Travel

Hit the World's Best Beaches With These 360-Degree Virtual Experiences

Now every day can be beach day.

virtual reality beaches
Emily Carpenter/Thrillist

Let's kick beach season off early this year, shall we? Maybe you can't physically sprawl out on the sand -- access to many beaches remains severely limited due to the current health crisis -- but with Wi-Fi and a little imagination, you can virtually globe-trot to some of the world's most stunning coasts.

From the lively sands of Florida to the islands in the Great Barrier Reef, you can visit these sandy shores right now using your phone or computer. Most of these digital tours offer fully immersive 360-degree views that, if you don VR gear or watch from your bathtub, offer up a completely transformative experience. So put on the Jimmy Buffett and order up some delivery mai tais: This season, the beach is coming to you.

MORE: Take a virtual world tour with these fully immersive digital experiences

Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia, Greece

Myrtos Beach

Kefalonia, Greece
Close your eyes and imagine you’re laid out on a white sandy beach as deep turquoise waves tickle your feet. Or open your eyes and actually see and hear the waves yourself. Greece’s coastline is full of brilliant beaches, and Myrtos Beach is one of the absolute best. In this virtual reality video, you can alter your view to gaze at the horizonless waters and practically feel the sun warming your skin. Located in the northwest area of Kefalonia Island, Myrtos sits between mountains Kalon Oros and Agia Dynati, which you can get a clear view of. The only way to make it feel more real would be grab an octopus from the grocery store and smack it against your stoop.

MORE:Myrtos is one of the most flat-out gorgeous beaches in Greece

Amilla Fushi Resort in the Maldives

The Maldives

South Asia
The Maldives is basically vacation goals personified. But visiting the resort-packed and endlessly opulent paradise is also prohibitively expensive. With this virtual experience, you can get a taste of all the luxury without selling a kidney. You’ll be taken on a scenic tour around the Amilla Fushi resort in the Baa Atoll of the Maldives. With emerald waters so clear you can literally see the sea sponges and aquatic life beneath you, you may forget that you’re not actually sipping on cocktails in front of the villas. The best part? Aside from a few stragglers here and there, you’ll have the resort mostly to yourself.

MORE: Go deeper into your Maldives daydream here

Miami Beach

South Beach

Miami, Florida
Spring break got cancelled this year, but that doesn't mean you can't fantasize about it via a digital trip to one of America's most popular beaches. Situated right below Bayshore, Miami's South Beach is the beating, sunburned heart of Miami, and this 360-degree walkalong of South Beach takes you on a waterfront stroll through a packed beach full of sunbathers, frisbee-tossing bros, and swimmers. If you're starved for human interaction and a little virtual sunshine, you can use the 360 functionality to play Where's Waldo with South Beach archetypes: we're pretty sure you'll spot Pitbull out there if you squint hard enough. 

MORE: And if you're in Miami now, pair that virtual walk with excellent delivery food

Cala Millor Beach

Cala Millor Beach

Mallorca, Spain
Dust off your swimsuits and turn on the full screen for an immersive virtual experience on Cala Millor Beach in Mallorca, the largest island in the Mediterranean Balearic Islands. Whether you’re buried in a good book in front of the TV or looking for new relaxation techniques, being accompanied by the sound of gentle waves crashing against the fine sandy shores of Cala Millor will certainly become your favorite pastime. Show some love to the restaurant industries of the world by checking out this 360 of Restaurante Bonanza and just imagine you’re waiting for your server to bring out your plate of fresh filet steak. 

MORE:Gaze upon Spain's most stunning beaches

Treasure Island Beach, Laguna Beach

Treasure Island Beach

Laguna Island, California
Not to be confused with Treasure Island in Florida, or the boring book we all said we read despite only watching the Muppet movie, this gem with sparkling waters is in Laguna Beach, California. There's no actual treasure or Lauren Conrad here, but it is home to sparkling waters, world-class snorkeling, and hidden alcoves. Through this 360-degree video, you’ll get access to various views of the beach, including an overhead view of some of the deepest-blue Pacific waters in SoCal.

Trunk Bay

Trunk Bay

St. John, United States Virgin Islands
Considered St. John’s most famous beach and photographed beach, Trunk Bay is the beach of all beaches. It’s a part of the Virgin Islands National Park, which also includes Francis Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Maho Bay. The soft white sand and fluorescent blue water make it the perfect place to escape -- even if it’s in your imagination. Prop your feet up on your coffee table or pillow and envision yourself sitting on the sandy rocks that decorate the shore of Trunk Bay in this virtual reality 360-degree video.

MORE: While you're here, open up a livestream from the Caribbean bar that invented the Painkiller

Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island

Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is home to many Australian islands and beaches, such as Lizard Island, Lady Elliot Island & Heron Island. But it’s also home to Fitzroy Island, a smaller island packed with picturesque views, restaurants, and a resort that if you were to visit, you probably wouldn’t want to leave. It’s quite literally surrounded by coral reefs, so snorkeling is the favorite thing to do here. But with the world’s current climate, it’s safer to experience what Fitzroy has to offer through virtual reality. Stand on top of the world -- or at the peak of the island, called the Summit -- and get a full scope of Nudey Beach, the lighthouse that was built in 1973, and of course the Great Barrier Reef.

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Kristen Adaway is a travel and local editorial assistant at Thrillist who is currently daydreaming about being on the beach. Follow her on Twitter