Looking for the best Dominican Republic beaches for your next vacation?
The Caribbean country is home to a sublime seacoast stretching for 1,288 km / 800 mi, meaning you have a ton of options.
On this list, you’ll discover the 20 best beaches of the Dominican Republic for every taste and activity.
From the adventure-packed surfing spots to the most secluded gems, and from the top diving sites to the kid-friendliest areas, get ready to explore the best Dominican Republic beaches.
Let’s dive right in!
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The Best Dominican Republic Beaches by Region
Wondering which side of the Dominican Republic has the best beaches?
For endless stretches of fine sand, visit the Punta Cana beaches. For the best surfing beaches, explore the Puerto Plata area. For the best secluded beaches, go to Samaná Peninsula. And the most deserted, hard-to-reach beautiful beaches you’ll find in Barahona on the southwest side of the Dominican Republic.
But let’s go into more detail.
We’ll start our quest to find the Dominican Republic’s best beaches from the north of Hispaniola Island.
First on the list are the best Puerto Plata beaches, followed by the top beaches of the Samana Peninsula. Next, we’ll continue clockwise to discover the best Punta Cana beaches.
And last, but not least, you’ll find the top sand stretches around the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo, and the most secluded beach in the southwestern part of the country.
🏖️ Puerto Plata: The Best Dominican Republic Beaches on the North Coast
The beaches on the north coast around the harbor town of Puerto Plata are ideal for snorkeling, surfing, and swimming.
Below, you’ll find the best Dominican Republic beaches in the north.
1. Punta Rucia: Coral Reefs and Mangroves
The calm, emerald waters of Punta Rucia hide a mesmerizing coral reef just off the shore. Here, you can spend a fabulous day swimming and snorkeling with your family.
However, the real gem of Punta Rucia is the little atoll island Cayo Paraiso. Also known as Cayo Arena, it’s just a short boat ride away from the coast. The name translates to Paradise Island. Once you get there, you’ll quickly understand why.
On the small atoll, nothing but a few shacks provide shades, drinks, and snacks. The tour includes snorkeling equipment and a guide to show you the best spots on the reef.
On your way back, you’ll pass through mangroves. This means, your best friend for the trip will be the mosquito repellent.
📍 Location: Punta Rucia
🏖️ Activities: Boat tours, snorkeling, swimming
2. Playa Dorada: Golden Sand and Crystal Waters
The golden sand of Playa Dorada, which gave the name to this Dominican beach, will seduce you to spend your vacation sunbathing and relaxing.
Nearby are some of the best Dominican Republic beach resorts. Both international tourists and locals choose to spend their holiday here because of the first-class service and entertainment.
After walking or swimming at the stunning Playa Dorada, you can participate in water sports, paragliding, sailing, surfing, or diving.
📍 Location: Puerto Plata
🏖️ Activities: Surfing, diving, sailing, paragliding
3. Playa Sosúa: A Magnificent Diving and Snorkeling Spot
One of the first touristic spots in the Dominican Republic, Playa Sosua continues to enchant everyone who has seen the crescent-shaped bay.
The coral reef attracts divers and snorkelers, and the golden sand welcomes the whole family to enjoy the Caribbean sun.
The magnificent sunsets and the azure waters of Playa Sosua, as well as the scrumptious feasts at the variety of local restaurants and bars, will make your vacation on the north Dominican coast unforgettable.
📍 Location: Sosúa
🏖️ Activities: Diving, snorkeling, swimming
4. Cabarete Beach: Taming the Caribbean Winds
The breeze, which caresses the shore at Cabarete Beach, provides the perfect surfing conditions.
Kite-boarders and windsurfers storm in the Dominican surfing Mecca. The countless world-class schools will teach you how to tame the Caribbean winds.
When you get tired of the board, the coral reef near the shore awaits you to explore it. You can either go diving or snorkeling. Whichever activity you choose, the underwater world will enthrall you with its vibrant colors and unparalleled shapes.
Keep in mind that Cabarete Beach is not suitable for kids and inexperienced swimmers.
For the perfect family vacation, there are other great Dominican beaches to choose from. Just keep reading!
📍 Location: Cabarete
🏖️ Activities: Surfing
5. Playa Grande: Picture-perfect Relaxation
Palm trees frame the charming Playa Grande. The soft sand invites you to sunbathe all day long.
The only thing, that can enthrall you more than the golden sand, is the turquoise water. It is perfect for surfers and good swimmers. Beginners shouldn’t venture too far from the shore, though.
The nearby restaurants serve excellent local dishes and seafood delicacies to hungry vacationers. One of my favorite Dominican Republic facts is that its culinary scene is simply magnificent.
📍 Location: Rio San Juan
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, surfing
🏨 Where to Stay in Puerto Plata
Spend your vacation at Punta Rucia chilling and snorkeling. From there, you can tour cocoa plantations or go on an adrenaline-pumping adventure through the 27 Waterfalls of Damajuagua.
If scuba diving during the day and partying during the night is what you prefer to do, choose Sosua. And if you’re a surfer, Cabarete is your personal paradise.
🏖️ Samana: The Top Seaside Spots in the Last Secret Gem of the Caribbean
The sublime beaches of the Samaná Peninsula are perfect for relaxation, swimming, and observing the local life. Some of the best sand stretches are difficult to reach but this makes the adventure even greater.
6. Playa Bonita: Postcard-perfect Paradise
The small Playa Bonita west of Las Terrenas will charm you with white sand and turquoise sea, lined by coconut palms.
The stretch of sand ends with a cliff on the east side. It separates Playa Bonita from its neighbor, Playa Las Ballenas.
To the west, you can find a few luxury villas and eateries. Among them are a fancy gourmet restaurant and a traditional Dominican restaurant, serving mouthwatering seafood.
Swimming, jogging, walking, and riding are only a few of the options you have to entertain yourself. The waters are shallow without any waves, which makes the beach perfect for your family vacation.
📍 Location: Las Terrenas
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, jogging, horseback riding
7. Playa Las Ballenas: Kite-Surfing and Chilling
The main beach of Las Terrenas – Playa Las Ballenas – is the perfect place to learn and practice kitesurfing. The surf schools in town rent gear and provide lessons for adventurous travelers.
Expats have transformed the once quiet fishermen’s village into a buzzing beach town with a unique vibe. The town is best known for its fine dining and busy nightlife scene.
Apart from surfing and partying, you can also go swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful town beach. Enjoying a spectacular sunset is the best way to end your day at one of the most charming Dominican Republic beaches.
📍 Location: Las Terrenas
🏖️ Activities: Surfing, swimming
8. Playa Punta Popy: Chilling on Weekdays and Fiesta on Weekends
East of Las Terrenas, you’ll find the small Playa Punta Popy. This is the preferred spot for locals to gather to party on weekends. If you want to avoid the local crowd, come during the week.
This Dominican beach is cleaner and less-visited than its neighbor, Playa Las Ballenas. The facilities include bars and beach restaurants with restrooms and loungers.
At Playa Punta Popy, you can practice your kite-surfing skills, relax, swim, or snorkel near the shore.
📍 Location: Las Terrenas
🏖️ Activities: Surfing, swimming, snorkeling
9. Playa Rincon: Playing with the Waves
The most popular beach on the Samana Peninsula, Playa Rincon, will welcome you with fine white sands and pristine aquamarine waters. The access is not easy but it’s worth the effort.
The stunning horseshoe cove is free from obstructive development. Only a few rustic eateries occupy a small portion of the beach on one end. However, don’t let the appearance fool you. Their friendly owners will cook you some of the most delicious seafood you’ve ever tried.
On the northwest end, behind the eateries, the river Caño Frio flows into the ocean. The stream is strong enough to carry a person. Join the local kids and float in the river. Just be careful not to cut yourself on the rocks and shells at the bottom of the riverbed.
The opposite end of the beach is even less populated due to the lack of facilities. The waves crash into the cliffs and the beach is secluded.
Seagrapes and coconut palms provide good shades at Playa Rincon.
📍 Location: Las Galeras
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, river floating, jogging, jungle trekking
10. Playa Fronton: Cliff Climbing and Jungle Trekking
If you’re feeling adventurous, you should try finding the way to Playa Fronton. You have two options to reach it.
- The easy way is by joining a snorkeling boat trip from Las Galeras.
- The adventurous way includes a short drive in a 4WD vehicle, followed by an hour-long trek through a coconut tree forest.
If you choose the latter, your rewards will be several spectacular sights. You’ll drive past huge blocks of marble cut from the hills around you. Next, you’ll reach La Boca Del Diablo. The sea waves crash into the rocks and the water erupts high into the air through the massive blowhole.
Leave your vehicle there and head through the forest. The path to one of the most secluded Dominican Republic beaches is difficult to follow. Coconuts and palm branches cover most of the ground, so don’t make the mistake of walking in flip-flops.
The trek is sweaty despite the shade. Nevertheless, once the first glimpse of one of the best-hidden Dominican Republic beaches is revealed before your eyes, you’ll know it was worth it!
Playa Fronton is backed by a 200 m (655 ft.) high cliff used as a climbing wall. It also offers a small reef for snorkeling and quite spectacular surroundings for a beach walk or a swim. From January to March, you can also watch humpback whales swim by.
📍 Location: Las Galeras
🏖️ Activities: Cliff climbing, jungle trekking, offroading, boat tours, snorkeling
11. Playa Cayo Levantado: Chilling at the Bacardi Island
A Bacardi rum advertisement in the 1970s made the small Cayo Levantado world famous.
Since then, it has been one of the most visited spots on the Samana Peninsula. I bet that no matter where you’re spending your Dominican vacation, your hotel will offer you a day tour to Caya Levantado.
Once you’ve seen the postcard-perfect stretch of sand, you’ll understand the hype. A boat ride from Samana town will take you there and you’ll have several hours to chill on the beach.
However, if you wish to spend your whole vacation on Playa Cayo Levantado, you can book a room at the island resort.
📍 Location: Cayo Levantado
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, boat tours
🏨 Where to Stay in Samana
If you want to spend your vacation chilling, surfing, or beach hopping between Playa Bonita, Playa Las Ballenas, and Playa Punta Popy, choose to stay in the vibrant Las Terrenas.
From there, you can also explore the best-known attraction of Samana – Cascada El Limón. The most famous waterfall in the Caribbean is less than an hour away from town.
For the privacy of the secluded Playa Rincon and Playa Fronton, pick an accommodation in the more relaxed Las Galeras. And if you want to spend your vacation on the famous Cayo Levantado, you can stay directly on the island.
🏖️ Punta Cana: The Best Beaches on the Dominican East Coast
The long uninterrupted stretches of sand on the east coast will enchant you with the best Dominican Republic beach resorts. Here, you’ll find accommodations, entertainment, and tours for every budget.
Along with the popular Punta Cana and Bavaro beaches, you can also visit some lesser-known and almost empty sand stretches. The best part? You can practice any sports activity on this coast.
12. Playa El Limón: Playing with Gigantic Waves
Located just 70 km (45 mi) north of Punta Cana, Playa El Limón has managed to escape development because it’s a part of a protected national park.
The long wide stretch of golden, soft sand is more suitable for exploring than swimming. Big waves crash into the shore and change the face of the beach several times a day.
You won’t find any facilities near the beach, except for a ranch, which offers horseback rides.
In the area – also a part of the national park – you can visit Laguna del Limon. Rent a boat and ride through the mangroves while bird watching.
And if you fancy a spectacular view of the whole coast, climb the nearby Montana Redonda. The panorama of the secluded Playa El Limón and the Laguna will take your breath away.
📍 Location: Rabo De Chivo
🏖️ Activities: Surfing, horseback riding
13. Macao Beach: Learning to Surf
Located only a short drive away from Bavaro, Macao Beach with its fine sand and beautiful palm trees is a popular spot among locals on weekends.
The Dominican beach is great for surfing. Feeling adventurous? Book a surf lesson at Macao Beach here.
In the middle of the beach is the best spot for swimming. Groups of vacationers on buggy tours stop here for a refreshing dip in the water.
At the south end of the beach, on the top of the cliff, you’ll find small seaside eateries and a larger restaurant.
📍 Location: Macao
🏖️ Activities: Surfing, buggy tours, swimming
14. Bávaro Beach: Endless Walks to the Horizon and Back
The 40-km (25-mi) long Bavaro Beach offers every all-inclusive resort a private stretch of sand.
The sunbeds, sports fields, and rental boats make sure everyone can spend their vacation doing what they love.
Shops, restaurants, and resorts line the seemingly endless Bávaro Beach. My favorite activity? Taking a walk as long as my feet would carry me and seeing how far I can go.
📍 Location: Bávaro
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, jogging, snorkeling, surfing, boat tours
15. Playa Punta Cana: Every Beach Activity Under the Sun
The gigantic 50-km (30-mi) long beach stretch of Playa Punta Cana offers every sport and leisure activity under the Sun.
You can go on long laidback walks or sunbathe all day long. Then party on the beach or on one of the countless boats offshore. Afterward, you can try kayaking, sailing, or bodyboarding.
And if that’s not enough to fill your day, test your team spirit in the sports games. Oh, and don’t forget to explore the underwater world while snorkeling.
For every age, taste, or mood, you’ll find more than enough to do at Playa Punta Cana.
📍 Location: Punta Cana
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, jogging, snorkeling, surfing, boat tours
16. Isla Saona: Natural Pools and Turtle Nests
Isla Saona’s white sand, turquoise waters, and giant coconut trees attract more visitors than all of the Dominican Republic’s national parks combined.
To visit the island, you need to join a boat trip. The tours usually include a ride from Bayahibe in a speedboat, sail yacht, or catamaran, followed by stops in Palmilla and Mano Juan.
The former is a wide natural pool with the whitest sand your eyes have ever seen. The latter is the only inhabited part of the Saona Island.
When visiting, keep in mind that Isla Saona is the most important turtle-nesting site in the Dominican Republic and is a protected area.
📍 Location: Saona Island
🏖️ Activities: Boat tours, swimming, snorkeling
17. Isla Catalina: Inviting Diving Spots and Powder-fine Sands
The powder-fine sand of Isla Catalina is a popular stop for cruise ship excursions and water sports tours from La Romana. The island is free from development.
The waters of Isla Catalina invite you to explore vibrant coral reefs and shipwrecks while snorkeling or diving. The most popular underwater spots are the Living Museum of the Sea, Captain Kidd’s shipwreck, Catalina Wall, and the Aquarium.
The best way to discover Isla Catalina is on this fabulous tour.
📍 Location: Catalina Island
🏖️ Activities: Water sports, boat tours, swimming, snorkeling, diving
🏨 Where to Stay in Punta Cana
The choice of accommodations in Punta Cana and Bavaro is almost endless. You will find the best Dominican Republic beach resorts in this area.
You can spend your vacation never leaving your enclosed resort. However, you’ll miss a lot.
Visit at least one more beach other than the stretch of sand in front of your hotel. Check also the best Punta Cana excursions for activities other than beach bumming.
🏖️ Santo Domingo: The Best Beaches near the Dominican Capital
The bustling Dominican capital is not only the oldest city in North America but also home to several stunning beaches. So when you get tired of exploring the Old Town or partying in the countless bars, you can rejuvenate on one of Santo Domingo’s beaches.
18. Playa Dominicus: The First Blue Flag Certified Caribbean Beach
Playa Dominicus is the first Caribbean beach to receive a Blue Flag certification.
At this gorgeous beach, you can swim in the shallow waters or go scuba diving at the reef right off the shore. There’s no undertow in Playa Dominicus’ waters which makes it safe even for beginners.
Near the beach, you’ll find restaurants, arts and crafts shacks, and an iconic black & white lighthouse-shaped bar.
📍 Location: Bayahíbe
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, diving
19. Boca Chica: A Seafood Feast at a Natural Pool
Boca Chica is Santo Domingo’s main beach. The white sand stretch is as bustling as the Dominican capital. The shallow waters and the large coral reef form a natural pool. It is safe to swim here even with toddlers.
When you get hungry from swimming and sunbathing, the fish shacks will seduce you with fresh seafood, prepared before your eyes. For a finer culinary experience, you can visit the upscale seafront restaurants.
📍 Location: Boca Chica
🏖️ Activities: Swimming, snorkeling
🏨 Where to Stay in Santo Domingo
If staying in Santo Domingo, you should not only explore the Dominican Republic beaches in the area but also the capital’s pulsating Old Town. Nearby, the Los Tres Ojos limestone caves invite you to explore their stunning formations.
🏖️ Barahona: The Hidden Beaches of the Secluded South-West Coast
If you want to escape mass tourism and still remain comfortable near the Dominican capital, Barahona is the best place for your vacation.
20. Bahia de las Aguilas
If you’re seeking absolute seclusion, then Bahia de las Aguilas is your perfect Dominican beach.
Far away from mass tourism, this long stretch of white sand offers no facilities at all. However, the crystal waters and the untouched seashore make it one of the best Dominican Republic beaches.
You can get to Bahia de las Aquilas either by boat from Cabo Rojo in about 10 min or after a bumpy ride and a long, hot walk on foot.
Gorgeous views, including the sight of flamingos and turtles, will reward your efforts to get to this extremely secluded Dominican beach. Snorkeling and swimming in the clear turquoise waters will make you forget all the sweating on the way to the beach.
📍 Location: Cabo Rojo
🏖️ Activities: Wildlife watching, trekking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, boat tours
🏨 Where to Stay in Barahona
If you want to escape the buzzing Dominican capital and the all-inclusive resorts, the seclusion of the Barahona will serve you right. There aren’t many accommodation options in this part of the Caribbean island but the ones below are simply sublime:
The Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic by Activity
🏖️ The Best Dominican Republic Beaches for Families
Your family and kids will have the time of their lives in the calm waters of these amazing beaches:
- Playa Grande: play with your family on the inviting golden sand and in the turquoise waters.
- Bavaro Beach: most hotels have private beaches and offer endless activities. You can also walk along the sand to the horizon and back.
- Playa Bonita: spoil your family with white sand, calm waters, coconut palms, and great restaurants.
🏖️ The Best Beaches in Dominican Republic for Surfing
Whether you’re new to surfing and want to learn to tame the wind and the waves, or you’ve brought your own surfing board and want to add some new moves to your arsenal, these are the top Dominican beaches for surfers:
- Cabarete Beach: the Dominican surfing hub for kite-boarders and windsurfers.
- Macao Beach: the best place to tame the winds and learn to surf or practice your moves.
- Playa Las Ballenas: a perfect beach for kitesurfing, swimming, and snorkeling on the Samana Peninsula.
🏖️ The Best Dominican Spots for Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
The coral reefs along the seacoast, as well as several shipwrecks, provide stunning underwater experience for divers and snorkellers at these Dominican Republic beaches:
- Playa Sosúa: several sites invite divers and snorkelers into the submarine world of the north coast.
- Punta Rucia: explore the reef offshore or take a boat trip to the amazing Cayo Paraiso to snorkel around the atoll.
- Isla Catalina: vibrant coral reefs and shipwrecks provide an excellent décor.
🏖️ The Best Beaches for Whale Watching
Humpback whales visit the warm, hurricane-safe waters of Samana Bay from January to March. You can watch the incredible spectacle of the flirting giants while relaxing on these beaches:
- Playa Cayo Levantado: the famous island is the best décor for the whales’ mating show.
- Playa Fronton: it is difficult to reach the secluded beach but this makes the adventure even more unforgettable.
🏖️ The Best Dominican Secluded Beaches
If seclusion and privacy is your top priority, visit one of these Dominican Republic beaches:
- Bahia de las Aguilas: difficult to reach but spectacular.
- Playa Fronton: a spot only the most adventurous travelers will find.
- Playa Limón: despite the proximity to Bavaro and Punta Cana, this spectacular Dominican beach doesn’t receive many tourists.
FAQ About the Best Dominican Republic Beaches
Find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about the beaches in the Dominican Republic below:
Which part of the Dominican Republic has the best beaches?
Punta Cana on the east coast has the best beaches on the island. They’re clean, endless, and world-renowned for their beauty. Check out the popular Playa Punta Cana and Playa Bavaro. Don’t miss the secluded Playa El Limon and Macao Beach, and the jaw-dropping islands Isla Saona and Isla Catalina.
With that said, my personal favorite beaches are on the Samana Peninsula. However, they are quite difficult to reach, making them not so perfect for a family vacation but great for adventure travelers.
Does the Dominican Republic have clear water?
The water at the Dominican Republic beaches appears clear because of the absence of plankton. The seaweed is under control, so you don’t have to worry about sargassum ruining your swim. The sea is usually shallow and the reflected light creates astonishing shades of blue, turquoise, and aquamarine.
So, what part of the Dominican Republic has the clearest water, you might wonder?
You’ll find the clearest water at Bahia de las Aguilas. Since this secluded Dominican Republic beach is part of the Jaragua National Park, there’s absolutely no pollution.
Does the Dominican Republic have white sand beaches?
Yes, you’ll find multiple stunning white-sand beaches in the Dominican Republic. The best one to visit is Bahia de las Aguilas. However, it’s not easy to reach. The more accessible Dominican white sand beaches are Playa Bonita, Playa Rincon, Isla Saona, and Boca Chica.
Can you swim in the sea in the Dominican Republic?
Yes, you can swim at most Dominican Republic beaches. Almost all Punta Cana beaches are swimmable, as well as many of the beaches in the other parts of the country. Keep in mind that the waves and winds at several Dominican beaches make them not suitable for swimming.
Make sure to keep an eye on the weather conditions and when in doubt, stay at the shore.
Now You Know Where to Find the Best Dominican Republic Beaches
No matter what your preferred travel style is, the best Dominican Republic beaches will enthrall you and leave you with great stories to tell your friends and family.
From the best surfing spots to the calmest waters on the island, now you know where to find your most desired sunny speck of sand.
Now, it’s your turn:
Which Dominican Republic beaches would you like to visit?
Let me know in the comments below.