Belize is full of gorgeous beaches to relax on, swim in, and explore, thanks to a 240-mile-long coastline hugging the Caribbean Sea and hundreds of offshore islands. From powdery white and copper sand to palm tree-shaded to clear blue water, Belize has beaches for all types of bums. While the country has become known as a diver’s paradise thanks to its massive barrier reef (the largest in the Northern Hemisphere), even if you don’t dive, you’ll still enjoy these stunning and vibrant beaches.
Secret Beach (Ambergris Caye)
Probably Belize’s worst kept secret, word has gotten out about the charm of this once-secluded spot on popular Ambergris Caye. To get there, take a golf cart about 30 minutes out of San Pedro town, first about 4 miles north and then about 3 miles east down a dirt road. Then enjoy the sun and sand, as well as a handful of restaurants and palapas for shade. There are also a few paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes for rent.
Placencia Peninsula (Placencia)
This thin, 16-mile long peninsula is home to the longest stretch of beach in mainland Belize. Dubbed “barefoot perfect,” the white-sand beach stretches across three villages. Expect clear blue water, palm trees swaying in the wind, and pristine powdery sand. Placencia is also home to one of the longest boardwalks in the world, which is lined with shops and restaurants. Have a drink at the Tipsy Tuna and shop for mahogany wood carvings, a specialty craft of Belize. From April to June, you’ll have the chance to glimpse—and even swim with—whale sharks.
Hopkins Beach (Hopkins)
Hopkins is home to five miles of uninterrupted beach that’s dotted with coconut trees, hammocks, colorful homes and guesthouses, and a few local eateries. Hopkins Village is a great place to experience Garifuna culture: eat hudut and other Garifuna delicacies at Queen Bean on the beach, take a drumming class at Lebeha Drumming Center, or go on a Garifuna tour with locally run J&D Tours.
Half Moon Caye (Lighthouse Reef)
This breathtaking crescent-shaped beach has sparkling white sand and clear turquoise water, and it’s a Natural Monument. The southern part is a protected turtle-nesting site for loggerhead and hawksbill sea turtles. The west side of the caye is a forest that’s a protected red-footed booby sanctuary and is also home to the magnificent frigate bird and about 100 other bird species. Visitors can climb an observation tower there to bird watch above the canopy.
The Split (Caye Caulker)
Caye Caulker is about 20 miles off the coast of Belize City. The Split is a narrow channel between the two halves of the island, which was created by Hurricane Hattie in 1961 and then purposely made larger to accommodate boats. The beach at the Split offers bright and clean water (usually seaweed free), making it an ideal swim spot. There is also a seawall creating a shallow water pool, and the sand is lined with picnic tables, bars, and restaurants.
Turneffe Atoll (Belize City coast)
Turneffe Atoll is the largest coral atoll in Belize and has been a protected marine reserve since 2012. Located about 20 miles from Belize City, it is the largest coral atoll in Belize. Turneffe Atoll, Lighthouse Reef, and Glover's Reef make up the Belize Barrier Reef. The beaches on Turneffe's main island are protected by long docks, making them perfect for swimming. If you want to stay overnight, book a room at the Turneffe Island Resort, which specializes in fly fishing excursions.
Silk Cayes (Placencia)
You’ll have to take a boat about 11 miles from Placencia to reach these two small, uninhabited islands. They are sometimes called Queen Cayes. Once there, ocean surrounds you as far as the eye can see and the scuba diving in this protected zone is some of the best in Belize.
Laughingbird Caye (Placencia)
A great day trip from Placencia, this undeveloped island is a national park and has white sandy beaches, palm trees, and turquoise water. Most guided boat tours offer snorkeling or scuba diving along the way, and the island is also a popular spot for bird watching. It's named for a bird that used to inhabit the island.
Long Caye Beach (Lighthouse Reef)
Remote and pristine, Long Caye is about 45 miles from the mainland and measures 710 acres—210 of which are part of a nature preserve. The pristine beach is protected from the wind and shaded by palm trees and mangroves. It has some of the best snorkeling from shore in Belize and is about 8 miles from the Blue Great Hole, a giant marine sinkhole that is truly unique in the world.
South Water Caye (Dangriga)
Known for its stellar under-the-radar diving and snorkeling activities, South Water Caye is 14 miles from Dangriga and is part of a marine reserve. Best of all, the reef can be reached easily from the shore via a short swim. The island sports soft, powdery white sand and coconut palms. It can be done as a day trip from Dangriga or Hopkins, or if you want to stay over, there are two resorts on the island: Pelican Beach Resort and Blue Marlin Beach Resort.