The Beaches with the Calmest Waters, According to Millions of Tourists

Watching and listening to the ocean doing its thing can be relaxing. There’s a reason why YouTube and white noise apps are full of hour-long audio clips of waves crashing, and receding… crashing, and receding… but suppose you’re trying to enjoy a quick paddle in the ocean or a gentle swim — waves can quickly go from hypnotically soothing to a downright hassle to navigate.

Wanting rough and rolling waves to surf in is all well and good, but a clear and blue shore with sensibly soft waves can be the highlight of a family day at the beach. Calm water is also ideal for popular beach activities like snorkeling or collecting sand-caked seashells; they’re also much safer for children to explore. But of all the beaches in the world, have you ever wondered which offers the ultimate in calm, perfect-for-paddling water? We turned to online reviews to find out.

What We Did

We analyzed millions of publicly available traveler reviews on Tripadvisor for the top 500 beaches in America and the top 100 beaches in each country around the world. Next, we calculated the proportion of reviews from English-speaking travelers that included the phrase “calm water/s” in order to uncover the beaches with the calmest waters. It’s worth clarifying that we sense-checked all reviews to ensure the context of the phrase “calm water/s” was appropriate.


  • Baby Beach in Maui, Hawaii, has the calmest water of any beach in the world27.82% of publicly available reviews mention its calm water.
  • In fact, most of America’s beaches with the calmest water can be found in Hawaii.
  • In Europe, six out of 10 of the continent’s beaches with the calmest water are in Greece, with Marathi Beach in Crete leading them all (16.17% of reviews mention its calm water).
  • While Brazilian beaches dominate the South American ranking, Punta del Este in Uruguay has the calmest water on the continent (17.60% of reviews mention its calm water).

Baby Beach in Maui, Hawaii, Has the Calmest Waters of Any Beach in the World

At, we’re all too aware of the tranquil beauty of Hawaii’s beaches, so it’s no surprise to us that Baby Beach on Maui claims the calmest water of any of the world’s beaches, with 27.82% of its publicly available traveler reviews mentioning it. Here, an offshore stretch of exposed reef protects the beach from rough waves, making for a gentle and shallow shore that’s ideal for families with children. “We snorkeled and swam without the fear of being swept out to sea, sudden drop-offs or huge violent waves,” writes a reviewer.

Ten Bay Beach in Eleuthera, the Bahamas, is the next best beach (22.88% of reviews) for calm water, the first of several Caribbean beaches that make our top ten global rankings. “Such a beautiful picture-perfect beach,” writes one reviewer. “Water is normally calm and shallow. It’s like a giant swimming pool. Great for young kids to play or adults to relax in a float!” Because of the Bahamas’ location on underwater banks, the water around the roughly 700 islands and cays that make up the country is fairly shallow.

Explore our map below to discover the beach with the calmest water in every country.

Hawaii Is Home to Most of America’s Beaches With the Calmest Water

Ahh… Hawaii. The very word conjures up images of gently swaying palm trees, long stretches of white sand and clear, calm shores. It’s no wonder, then, that eight out of America’s top ten beaches for the calmest water can be found in the state, led by the aforementioned Baby Beach in Maui. After that comes Mauna Kea Beach on the Big Island, for which 14.08% of publicly available reviews mention its calm water. “I really enjoyed how far out you can walk beyond the shore and still be in “swallow” water,” says one. “It was like being in a giant lap pool.”

But two beaches on the U.S. mainland also make the cut. On Cape Charles Beach in Cape Charles, Virginia (12.39% of reviews), tourists rave over the calm surf and perfect-for-paddling depth. Lewes Beach in Lewes, Delaware (10.82% of reviews), also features; its location at the end of Delaware Bay makes for gentle waves. “I would recommend IF you want a beach for laying out or with little to NO waves,” comments a visitor. “IF you want to boogie board…this is NOT the beach for you.”

Caribbean Beaches Dominate Our Ranking of North America’s Best Beaches for Calm Shores

Next, let’s take a look at North America as a whole. After Hawaii’s world-champion beach for calm water, U.S. beaches are outnumbered by Caribbean seaside spots, of which two can be found in Barbados. “The sea is undoubtedly amazing here, very calm, very azure and very chilled,” writes a reviewer of Browne’s Beach (20.50% of reviews) in Bridgetown, the country’s capital city. The beach is part of Carlisle Bay, for which 14.16% of reviews mention its calm water.

Other top beaches can be found in Jamaica, Grenada and the Dominican Republic. These islands are situated in the Caribbean Sea, which — while calm and smooth near land — can get choppy where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, particularly during hurricane season (June to November). Mexico just makes the cut, too; one reviewer labels Playa La Entrega in La Crucecita (13.67% of reviews) as a “great place for snorkeling!!! The water was nice and calm and super clear!!!”

One Uruguay Beach Has the Calmest Water in South America

Take it from the New York Times: despite not being a popular destination for American tourists, Uruguay has some of the best beaches in South America. It also has some of the calmest water, with Playa Mansa (which translates to “calm beach”) in Punta del Este ranking as the continent’s overall winner (17.60% of reviews mention its calm water). “The water is calm and warm and good for young children or beginner swimmers,” advises one write-up. “Or if you are like me and just want to kick back.”

But it’s Brazil that dominates our ranking, claiming six spots. Praia do Porto da Barra in Salvador leads them, for which 13.85% of reviews mention the calm water. So writes one visitor: “For those who have passed the age of facing strong waves and cold water, this beach is ideal.” Jurerê Beach in Jurerê, Florianopolis, also features (7.88% of reviews), where the gentle waves make it a popular spot for families with young children.

Head to Greece for the Best Beaches for Calm Water in Europe

Across the pond, Greece boasts over half of Europe’s top ten beaches for calm water. On top is Marathi Beach in Marathi, Crete, for which 16.17% of reviews left by the public mention its calm water. Situated in Souda Bay, this beach is naturally protected from the rough waves and strong winds found at other beaches nearby, and tourists can’t get enough. “The water is clear and calm,” advises one. “But it is a little challenging to get into because of the stones and small rocks, so bring beach shoes with you.”

Outside of Greece, Portuguese and Spanish beaches make the cut. Portugal’s top beach for calm water is Foz do Arelho Beach (Lagoon) in Foz do Arelho, Leiria District (9.60% of reviews), situated on the side of a calm lagoon that’s fed by the Atlantic Ocean. “In the lagoon, the water is calm and ‘safer’,” notes one reviewer. “Except with tide when the current is quite heavy. The oceanside has the usual heavy current and waves which are not for kids or the average swimmer.”

Sri Lankan Beaches Top Asia’s Ranking of the Best Beaches for Calm Water

Three Sri Lankan beaches top our ranking of the top ten beaches with the calmest water in Asia. Passikudah Beach takes the overall crown (11.08% of reviews mention its calm water), described by one tourist as “a 4km long stretch of sand that is the vision of serenity.” The next-best beach is situated some 365km away on the tip of the island: Casuarina Beach in Jaffna (9.78% of reviews). “Really calm water for about 50 meters in,” comments a tourist. “The water was warm and really refreshing.”

Other top beaches are located in bays, where calm waves are the result of being sheltered from the ocean’s rough currents. One such is Saracen Bay Beach in Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia (7.02% of results), of which a reviewer comments: “The sea is bathwater warm, clear and so calm – perfect for paddling, swimming and snorkeling.” Lagoons are similarly sheltered; the Blue Lagoon in Ölüdeniz in Turkey (6.33% of reviews) also ranks.

Santos Beach in South Africa Is Home to the Calmest Water of Any Beach in Africa

Africa has more countries than any continent in the world, but its top beaches for calm water can be found in only three nations: South Africa, Seychelles and Mauritius. Claiming the continental crown is Santos Beach, nestled in the coastline of the harbor town of Mossel Bay in South Africa, for which 7.79% of publicly available reviews mention the calm water. When there are waves to be seen, visitors with a keen eye may spot dolphins and whales riding them further out from shore.

Two beaches on Praslin Island — one of the largest islands that comprise the Inner Seychelles — feature. Cote d’Or Beach is one (7.41% of reviews), a 2.5km-long stretch of beach on the northern coast, for which one reviewer writes: “If you want to swim in [crystal-]clear water with almost no waves, this is your place in Praslin.” The other is Anse Volbert (7.39% of reviews), where a visitor advises that you “can walk out quite a way before the water gets shoulder depth.”

Jimmy’s Beach in New South Wales Boasts the Calmest Water of Any Beach Down Under

Lastly, while surfing the waves may be something of a national sport in Australia, we’ve ranked the top beaches down under where the water is likely much too calm for such an activity. Sheltered from the ocean and strong summer northeast winds, Jimmy’s Beach in Hawks Nest, New South Wales, claims the top spot, with 12.28% of its reviews mentioning its calm water. “Quiet, calm, crystal clear shallow water, sublime views,” summarizes one visitor. “Did I say quiet already? Hallelujah.”

Next comes Yanchep Lagoon Beach in Yanchep Wanneroo, a coastal suburb of Perth, Western Australia, for which 9.77% of reviews mention its calm water. Visitors here note that, while the lagoon is generally gentle, winds can pick up and make the current stronger. As one reviewer advises: “Was a little windy and although there are no waves, there was a slight current when we snorkeled outside of the designated swimming area at the southern end of the lagoon.”

Five Safety Tips for Swimming in the Sea

Swimming in the sea can be a fantastic experience for the whole family, but it’s very different from swimming in a closed pool. Here are our top tips to keep you safe for your next visit to the beach.

1. Pay attention to signs and flags

When you get to the beach, take a minute to observe the signage and flags on display. In the U.S., think of the traffic light system. Green flags generally mean that the sea is calm and safe to swim in, while yellow means the sea is a bit choppier, and you should avoid going into the sea if you’re not a confident swimmer. Look for a flag that has a red stripe on top and yellow on the bottom to ensure you’re at a beach monitored by lifeguards.

One red flag indicates that swimming and going into the sea is strongly discouraged as the water is very rough, and you may face difficulty if you do swim. Two red flags, meanwhile, mean that the water is closed to public use, and a purple flag means that there may be jellyfish or other potentially dangerous pests in the water. If in doubt, look for a lifeguard on the beach for advice.

2. Don’t swim beyond your ability

If you don’t know how to swim or how to float, it’s best not to go into the sea beyond a very shallow paddle. If you can swim but you wouldn’t class yourself as a strong swimmer, stick to the shallows where it will be easy enough for you to stand up if you need to.

3. Stay shallow and aware of currents

Speaking of sticking to the shallows, even strong swimmers need to be aware of how far out they are at all times to make sure they have enough energy to easily get back to the shore. Be aware of rip tides, too: these strong currents can easily sweep someone out to sea if they’re not careful. If you’re caught in a rip tide, stay calm and assess the situation. If you’re able to stand, wade back to shore. If not, catch your breath by floating and escape the rip tide when you can by swimming parallel to the shore.

4. Don’t use inflatables on a windy day

Check for windsocks on the beach, which look like cones of (usually orange) fabric. If the windsock is blowing in the wind, it generally means that inflatables shouldn’t be used as they can be carried out to sea by the strong wind.

5. Swim in a group

There’s safety in numbers. Swimming in a group is not only fun but you can monitor each other in case somebody has difficulty in the water and get the attention of the lifeguards as a group. You also shouldn’t ever go swimming in the sea on your own, especially if you’ve had alcohol.


To find out which beaches have the calmest water according to tourists, we ranked beaches in each country on what percentage of their English-speaking reviews mention “calm water/s.” We manually checked the reviews of each beach for appropriate context surrounding the mentions of “calm water/s.”

We built a seed list of the most popular beaches in each country — a minimum of 100 per country and 500 in the United States — popularity was determined by how ranks beaches under “Traveler’s Favorites.” To qualify in our final rankings, each beach needed to have a minimum of 100 English-speaking reviews.

We analyzed a total of 1,552,615 English reviews. The analysis of this data is correct as of November 2023.

Additional sources (2023). What to Do When Caught in a Riptide

Tripadvisor. (2023). Ten Bay Beach.

Collazo, J. S. (2022). Playa Mansa.

Anapliotis, H. (2023). Marathi Beach: Breathtaking beach in Crete.

Major, J. (2023). Sri Lanka.

VisitNSW. (2023). Jimmys Beach.

Tripadvisor. (2023). Jimmy’s Beach.

This is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored or otherwise approved by Tripadvisor, Inc.