To all the locals who have been hoarding the following beaches, please forgive us.
But c'mon, how can you really sleep at night, knowing you're sending all those well-meaning tourists to the same old beaches with the same old towel-to-towel crowds, the same old overflowing trash cans and the same old high-rise hotels blocking the view?
Is it really fair that you keep these gifts from Mother Nature all to yourself?
So, yeah, the jig is up.
As for the rest of you, you can thank us later.
Zmudowski State Beach Monterey County, California
This tongue-twister of a beach (the Z is silent) has miles of dreamy sand and knock-out views of both sides of Monterey Bay, but because getting there is complicated, you often get the place to yourself.
Slackers usually settle for its more accessible clones (Salinas River State Beach, Moss Landing State Beach and Marina State Beach also front Monterey Bay). What they don't realize is getting to Zmudowski is half the fun. It's about 20 miles northwest of Monterey, and the last two miles are along a narrow two-lane road.
Not only will you be humming a particular Beatles tune as you wind through endless strawberry fields, but you'll make a big dent in your bird-watching aspirations. California brown pelicans, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels and western snowy plovers are just a few species that hang out with the playful sea otters in the adjoining Pajaro River estuary.
During 2012 budget reductions, the state of California threatened to close this stretch of gorgeous land that was donated to the state by Watsonville schoolteacher Mary Zmudowski, but finally concluded its maintenance cost was next-to-nothing anyway. www.parks.ca.gov
Carova Beach Outer Banks, North Carolina
By law, visitors to this remote, 11-mile beach are required to stay at least 50 feet from the wild Spanish mustangs, but nobody bothered to tell the horses, who are curious about visitors who four-wheel drive in to this spit of land straddling the Atlantic and Currituck Sound.
With a delicious lack of paved roads, grocery stores, restaurants and hotels, Carova has little but wide, sand-packed beaches and a scattering of rental homes ranging from modest bungalows to million-dollar mansions with heated pools and hot tubs.
It's a perfect place to collect showpiece whelks, hike through preserved maritime woods or just set up a beach chair and chill. www.outerbanks.com
Kauapea Beach Kauai, Hawaii
Ansel Adams would have felt right at home at this gorgeous beach on the north shore of Kauai.
With stark white sand and black lava cliffs, it's not only a study in contrast, but it takes effort to find and get to. Whatever you do, don't rely on Google maps, which has been known to send seekers astray.
If you do find the unmarked, unpaved path, just know that it's steep, requires a good 10 to 15 minutes to traverse and when it rains, it gets slippery and the red clay is likely to permanently stain your beach shoes. Locals tend to go barefoot.
But oh, is it worth it.
Located between Kalihiwai Bay and the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kauapea Beach offers stellar views of Moku'ae'ae Island, Kilauea Lighthouse, a 15-foot waterfall and nude sunbathers who have taken up residence on the east end of the beach.
Locals nicknamed it "Secret Beach" and not surprisingly, there are no lifeguards or restrooms or beach umbrellas. Shade can be found toward the back of the beach near the 100-foot cliffs.
Turn makai (seaward) at Kalihiwai Road (1/2 mile north of the gas station) and turn right onto the first dirt road. The trailhead begins in the plum trees.
Watamu Beach Kenya
There are five main reasons you've never heard of this wide, idyllic beach on the Indian Ocean: lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalo.
Most tourists associate Kenya with safari and the Big Five. But with some 330 miles of Indian Ocean coastline, that's a gross oversight.