Sand, wind and sea combine to make the most enticing combo for having fun. If you’re into wet and wild adventures, high adrenaline sports, or simply keeping fit, it’s hard to beat the beach!

But where are the best beaches in the world for action-oriented agendas? Here’s our guide for vacations — around the U.S. and across the globe — for people who love to keep active at the beach.

San Diego, California

Couple running along the beach

If you love staying in shape and being able to enjoy the beach at anytime during the year, San Diego is the place for you. With more than 25 mile of coast stretching from Sunset Cliffs to La Jolla and plenty of trails and pathways for running, hiking and biking at or near the shore, San Diego is one of the healthiest cities in America. For running on the beach with a backdrop of the sun setting into the Pacific, surfing world class waves with urban amenities in close proximity, or simply doing any kind of exercise regime in pleasant weather whatever the season, San Diego awaits fun loving and fit vacationers.

Huntington Beach, California

So much of what comes to mind when we think about So Cal culture is centered around the lifestyle of people who live in Orange County and Huntington Beach. The original Surf City U.S.A., Huntington Beach has a broad 10-mile shore that’s perfect for beach volleyball and other sports with a well maintained boardwalk that’s ideal for jogging, cycling, and skating. Of course, the surfing is top draw here as well. The city hosts a range of surfing competitions including the U.S. Open of surfing. If you seek a swell time during your next beach break – head to Huntington Beach!

Santa Monica and Venice, California

As the sun sets a silhouetted man works out on gymnast rings

Santa Monica and Venice are where Angelinos go to unwind, relax, and work out, so the people watching here is perfect as are the weather and the access to the outdoors. Sculpt your beach body at the world famous Muscle Beach outdoor gym, bike around the canals of Venice, or take a stroll along the Santa Monica Pier. Off the sand, innovative and health-conscious juice bars will keep you hydrated and energized and some of the nation’s best yoga studios will welcome you in to help you maintain your mindfulness and flexibility.

Ogunquit, Maine

Is coastal hiking or kayaking your thing? Then you’ll love it in Ogunquit, Maine. On a south coast peninsula between the Atlantic and the Ogunquit River and surrounded by wildlife reserves and refuges, this quaint little town is a dream come true for nature lovers. From major hikes up Mount Agamenticus to leisurely strolls along the Marginal Way, you’ll wear your boots out well before your interest here. Same goes for the many chances and untouched places on the water where you can paddle!

Kaanapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

 Water sport vacation travel concept. Kaanapali beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA

Narrowing down a “best” beach for Hawaii is no easy task! All the Hawaiian Islands are excellent destinations for sporty and activity filled itineraries. Moreover, each island has a wonderful variety of beaches suitable for all sorts of pastimes. But, if you had to pick just one for your fitness fun, Kaanapali on Maui definitely would not disappoint. Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and cliff diving are a few of the things you can do any day of the week, any time of the year. More ocean fun is within reach with some of the best spots in the world for wind and kite surfing. Kaanapali Beach and nearby Lahaina are popular tourist destinations with a range of accommodation options and amenities available. But with miles of vast wilderness spread across the island’s interior and plenty of quiet and secret beaches and coves for those keen to explore, the area is a smart base for off-the-grid wilderness adventures as well.

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

For a true surfing safari the rugged and remote Skeleton Coast of Namibia should be top choice on your bucket list! Opportunities to discover shipwrecks, encounter ginormous colonies of seals, and come across big game wildlife including lions, giraffes, and elephants living in unique desert habitats make this stretch of southwestern Africa’s Atlantic coastline one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Skeleton Coast runs close to 200 miles up to Namibia’s border with Angola. A safe and well-situated base for your adventures might be the charming seaside town of Swakopmund, set on a gorgeous bay with the expanses of the Namib Desert just inland from it.

West Papua and the Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

scuba diver diving on tropical reef with blue background and reef fish

Indonesia’s West Papua and Raja Ampat Islands are among the most amazing destinations for scuba diving with some of the world’s biggest and healthiest coral systems. And if you know anything about coral, then you know that healthy coral equals vibrant species diversity and a fascinating variety of marine life, which makes it one of the best beaches in the world for divers. On land, the bird-watching is just as mind-blowing.

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, Australia

Freycinet National Park on the Australian island of Tasmania offers a wildly serene setting for outdoor adventures. White sandy beaches contrast with jagged and pink granite peaks and crystal blue water, bird life abounds, and the sweet scent of eucalyptus is carried on the breeze from coastal forests. Aside from the height of Australia summer holidays (around Christmastime), visitors here can have the place to themselves. For seaside camping, scenic trekking, and an array of ways to make a splash, this giant gem of a national park on the east coast of Tasmania is well worth consideration.

Do you have a favorite beach activity or a favorite beach for keeping fit and having adventures? Let us know in the comments section.

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About The Author

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.