Brighton Beach Melbourne Australia

The beach beyond Melbourne is calling. You should answer. (Photo: Getty Images)

Beach Travel

Make Waves Around the Globe at 8 Spectacular City Beaches

Waterfront cities offer unrivaled charm. Cool breezes on a warm summer’s day. Lively boardwalks buzzing with joggers and cyclists. The chance to slip away to a city beach in the middle of a workweek. Natural or human-made, seaside or riverfront — urban beaches are a true luxury. These are some of the most extraordinary city beaches in the world.

As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.

Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia, may be best known for its vibrant coffee culture and art-splattered laneways, but this buzzy Australian city also has a lovely coastline that extends along Port Phillip Bay.

From buzzing strips of sand to quiet spots for a nap and a tan, these urban beaches offer great views and the chance for an invigorating swim — and they’re close enough to the city center that you’re never far from the action.

Among the best known are Brighton Beach, with pop-colored bathing boxes along the sand, and St. Kilda, the city’s liveliest waterfront. It has a marina at one end, plus barbecue facilities, a buzzing boardwalk and views of Melbourne‘s glorious skyline.

Chicago Lakeshore

Chicago Lake Shore
Experience sun, sand and skyline views in Chicago. (Photo: Getty Images)

From deep-dish pizza to a skyscraper-studded skyline, the Windy City is known for many things. Among them is the 26-miles of waterfront along Lake Michigan where, come summer, you can sink your toes in the sand or hit the water in a kayak.

Chicago’s public beaches blend seaside charm with the city’s vibrant culture. Kick back with a cold one at a beachfront bar, ride a bike down the Lakefront Trail at North Avenue Beach, or explore the museums and cultural centers near the city’s southern beaches.

Dubai

Dubai the Palm Beach
Dubai’s Palm Beach has activities for every kind of traveler. (Photo: Getty Images)

Exclusive beach parties, free-flowing beverages and an incomparable glam quotient: When it comes to beaches, Dubai‘s got style. Whether you’re looking to sip a cocktail in a cabana or spend quality family time with a beachside barbecue, Dubai’s urban beaches have it all.

While the glittering emirate is particularly known for its high-end beach clubs, Dubai’s public beaches are just as fantastic. Head to Kite Beach for a morning run on the waterfront track, where kitesurfers’ kites dot the sky, the iconic Burj al Arab stands tall in the distance, and you can pop over to one of the many food trucks right after.

Singapore — Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island Singapore
Relax by white sand beaches and turquoise waters near Singapore. (Photo: Getty Images)

For Singaporeans looking for sun, sand and surf, Sentosa Island is the answer. A string of beaches, all made from reclaimed land, offers a high dose of fun on the tiny island off Singapore‘s southern coast.

Palm-lined white sands and calm waters aside, there are loads of thrilling activities for all ages. Think volleyball courts, hip restaurants and lively beach clubs. At Palawan Beach, you can swim in a turquoise lagoon, relax on the lawns or hit up the HydroDash water park for some floating fun.

Paris Plages

Paris Plages Beach
Enjoy the manmade pop-up beaches in Paris. (Photo: Getty Images)

When summer arrives in Paris, so does the sand and the relaxed seaside vibe. Since 2002, pop-up beaches have livened up the city courtesy of Paris Plages, an event that sets up temporary beaches along the city’s waterfronts in July and August.

Sun umbrellas and daybeds, lawn picnics and water sports, refreshment kiosks and ice-cream vendors all bring the beach vibe to the heart of this major capital city. Head over to the banks along the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette to cool off under a palm tree, tropical style.

Mumbai

Chowpatty Beach Mumbai
Take a beachfront walk in Mumbai. (Photo: Getty Images)

Mumbai‘s waterfronts are where the city’s residents gather every evening to unwind, socialize and escape the everyday hubbub of a heaving metropolis.

Tropical weather year-round means that Mumbai’s waterfronts are always accessible, and while you may not be able to swim, you can stretch out on the sand with a street-style bhelpuri snack (puffed rice with vegetables and chutney) at lively beaches like Chowpatty and Juhu Beach.

The beautiful palm-lined promenades at Marine Drive and hip Bandra Bandstand are perfect for people-watching. Wind down with a coconut water while watching the sun set over the Arabian Sea.

Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Beach Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Watch the sunset on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Getty Images)

Rio boasts an inimitable beach scene, with golden sands wedged between jungle-covered mountains and dazzling blue waters. Throw in soccer on the sand, surfers riding waves and kiosks dispensing caipirinhas (Brazil’s national cocktail), and it’s a nonstop party.

Copacabana and Ipanema sit side-by-side and are some of the world’s most iconic beaches, and for good reason. With a view of Sugarloaf Mountain and an eye-catching tiled boardwalk pulsating with samba beats, Copa is the best place to take in that Brazilian beach vibe.

Copenhagen — Harbor Baths

Laid-back beach days in the Danish capital? Yes, it’s entirely possible thanks to the city’s harborfront location and long summer days. The Scandinavian city’s focus on great public spaces and innovative architecture comes together in Copenhagen‘s harbor baths — waterfront public bathing areas where you can imbibe that relaxed beach vibe.

Think diving boards and ladders, water that’s quality checked regularly, lawns for sunbathing and boardwalks lined with cool cafés. Swimming at Islands Brygge right in the city center is a great way to experience the pulse of this vibrant city, while Sandkaj Harbour bath in the cool Nordhavn district is known for its buzzy cafés.