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25 White Sand Beaches That Are Truly White

25 White Sand Beaches That Are Truly White

White sand beaches are the definition of tropical paradise, with their dazzling shorelines. Many also boast swaying palm trees, crystal-clear waters, and jaw-dropping scenery, which makes them the perfect escape from day-to-day life.

As you can imagine, there are hundreds of white-sand beaches across the world way more common than pink sand beaches. In this guide we chose only truly-white shorelines (rather than those that are golden-brown). To ensure this is a comprehensive list, beaches have been included from over 25 countries and island territories, ranging from Aruba to the United States.

Why are white sand beaches white?

Here are the key reasons why white sand beaches are white:

  1. Quartz: Many white sand beaches are composed largely of quartz, which is a common mineral in many parts of the world. Quartz is usually white or transparent, contributing to the white appearance of the sand like in Siesta Key Beach in Florida, U.S. or Hyams Beach in Australia.
  2. Coral and Shell Fragments: In tropical regions like in the Maldives, white sand often comes from crushed coral and shells. These materials are composed mainly of calcium carbonate, which is white.
  3. Weathering and Erosion: Over time, the process of weathering and erosion breaks down rocks and organic materials into fine particles. In areas where the source material is predominantly light-colored, the resulting sand will also be light. One famous example is Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach)in the island of Zakynthos, Greece, which is more like tiny white pebbles than sand per se.

Anguilla (British Overseas Territory)

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Anguilla is a beautiful island in the Caribbean, famous for its beaches and coral reefs. Shoal Bay Beach is perhaps the island’s most famous beach, thanks to its unique shade of white sand (due to the white shells found here). The crescent-shaped Rendezvous Bay is also beautiful, along with Sandy Island, which is a secluded islet.

How to get there? To reach Anguilla, you’ll fly to Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA). Alternatively, you can take the ferry from Saint Martin.

Antigua and Barbuda

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This independent Commonwealth country is located in the Caribbean and comprises two main islands (Antigua and Barbuda), along with smaller ones. This is where you’ll find Dickenson Bay, a popular beach, known for its white sandy shores, calm shallow waters, and water sports facilities. It’s located on Antigua.

How to get there? You’ll fly into V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU). Direct flights run from various destinations in the Caribbean, as well as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Aruba

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Aruba is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It’s home to Eagle Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, which is famous for its soft white sands, striking scenery, and nesting sea turtles. Other popular white-sand beaches include Palm Beach and Baby Beach.

How to get there? Flying into Aruba Airport (Queen Beatrix International Airport) is a breeze. Daily flights are available from all over the world, with airlines including British Airways, KLM, and American Airlines.

Australia

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The ‘Land Down Under’ is home to thousands of beaches and countless natural wonders. Whitehaven Beach, in the Whitsunday Islands, is certainly one of the most beautiful, with its sprawling white sands and stunning turquoise waters. There’s also Hyams Beach which is located in Jervis Bay, and Wineglass Bay which is found in the state of Tasmania.

How to get there? Sydney Airport is Australia’s primary airport, but there are other major airports in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth (among other cities). Cruises are also a popular option.

WHERE TO STAYSearch for Australian eco-lodges nearby.

The Bahamas

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The Bahamas is renowned for its beautiful pink and white sand beaches. Cable Beach is one of the best destinations for beachgoers and is located on New Providence Island, near Nassau. On Paradise Island, you’ll also find Cabbage Beach, another scenic spot. There are plenty of amenities here including drinks vendors, umbrellas, and beach chairs.

How to get there? The Bahamas has 20 international airports, with Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) being the busiest. Alternatively, you can reach the Bahamas by boat or cruise.

WHERE TO STAYSearch for Bahamas eco-lodges nearby.

Bonaire (Island Municipality)

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Bonaire is an island municipality of the Netherlands. Famous for being one of the best scuba diving locations in the world, Bonaire also offers incredible beaches. Te Amo Beach is located right by the airport and offers white sandy shores and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Sometimes there’s a food truck on-site, where you can grab something to eat.

How to get there? You’ll likely fly into Bonaire International Airport (BON), as direct flights (and connecting flights) are available daily. People can travel here by cruise ship too.

British Virgin Islands

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The British Virgin Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. On the charming island of Jost Van Dyke, you’ll find White Bay. This beach is located on the island’s south side and is known for its soft white sands, shallow clear waters, and beachside bars and eateries. Deadman’s Bay is also popular.

How to get there? Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) is the main airport serving the British Virgin Islands. Those traveling from Canada, the UK, and South America, will require a connecting flight.

Cambodia

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Cambodia is a popular country in Southeast Asia, famous for its temples. However, there are also some beautiful beaches to be found here. On the island of Koh Rong Samloem, you’ll find Saracen Bay. It’s the island’s main beach and offers expansive white sandy shores and crystal-clear waters (which makes it perfect for snorkeling).

How to get there? Phnom Penh International Airport is the busiest airport in Cambodia, serving the country’s capital city. Alternatively, you can travel overland from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Cayman Islands (British Overseas Territory)

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The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, consists of three islands in the Caribbean Sea (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman). The crescent-shaped Seven Mile Beach is located on Grand Cayman Island. It’s considered one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, thanks to its white sands, sparkling waters, and relaxing atmosphere.

How to get there? Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) is the primary airport serving the Cayman Islands. Cruise ships also dock at George Town (Grand Cayman) for those arriving by sea.

Cuba

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Cuba is another island country in the Caribbean (it’s actually one of the oldest Caribbean islands). The beaches here certainly steal the spotlight, including Varadero Beach, which is known for its beauty. There’s also Playa Paraiso on the island of Cayo Largo, which offers pristine white sands and turquoise waters.

How to get there? Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) near Havana, is Cuba’s main airport. Direct flights are available from Central and South America, the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Cyprus

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Cyprus is an island country in the Mediterranean, home to a seemingly endless number of beaches. Nissi Beach is one of the most famous and is located in the resort of Ayia Napa. Renowned for its soft white sands, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque scenery, Nissi Beach is extremely popular, especially during the summer months.

How to get there? Larnaca International Airport (LCA) is the country’s main airport, but Paphos International Airport (PFO) is also popular. Ferries run from mainland Turkey and Egypt too.

Fiji

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Fiji is an island country in the South Pacific. This beautiful destination is home to Tivua Island, one of the Mamanuca Islands. Boasting dazzling white shores and 500 acres of coral reefs, it’s a must-visit. Tivua Island can be visited on a day trip, where you’ll take a boat to the island.

How to get there? Fiji has two international airports; Nadi International Airport (NAN) and Nausori Airport (SUV). Direct flights run from Australia, Asia, North America, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.

France

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With a coastline of approximately 3,400 miles, there are plenty of beaches in France. The island of Corsica is home to Santa Giulia Beach, which is considered one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, thanks to its dazzling white shores, crystal-clear waters, and stunning scenery.

How to get there? Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) is the country’s busiest airport. You can also travel overland from various European countries, such as Spain, Italy, and Germany. Alternatively, you can take the Euro Tunnel from the United Kingdom.

French Polynesia

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Located in the South Pacific, French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France. It’s home to Matira Beach, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Located on the island of Bora Bora, this beach boasts swaying palm trees, white sandy shores, and turquoise waters. Swimming and snorkeling are popular here, thanks to the calm, shallow waters.

How to get there? Tahiti-Faa’a International Airport (PPT) is French Polynesia’s primary airport. Direct flights run from the United States, Japan, and New Zealand, among other nearby destinations.

Greece

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Renowned across the world for its beauty, Greece is home to its fair share of beaches. The Greek Islands are the place to be, especially Zakynthos, where you’ll find Navagio Beach. Aside from its dramatic scenery and pristine white sands, this beach is famous for its huge shipwreck.

How to get there? Athens International Airport (ATH) is located on the mainland, or you can fly directly to one of the Greek islands. Ferries to the islands are also available from the mainland and Italy.

Italy

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As well as the mainland, Italy offers beautiful islands. One of these is Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and home of one of the Blue Zones. There are over 200 beaches on this island, but Spiaggia La Pelosa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, with its turquoise waters and white sands.

How to get there? Rome Fiumicino “Leonardo da Vinci” Airport is Italy’s largest airport, with other major airports being located in Milan and Venice. You can also travel overland from other European countries.

Kenya

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Although Kenya is famous for being a fantastic safari destination, the beautiful Diani Beach is certainly worth a visit. Renowned as one of the best beach destinations in Africa, Diani Beach is located along the Indian Ocean. It’s the definition of a tropical paradise, with its rolling white sands, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees.

How to get there? Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) is Kenya’s primary airport. It’s also possible to travel overland from Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia, as there are long-haul buses available.

Malaysia

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Although not many people are aware of this, Malaysia is home to some truly jaw-dropping beaches and sustainable eco-lodges. The Perhentian Islands offer some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and are accessible by boat. There’s also Rawa Island, a tropical island resort that is perfect for an idyllic getaway.

How to get there? Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) is one of the biggest airports in Asia. There are other major airports in Malaysia too, or you can travel overland from Singapore or Thailand.

WHERE TO STAYSearch for Malaysian eco-lodges nearby.

Maldives

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The Maldives is the ultimate tropical paradise and is famous all across the world for its beaches. Those after dazzling white shores should head to COMO Cocoa Island (a luxury resort) or Angaga Island Resort. Other beautiful locations include Fulhadhoo Island and Landaa Giraavaru. There are plenty of choices!

How to get there? Malé-Velana International Airport (MLE) is serviced by international flights from across the world, including Europe and Asia. It’s likely, that you’ll then need to take a domestic flight, seaplane, or speedboat to your resort.

Mexico

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Mexico’s breathtaking coastlines are a real draw for travelers. The neighborhood of Tulum Beach is home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, as well as an impressive Mayan ruins and cenotes. Playa Norte on the island of Isla Mujeres is another beach known for its white sands and bright blue waters!

How to get there? Major airports in Mexico can be found in Mexico City, Cancún, and near Cabo San Lucas (among other destinations). Alternatively, you can travel over the land border from the United States or Guatemala.

WHERE TO STAYSearch for Mexican eco-lodges nearby.

The Philippines

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The Philippines boasts over 7,600 islands, so there are thousands of beaches to choose from. White Beach on the island of Boracay is one of the country’s best beaches. This beach is famous for its dramatic sunsets, powdery white sands, and swaying palm trees. The waters are also calm and crystal-clear.

How to get there? Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) is the main airport in the Philippines. Direct flights to Manila run from various destinations in Asia, Europe, and North America.

WHERE TO STAYSearch for Filipino eco-lodges nearby.

Scotland

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Those who don’t mind cooler temperatures and blustering weather while hiking in Scotland, you should head to the Isle of Harris, located off Scotland’s mainland. It’s here, that you’ll find Luskentyre Beach. Boasting a remote location, superb white shores, and aquamarine waters, it’s the perfect place to escape the crowds. Swimming is possible but the water can be very cold.

How to get there? Scotland has four main airports, with Edinburgh Airport being the biggest. You can also travel overland from England. The Scottish Isles can be accessed by ferry or air.

WHERE TO STAYSearch for Scottish eco-lodges nearby.

The Seychelles

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The Seychelles often come to mind when thinking about a tropical paradise, especially as there are over 100 islands in the archipelago. Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue island is considered one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, thanks to its dazzling white shores, huge granite boulders, and emerald waters.

How to get there? Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) is the main airport and is serviced by various international airlines. Cruise lines offer you the chance to travel here by sea.

Saint Martin Island

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This unique island is shared between two countries; The Netherlands (Sint Maarten) and France (Saint Martin). On the Sint Maarten side, you’ll find Great Bay Beach. It’s located along the capital of Philipsburg and is known for its boardwalk, white sands, and turquoise waters. There are also plenty of amenities nearby.

How to get there? There are two airports on the island; Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on the Dutch side, and Saint Martin Grand Case Airport (SFG) on the French side.

South Africa

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South Africa is more than game reserves and Big 5 safaris. In the city of Cape Town, you’ll find the hugely popular Boulders Beach. Aside from its white sands and turquoise waters, Boulders Beach has something special to offer. It’s one of the best places in the world to see African penguins. For the best views, you’ll want to walk along the boardwalks.

How to get there? Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is one of South Africa’s largest airports and serves the city of Cape Town. Alternatively, you can travel overland from neighboring countries.

WHERE TO STAYSearch for South African eco-lodges nearby.

The Turks and Caicos Islands (British Overseas Territory)

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The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. A highlight of this archipelago is Grace Bay Beach, which is famous for its powdery-white shores, turquoise waters, and extensive barrier reefs. The waters are also calm and safe, making it a popular swimming and snorkeling spot.

How to get there? Providenciales International Airport is the main airport, servicing direct routes from the United Kingdom (London), Canada, and the United States. People can also travel here by cruise ship.

United States

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Although the United States doesn’t come to mind as a tropical paradise, the state of Florida is home to some truly beautiful beaches. Clearwater Beach is a popular spot, known for its white sands and water sports. Destin Beach and Marco Island are two other stunning locations in Florida.

How to get there? Those heading to Florida, have the choice of several major airports, including Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. You can also travel overland from the bordering U.S. states.

The U.S. Virgin Islands

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The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea so you’ll find stunning beaches here. Trunk Bay, on the island of St. John, is a must-visit. It’s one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and offers crystal-clear waters, where you can enjoy a unique underwater snorkeling trail.

How to get there? There are two major airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands; Cyril E. King Airport (STT) on the island of St. Thomas, and Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) on the island of St. Croix.

More beaches to wonder around

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Travel Writer | Website

Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.