Full of breathtaking beaches, from oases of calm to party hot spots, the country’s coastline can satisfy every taste. It's blessed with year-round warm temperatures and waters, so bring a boatload of lotion to avoid sunburn and your favorite bathing suit and live it up. Here are 12 of the Dominican Republic’s best beaches.  

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Waves lap on a light brown sandy beach. There are two chunks of trees laying on the beach.
Playa Grande's aqua marine waters make it one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic © Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61

1. Playa Grande

A long, broad, tawny beach with aquamarine water on one side and a thick fringe of palm trees on the other. The stark, white cliffs at this Río San Juan location jut out into the ocean in the distance. A surf school here offers lessons.

2. Playa Los Mino

This sweet little stretch of sand in Rio San Juan must be one of the DR's best village beaches, easily accessible from the road under Bahía Blanca. White sand, a green fringe of vegetation dappling the sunlight and azure waters seem to radiate chill even to the toddlers roaming around the sand. The local vibe here is light-years away from the all-inclusives.

The beach at Puntacana Resort & Club.
Punta Cana offers the best swimming beaches in the Dominican Republic © Bailey Freeman / Lonely Planet

3. Bavaro Beaches / Punta Cana 

The beaches along the coastline from Punta Cana to Uvero Alto rival those anywhere else in the Caribbean, both in terms of their soft, white texture and their warm aquamarine waters. Despite a lack of restraint on development, especially in the geographically-central area of Bávaro, the resorts and beaches here still manage to offer an idyllic Caribbean seascape for a seemingly endless crowd of sunseekers.

Remember, public access is protected by the law, so you can stroll from less-exclusive locales to these all-inclusive resorts, though you won't have access to any of the amenities.

A trio of boats are moored in crystal clear waters at Playa Rincon
Playa Rincón is a Dominican Republic hotspot © Michael Runkel / Getty Images

4. Playa Rincón

Pitch-perfect Playa Rincón in Las Galeras, with its soft, nearly white sand and multi-hued water good for swimming, stretches an uninterrupted 3km (1.9mi).

There's a small stream at the far western end, which is great for a quick freshwater dip at the end of your visit, and a backdrop of thick palm forest. Several restaurants serve seafood dishes and rent beach chairs, making this Península de Samaná hotspot a great place to spend the entire day.

Most people arrive by boat; the standard option is to leave Las Galeras around 9am and be picked up at 4pm – it’s around 20 minutes each way.

Three tall palm trees sway in the breeze. There are small huts with people looking at the ocean on the sunny day.
Playita is known for its mellow surf and tall palm trees © Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61

5. Playita 

Playita (Little Beach) is easy to get to on foot or by motoconcho (motorcycle taxi). It’s a stretch of tannish sand and mellow surf, backed by tall, dramatically-leaning palm trees. On the main road just south of Las Galeras, look for signs to Hotel La Playita pointing down a dirt road headed west. Beach chairs are available for rent. 

Shell filled beach on a dark cloudy day. There is a hill covered with trees to the left.
Playa los Patos (Ducks beach) has one of the shortest rivers in the Caribbean with 600 meters long © Marvin del Cid / Getty Images

6. Playa Los Patos

Playa Los Patos, a pretty white-stone beach, and its adjacent balneario (swimming hole) are idyllic traveler finds. Water flows clear and cool out of the mountainside, forming a shallow lagoon before running into the ocean.

Shacks serve good, reasonably priced food and cold cerveza (beer). Weekends at this South of Barahona locale are crowded with Dominican families, but it's much quieter midweek. You can visit newly-opened caves housing Taíno petroglyphs across the street from the balneario.

The golden sands of Coson Beach in the Dominican Republic
Playa Cosón has some excellent surf-sprayed restaurants to enjoy © Bailey Freeman / Lonely Planet

7. Playa Cosón

The sand at Playa Cosón, 8km (4.9mi) west along the main highway from Playa Bonita in Las Terrenas, is tan rather than white, and the water greenish rather than blue, but it’s a good place to lose yourself for the day, with some excellent surf-sprayed restaurants to enjoy. Two small rivers run through the thick palm-tree forest and into the ocean; the easternmost is said to contain agricultural runoff. A taxi to the beach is the way to go. 

Panaromic view of crystal clear water, beach chairs on the shore and tall palm trees.
Cayo Levantado is a stunning beach in the Domincan Republic © EasyBuy4uGetty Images/iStockphoto

8. Caya Levantado

A gorgeous public beach lies on the western third of this lush island, 7km (4.3mi) from Samaná. It's the only section that's open to the public – a five-star hotel occupies the rest. Boatmen at Samaná's pier can get you there.

Note that the idyll can be somewhat marred by the commercialization of the experience. Large cruise ships dock here regularly, and the facilities, including a few restaurants and bars, don’t offer much peace and quiet. If you choose to visit, try to go in mid- to late afternoon when most of the activity is winding down.

Gentle waves ripple on the sea as the sun sets on Playa Boca Chica. There are a pair of palm trees at the top of the photo.
Playa Boca Chica is one of the Dominican Republic's liveliest beaches © Donyanedomam/Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. Playa Boca Chica

For a lively, party spot, Playa Boca Chica is the way to go. There's still powdery white sand and tranquil waters to enjoy, but not much peace and quiet. Flanked by Av Caracol and Av 24 de Junio, Playa Boca Chica is lined with coconut palms and food stands, restaurants and bars. 

During the day, the beach is filled with locals and foreigners, and vendors selling everything from fruit to cigars to large canvases of Haitian paintings. 

Boats on white sand beach of Bahía de las Águilas.
Bahía de las Águilas is the kind of beach fantasies are made of © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

10. Bahía de Las Águilas

Bahía de Las Águilas is the kind of beach that fantasies are made of. This pristine utopia is located in the extremely remote southwestern corner of the DR, but those who make it here are rewarded with 10km (6.2mi) of nearly-deserted shore, forming a gentle arc between two prominent capes. 

It's reachable mainly by boat from Playa Las Cuevas, a tiny and remote fishing community and the nearest settlement – the ride weaves in and out of rocky outcrops and past gorgeous cliffs with cacti clinging to their craggy edges and sea-diving pelicans nearby. Paradise found.

A sign that says "Relax Breathe Repeat" is posted at the entrance of Playa Dominicus in the Dominican Republic
Playa Dominicus is one of the best beaches for families in the Dominican Republic © Filippo Carlot / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11. Playa Dominicus

The advantage of staying in Dominicus Americanus is being able to walk to Playa Dominicus, a beautiful stretch of thick, nearly white sand, with good water for swimming and enjoying splashing in the waves. It does tend to get crowded, especially because there’s easy public access via a parking lot at the far eastern end of the enclave, which means no cutting through hotels or restaurants for beach access.

Groups of people fly their kites on a sandy beach in Cabarete, Dominican Republic
You'll likely spend more time watching the kites than the waves at Kite Beach © Andrey Prokhorov / 500px

12. Kite Beach

Two kilometers (1.2mi) west of Cabarete. A sight to behold on windy days, when scores of kiters of all skill levels negotiate huge sails and 30m (98ft) lines amid the waves and traffic. On those days there’s no swimming here, as you’re liable to get run over.

You might also like: 

Dominican Republic: beyond the beaches 
Live like a capitaleño in Santo Domingo
Finding the rhythm: a musical guide to the Dominican Republic  

This article was originally published in November 2020 and updated in February 2021. 

This article was first published November 2020 and updated February 2021

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