This is where two worlds meet- the land, where we live, and the mysterious underwater world, hidden under the vast surface of the oceans. This is the coastline. It can be rocky, with high cliffs, or it can be flat, covered by mangrove forests. But the most exciting type of coastline is the beach– a sweet dream triggering so many impressions, fun, and happiness. There are various types of beaches- some small and pristine, others are long and straight, exposed to the high waves of the open sea. Let’s focus on the 10 longest beaches in the world and let’s enjoy their specific charm and beauty!
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Basic facts about beaches
We love beaches, right? And many of us look at them just like places for fun and romantic moments. But would you like to learn more about them? For example, can you imagine how your favorite beaches have looked like thousands of years ago? Why do they exist? And why the coastlines of the Earth are so different? Let’s get into geography.
Yes, the coastlines are different, and only a small part of them are beaches. And the beaches are different too. Usually, they are formed in the bottoms of the bays, or on long, low, and straight coastlines, and almost never on capes and promontories. It is because to form sand, there should be proper conditions- proper water currents and swells, and such conditions are not present at the capes and promontories.
The beaches are very diverse. In fact, they can be formed not only by sand but also by small stones, pebbles, even corals and shells. The sand can be fine or coarse, in different colors, from white to black. There are beaches with almost permanently calm waters. But the long beaches that we will explore are always exposed to rough waters, and sometimes they are a great place for surf too.
About the long beaches
These are certain types of beaches that can be found on every continent, as well as on some large islands. Usually, these beaches are located on straight shorelines or very wide-open bays. Their width can vary, and in some places can be a few hundred meters, even a km or wider, gradually turning into a dune area. In other places, they can become narrow, especially if there are cliffs behind them. Usually, they feature fine sand, but in their narrowest parts, the sand can be coarser or mixed with more shells or corals.
Today, these beaches are favorite places for resort establishing. And because they can be too long, resorts occupy only parts of them. Thus, the rest can remain empty, or partially empty. And that’s the good thing. If you go to a resort on a long beach and don’t want to go too far from your hotel, you can go to the crowded area of the beach. But if you want to go far from the crowds, you have to walk (or drive, if there is a seaside road) to a remote and empty part of the beach. However, have in mind that usually those who build resorts always choose the best parts of the sand strip!
So, let’s start our journey to the 10 longest beaches in the world.
The 10 longest beaches in the world
Long Beach, USA
Length: 45 km (28 miles)
Our first destination is Long Beach, on the northwestern coast of the United States, in Washington State. Here you can see a long foot-shaped peninsula that “steps” on the Pacific Ocean. It is almost flat, 45 km (28 miles) long and 2-3 km wide. This is Long Beach Peninsula. And its “heel” is plain and straight, covered from south to north by one of the longest beaches in the world, also called “Long Beach”.
The Long Beach is about 100-120 m wide, with fine yellowish-gray sand, and is the longest beach on a peninsula in the world. It is directly exposed to the rough waves and currents of the Pacific. It is beautiful, but not proper for swimming, even for playing- the ocean water is cold, even in summer, not exceeding 15 °C. And even you enter the water for a while, you have to be very cautious due to the strong surfing waves.
How to explore Long Beach
Long Beach is about 195 km (122 miles) from Portland and 290 km (182 miles) from Seattle. It is easily accessible by bus, taxi, and even train. If you come from Portland, you can travel by bus to Astoria, for about 2h 10 min, then take a taxi for about 30 min. And if you come from Seattle, you can travel by train to Longview, then again by taxi. Or you can drive all the way to Long Beach since good roads are leading to the final destination.
Once you arrive there, you can stay in the city of Long Beach, which is also a resort. But again, you can’t go to the beach for swimming. Instead, you can enjoy the stunning views of the beach and the ocean, you can play kites, make a picnic, or just walk on the sand and the dunes. The beach is a national park, but there is no entrance fee.
Now, let’s go to Europe.
Sines – Troia Beach, Portugal
Length: 63 km (39 miles)
This is the longest beach in Europe. It doesn’t have a specific name- just the beach between the towns of Sines and Troia. The beach is located on a widely curved coastline, exposed to the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. And its northern end is at the tip of the small Troia Peninsula. It is thinner than Long Beach, with an average width of 60 m, and again, the land behind it is flat. Its sand is yellowish and fine.
The most interesting place on this beach is the lake Lagoas de Santo Andre- a lagoon on the other side of the beach. Thus, the beach in this place is like a more than a kilometer-long bridge of sand, between the lagoon and the ocean. This lagoon is turned into a natural reserve. Another lagoon is Lagoa de Melides. It is smaller and just reveals a different but not less stunning beach view.
How to explore Sines – Troia Beach
This beach is located south of Lisbon, and its northernmost tip (the tip of the Troia Peninsula) is right in front of Setubal City. So, if you come from Lisbon, you can take a bus or a train to Setubal. By bus, you would travel around 45 min, by train- 49 min, and by car- around 35 min. And from Setubal, you can take the ferry to Troia Peninsula. There are ferries every 1-2 hours, and the whole trip is 25 min.
Once you arrive at Troia, you can enjoy the beach in summer. The water in summer is enough warm, so you can swim and play on the beach. Troia is the northernmost resort at the beach, and sometimes it can be crowded. But the beach is long, and you can go further south to more empty places.
There are many small resorts along the whole beach, and the beach sections in front of them have their own names, like Praia da Comporta, Praia da Torre, Praia do Carvalhal, Praia do Pinheirinho, Praia de Melides, and many others. Some of these “sub-beaches” are just favorite places without resorts. And you can enjoy the beach from May to October, for almost six months.
Now, let’s go to Australia.
Fraser Island Beach, Australia
Length: 65 km (40 miles)
The eastern coast of Australia looks “smooth and clear”. There are no big islands, big bays, and big peninsulas, from its southernmost point to Cape York. But if you focus on its middle area, in the state of Queensland, you can see a small piece of land, cut from the main coastline, and pointing to the north-northeast. This is Fraser Island, known as the largest sand island on Earth.
Fraser Island is about 123 km long and about 22 km wide. Most of it is covered by rainforest, swamps, eucalyptus, and mangrove forests. And its eastern coast is occupied by one of the longest beaches in the world- Fraser Island Beach. In fact, the whole island is formed by sand, like a giant sand bar, but only its eastern coast is a “classical” beach.
How to explore Fraser Island Beach
Fraser Island Beach is known as the “most dangerous island in the world”. This is due to the local wildlife, but not only. First, there is a huge population of Dingo wild dogs. They rarely attack humans, but it can still happen.
But the most dangerous part of the beach is the sea. There are a lot of deadly jellyfishes (like Irukanji), as well as white sharks. Local currents are also strong and unpredictable. On top of that, there are no beach lifeguards, and no hospital or other medical station on the island. Nevertheless, Fraser Island and its beach is an attractive place for those tourists who are more adventurous.
You can reach the island from Hervey Bay- on 3 hours and 30 min, or 50 min flight from Brisbane. Then, you can get the local ferry from River Heads wharf. Once you arrive there, the only way to travel around the island is by local taxi, your own vehicle (but you have to pay for a permit), or on foot.
There are several local resorts, where you can stay in a hotel. Otherwise, you can camp on the beach (but again, if you do it out of the established campsites, you have to pay for another permit). And you can spend your time on the island exploring its forests, its lakes, the local ancient Butchulla culture, or the beach.
Ninety Mile Beach, New Zealand
Length: 88 km (55 miles)
Now, we move to New Zealand, and our goal is the northernmost tip of the Northern Island. You can see the narrow Aupouri Peninsula on the map. And if you focus on its western coast, you can see it- the Ninety Mile Beach.
Actually, it is only 55 miles long, despite its name. Its starts from Ahipara Bay and extends northward to the end of the peninsula. Its width varies from about 30-40 m in the south to more than 200 m in the north. You can also see the dunes beside its northern part. The largest dune area, located beside the northernmost end of the beach looks like a desert landscape.
How to explore Ninety Mile Beach in New Zealand
To reach the southernmost end of the Ninety Mile Beach from Auckland, the nearest big city, you can take a plane for 1 h 5 min (arrive in Kaitaia and take a local taxi to the beach), three buses for more than 9 hours, or drive your own car (or rental car) for about 4-5 hours.
But the most attractive parts of the beach are in the north. This is the area where you can find the most beautiful dunes near the beach, called Te Paki Sand Dunes (Giant Sand Dunes). They are connected to the beach, creating great opportunities for beach and desert adventures. Sandboarding is the most popular activity here.
In general, the only hotels near the beach are located in Ahipara, a nice resort town at the southern end of the beach. To explore the beach further north, you have to be more adventurous. In this area, you can spend the night only by camping. A popular way to explore it is by 4×4 vehicles driving on the sand (but be aware of the tides, there are accidents with such vehicles due to the high tide). You can also swim in the sea, although it is not the greatest beach for swimming.
Playa Novillero, Mexico
Length: 90 km (56 miles)
Let’s go to the Pacific coast of Mexico. If you look at the coastline in the western middle of the country, you can see a prolonged plain between the ocean and the Cordilleras. This plain ends in the ocean by one of the longest beaches in the world- Playa Novillero.
Actually, Playa Novillero is a section of a longer chain of beaches between the city of Mazatlan in the north to the town of San Blas in the south. This chain is interrupted by several rivers, and the area between Acaponeta River in the north and Agua Brava lagoon in the south is the best part of Playa Novillero, located in the state of Nayarit.
The sand of the beach is mainly yellowish, in some places with brownish nuance. It is well-known for its shallow water, where you can easily walk deeply into the ocean, for more than 100 m from the coast, depending on the tide.
How to explore Playa Novillero
The nearest big city to the beach is Guadalajara. There are buses to Tecuala for about 5 h 30 mins to more than 6 hours, and from there you have to take a taxi for 25 min to the beach. Or you can travel from the nearby middle-sized cities Mazatlan in the north (2 hours by bus), and Tepic in the south (1 h 45 min by bus)- again to Tecuala.
Once you arrive there, you can stay in Hotel Hacienda Novillero. It can be your “base camp” for exploring and enjoying the beach. From here, you can go to the sand strip, swim in the ocean, play or just relax on the sand. Or you can go further north or south and camp on the beach (although you should be cautious because there are no established campsites on the beach and it could be a bit unsafe). There are also some other bungalows and villas that you can stay too.
Now, let’s go to Asia and find the longest beach on this continent.
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
Length: 150 km (93 miles)
Let’s focus on the northeastern coast of the Bay of Bengal, the southeast part of Bangladesh. Here, east of the majestic Ganges Delta, the coastline proceeds to the southeast, and most of it is occupied by long strips of sand, forming one of the longest beaches in the world- Cox’s Bazar Beach. In fact, its central part is only about 85-90 km, but it proceeds with interruptions along the neighboring river canals. Thus its total length reaches 150 km.
The beach has a different width, from only 20 to more than 300 m. It features yellowish sand, and although its waters are not the clearest, due to the nearby river delta, it is still a great place to explore and enjoy. The beach is divided into many sections, including its additional appendices at the canals. Some of them are favorite places for tourists.
How to explore Cox’s Bazar Beach
The main starting point for exploring Cox’s Bazar Beach is the city of Cox’s Bazar, located at the northern point of the beach’s main part. It is a middle-sized city, with a strong Southeast Asia taste, and several natural and historic attractions. There are buses from the capital Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar for 9 hours, and from Chittagong (Chattogram) for 3 hours.
Once you arrive in Cox’s Bazar City, you can start exploring and enjoying the beach. The nearest to the city part of the beach is the most popular. Here is the resort of Kolatoli, and the best beach section- Laboni Point, a favorite place for swimming, surfing, and many other activities.
Further south the beach is combined with the stunning Himchhori Natural Park and its waterfalls. Beyond it are the beaches of Inani, and Teknaf, featuring corals, mangroves, and in general, much wilder than the north. Finally, you reach the southernmost point of the beach- the sandbar of Shahpori Beach and its sea turtle sanctuary. This is the end of the beach and the country of Bangladesh. From here, Myanmar and Southeast Asia lie in front of you.
Ninety Mile Beach, Australia
Length: 151 km (94 miles)
Let’s back to Australia again, but this time- to the continent’s southernmost area, north of the island of Tasmania. Here, in the eastern part of Victoria State, you can see another one of the longest beaches in the world- Ninety Mile Beach. This time, its name almost properly corresponds with its real length.
The beach features fine yellowish-golden sand, and its width varies from about 60 to 200 m. It is also an outer shore of the Gippsland Lakes. Again, like the other beaches, it is divided into many sections, and dozens of towns and resorts are established beside it. Its waters are proper for swimming only in summer, and there are certain points with lifeguards for those who want to play in the water.
How to explore Ninety Mile Beach in Australia
Ninety Mile Beach is easily accessible from Melbourne. There is a good road network, and by car, you can reach it within 3-4 hours. You can also travel by bus (for more than 6 hours) or by train to Sale, and another bus to the best part of the beach- Paradise and Golden beaches.
Ninety Mile Beach is good for various kinds of activities. You can stay in some of the resorts along the beach, or you can go camping in the campsites established on it. If you come by car, you can travel along the length of the beach on the coastal roads, and you can combine your beach experience with exploring the nearby natural parks with lakes and forests, including the Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park. And if you travel to the westernmost point of the beach, you can proceed to the southernmost tip of mainland Australia- Wilson’s Promontory.
Padre Island Beach, USA
Length: 182 km (113 miles)
Now, let’s go to Texas, USA. Here is the Gulf of Mexico. Focus on the coastline near the border of Mexico, the country. Here you can notice that the coast goes smoothly south-southwestward. But if you zoom further, you can see that the coast is somehow separated from the rest of the land by an extremely thin and long lagoon. Thus, this coast is the coastline of the longest barrier island on the Earth- Padre Island. And it is 100% occupied by sand.
As a result, we see one of the longest beaches in the world- Padre Island Beach. It is almost uninterrupted, except for the channel that cuts the island in front of a point, called Port Mansfield. Its sand is fine, mainly white-yellowish. Like the other long beaches, it is divided into many sections with different names. And most of the beach is a beautiful wilderness.
How to explore Padre Island Beach
The nearest big city to the beach is San Antonio. And the nearest to San Antonio point of the beach is the town of Corpus Christi. You can travel by bus from San Antonio to Corpus Christi for 3 hours, or you can drive the distance for a little more than 2 hours.
Once you arrive in Corpus Christi, you can take a local bus No. 29 or 65, for another 2 hours, or proceed driving (or take a taxi) for about 25 min. The road crosses the lagoon and reaches the resort of the White Cap Beach, one of the northernmost sections of Padre Island Beach. And from here, your adventure can begin.
The wilderness starts south of the resort. Here you enter Padre Island National Seashore Park. There is an entrance fee of 15 USD per pedestrian or a bicycle for 7 days and higher fees for vehicles. And if you have a 4x4WD vehicle, you can proceed southward on the beach much further. There are no resorts until the southernmost tip of the island, and the only way to stay during the night is in the campsites established in various places.
Eventually, your way southward would be cut by the Port Mansfield Channel, and if you want to explore the southern part of Padre Island, you have to do it from the other resort- South Padre Island, driving to the north. Again, you can enjoy a fantastic wilderness all the way on the beach.
Praia do Cassino, Brazil
Length: 212 km (132 miles)
Now we go to the southernmost coastline of Brazil, to the border of Uruguay. Here we can see a beach, considered by some as the Number One longest beach in the world. And indeed its 212 km length is uninterrupted by rivers, channels, or something else. This is Praia do Cassino Beach- the longest beach in the Americas.
Praia do Cassino stretches from the resort town of Cassino and the Rio Grande seaport in the north to the Chui Stream at the border with Uruguay. In some places, it is narrow, about 60-70 m width only, but in other places, it is mixed with dunes almost 5 km wide. Actually, the dune area of the beach is its most beautiful part. Here the beach is separated from the mainland by Lagoa Mangueira.
How to explore Praia do Cassino
The nearest big city to the beach is Porto Alegre. From here, you can take a bus to Cassino town-resort for about 5 hours, or drive, again for a little less than 5 hours. Once you arrive there, you can start enjoying the beach. But to experience its incredible length, you have to go on a journey southward on it.
Or you can reach the beach from Uruguay. There is a bus (about 5 hours) from the capital Montevideo to the border with Brazil at Chuy- to the city of Chuy or to the coastal town of Barra del Chuy. You cross the border and take another bus or taxi to the resort Barra do Chui, at the southernmost tip of Praia do Cassino.
But the real adventures are in the middle, between Barra do Chui (and the neighboring Atlantico) and Cassino towns. However, you can reach the middle sections of the beach only by a 4x4WD vehicle, driving on the beach. And the most exciting part is located between the Lagoa Mangueira and the ocean. Here you can spend the night in the campsite Hotel Abandonado (The Abandoned Hotel).
Now is time for the longest beach on our planet. Let’s back to Australia for the third time!
Eighty Mile Beach, Australia
Length: 220 km (140 miles)
Obviously, those who named the beach haven’t observed its whole length. It is not only incredibly long but also even wilder than the other longest beaches in the world. Since it is located in sparsely populated Western Australia, tourism is not so developed there. There are no other resorts except Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park.
So, it is a place for more adventurous tourists and explorers. And there are good reasons to explore it. It has rich wildlife, and a large part of the beach is combined with a sandy wetland, where the Gascoyne River disappears before reaching the Indian Ocean. This is an amazing wildlife sanctuary, excellent for migratory birds watching.
How to explore Eighty Mile Beach
Eighty Mile Beach is located between the cities of Broome and Port Headland. You can come from Broome to Bidyadanga for 1 h 45 min by bus, and from there you can only find a taxi. Or you can come from Port Hedland to Sandfire Roadhouse Caravan Park by bus for 3 hours, and again, from there you can proceed only by taxi.
Broome and Port Hedland are connected by the Great Northern Highway, running along the beach, but still much far from the ocean. You can drive on this road directly from these cities, choose a point to stop your car, and reach the 15-20 km far coast on foot (or by other more adventurous ways). Yes, there are dirt roads much closer to the coast, including the road to the Eighty Mile Caravan Park, but there are proper only for 4x4WD vehicles.
However, Eighty Mile Beach is not proper for swimming, due to the sharks, sea snakes, and other dangerous creatures, as well as the strong currents (in some places you still can swim, but still, it is risky). There are also too many fishing lines in the water. But you can enjoy many other activities, such as bird watching, fishing, driving, playing, picnic and camping.
More longest beaches in the world
There are some other beaches, nominated as some of the longest beaches in the world. Some of them are interrupted (and that’s why not everybody considers them in the Top 10), others have parts that doesn’t exactly looking like a beach. Among them, I would mention Stockton Beach in Australia, Virginia Beach in the USA, Muizenberg Beach in South Africa, and several other beaches. Anyway, although they are not always considered as a part of the 10 longest, they still look like endless strips of sand leading beyond the horizon.
There are so many other beaches on the Earth, shorter than those ten, but still long enough to provide the feeling of the vastness of the deep blue sky, the endless ocean with the sand strip leading somewhere beyond the horizon. And maybe the best thing about the long beaches is the emptiness- they are too long to be filled by crowds. What could be better than enjoying the beach landscape- only you and the stunning nature around!
Want to see more charts of best natural features and go to explore them?
Take a look at the following ones:
Check some books about beaches:
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Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.