You must know that the Dominican Republic is home to a sublime seacoast.
And on this list, you’ll discover the best beaches of the Dominican Republic for every taste and activity.
From the most adventure-packed surfing spots through the most secluded Dominican Republic beaches and the top diving sites to the kid-friendliest beaches, and even more – it is all here.
Jump directly to:
- The Best Dominican Republic Beaches By Region
- Puerto Plata: The Best Dominican Republic Beaches On The North Coast
- Where To Stay In Puerto Plata
- Samana: The Top Seaside Spots In The Last Secret Gem Of The Caribbean
- Where To Stay In Samana
- Punta Cana: The Best Beaches On The Dominican East Coast
- Where To Stay In Punta Cana
- Santo Domingo: The Best Beaches Near The Dominican Capital
- Where To Stay In Santo Domingo
- Barahona: The Hidden Beaches Of The Secluded South-West Coast
- Where To Stay In Barahona
- The Best Beaches In The Dominican Republic By Activity
- Now’s Your Turn: What’s Your Favourite Dominican Republic Beach?
The Best Dominican Republic Beaches By Region
You might be wondering which side of the Dominican Republic has the best beaches?
Here’s the short answer:
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 you’ll find the most deserted, hard-to-reach but unmatchingly beautiful beaches in Barahona on the south-west side of the island.
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 south-western part of the country.
Puerto Plata: The Best Dominican Republic Beaches On The North Coast
The beaches on the north coast around the harbour town Puerto Plata are ideal for snorkelling, surfing, and swimming.
1. Punta Rucia: Coral Reefs And Mangroves
The calm, emerald waters of Punta Rucia hide a mesmerising coral reef just off the shore. Here, you can spend a fabulous day swimming and snorkelling 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 snorkelling 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.
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.
3. Playa Sosúa: A Magnificent Diving And Snorkelling 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 snorkellers 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.
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 waits for you to explore it. You can either go diving or snorkelling. Whichever activity you choose, the underwater world will enthral you with its vibrant colours and odd shapes.
Please note that Cabarete Beach is not suitable for kids and inexperienced swimmers. Luckily, for a family vacation, there are other great Dominican beaches to choose from. Just keep reading!
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, which can enthral 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.
Where To Stay In Puerto Plata
Spend your vacation at Punta Rucia chilling and snorkelling. 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.
Here are a few great accommodations in Puerto Plata with top reviews to choose from:
- Punta Rucia Lodge: a gorgeous beach lodge with cosy garden.
- Ultravioleta Boutique Residences: exceptional service in chic surroundings.
- Casa Maravilla Eco Lodge & Beach: sublime privacy not far from the main attractions.
- Apartment Ocean Front Infiniti Blu: modern property in a top-rated location.
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 so is the adventure even greater.
6. Playa Bonita: Postcard-perfect Paradise
The small Playa Bonita west from 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 it from its neighbour, Playa Las Ballenas.
To the west, you can find a few luxury villas and restaurants. 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.
7. Playa Las Ballenas: Kite-Surfing And Chilling
The main beach of Las Terrenas – Playa Las Ballenas – is the perfect place to learn and practise kitesurfing. The surf schools in town rent gear and provide lessons for adventurous travellers.
Expats have transformed the once quiet fishermen 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 snorkelling at this beautiful town beach. Enjoying a spectacular sunset is the best way to end your day.
8. Playa Punta Popy: 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 lesser-visited than its neighbour, Playa Las Ballenas. The facilities include bars and beach restaurants with restrooms and loungers.
At Playa Punta Popy, you can practise your kite-surfing skills, relax, swim, or snorkel around the coast.
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 north-west 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 desolated.
Seagrapes and coconut palms provide good shades at Playa Rincon.
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: a snorkelling boat trip from Las Galeras.
- The adventurous way: 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 this extremely secluded beach 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 reveals 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 snorkelling and quite spectacular surroundings for a beach walk or a swim. From January to March, you can also watch the humpback whales swim by.
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 the island.
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 resort on the island (see below for recommendations).
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.
Here are a few great accommodations in Samana with top reviews to choose from:
- Albachiara Hotel – Las Terrenas: elegant suites right next to the beach.
- Hotel Villa Serena: beachfront hotel with lush gardens and fine dining.
- Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado: the ultimate tropical extravaganza.
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 Limón: Playing With Gigantic Waves
Located just 70 km (45 mi) north from Punta Cana, Playa Limón has managed to escape development because it’s 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 Limón and the Laguna will take your breath away.
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. Macao Surf Camp offers lessons and rents boards.
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 restaurant.
14. Bávaro Beach: Endless Walks To The Horizon And Back
The 40-kilometre-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 Bavaro Beach. Take a walk as long as your feet would carry you and see how far you can reach.
15. Playa Punta Cana: Every Beach Activity Under The Sun
The gigantic 50-kilometre (30-mile) long beach stretch 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. Afterwards, 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 snorkelling.
For every age, taste, or mood, you’ll find more than enough to do at Playa Punta Cana.
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 should join a day 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 island.
Isla Saona is the most important turtle-nesting site in the Dominican Republic and is a protected area.
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 snorkelling or diving. The most popular spots are the Living Museum of the Sea, Captain Kidd’s shipwreck, Catalina Wall, and the Aquarium.
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.
Here are a few great accommodations in Punta Cana with top reviews to choose from:
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana: award-winning luxurious all-inclusive resort.
- Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel: elegant suites near a shipwreck snorkelling spot.
- Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine: an upscale resort with a tropical garden.
Santo Domingo: The Best Beaches Near The Dominican Capital
The bustling Dominican capital is not only the oldest city in North America but 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: Swimming And Diving At The First Blue Flag Certified Caribbean Beach
Playa Dominicus is the first Caribbean beach to receive a Blue Flag certification. Here 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.
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.
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.
Here are a few great accommodations in Santo Domingo with top reviews to choose from:
- Las Palmeras I: cosy apartments with colourful design and wooden furniture.
- Loft Studio in Santo Domingo: a modern, large apartment with great amenities.
- Mauad Hotel Boutique: luxury in the heart of the Malecon district.
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 the 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 Roja 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. Snorkelling and swimming in the clear turquoise waters will make you forget all the sweating on the way to the beach.
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:
- Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge & Spa: fantastic view over the lush jungle and the beach.
- Eco Del Mar: glamping directly on an undeveloped beach, including fine dining.
The Best Beaches In The Dominican Republic By Activity
If you prefer to choose your perfect Dominican Republic beach not based on location but according to your favourite beach activity, check below.
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 snorkelling 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 travellers will find.
- Playa Limón: despite the proximity to Bavaro and Punta Cana, this spectacular Dominican beach doesn’t receive many tourists.
Now’s Your Turn: What’s Your Favourite Dominican Republic Beach?
No matter what your preferred travel style is, the best Dominican Republic beaches will enthral 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.
All you have to do next is go plan your perfect vacation!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I have recommended hotels based on personal experience and/or comparing reviews on various independent websites.