Stephen Curet Jr. is a news correspondent and world traveler. In this article Stephen Curet Jr. lays out his case for why these lesser-known beach destinations should be added to everyone’s bucket list.
You go to the beach for rest and relaxation and sometimes you get neither.
Stephen Curet Jr. notes that there’s nothing quite as disappointing as a crowded beach, especially on a scorching summer day. It’s noisy and littered and uncomfortable.
When you plan a whole trip around a beach that you’ve heard is a perfect getaway, expectations are so high that finding it has an unearned good reputation can ruin a vacation.
When you book a trip to these underrated beaches, Stephen Curet Jr. says you’ll find the sandy gem you’ve been looking for.
Stephen Curet Jr. Top Pick: Windansea Beach, San Diego, California
Stephen Curet Jr. explains that California is a huge tourist destination because of its numerous beaches up and down its massive coast. Windansea sees few tourists in San Diego, with many opting for the more well-known (and super crowded) Ocean Beach or Mission Beach.
That’s a mistake. Windansea in La Jolla offers both breathtaking views and world-class surfing. It’s close to the city but just enough distance away to make it feel isolated.
Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland
You probably don’t think of beaches when you think of Ireland, but Achill Island offers some prime beaches for those who prefer their sunbathing with lots of quiet.
The island is a collection of multiple sea cliffs and beaches says Stephen Curet Jr., with Keem Bay and Keel Beach offering trademark green scenery best taken in by long walks on the shoreline. Where else can you find a castle overlooking bright blue-green waters?
Home to a whopping 7,500 miles of beaches yet almost always uncrowded, Stephen Curet Jr. says Trancoso offers laid-back, bohemian beach vibes with distinctive elements, like white sand and naturally warm pools formed by numerous reefs.
Some beaches, like Praia do Espelho, or Mirror Beach, are only accessed down long dirt roads when it’s sunny, while others like Praia da Pedra Grande (Big Rock Beach) manage to have great bars and restaurants while attracting few tourists.
Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island, Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be called the Ocean State, but few talk about its beaches. Maybe that’s an attempt to keep people away from hidden gems like Block Island, a preserved beach considered one of the most gorgeous in New England.
Hiking, sunbathing, and surfing are all popular here on this 3-mile island like no other according to Stephen Curet Jr. Did we mention it also includes some of the best whale watching on the East Coast?
Red Sand Beach and Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii
Yes, Hawaii has some beaches that many call overrated, such as Lanikai and Kaimana, but if you know where to look, you’ll find beach experiences in the state that reflect the unspoiled Hawaii of the past.
Red Sand Beach in Maui gets its name from its distinctive coloring caused by lava flows and is a great spot to view wildlife. Stephen Curet Jr. explains that the Big Island’s Punalu’u Beach is known for its black sand and unconventional beauty shaded by massive palm trees.
For an authentic Hawaiian experience, head to both.
Benagil Caves, Algarve, Portugal
Benagil is a tiny fishing village with a big secret. Its golden sands and massive sea caves sculpted by waves are among the most remarkable geological formations around the globe.
Whether you want to relax under the sun, go on a boat tour, or paddleboard through the caves, Stephen Curet Jr. says Benagil is a majestic must-see.
Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Stephen Curet Jr. notes that many who come to North Carolina beaches head to Wilmington or Wrightsville Beach, but it’s the tiny Outer Banks beach towns that should be the real draw. The 16-mile Ocracoke Island, accessible via ferry, is perfect for those yearning for a quiet retreat or looking to get in some picturesque kayaking and sailing time.
Also worth a visit on the state’s barrier islands is Duck, a small beach town that is among the most attractive and quiet in the entire country.
Koh Kradan, Thailand
Many islands in Thailand have become crowded tourist destinations, offering disappointment for those looking to take in the isolated beauty they’ve heard so much about.
Koh Kradan offers that and more, says Stephen Curet Jr. It’s small but protected as a National Park and even has a tiny resort that manages to boast numerous amenities while still being quite under the radar. Head over before that changes.
San Sebastian, Spain
It’s always tempting to explore the beaches of Barcelona while in Spain, but San Sebastian on the Bay of Biscay includes everything that makes Barcelona so great without the tourists.
Not only will you be able to always find spots on its many beaches, but Stephen Curet Jr. says San Sebastian is also a tapas lovers’ dream and is packed with Airbnbs that are spacious and affordable.