While resorts and hotels often tout private beaches to potential guests, plenty of countries (and states) don't technically allow private ownership of their coastlines. Here are eight of our favorite destinations where there are no private beaches. Happy sunbathing!
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There are plenty of hard-to-reach beaches in Thailand — some are blocked from easy public access by private property (often in the form of luxurious boutique hotels or resorts). However, all beaches here belong to the public. For travelers, the best bet is often to either walk through a hotel like they own the place or arrive by boat.
Spain is another country where all the beaches are public, and hotels are not allowed to restrict access to outside guests who wish to come for a bit of surf and sun. However, some hotels and resorts offer sunbeds and other amenities exclusively to their guests, leaving outside visitors to fend for themselves.
Not only are all beaches in Cyprus public, but many of the luxury beachfront resorts in holiday hot spots like Paphos are unable to secure rights from the municipality to maintain sunbeds for their guests. In other words, travelers staying in all-inclusive beachfront properties might still have to pay extra to score a sunning spot down on the public beach. However, some hotels have found ways around this. For example, the Grecian Sands Hotel in Ayia Napa has its own faux sand beach with free sunbeds, located on an elevated stretch of private hotel grounds overlooking the public beach.
The entire Pacific coastline, from the northernmost tip of Washington down to the border with Mexico, is 100 percent public. All three West Coast states have passed legislation declaring that the beaches are public. However, California’s legislation has been much to the dismay of beachfront property owners. There have been complaints of private security guards menacing beachgoers, claiming beachfront land is private when it’s not.
The Caribbean island of Barbados is yet another country where the beaches are all public. However, access is sometimes a challenge, especially on the west coast, and some beachfront properties offer lounge chair access only to their guests. That said, quite a few resorts offer day passes to outside guests who wish to use the property’s amenities. This may be worth it for those who want lounge chairs, umbrellas, and toilet facilities.
As most Australians live nearish to the coast, the beach plays a huge part in local culture. Therefore, it makes sense that all 10,685 beaches in the antipodean country would be public.
If you’ve spent any time in Cancun or other beachfront destinations in Mexico, you may assume that the beaches are all private, owing to the numerous hotels and resorts that forebodingly block the coast from coastal roads. However, all beaches in the country are public, and accessing them sometimes just means walking through a hotel lobby pretending to be a guest.
The U.S. Virgin Islands have plenty of gorgeous beaches, complete with white sand and blue waters. And they’re all public, from busy Magens Bay on St. Thomas to the quiet Northside Valley Beach on St. Croix. Do note that while some beaches in the island chain do charge access fees, they’re usually nominal.
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