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Now that winter has arrived, there's a good chance your thoughts are drifting in warmer directions. Specifically, beaches.
If you've zoned out at your desk imagining yourself enjoying the sound of the ocean with a drink in hand, you're in luck. FlightNetwork has released its second annual study of the World's Best Beaches and there's plenty to consider. We did the heavy lifting for you and pulled out the top three beaches from a few of FlightNetwork's categories to show you that no matter where you are, there's a great beach not too far away.
North America's best beaches
Tulum Beach - Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum Beach is a great spot if you're searching for something stateside and unique. While the serene beach is a 1.5-hour car ride away from Cancun International Airport, the views are definitely worth it.
Playa Norte Beach - Isla Mujeres island, Cancun. Playa Norte is another beach with a remote feel. The beach is a mere five miles long and reachable only by the Ultramar Ferry. You'll fly into Cancun International Airport — there are daily nonstop flights from New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago — and then hop onto the ferry, which runs every 30 minutes.
Balandra Beach, Baja, California. Traveling to Balandra Beach takes some effort, but it’s worth it. You'll need to fly into Los Cabos International Airport and then drive two hours to La Paz. Once you're in La Paz, you can catch a bus to the beach. Yes, we know it's a lot. Sometimes you have to work before you play.
» Learn more: How I flew for free on a round trip from NYC to India
Europe’s best beaches
Shipwreck Beach - Zakynthos, Greece. Just as the name implies, Greece's Shipwreck Beach is truly unique. It's located inside a cove and surrounded by giant cliffs. Yes, there is also a ship on the beach — the remains of the freightliner MV Panagiotis. To get to Shipwreck Beach, you'll need to fly into Zakynthos International Airport in Greece, then take a car to Navagio and finally a boat to the beach.
Reynisfjara Beach - Iceland. Reynisfjara Beach is another stunner. It features black volcanic sand and a view of the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, a group of unique rock formations located just off the beach. The only way to get to Reynisfjara is to fly into Keflavik Airport and then drive 2.5 hours to the beach.
Platja de Formentor - Mallorca, Spain. Platja de Formentor is a skinny stretch of beach surrounded by large mountains and towering pine trees. If you're traveling from North America, you'll need to fly into a major European hub first. Luckily, there are direct flights to Mallorca from London, Rome, Paris and more.
» Learn more: Get personalized travel advice in our community of experts
The world's best city beaches
Bondi Beach - New South Wales, Australia. Bondi Beach is just a 25-minute car ride away from Sydney, Australia’s international airport. If you like wild parties, Bondi is a beach for you. Every year, Bondi hosts New Year's Eve parties, music festivals, surfing contests and more.
Miami Beach - Miami. America's own Miami Beach was the runner-up to Bondi Beach. Miami Beach itself is great, but the area around it might be its biggest attraction. There are luxury spas, art galleries and more, all just a few blocks away from the sand.
Copacabana Beach - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Copacabana Beach is easily accessible from Rio's Galeão International Airport. The beach is serviced by more than 40 bus routes and three Metro stations.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Landing the best airfare Is a matter of timing How to snag credit card rewards flights in peak season This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards