Known for its incredible all-inclusive resorts, stunning landscapes, and pristine beaches, the Dominican Republic is one of the most beloved Caribbean island destinations for travelers from across North America. Rimmed by white sandy shores, it’s almost harder to find a beach in the Dominican Republic that isn’t a worthy contender for among the Caribbean’s best.
Our ultimate guide to the best beaches in the Dominican Republic includes everything from world-famous shores – among the best beaches in the Caribbean – to hidden coves and sandy shores on tiny islets off the mainland coast. These are the 18 best Dominican Republic beaches you won’t want to miss on your beach vacation.
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Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic
Travelers looking for the best beaches in the Dominican Republic will have no trouble finding exactly what they’re looking for, no matter where they base themselves.
The Samaná peninsula is a popular beach destination for travelers looking for more hidden gem locations, while resort towns like Punta Cana and Cap Cana boast the miles-long white sand beaches most likely to be found on a postcard.
These are some of the best beaches (of every type!) in the Dominican Republic:
- Cayo Levantado: The best white sand island in the Dominican Republic.
- Bávaro Beach: The best resort beach in the Dominican Republic.
- Playa Cosón: The best laid-back beach (and beach town!) in the Dominican Republic.
Keep reading for our full reviews of these stunning Dominican Republic beaches and more as you plan your dream beach getaway to the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic Beaches
1. Cayo Levantado
In the heart of Samaná Bay, the white sand Cayo Levantado has long been a favorite day trip spot for travelers from around the country. With shallow, ultra-clear waters and fine, soft white sand, this tiny island is truly a dream. Just 10 minutes away from Samaná by boat, it’s quite easily accessible.
Cayo Levantado is a common addition to a day trip to Los Haitises National Park, located just across the bay from this pristine island. Whether you’re traveling from Punta Cana or nearby, it’s the perfect day trip beach day.
For the full Cayo Levantado experience, skip the day trip for an overnight stay at the beautiful Cayo Levantado Resort. Recently reopened following an extensive refurbishment, this luxurious resort is now better than ever and among the best resorts in the Dominican Republic. An impressive wellness offering and private access to the island’s best beaches, with a delicious culinary offering and great activities, make it an incredible highlight.
Where To Stay: Cayo Levantado Resort
2. Punta Arena
The public beachfront at Cayo Levantado can get busy on weekend days with day trippers and locals alike, but Punta Arena – just a few minutes away in Los Haitises National Park – is almost guaranteed to be empty. This deserted, untouched beach emerges from the waves to make for a perfect stopover destination on a trip through the national park.
While the soft sands of Punta Arena aren’t necessarily ideal for an exciting snorkeling adventure, you’re bound to find starfish, tropical fish, and even a few stingless jellyfish here.
While snorkeling and sunning at Punta Arena is often included as a stop on day trips to Los Haitises National Park, this spot is never overrun – we had the beach entirely to ourselves when we visited, and it was one of our favorite things to do in the Dominican Republic.
Where To Stay: Cayo Levantado Resort
3. Bávaro Beach
Known as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Bávaro Beach is part of what makes Punta Cana the resort capital of the Dominican Republic. Stretching over 30 miles (48 kilometers) Bávaro Beach is one of the longest beaches in the Caribbean, and with its white, powdery sand and warm waters, it’s the Caribbean beach you’ve long been dreaming of.
Bávaro Beach is lined with resorts, so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for a laidback beach vacation at one of the best resorts in the Dominican Republic, it can’t be beaten.
Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort, Spa & Casino, along the most beautiful stretch of the beach, is a favorite resort here – family-friendly and adult-only sections make for a perfect stay no matter who you’re traveling with. The resort’s oceanfront, two-tiered pool is stunning, and kids will love the waterpark.
Where To Stay: Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort, Spa & Casino
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4. Playa Las Canas
Perched along the northern coast of the Samaná peninsula, Playa Las Canas is a particularly beautiful spot in a region known for its stunning and still relatively unspoiled beaches.
This off-the-beaten-path, hidden beach is as beautiful, yet basic, as it gets. There aren’t any beach amenities here, and the road can be a bit tricky to navigate. However, if you’re looking for untouched and undeveloped white sand and palm-fringed shores, it doesn’t get much better than this among all the Dominican Republic beaches you could choose from.
Make Playa Las Canas just one of your beach stops in the area, with nearby Playa Morón, Playa El Valle, and Playa Ermitaño on the itinerary. Las Terrenas can make a good base for exploring the area; with lots of amenities there, it’s the perfect base for exploring Samaná.
Where To Stay: Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo
5. Playa Juanillo
Cap Cana’s Playa Juanillo is just as beautiful as Bávaro Beach just to its north, but like Cap Cana itself, this beach somehow feels much more exclusive.
Less visited and less touristed, it’s an even nicer Dominican Republic beach destination(in our opinion). Shallow, crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, with nary a wave in sight. Palm-dotted shores with places to rent chairs and loungers are ideal should you not be staying at a place with a beachfront.
While there are plenty of resorts and hotels along Playa Juanillo, it manages to avoid some of the craziness of Bávaro Beach. You’ll be spoiled of choice when it comes to where to stay along the beach for a vacation that feels like the stuff of dreams.
Where To Stay: Sanctuary Cap Cana, a Luxury Collection All-Inclusive Resort
6. Playa Cosón
Located west of Las Terrenas on the Samaná peninsula, Playa Cosón is easily among the best beaches in the Dominican Republic. Both its incredible length of golden sand and untouched, jungle-surrounding feel make it a truly special destination that will feel like a breath of fresh air even among the rest of the stunning Dominican Republic beaches in the region.
Stay at one of the smaller hotels or resorts in the area or base yourself in Las Terrenas for easy access to Playa Cosón and some of the other gems in the area. Hike up the road running parallel to the beach (towards Bella Vista Villas) for an incredible panoramic view of the beachfront.
Where To Stay: Hotel Casa Coson or Viva V Samana by Wyndham, A Trademark Adults All Inclusive
7. Playa Dorada
The pristine beauty of Playa Dorada has helped make Puerto Plata one of the country’s largest resort towns and a major city on the northern coast of the county. It has a long history of welcoming travelers from around the world, with the first all-inclusive resort in the country opening here in 1980 to transform the island’s future.
Many consider Playa Dorada to be among the nicest Dominican Republic beaches on the island’s north coast, and it’s no wonder why. The beach is an expansive stretch of white sand with shallow water, perfect for even kids or beginner swimmers. There are plenty of resorts here, but it doesn’t tend to feel overrun most of the time.
Where To Stay: Hodelpa Emotions Puerto Plata
8. Punta Rucia
Two hours west of Puerto Plata, Punta Rucia has much of the beauty of the beaches of Puerto Plata but with just a fraction of the visitors. Instead of sprawling resorts, you’ll find tiny hotels and local spots for a fraction of the budget.
The beach at Punta Rucia is well worth traveling for. Shallow water and white sands make it a dreamy spot; though there aren’t a ton of beach amenities, the tranquil, laid-back vibe certainly makes up for it. Punta Rucia is also just across the waves from the white sand Cayo Arena, making it a great spot to base yourself to enjoy two of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.
Where To Stay: Punta Rucia Lodge
9. Cayo Arena
If you’ve ever dreamed about lounging on a white sand desert island in the Caribbean, Cayo Arena is the spot you’ve had in mind. Impossibly white sand and absolutely crystal clear water await at this “island,” just barely peaking above the waves off the coast of Punta Rucia. It’s the perfect place to spend a few hours snorkeling, relaxing, and more.
Access Cayo Arena via one of the many day trips that depart from Punta Rucia and enjoy this small town’s equally stunning beach, or take a day trip to Cayo Arena from Puerto Plata.
Where To Stay: Punta Rucia Lodge
10. Playa Rincón
During our trip to the province of Samaná, this was the spot that locals raved about again and again: Playa Rincón. Nestled among small beach towns like Las Galeras, Playa Rincón is part of what makes Samaná such an appealing destination for travelers looking to enjoy a beachy stay in the Dominican Republic.
Playa Rincón certainly lives up to all the hype. The white sand and calm, shallow waters make it a popular beach destination, though its more remote location means it’s never crowded. Nearby local restaurants make it easy to spend the entire day here. Stay in Las Galeras for a night or two to really enjoy the area.
Where To Stay: Chalet Tropical Biohotel
11. Playa Grande
An isolated spot surrounded by lush jungles on the north of the country’s coast, Playa Grande is one of the best Dominican Republic beaches, though few travelers ever get here. This long, untouched stretch of sand is good for both swimming and surfing, or perfect for just relaxing in one of the most beautiful spots you’ll find on the island.
Stay at Amanera, perched overlooking the beach’s west end, for the full Playa Grande experience. This luxe resort is one of the most luxurious resorts in the Dominican Republic; equally luxe ANI Dominican Republic is just a few miles away. More affordable options await in tiny Rio San Juan, a few minutes drive west.
Where To Stay: Amanera
12. Bahia de las Aguilas
Nestled within the Parque Nacional Jaragua, Bahia de las Aguilas is one of the most truly untouched beaches in the country. Its stunning white sands are almost too pristine and beautiful to believe. A trip to this unspoiled national park and a visit to this beach is just the start; the area is home to some of the best Dominican Republic beaches.
Despite its remote location near the border with Haiti, the area is stunning and well worth traveling for – doable for a weekend trip. It’s hard to find a more untouched, lovely beach in the Caribbean.
Where To Stay: Eco Del Mar
13. Playa Esmeralda
Just over an hour north of Punta Cana, Playa Esmeralda is a stunning golden beachfront fringed with palms that welcomes just a tiny fraction of the visitors of Punta Cana. This startlingly beautiful beach will surprise you as you wonder how it has remained so untouched and undeveloped when spots like Punta Cana are such a short drive away.
Access Playa Esmeralda via the small town of Miches, a few miles south of the beach. The 5-star resort along Playa Esmeralda’s beachfront, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, makes for an unforgettable stay right on the sands, or choose from smaller, more budget-friendly hotels and hostels in Miches.
Where To Stay: Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda
14. Playa El Limón
Palm-fringed and undeveloped, Playa El Limón along the northern coast of Samaná is the perfect beach for travelers looking to disconnect. Here you’ll find little more than white sands to welcome you to a dreamy beach you’re likely to have all to yourself for a day of snorkeling and sunning.
Nearby Playa Morón and Playa Las Canas make this area a veritable beach-hopping hotspot. Continue on to Las Galeras and Playa Rincón for even more, or head down to Cayo Levantado on the southern edge of the peninsula for even more of the best Dominican Republic beaches.
Where To Stay: Samana Ecolodge
15. Isla Saona
Located off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, Isla Saona is a stunning white sand island hidden within East National Park (Parque Nacional del Este). This unspoiled island spot, though a popular day trip destination year-round, is well worth the visit no matter where you’re traveling from.
Isla Saona is a popular day trip excursion from the resort towns of La Romana and Punta Cana, though you’ll find day trips from around the island that reach this impressive beach destination, considered one of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic. It makes for the perfect beach day via catamaran, with many excursions offering lunch abroad and snorkeling stops along the way.
Where To Stay: Hilton La Romana, an All-Inclusive Family Resort
16. Playa El Valle
The light sands and lush jungle surrounds of Playa El Valle make this one of the most visually stunning beaches in the Dominican Republic, among the countless gems that make the northern coast of the Samaná peninsula such an incredible destination for Dominican Republic beaches.
Playa El Valle is visited enough to have a few small restaurants dotting the shores to serve visitors, but the roads to get here are a bit rough. Despite its beauty, it’s generally not a very populated beach and feels perfectly hidden.
Where To Stay: El Valle Lodge
17. Kite Beach
If you’re looking for a slightly more active beach day, head to the shores of Cabarete, and specifically Kite Beach, for the best kitesurfing in the entire Dominican Republic. With plenty of spots for gear rentals and lessons – not to mention the thrill of a strong community of enthusiasts – Kite Beach feels totally different from all the others.
While the beach has a lot of great amenities for visitors – beach bars, places to stay the night, and all the gear rental shacks you could ever ask for – its beauty alone probably wouldn’t land it on our list of the best Dominican Republic beaches. It’s all about the experience here, and even for beginners, it’s a great one.
Where To Stay: Surfbreak B&B
18. Playa Los Mino
Small but mighty Playa Los Mino is a hidden gem along the center of the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, located in the center of the small town of Rio San Juan. This beach town flies well below the radar but is truly among the country’s best. The easily accessible Playa Los Mino, with white sand and clear water, is its showpiece.
There isn’t much to Rio San Juan other than a smattering of small guest houses and rentals. Nearby Amanera is considered one of the best resorts in the Dominican Republic, set on its own of the best Dominican Republic beaches – Playa Grande.
Where To Stay: Amanera
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.