The Best Beaches You've Never Heard Of—And Exactly What to Wear on Them

Girl's trip? Honeymoon? Solo travel? Start your planning now.

Sick of the scene in Miami? Totally over the crowds in Montego Bay? Sounds like it's time to source a few new go-to spots—off the overly beaten travel path. From Africa to Europe, Southeast Asia to the West Indies, we've rounded up everything you need to know about five exotic, dreamy destinations that probably aren't on your radar—until now. But how shall you choose? Peruse the must-pack style to see which one's for you.

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Nungwi Beach, Tanzania

WHY: Perched on the northern shores of Zanzibar Island (off the coast of East Africa), it's damn near impossible to resist the allure of Nungwi's powdery white sand and crystal clear waters. If you can peel yourself off the beach (you are in exotic Africa after all), check out Stone Town to see sultan Seyyid Said's restored 19th-century palace and the gorgeous Persian baths he built for his wife. If you're into wildlife, Changuu Island is only a short boat ride away, and is filled with lush scenery and friendly tortoises who roam freely. Zanzibar is also famous for its spice trade—like cinnamon, pepper and peanuts—so check out a tour of a plantation to learn more about your favorite ingredients, and trace their long journeys from East Africa to your pantry back home.


FLY: Into Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar (ZNZ); an hour drive to Nungwi Beach.


SLEEP: Every room at Hideaway of Nungwi has a private terrace with spectacular views of the bright blue Indian Ocean and the exotic garden landscape. Laze under one of the hotel's thatched-roof umbrellas (imagine a travel mag spread IRL) and make an appointment at the luxurious spa, should you want to indulge in a treatment or two.


WEAR: You'll feel at one with Nungwi's natural beauty in a cheeky seahorse bikini, and this sand-inspired tote is perfect for carrying back your haul from the spice plantations. kate spade new york Champagne Reef Halter Underwire Top, $95, katespade.com; Champagne Reef Hipster Bottom, $68, katespade.com; Sharlotte Sunglasses, $175, katespade.com; Garden Way Hallie Tote, $268, katespade.com; I Need a Vacation Metro Watch, $195, katespade.com

Le Canadel Beach, France

WHY: Tucked away in Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer (a compound village in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the south of France), Le Canadel oozes that kind of old-school French glamour and charm that you only see in the movies. If you can tear yourself away from lounging by the sea, take a guided tour around the Domaine du Rayol botanical gardens, which showcase flora and fauna from various Mediterranean landscapes around the world. Or, rent a car and explore some of the nearby towns—Saint Tropez is great for celebrity spotting, while the hilly village of Gassin is home to tons of art galleries.


FLY: Into Toulon–Hyères Airport in Toulon (TLN), a 20 minute drive to Le Canadel Beach. (Alternatively, Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport (NCE) or Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) are about two hours away.)


SLEEP: With incredible 360 views (lush foliage to the back, the Mediterranean's crisp aquamarine to the front), Le Bailli De Suffern overlooks one of the most beautiful bays in the Gulf of Saint Tropez, where you can see the exceptional Golden Islands. The spa and heated pool offer luxurious environments for you to truly relax (as if you weren't zenned-out already, because South of France) and between that and the resort's three authentic French restaurants, you'll never want to stray too far from the property.


WEAR: Nothing quite says retro glam like a floral one piece and a classic pair of cat-eyes, and a "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere" watch to help you remember that on vacation, every hour is happy hour. kate spade new york Garden Rose Smocked Underwire Maillot, $160, katespade.com; Genice Sunglasses, $150, katespade.com; Flights of Fancy Jeweled Grapefruit Slice, $348, katespade.com; White Coconut 5 O'Clock Somewhere Watch, $195, katespade.com

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Praia de Benagil Beach, Portugal

WHY: Nestled at the base of a beautiful fishing harbor, Praia de Benagil offers an authentic laid-back Portuguese vibe. The golden cliffs make for a gorgeous Insta-worthy backdrop, and they offer the perfect excuse for a leisurely afternoon hike to the edge where you can actually cliff-jump straight into the ocean (hello, adrenaline rush!) When you're sick of sunning yourself, many fishermen offer inexpensive boat trips to the nearby Benagil Caves, like Algar de Bengali, where you can swim, snorkel, and spot a sliver of bright blue sky through an opening in the ceiling known as "the eye."


FLY: Into Faro International Airport in Faro (FAO); a 45 minute drive to Praia de Benagil Beach.


SLEEP: Suites Alba Resort & Spa offers a stellar cliffside view of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. Check into a luxe apartment suite with a massive private terrace before taking a dip in the infinity pool overlooking the beach.


WEAR: You'll need swimwear that'll hold up for even the most adventurous outdoor activities. This playful one-piece won't fall off during even the most intense cliff dive or cave jump, and the minimalist gold watch is water resistant, so you won't have to worry about ruining it in the ocean. kate spade new york Balboa Island Kite Maillot, $160, katespade.com; Genice Sunglasses, $150, katespade.com; Flights of Fancy Skirt the Rules Hallie Tote, $348, katespade.com; Holland Skinny Strap Watch, $195, katespade.com

Balinghai Beach, Philippines

WHY: If you're into exotic greenery and cerulean blue water, you'll want to take full advantage and embrace the environment of total relaxation. Those who have made the trek to this wildly undiscovered part of the world describe it as "their own private enchanted garden," simply because Balinghai Beach just might be the most serene, secluded place on earth. But don't let Boracay's tranquility fool you, the island is home to some of the hottest nightlife in the Philippines. When the sun sets, head over to Exit Bar to meet friendly locals and dance on the beach to live music. If clubbing is more your scene, try popular-with-the-locals-hotspot Epic, or Boracay Stars, which is the only nightclub on the island with air conditioning.


FLY: Into Kalibo International Airport in Kalibo (KLO); a 75 minute ride from Caticlan Jetty Port, where you'll take a 15 minute boat ride to Balinghai Beach.


SLEEP: There's no better place to unplug and unwind than the beachside Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa. Hole up in a luxurious thatched roof villa, complete with a private pool and a personal butler. Make sure to try one of the hotel's renowned two restaurants: Sirena, a casual seafood restaurant set on top of a cliff, and Rima, a romantic tree-top respite with delicious Italian dishes. Sign up for some of the excursions and activities that are offered, including kayaking and deep sea diving, as well as one or two of Shangri-La's unique spa services. The most indulgent experience is the four-hour Tropical Serenity Ritual, composed of four distinctive Philippine treatments, including a coconut milk bath and a sand and sea body scrub.


WEAR: This adorable bikini and sunglasses combo will really make you pop against the green and blue backdrop of Boracay's natural beauty. Make sure to take your oversized palm tree tote to the spa—you'll need it to carry all of the traditional Filipino beauty products you're going to want to bring home! kate spade new york Playa de Palma Halter Underwire Top, $128, katespade.com; Playa de Palma Hipster Bottom, $65, katespade.com; Sharlotte Sunglasses, $175, katespade.com; On Purpose Leather Palm Tree Tote, $358, katespade.com; Sea Pony Metro Watch, $195, katespade.com

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Pinneys Beach, Nevis

WHY: Known by locals as Nevis' most fun party locale, Pinneys Beach is covered in sand the color of saffron and dotted with oversized palm trees. The main attraction is the Caribbean beach itself, so grab a towel and park yourself. Once you've gotten your fix of fun in the sun and the sand, head to Lime Cafe for an afternoon piña colada, then check out the Botanical Gardens of Nevis, which house a collection of lagoons, waterfalls, birds, rose gardens, and greenery. You can also hike through the mountainous rainforests or take a stroll through the abandoned sugar plantations. If underwater exploration is more your thing, try scuba diving—just a few minutes away from the shore, where you'll see reefs, shipwrecks and volcanic vents, as well as 800+ pound leatherback turtles swimming right beside you. Head to Double Deuce for dinner—the eclectic menu combines Caribbean and English specialties—and then hang around the beach bar afterwards where you can play pool, dance to reggae music and on Thursday nights, sing karaoke. FYI: No trip to Pinneys Beach would be complete without a visit to Sunshine's Beach Bar. Make sure to try the famous "Killer Bee" cocktail, but be careful! They're much stronger than they look.


FLY: Into Vance W. Amory International Airport in Nevis; a short 9 minute drive to the Pinneys Beach.


SLEEP: Paradise Beach Nevis is exactly what you would expect—pure paradise (cheesy, but true). The resort's beachfront private villas feature hidden outdoor showers and your own personal concierge, who will carefully arrange everything you need during your stay, from stocking your refrigerator to making dinner reservations and planning excursions.


WEAR: You won't want to waste a single moment of your precious time going back to your room to change, but luckily this bikini will take you seamlessly from the beach to the bar. Keep a tinted lip balm and flowy skater skirt in your backpack all day, and throw it on when the sun starts to set. kate spade new york Nahant Shore Bralette With Underwire, $116, katespade.com; Nahant Shore Classic Bottom, $63, katespade.com; Sharlotte Sunglasses, $175, katespade.com; Rogers Way Molly Backpack, $248, katespade.com; You Are Here Metro Watch, $225, katespade.com

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