The Best Beaches In Mexico

Hotel Discounts in Mexico

An opinionated list of the best beaches from Cabo to Cancun

Sayulita is great for surfing and family fun.

My personal favorite: the family friendly beach at Sayulita

A beach near Manzanillo

Manzanillo on the Pacific Coast of Mexico

A beach at the Westin Cabos Resort in Baja California

A beach at the Westin Cabos Resort in Baja California

The beach at Zihuatanejo

The beautiful beach at Zihuatanejo

Tulum has great ruins and fantastic beaches

The fantastic beaches of Tulum in Mexico’s Yucatan.

The beach at Zipolite

A quiet beach at Zipolite

A beach in Baja California near Cabo San Lucas

A beach in Baja California near Cabo San Lucas

Acapulco on the Mexican Pacific coast

Acapulco on the Mexican Pacific coast

One of Cancun's many beautiful beaches

One of Cancun’s many beautiful beaches

Cozumel in Mexico's Yucatan region.

Cozumel in Mexico’s Yucatan region.

Isla Contoy in the Yucatan which is popular with bird watchers.

A short day trip from Isla Mujeres is Parque Nacional Isla Contoy

La Paz on the Baja

La Paz on the Baja

The beach in Old Town Puerto Vallarta

The best swimming beach is south of here, but the Old Town beach is great for evening walks

Playa del Carmen on the shores of the Caribbean

Playa del Carmen on the shores of the Caribbean

Beach near Los Cabos

Another great beach near Los Cabos

North beach on Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres might be the most family friendly beach in Mexico.

The beach in Mazatlan

The beach in Mazatlan with the Old Town in the background

Puerto Vallarta is packed with great beaches.

Playa de los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta

A ride through Ixtapa by gondola

A gondola ride up from the beach in Ixtapa

Holbox Island in Quintana Roo

Holbox Island in the Caribbean Sea

Huatalco beach in South West Mexico

Playa Entrega in Huatalco in southwest Mexico

Playa Mazunte near Oaxaca

Playa Mazunte near Oaxaca

Puerto Escondido is known for its great surfing

Puerto Escondido is known for its great surfing

Yelapa beach near Puerto Vallarta

Just a short boat ride from Puerto Vallarta is the fantastic Yelapa beach.

Pictures: ZaskodaLizard10979kretyendustin.askins,  lightmatter,  georgia.kralDieselDemonJSF306,
adpowersSergeMelkiAlaskanDudeTanenhaus,  WonderlaneyentoncesŠarūnasBurdulis, ~!,
HSanchezrhobinn,  jaritoKevinHutchinsonelfidomxJoSimono¬.

Further Reading:

Travel with Kids in San Francisco.

Looking for Hotels?

A guide to the best family hotels


  1. Can you get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta by boat? Is it worth it for a day trip? Thx.

    • There aren’t any regular schedule boats that I know of. Though you could always hire a private one if you were really committed to getting there by boat. The bus will get you there in about 2 hours. A taxi takes about an hour and costs around $40 if you know how to bargain. ($70 if you don’t.) Is it worth it for a day trip? Maybe. I’d try to get up there for at least a night. The beach has a couple of really low key restaurants where it’s great to hang out as the sun falls. It’s perfect. Mornings are lively around the town square and there are some great breakfast places.

  2. What beach on Isla Mujeres is that? The main one?

    • Playa Norte, which is the best one for kids and is part of the main town where most of the restaurants and hotels are.

  3. We are San Pancho fans — Sayulita is good tho! We have place at Garza Blanca beach about an hour south of Sayulita, and always make the drive north at least once each visit to check on San Pancho and let our boys do some surfing!

    Thanks for all the great articles! We are huge travelers and find your posts really helpful! Especially the ones about taking kids to SE Asia! Gracias!

  4. Love the beaches around Cabo. La Paz has more culture and a mexican feel, so it’s great to do a week up there and then come down to Cabo for a more typical beach holiday. The surfing is great up the Pacific Coast. There are ferries from Cabo across to Mazatlan which go daily (I think)j.

    Isla Holbox is a great place but haven’t visited the rest of the Yucatan. Belize is fantastic too – though I guess a different article.

  5. Love the concept of showing all the beaches through a great photo. Thanks for the link to our Reasons to Visit Mexico post

  6. Las Gatas and Madera beaches in Zihu. Good beach vibe. If you get out far enough then you can do some bodysurfing at Madera but other than that it’s pretty calm. Zihuatanejo is a jewel and shouldn’t be missed. Zipolite very nice too.

  7. Hi David,

    I am a Cali -girl who has moved to the little town of Mexicali, Mexico ( too hot then too cold… and too far from the beach) My hubby, my 7 mo old boy and I are moving to Cabo this April.
    I cannot find any info about how many people with children actually live in Cabo…. do you think Mommy and me type things will be a problem- or what would be the best way for me to make new friends for me and my lil one in a place where most are just visiting?
    Thanks for the advice

    • Hi Kelly. I did a 10 minute look around for you trying to find some good local websites but couldn’t come up with anything. I suspect once you’re there you’ll find a lot of locals that have good advice. For now, I’d go on tripadvisor and ask a question, as many of its forums have an engaged expat community that comments regularly. I hope that helps.

  8. This is a great summary of Mexico’s beaches and you’ve nailed almost all of my favorites. I’ve made 11 trips to Mexico over the last 8 years and have been to most of these. It really depends what you’re looking for in a beach to recommend one. My top 3 beach towns are Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Tulum. Isla Mujeres is right up there too. I’m not much of a surfer, but my good buddy is and he’s dragged me along to Puerto Escondido which is top notch for surfer types. For the best stretch of beach I’d have to say for Cancun though it can be terribly busy during December and January. P.V. is the best for a collection of great beach nooks and towns. I have never been to the Baja so can’t comment on it.

  9. HI, I’m just wondering what you’d recommend or what to consider for a 5 day visit in April where we go in and out of Cancun airport? We are a couple traveling with our 16 year old son and high on our list is snorkeling, maybe an intro course in scuba, and some fishing for the guys. We like good basic Mexican food, but have no interest in night clubs. Next time I’ll consider Sayulita, but since we route through Miami to visit family, the Caribbean was it this trip. So, Tulum or Isla Mujeres? That is the question. Any insight and input would be most appreciated. Recommendation for accommodations in either Tulum or Isla de Mujeres, if any, would be welcome as well.
    Thanks so much.

    • I would pick Isla Mujeres for lazy beach time and swimming. Tulum to see some historical sites and visit the cenotes, so there’s a bit more to do there. The food should be better in Tulum too.

      For hotels, these 2 links should find you some great deals: Isla Mujeres and Tulum.

      Good luck.

  10. Hey David,

    Can you tell me a great place to relax on the beach AWAY from resorts and people? Any info is appreciated, thanks!

    • Sayulita is a great beach town about an hour from Puerto Vallarta. To the south of PV there are a string of beaches that have few (if any) resorts. Farther south Zipolite and Mazunte are budget hang outs with great beaches.

  11. Do you know if there is a bus that goes form Puerto Vallarta to ZIHUATANEJO.


    • Yes, there is a daily bus from Puerto Vallarta to Zihuatanejo that takes about 14 hours. It makes a stop in Manzanillo along the way and costs about M$500. Breaking the trip into 2 legs would probably be a good idea and make for two manageable segments. Lots of great beach towns along the route.

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