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Travel Inspo: 14 Under the Radar Beaches You Need to Know About!

Skip Zuma Beach

Sometimes it seems like everyone in L.A. heads to Zuma Beach in Malibu on the weekends, but if you drive just four miles north you can get some privacy (and breathtaking scenery) at El Matador. It's one of my favourite beaches in California—especially at sunset.

Pfieffer Beach

The sand on this Northern California beach is patched with purple, thanks to the manganese garnet deposits in the hills above.

Secret Jersey Shore

Skip Point Pleasant Beach and go to Bay Head instead—it's only five minutes away, it's much less chaotic and crowded, and there's a great deli nearby called Curtis's Central Market that makes amazing subs for outdoor picnics.

Ipanema Beach

The beach scene is a bustling one year-round on the mile-long stretch of sea and sand that inspired one of the most famous bossa nova ditties of all time. The lively area is no doubt fueled by the parade of beautiful beachgoers; the majestic views of the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) mountains to the west; the nonstop hive of game-playing in the form of football, volleyball, and the hybrid footvolley; and the seemingly never-ending supply of beer and cachaça.

Skip Waikiki

In Honolulu, skip crowded Waikiki and walk to your left (looking at the ocean) to the much less visited San Souci Beach.

Secret Dubrovnik

In Dubrovnik, skip crowded Banje and go to Sveti Jakov—the ultimate, awesome locals spot just down the coast.

Skip Atlantic City

I’m telling you: visit any beach in Margate (pictured) or Longport, NJ, right next to Atlantic City. The caveat is you will need to get a beach tag.

Secret Cape Cod

Check out the bay side of Cape Cod National Seashore. Marconi Beach on the ocean side can get very busy, but if you drive to the other side of the Cape (just across Route 6), there are beautiful, almost completely empty beaches with rolling sand dunes and wild roses. Especially just above Wellfleet.

Secret Maui

In Maui, skip the crowded Kihei beaches and drive 15 minutes south to Makena Beach.

Secret Rio

On Cabo Frio (like the Hamptons, if Rio was New York), there’s the famous and gorgeous second-home-town of Búzios, with all of its popular beaches. But on the other side of the cape, there’s the much more laid-back surfer vibe town of Arraial do Cabo with its amazing long beach, Praia Grande (pictured).

Skip Panama City, FL

Instead of Panama City, FL, head to T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State.

Skip Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach may be the star of the northern Oregon coast, but down south, Bandon (pictured) has the same staggering rock formations—plus a charming boardwalk, mutiple (renowned) golf courses, and scenic beaches. Stop off at Pacific City along the way if you prefer a chill surfer's cove. 

Secret St Barts

Go to Saline Beach (pictured) instead of St. Jean in St. Barts. Few spots on this tiny island could contain less of its notorious bling-factor. It’s a five-minute hike over dunes from a salt pond–adjacent parking lot, rewarded by a third-mile-long stretch of nearly empty sand. Bring a picnic lunch from Maya’s To Go (opposite the airport) or stay late enough in the day for a spectacular steak at the aptly named Meat & Potatoes restaurant just around the corner (opens nightly at 7 p.m.).

Skip First Beach in Newport, RI

Go to Second Beach (Sachuest, pictured) instead of First Beach (Easton’s) in Newport, RI. Factor in softer sand, better waves, and far less “red tide” and it’s worth heading farther out of town and into Middletown. Backed by dunes, flowering Rosa rugosa, and the wilds of the Norman Bird Sanctuary, it’s a pleasant break from the narrow, Colonial streets of the City-by-the-Sea. Most folk flock to Flo’s Clam Shack (en route, or on return) but best to detour to Sweetberry Farm for less of the fried fare.

Have you visited any of these secret beaches? Do you have any recommendations for us that are a little close to home? Let us know!

- M x

Content source: CNTraveler

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