BEACH VACATION IDEAS
Top 10 Beaches From the Movies
10 landmark films, 10 ridiculously beautiful beaches. We found Hollywood's most vaunted locations—and are giving you the keys to get there.
Phi Phi Leh, Thailand—The Beach (2000)
The flick: The movie that gave voice to a generation of backpackers, The Beach, based on Alex Garland's novel of the same name, centers on the quest for the Thailand's last pure beach, one untainted by tourism. The scene: Leonardo DiCaprio swims beneath a seemingly impenetrable wall of cliffs, only to surface in an impossibly idyllic cove.
The beach: Located on Phi Phi Leh island in the Andaman Sea, Maya Bay was digitally enhanced for the movie: The directors added a fourth side to make it seem even more private. But that doesn't mean the bay is any less spectacular in real life. Karst limestone cliffs tumble to a slash of sugary white sand. Shallow waters and a ribbon of coral make for some incredible snorkeling. Even to this day, there are no rental bungalows, but you are allowed to make like DiCaprio and camp overnight.
Getting there: Visit on a daytrip from the southwestern Thai resort towns of Phuket and Krabi, via a mix of ferry and longtail boat rides.
• Related: America's 10 Best Winter Beach Retreats
Petit Tabac, St. Vincent and the Grenadines—Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The flick: With number four in the works, the films chronicling theadventures of Captain Jack Sparrow have brought moviegoers to a number of tropical hideaways, but few can top the deserted beach in The Curse of the Black Pearl. The scene: When villains dump Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley on a strip of bone-white sand to wither, Knightley uses a stash of rum to create a rescue bonfire, only to have the ever-hedonic Depp moan, "Why is the rum gone?"
The beach: Part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Petit Tabac is one 1) completely uninhabited and 2) highly protected. What that translates to is a perfect Caribbean island with no glitzy palazzos on the beach, no jet skis or fishing boats rumbling over the reefs, and an overwhelming sense that you've reached world's end (no, wait, that's the other movie!).
Getting there: Petit Tabac is an easy day trip from St. Vincent's Union Island, from where you can hop a boat ride on the Scaramouche, a schooner that played the part of a merchant ship in the The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Kastani Beach, Skopelos Island, Greece—Mamma Mia! (2008)
The flick: This silver screen version of the Abba-infused, chart-busting musical, Mamma Mia!, shines a spotlight on Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), who wants to find out who her real father is before she gets married. The scene: Tanya (Christine Baranski) gives a sultry rendition of Abba's "Does Your Mother Know" on a small, sandy beach with a makeshift bar, framed by a cerulean-colored sea.
The beach: Best known for the dramatic monolith, Kastani, on the western coast of Skopelos, is not your traditional swimming beach. The shore is rocky (though there is a sandy beach), so, good for a picnic. Many visitors also choose to hike to the precariously perched hilltop monastery of Agios Ioannis sto Kastri. Mamma Mia's climactic wedding scene took place here, but more to the point, the church offers a dazzling view over the island.
Getting there: Skopelos is easily reachable by daily ferries or hydrofoils from the resort towns of Volos or Skiathos (both under a 2.5-hour bus ride from Athens) . The trip is about 6.5 hours when traveling via Volos and 5 hours via Skiathos.
• Related: Upload your beautiful beach photos to myBT and they may be featured!
Lumahai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii—South Pacific (1958)
The flick: After winning a Pulitzer and multiple Tonys on Broadway, South Pacific hit Hollywood in 1958, and became an immediate hit. Though James Michener set the story in Vanuatu (where he was stationed in World War II), most of the movie was shot on Kauai. The scene: Mitzi Gaynor prances around the broad, blond swath of Lumahai Beach, as she washes that man right out of her hair.