A ring of sand with the heart of a volcano, Bali is an ideal place to find your perfect beach. Whether you want to brush up on your surfing skills on some of the most challenging waves in the world, relax in lagoon-like waters while considering your next coconut-based cocktail, or dive into aquatic adventures that you have to see to believe, there’s nothing this Indonesian paradise can’t offer. Here’s our pick of the eight best places to hit the beach in Bali:
Protected by a distant reef, the light blue waters of Sanur are perfect for families who want a low-key place to soak up the sun while sticking close to top-notch seafood restaurants and bars where happy hour never seems to end. Look for bright orange clownfish darting between corals, practice your balance with a stand-up paddleboarding adventure with the Rip Curl School of Surf, or take advantage of the smooth waters on a high-speed jet ski.
If it’s going off in Bali, it’s likely happening in Kuta. Home to the island’s biggest clubs and beach bars, Kuta’s the place to go if you want to dance the night away. With a tangle of eateries that range from street food favorites to chic seafood hotspots, there’s always something good to eat between ripper parties.
Seminyak’s slower vibe can be a welcome relief from the club-like atmosphere of its southern neighbor, Kuta. Chill out on beaches perfect for rookie surfers or head to The Amala Bali get centered with a yoga session. Nearby, up-and-coming Canggu is the de facto hipster haven of Bali’s beach towns, where you’ll find as many restaurants serving up organic salads and fruit-packed smoothie bowls as you will street carts with savory plates of nasi goreng and mie goreng.
Blast around, above, in and through Benoa Beach’s calm waters with just about every hydro-inspired activity imaginable. You can unleash your inner superhero with baliKU Tours & Travel’s flyboarding adventure, hang on tight as you zip around Benoa Bay on banana boat, or team up with Aqua Star cruise the depths on an underwater scooter.
If you’re a surfer and up for a challenge, the sets at Uluwatu’s beaches are probably already on your bucket list of things to do in Bali. For everyone else, it’s probably best to sit this tide out – instead grab a seat at one of the area’s cliff-side bars and watch as some of the best surfers in the world tackle incoming sets while the sun drifts slowly behind the horizon. The dramatic black cliffs that line Uluwatu also provide the perfect backdrop for one of the island’s most famous temples, where Tour East Indonesia can help you can catch a traditional fire-dancing show at sunset or snap photos of crashing waves.
6. Tanah Lot
Surrounded by dramatic black rock, Tanah Lot temple is not the ideal place to work on your tan or dig your toes into the sand. But as the sun sets, this wave-pummeled temple becomes a photographer’s dream. Take a trip with Smailing Tours to snap some postcard-perfect silhouettes and learn how Bali’s spiritual side is still at play in the everyday lives of locals.
There’s a reason some of the most luxurious Bali accommodation options are crowded around Mengiat Beach. Golden sands punctuated by orderly rows of umbrellas and sun chairs create the ideal beach-lounging environment, and with daily service by a team of beach cleaners, not even a stray strip of seaweed will hamper your view of Mengiat’s crystal clear water.
Though not technically in Bali, Lombok’s endless green mountains and quiet, white-sand beaches are just a 2-hour boat ride away, and feel like a Bali of yesteryear. Enjoy the quiet atmosphere, visit authentic warungs whipping up fried rice specialties, and consider a day trip to one of the Gili islands, where you can find your perfect version of paradise between Gili Trawangan’s endless parties, Gili Air’s family-friendly atmosphere, or Gili Meno’s ultra-low-key vibe.
With so many cheap Bali accommodation options to choose from, it’s important to remember that no one beach is perfect for everything—so don’t limit yourself. Decide what kind of experience you want, and seek out your next strip of sand from there.