Pinel, St. Martin
On any trip to St. Martin, set aside a day to wile away on this northeastern mini-island. The ferry takes you to the Karibuni and Yellow Beach restaurants on the main beach; your feet can take you away from the day-trippers to quieter beaches on the far side of Pinel. You will have to leave at some point, if only to sleep. Try Captain Oliver’s Resort, down the coast on the French-Dutch border. But there’s always tomorrow.