When it comes to travel, millennials are on a quest for experiences: Wanderlust drives this generation. Equally important is a place’s Instagram appeal. After all, this is the generation that invented the expression, “Do it for the gram.”
So when FlightNetwork, a Canadian travel website, recently released its list of the 50 best beaches in the world, ranked by 632 top travel professionals — including journalists, editors, and bloggers — we couldn’t help but notice how many of the spots were made for Instagram.
Here are our picks for the top beaches that will crush it on your social media feed. And then, read on for the full list of the best beaches in the world and what FlightNetwork had to say about each one.
1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Instagram Appeal: Best viewed from above (helicopter or seaplane), this spectacular beach is made up of swirls of white sand and aqua water. A search for the hashtag #whitehavenbeach on Instagram reveals an impressive 110,135 posts and myriad selfies.
Fun Fact: The sand here is composed of 98-percent silica, making it some of the whitest on earth — and the coolest. The sand doesn’t get hot in the sun.
Travel Tips: An affordable way to see Whitehaven Beach and the surrounding islands is to take a sailing trip with a company like OzSail, which runs two-night itineraries on former racing vessels. If you can’t afford a seaplane or helicopter ride over Whitehaven Beach, make your way to Tongue Point, where a trail leads to a lookout. You can also pitch a tent at a campsite on the edge of the three-mile-long beach.
2. Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Instagram Appeal: Yes, the sand here really is pink, and it stretches for over three miles, contrasting with the vivid blue water.
Fun Fact: The beach gets its hue from microscopic shelled animals with a reddish-pink shell called foraminifera, which are mixed into the sand along with coral, shells and calcium carbonate.
Travel Tips: If you’re going to Pink Sands Beach, there’s no better place to stay than Pink Sands Resort, set right on the rosy shores.
3. Hidden Beach, Islas Marietas, Mexico
Instagram Appeal: It takes work to get to Hidden Beach, which is set inside a cave with a massive hole to the sky. You need to take a boat here, then swim or kayak through a tunnel.
Fun Fact: Many people believe that this beach’s unique formation was created due to bombings by the Mexican government beginning in the 1900s.
Travel Tips: Most travelers get here via a one-hour-long boat trip from Puerto Vallarta. But it’s better to stay in the beach town of Punta Mita, since the Marietas are just off the coast. You can hire a panga, a small fishing boat, in Punta Mita.
Instagram Appeal: Pig Beach – located on Big Major Cay in the Exumas — is the only place in the world where you can swim with wild pigs.
Fun Fact: According to Travel + Leisure, there are many legends about how the pigs got here, from “a tale about a shipwreck to one about hungry pirates who dropped them off and never made it back for their meal.”
Travel Tips: Pig Beach is reachable only by boat, and it’s a smart idea to get here as early as possible, before the crowds arrive and when the pigs are still full of energy. The best place to stay is Fowl Cay Resort, where a boat rental is included in the price.
5. Lucky Bay, Australia
Instagram Appeal: Sure, there’s stunning white sand and vivid blue water, but the real reason to come to Lucky Bay is to get a snap of the resident kangaroos, hopping around on the beach.
Fun Fact: Keep an eye out — you might also spot migrating whales off the coast.
Travel Tips: This is an isolated area without many hotels, but lucky for travelers, it’s located within a national park that has nearby camping sites for rent.