Seven Of The World's Best Beach CampsitesUnder a clear, star-speckled night sky, waves lap in rhythm against the shore, while a fire dances and flickers, wafting the smell of salt and burnt wood across the sand. The fire casts light across the walls of the tent, while the aroma of woody smoke permeates the fly-less shelter, inviting a warm sea breeze through its interior. Beach camping takes the best of a tropical and exotic waterfront setting, and provides isolation, solitude, and even a bit of mystery. From the emerald waters of Thailand, to the rocky shores of the Pacific, we’re discovering some of the world’s best beach campsites. Sam Phraya Beach, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, Thailand
Playful monkeys swing through lush jungle branches, and old wooden outriggers drift silently in the surf in one of Thailand’s coastal national parks. Pitch a tent on the sand under towering rock formations, ancient sacred caves, and pristine turquoise water. The mile-long beach on the eastern shore looks out to the Gulf of Thailand. After setting up the tent on the sand, head towards the Phraya Nakhon Cave, where two sinkholes in the roof cascade light spectacularly on the Royal Pavilion inside. There are miles of hiking trails high onto the sea-cliffs and deep into the caves across the national park. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia
Perched on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach is so remote, it can only be reached by circumnavigating Whitsunday Beach by boat. Rated as one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, impossibly white sand lines the calm, warm tropical waters against a backdrop of eucalyptus forests. Much of the island in uninhabited, and the forests and waters are teeming with animal and marine life. From here, hire a boat to explore the farthest stretches of the reef, and then pitch a tent in total seclusion, where the nearest town is 18-miles away. Polihale State Park, Kauai, Hawaii
Following a hidden road leads to Polihale State Park, one of Hawaii’s most secluded and wild beach campgrounds. Set on the Western Shore of Kauai and protected by mountainous ridges and primitive road, Polihale is only accessed by unmaintained trails or 4WD vehicles. The magnificent Na Pali Coast rises to the west flanked by sea cliffs and an open ocean with strong currents, making Polihale one of Hawaii’s most remote surfing beaches. The southern end of the beach, known as Queen’s Pond, is more tranquil, making it safer for swimming and snorkeling. Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Rica
Shaped like a whales fin and jutting into the Pacific Ocean, Marino Ballena is one of the safest, remote, and most scenic camping beaches in Costa Rica. The beach sits on the edge of Central America’s largest and most colorful coral reefs, with opportunities for surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving with sea turtles and migrating humpback whales. Under a backdrop of Costa Rica’s spectacular mountains, the dense jungles give way to volcanic-sand beaches, where camping fees are rarely collected, and tents are free to be pitched anywhere. For the ultimate camp and surf destination, these shores are legendary. Gold Bluffs Campground, Lost Coast Trail, California
California’s Lost Coast was romantically immortalized by authors like John Steinbeck, who fell in love with the roaring surf, monumental sea stacks, and the rock-strewn shores of these hidden beaches. The drive to the campground passes through redwood groves, opening onto the grassy ridges behind the sand that's strewn with driftwood and boulders. Animal life is abundant, as elk and bear frequently tread the shore. From a distance they are no disturbance to campers, who pitch their tent directly on the sand. Nearby, the Fern Canyon Trail takes hikers from the swampy marshes at the edge of the beach to the top of the cliffs, overlooking the spectacular surf. Gillespies Beach, New Zealand
Head out to New Zealand’s West Coast to camp amidst seals, sea lions, whales, and bask under Mt. Cook and the spectacular Southern Alps. This remote stretch of beach has plenty of sites for setting up a tent on the grassy hills behind the shore. The famed sunset illuminates the mountains in pink and orange hues, and the driftwood strewn across the pebbly shore is perfect for building campfires. Just up the beach is a popular seal and sea lion colony, and migrating whales are frequently seen year-round. The ocean and the mountains show New Zealand at its best in one breathtaking panorama. Bahia Concepcion, Baja California, Mexico
Spend days kayaking amidst whale sharks, standup paddleboard with dolphins, and watch the sunset behind the silhouetted mountains. On the Gulf of California, pristine white sands, curling waves, and a laid back atmosphere invites campers to this little stretch of near-paradise on the Mexican coast. This beach is a congregation point for surfers, kayakers, and standup paddleboarders who come to explore the clear and warm teal waters, while the waves break far off shore. Pitch a tent and build a fire on the sand, enjoying the undeveloped camping experience. No facilities here. It’s just you and the ocean.