Zika virus is a scary and real risk for travelers heading to certain locations this summer, which is why it’s important to be aware of where local transmissions of the virus are happening (meaning people being bitten by mosquitos in that location, and then coming down with Zika).
While there are preventative measures you can take to minimize your risk of getting Zika no matter where you live—including wearing bug spray with DEET, having screens on your windows, and avoiding standing water, where mosquitos tend to breed—if you happen to be looking for summer vacation ideas where you’ll have less to worry about on the Zika front, you have plenty of options.
Check out our world map of locations where Zika is currently being locally transmitted, may have the potential to be transmitted in the future, and is unlikely to affect at all (in terms of local transmissions), and then click through this gallery of gorgeous international beaches, all currently relatively Zika-free.
Kaputaş Beach, Turkey
Kaputaş Beach is located in southwestern Turkey, at a point where a narrow valley bordered by steep, forested cliffs meets the Mediterranean. It's known for its rugged, untouched beauty—just remember to BYO snacks and booze, since it's fairly remote and doesn't have tons of tourist amenities.
Yonaha Maehama Beach, Japan
On an isolated tropical island called Miyako lies the pristine seven-mile stretch of sand that makes up Yonaha Maehama. While it's a popular destination, it's so large that it never feels crowded. Along with staying busy with water sports, restaurants, and shops, be sure to take an epic selfie with the turquoise water of the North Pacific in the background.
McClures Beach; Inverness, California
Situated in Point Reyes, a US National Park, McClures is a remote stretch of sand about an hour and a half north of San Francisco that beachgoers have to hike a little less than two miles to access. (Don't worry, the views from the hike are reportedly as pretty as from the beach itself.)
The country of Croatia includes more than 1,100 miles of coastline along the Adriatic Sea, so it has no shortage of breathtaking beaches. Worth a special trip, though, are the ones in Dubrovnik, a city just north of the border between Croatia and Montenegro—if you're lucky enough to visit, make pit stops at the sandy beaches of Cave, Banje, and Lapad.
Brewster, a tiny town tucked into the northeast curve of the Cape Cod hook, has access to beaches so beautiful they rival the Caribbean. With tides that recede for more than a mile at a time, beachgoers can stroll the flats, dig for clams, swim in clear blue channels, and hunt for rare pink "Bermuda" sand strips.
St. Tropez, France
Since celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot made St. Tropez (a former fishing town) into a trendy destination back in the 1950s, every high-profile socialite and jet-setter from Kate Moss to Leonardo DiCaprio has graced its shores. Other than the star-spotting, go for the impeccable white sand and stunning views of the Côte d'Azur at beaches such as the Plage de Tahiti and Plage de Pampelonne.
Bondi Beach; Sydney, Australia
Situated four miles east of Sydney, the famous crescent-shaped Bondi Beach is less than a mile long but draws hundreds of tourists who come to sunbathe, surf, and swim. Just be aware that the seemingly smooth surface hides a dangerous rip current underneath, so keep an eye on flags that indicate which areas are safe to dive in.
Langkawi Island, Malaysia
Although Malaysia is a yellow dot on our Zika map—meaning that it may be at risk of Zika hitting one day, mostly due to its proximity to other at-risk countries—for now, it's totally safe. So you can strip down and catch some rays on the sandy shores of Langkawi, an archipelago off the coast of northwestern Malaysia dotted with luxe resorts.
Second only to its legendary party scene, the beaches of Mykonos island are another attraction worth going for. Put on your sexiest one-piece and stroll onto Paradise and Super Paradise beaches, where nudism is welcome, and the people-watching is almost as riveting as the gorgeous views of the Aegean Sea.
Baker Beach, California
A public beach on the northwest part of the San Francisco peninsula, Baker Beach offers unobstructed views of the Golden Gate bridge and the hilly Marin Headlands. While you're there, you can grill, hike, picnic, look out for porpoises in the Gulf of the Farallones, or sunbathe (clothes are optional in the northern area).
This tiny resort town 45 minutes south of Portland comes to life from June through August, when tourists flock to experience the "vacationland" side of Maine. They won't be disappointed by Ogunquit Beach, which has pillowy-soft dunes, picturesque beach cottages, and is widely considered the best beach in the state.
Whitehaven Beach, Australia
The most photographed beach in all of Australia, Whitehaven sits on the shore of an island called Whitsunday off the shores of northeast Queensland. Walk along the four miles of snow-white sand to a lookout called Tongue Point, where you'll have an ideal view of a trippy fusion of colors that appear when the water and sand collide during low tide.
Plum Island, Massachusetts
Named for the wild beach plum shrubs that naturally grow in its dunes, Plum Island consists of 11 miles of rugged, windblown land off the northeast coast of Massachusetts. Though the waters of the North Atlantic are notoriously cold, brave swimmers will be rewarded with a brisk, refreshing feeling that's much-needed on hot summer days.
Little Kaiterteri, New Zealand
The small seaside town of Kaiteriteri overlooks the clear turquoise water of Tasman Bay and isn't far from a national park called Abel Tasman. It's no wonder that the natural beauty of both the town and beach have been well-preserved.
Hainan Island, China
Hainan, China's biggest tropical island, comes complete with palm trees, balmy temperatures, and azure sea and skies. Kick off your visit with a day at a beach called Tianya Haijiao (literal translation: Heaven's Edge Sea's Corner). Heaven indeed.