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10 Beautiful Beaches Where the Sun Won’t Completely Murder You

These are some shady beaches.

It’s completely understandable if you’re apprehensive about beaches. They’re gorgeous and calming, but there is kind of a caveat: the massive, damaging star in our sky.

Sometimes, sunscreen isn’t enough protection. If you’ve always been fond of sandy shores, but don’t want to turn into a lobster, there is hope. We’ve compiled a list of places around the world where you can build that dreamy sand castle in the comfort of your own shade.

bayfront anna maria
PHOTO: Lawton Chiles
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Bayfront Park

WHERE: Florida

This secluded shore is surrounded by Australian Pines and makes for an excellent picnic spot! Because it’s part of a park, you’ll find benches, grills, and even a playground, so bring your friends and camp out beneath one of the tropical evergreens. Elsewhere on Anna Maria Island you’ll find a bevy of excellent eateries–like the beachfront Beach House Restaurant and/or The Donut Experiment–and the Anna Maria Pier, where you’re sure to spot pelicans, dolphins and maybe even sharks (yikes).

Little bay, Anguilla
PHOTO: Nikolay Tranov/Shutterstock
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Little Bay

WHERE: Anguilla

Yes, this hidden treat is a bit difficult to get to as you either have to hike/climb down or take a boat to reach its shores, but we highly recommend it—especially a little later in the day when the sun has positioned itself so that the edges of nearby cliffs provide decent-sized pockets of shade. No umbrella necessary!

Anse La Roche
PHOTO: _dChris/Flickr
3 OF 10

Anse La Roche Bay

WHERE: Grenada

If you’re prone to sunburn, then a beach backed by woods is probably your ideal destination. In that case, Anse La Roche Bay is your dream beach.  You can hike to get there (through a national park!), but arrival by boat is much easier. The island may have plenty of foliage, but it’s fairly devoid of commercialism—it only has one gas station—so a trip could prove to be quite reflective.

hidden beach, mexico
PHOTO: miguelnaranjo/Shutterstock
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“Hidden Beach” (Playa del Amor)

WHERE: Mexico

OK, so the best possible option on this list requires a permit to get to, but it’s a personal favorite, because it’s in a massive cave. Yep, it’s located in the Marietas Islands—an hour-long boat ride from Puerto Vallarta—and you have to swim through a tunnel to enter it. Allegedly, the beach is the product of many bombings by the Mexican government in the early 20th century. Tour companies also hold daily trips to get here.

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Haad Yao Beach, Ko Pha Ngan

WHERE: Thailand

At Haad Yao Beach, you can post up under one of the many palm trees along the shoreline for a day—you’ll be shaded more heavily the later you go—and it’s a surprisingly excellent location for snorkeling. Just don’t forget your rash guard.

saltwhistle bay, grenadines
PHOTO: dvtdoc/Shutterstock
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Salt Whistle Bay

WHERE: Grenadines

Unique in scope, this Caribbean getaway has plenty of foliage to relax under and several luxurious accommodation options–including charming bungalows and “glamping” tents–if you choose to stay for a while. The area is also home to many coral reefs ripe for observation during a snorkeling session.  

hulopoe
PHOTO: kohide/Shutterstock
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Hulopoe Bay

WHERE: Lanai, Hawaii

Another Hawaiian getaway, this location might be a little more commercial and a little less shady, but it should definitely still be on your radar. The area has a host of beautiful coves worth seeking out, as well. The tide pools on the bay’s eastern side are also highlight worth exploring if you’re looking for a serene place to float alone.

beach of the cathedrals
PHOTO: John_Walker/Shutterstock
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“Beach of the Cathedrals” (La Playa de las Catedrales)

WHERE: Spain

This place has to be seen to be believed. The stone “cathedral” arches along the beach are a natural phenomenon and provide plenty of shade. But because of its uniqueness, you might not be able to stay all day–the popular beach can only have a limited number of visitors every day as to avoid overcrowding. So get there early!

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Nā Pali Coast State Park

WHERE: Kauai, Hawaii

It’s hard to believe a place like Nā Pali Coast State Park exists on our planet–it’s that gorgeous. The park is located in the northwest of Kauai and on your hike to any of the beaches on the Island’s edges (where you’ll be shaded by cliff-faces), you’ll encounter waterfalls and beautiful native flora. But remember, you will be hiking (around a mile or so) to the ocean, so bring the right footwear.

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Algarve Caves

WHERE: Algarve, Portugal

Limestone, which easily erodes, is the secret to the copious amount of dramatic coves and caves located in Algarve. Many of them are not easily accessed, including the very popular Benagil Cave, but their unique, otherworldly shapes make them worth seeking out. You’ll need sunscreen for the boat rides to and from, but otherwise…well, you’ll basically be in a cave, so your call.