10 of the best beaches near airports

Grab some sun during a layover

Talk about close to the airport: Dockweiler Beach lies directly under the LAX flight path. 

Sleep pods, beauty spas and gourmet restaurants are all well and good for passing time during a layover, but some major airports go one better.

They've got a beach.

Well, almost. They've got a beach that's just a short hop from the terminal, allowing adventurous travelers to soak up some sunshine and surf while waiting for their next flight.

Here are the best sands within striking distance of some of the world's biggest business hubs.

Dubai International Airport

Mina Al Salam is an upmarket private beach in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab. 
Dubai offers beaches for all tastes and budgets and, depending on the length of your layover, most are within reach of the airport.

The sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf are closest at Al Mamzar Beach Park, a series of sandy horseshoe coves a few miles north of Dubai's airport.

There, you'll find warm water, shady umbrellas, and a selection of eateries and green spaces. It's worth bearing in mind Mondays and Wednesdays are for women only.

South of the airport the closest option is Jumeirah Open Beach, a wide sandy shore open to the public. Further down the strip are Jumeirah Beach Park and Kite Beach, a kitesurfers' haven near the Burj Al Arab.

Seeking something more exclusive? Dubai has an array of beach clubs which give access to their own private sands. For a fee, of course.

Cove Beach, Nasimi Beach on the Palm Jumeirah and jet-set Nikki Beach are just a few.

Los Angeles International Airport

Santa Monica Pier is the focal point of a wide stretch of beach.

For a quick blast of that endless summer vibe, it's relatively easy to escape LAX and soak up some Southern California sunshine.

The closest strand, just over the airport fence and directly under the LAX flight path, is Dockweiler State Beach, a wide sandy stretch with Playa del Rey at the northern end.

Just north is Marina Del Rey and Venice Beach, famous for its colorful people-watching opportunities on the boardwalk.

Beyond lies celebrated Santa Monica, with the buzzing Santa Monica Pier and the original Muscle Beach on its south side. A taxi is the quickest option. You can also get there by public transport -- just allow up to an hour each way.

Santa Monica offers plenty of hearty food joints near the beach. If you're in the mood for a more upmarket seafood eatery, there's Water Grill (1401 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica; +1 310 394 5669) on Ocean Avenue.

South of the airport, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beaches are decent options.

JFK Airport, NY

A 30-minute cab ride from the airport will take you to Long Beach, on the first of the barrier islands which extend up Long Island's south shore.
Holed up at JFK? Escape to Rockaway Beach, a favorite destination for city dwellers and urban surfers. And it's just a 30-minute taxi ride away. (Expect a longer trip at rush hour, or if you take the AirTrain and subway to get there.)

You'll likely arrive in central Rockaway around Beach 94th Street, but the vast sands stretch from Far Rockaway in the east to the quieter Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden to the southwest.

Another nearby option is three-mile Long Beach, on a barrier island next door. There's a $15 entry fee.

If you have a long layover, consider venturing further out to Jones Beach State Park.

This area was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 but has undergone a multimillion-dollar regeneration program.

Sydney Airport

Coogee Beach in Sydney's southeast suburbs is a short hop from the airport. 
Australia's harbor city is renowned for its stunning beaches. But if you don't have much time between flights, a quick dash to Brighton-Le-Sands could be the go, as they say Down Under.

Lady Robinson's Beach is a long stretch of sand between the mouth of the Cooks and the Georges Rivers on the western shore of Botany Bay. With calmer water than you'll find on the coast, it's perfect for a pre-flight flop.

For a taste of the Pacific, take a 20-minute taxi ride to the spectacular southeast Sydney surf beaches of Maroubra or Coogee. Both also are reachable by public transport.

Iconic Bondi, Bronte and chic Tamarama -- dubbed "Glamarama" -- beaches are a little farther out. The Bondi Icebergs seawater pool is legendary for a salty swim without the pounding surf (1 Notts Ave., Bondi Beach 2026, Sydney, Aus; +61 2 9130 4804).

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Tanjung Biru near Cape Rachado is known as the Blue Lagoon. 

KL International Airport lies about 60 kilometers to the south of the Malaysian megalopolis. And the beaches of Port Dickson are just about an hour's drive away.

Stretching south from Port Dickson is a string of sandy bays overlooking the Malacca Strait, some more developed than others.

Teluk Kemang, Pantai Cahaya Negeri and Pantai Saujana are some of the best beaches in the area, with fine white sand and a leafy backdrop.

Jungle-backed Blue Lagoon, towards Cape Rachado at the southern end of the coastal strip, is also worth a visit. But at 17 kilometers from Port Dickson, it requires more time to reach.

Hong Kong International Airport

Chueng Sha offers a peaceful stretch of sand backed by forested peaks.
Got a long layover at HK's Chep Lap Kok International Airport? Take the opportunity to check out one of the territory's most beautiful areas.

Cheung Sha, Tong Fuk, Pui O, Silvermine Bay, and Tai Pak at Discovery Bay are all a relatively short ride from the airport, which was built on reclaimed land just off Lantau Island

The tree-fringed, three-kilometer crescent of Cheung Sha, one of Hong Kong's longest beaches, will take about 20 minutes to reach in a taxi. Enjoy the journey via Tung Chung Road, which cuts through the forested peaks of Lantau South Country Park.

Upper Cheung Sha is a remote spot to get away from the hubbub.

If you're hungry, Lower Cheung Sha has several beachside restaurants serving fresh fish and cold beer. The Stoep is a popular beachside eatery serving South African food (The Stoep, 50 Lower Cheung Sha, Lantau Island, HK; +852 2980 2699). The Gallery at Tong Fuk also receives good reviews (The Gallery, 26 Tong Fuk village, Lantau Island, HK; +852 2980 2582).

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Bang Saen beach, near the city of Chon Buri, is largely overlooked by foreign tourists.

Thailand's picture-postcard beaches of azure water and snow-white sand may be out of range for a quick jaunt, but Bang Saen beach offers a decent option about an hour's taxi ride from Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Bang Saen is a popular seaside town to the southeast, largely overlooked by foreign travelers racing to greater treasures further south.

It's got light sand, gently-lapping Gulf of Thailand water, palm-backed beaches and plenty of eating shacks. The southern end around Wonnapa Beach is peaceful.

If you've got the time and cash, a plane hop straight from the airport to Ko Samui takes just over an hour -- though flight times are more restrictive.

Singapore Changi Airport

Changi Beach Park features green spaces, cycle paths and BBQ areas. 
Changi Airport is almost a destination in its own right these days. But if two 24-hour movie theaters aren't enough to entertain you, virtually at the end of the runway lies Changi Beach Park, a thin ribbon of palm-fringed sand looking north toward Pulau Ubin, Tekong Island and Malaysia.

The three-kilometer beach is backed by grassy picnic and BBQ areas, and a cycle track (bike hire is available).

Pasir Ris Park, a series of narrow beaches backed by greenery and mangrove forest just to the west of Changi Beach Park, can be reached via taxi or 20 minutes on the East-West Line train from the airport.

Tokyo Narita International Airport

Ichinomiya Beach is part of a 60-kilometer sweep of sand on the east coast of Chiba province.
Narita lies to the east of Tokyo, which puts it in reach of a 60-kilometer sweep of untamed dune-backed beaches. The Chiba area, popular among surfers, includes Tsurigasaki Beach, where the Tokyo Olympics surfing competition will debut in 2020.

A drive across the rural coastal plain to Yakata Beach in Sanbu district will take about an hour. A train to Naruto and then a short cab ride to Kujukuri will require about an hour and a half.

The weather-beaten towns strung out behind the dunes offer sporadic eating options. Many serve the regional specialty of sardines -- iwashi in Japanese -- caught right off the beach.

Zurich Airport

Strandbad Mythenquai rents paddleboards from a self-service dispenser.
Switzerland's biggest city may not seem like a natural beach destination. In summer, though, you can explore a number of sandy stretches on the shores of Lake Zurich.

Mythenquai claims to be the original "Strandbad," or swimming beach, having opened in 1922. It boasts a 250-meter beach, sunbathing lawn, diving boards and reputedly the world's first automatic rental for stand-up paddle boards. (Mythenquai 95, 8002 Zurich;+41 44 201 00 00)

Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen on the opposite eastern bank is another Lake Zurich swimming institution. There's no sand, just grassy lawns and a circular jetty into the water (Bellerivestrasse 200, 8008 Z├╝rich, Switzerland; +41 44 422 32 00)

The airport is a 10- to 15-minute train ride north of the city center. A taxi or a brisk walk will get you to the lake.

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