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We know that not all beachgoers are created equal: Some never tire of surfing, while others like to balance their time in the sun with relaxing in a spa. Here, we've rounded up a collection of seashores both near and far where you can live out your coastal fantasy your way.
Explore Hidden Worlds
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
With its limestone cliffs and powder beaches, El Nido is a stunner from the ground up, but it's what you'll see below the surface—in the biodiverse coral reefs and lagoons—that will really blow you away. Instructors at El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island (from $460 per night, elnidoresorts.com) lead excursions to Dilumacad Tunnel, a 131-foot underwater cave system that is a nesting site for marine turtles.
The Details: El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island, from $460 per night, elnidoresorts.com.
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Perfect Your Downward Dog
Playa Mansa, José Ignacio, Uruguay
An official member of the bohemian beach circuit (see also: Montauk, Tulum), José Ignacio has gotten more attention over the past decade. But serenity still reigns during sunset yoga at the Shack held under a new pavilion on the village's main retch of sand. The studio owner, New Yorker Isabella Channing, can help arrange experiences like olive-oil tastings and art tours.
The Details: The Shack Yoga Classes, $30 per class, theshackyoga.com.
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Embrace the Grown-up Backpacker Vibe
Vagator Beach, North Goa, India
Sheltered by scrub-tufted cliffs, this Arabian Sea beach has been a haunt of young Western travelers since the 1960s. Nearby flea markets, mystical boulder sculptures, and dance parties still abound, but lately it's become a cultural nexus beloved by novelists and fashion designers. Add the chic new W Goa and it's easy to have a foot in each world—and both in the sand.
The Details: W Goa, from $280 per night, w-goa.com.
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Go From Sand to Sipping
Noordhoek Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
The winding Chapman's Peak Drive leads from Cape Town to Noordhoek Beach, which stretches for five white-sand miles to the Kommetjie Lighthouse. After you soak up the sun, it's just five minutes on back roads to Cape Point Vineyards and its rows of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. There's no better location for a postswim wine tasting, gourmet picnic, or lazy lunch, starring local dishes like springbok shank.
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Bliss Out in Solitude
Félicité Island, Seychelles
Talk about remote: The new wellness-focused Six Senses Zil Pasyon is set on a private island dotted with massive granite rocks way out in the Indian Ocean. Work your muscles hiking to a secret beach and swimming in the turquoise shallows, then retreat to the spa for the Cave Journey, which includes an African foot ritual, a myrrh body scrub, and an organic shea-butter massage.
The Details: Six Senses Zil Payson, from $1,345 per night, sixsenses.com/zilpasyon.
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Get Your Culture Fix
Porthminster Beach, Cornwall, England
With the native palm trees, blue waters, and golden sand, you may think you're in the Caribbean, not the charming town of St. Ives. Don't miss the Tate St. Ives, which reopens this spring and is in the midst of a major refresh. (A large new gallery ace debuts in the fall.) Nearby is the Tate-affiliated Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, dedicated to the wood, bronze, and stone works of the 20th-century artist.
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Pretend You're the Last People on Earth
Helena Bay, New Zealand
It takes a while to reach Helena Bay Lodge a remote luxury estate that opened in November near New Zealand's northern tip. But the reward is a majestic natural setting of island-studded Pacific bays backed by emerald bush. A network of trails crisscrosses the 750-acre property, leading to five deserted beaches—one for each couple staying in the seafront suites.
The Details: Helena Bay Lodge, from $1,175 per night, helenabay.com.
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Live Out Those "Endless Summer" Dreams
Playa Manzanillo, Guacalito De La Isla, Nicaragua
Powerhouse swells have made Nicaragua a go-to destination for the surf cognoscenti, but you don't need to be an expert to ride the waves on this crescent of sand on the Pacific. And now's the time: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic film, Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa has created surf itineraries for riders of all skill levels.
The Details: Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, from $500 per night, mukulresort.com.
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Channel Your Inner Epicure
Sugar Beach, Soufrière, St. Lucia
The calm inlet of Sugar Beach is on the island's agriculturally rich western coast—meaning you can take walks at the on-site plantation at Jade Mountain and indulge in a cacao massage at Hotel Chocolat. Beyond the luxury resorts, you'll find local favorites like Martha's Tables, known for Creole specialties.
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