Image: Ka'anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii
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Imagine Waikiki if it weren’t tourist-saturated: What you are envisioning is Ka'anapali Beach, in Maui, Hawaii. Once the official retreat of Maui’s royalty, it now has just the right balance of natural attractiveness and tourist amenities that appeal to even the most discerning of travelers.
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updated 7/5/2009 5:16:32 AM ET 2009-07-05T09:16:32

Chic, cosmopolitan cities are the pinnacle of sexiness in North America, right? From L.A. to New York to Miami, Mexico City, Montreal and back, we seek sensuality and romance in fashion, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Fair enough, but even the most committed urbanite—yes, the one who stays at the hottest boutique hotels, gets the choicest tables and hits all of the most exclusive after-hours spots—has nothing on the raw, primal sexiness of a world-class beach. When it really comes down to it, there is not, and never will be, anything to rival that potent cocktail of sun, sand, sea and (the all-important) liberation of clothes that can only be found at a beach.

And you need not go that far a field to discover your little bit of beach bliss. North America may be the land of Alaska, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, but it also lays claim to they Yucatan Peninsula, South Florida, and, of course, the Hawaiian islands. Let’s not forget about the golden coast of California: home to perhaps the most iconic beach scene on the planet.

Head a little further south for Mexico’s Baja California, which boasts spectacular stretches of sand along the entire perimeter of the peninsula. Yes, people, we have the good fortune to have some of the world’s sexiest beaches in our own backyard. The world’s most powerful aphrodisiac is sitting right there within your grasp, just waiting for you to reach out, grab it and put it to your lips.

While Mexico, California, Hawaii and South Florida are the obvious destinations for natural splendor, simmering heat, and unrestrained sexiness, there are many other choices out there. In the end, sexiness is a state of mind—and we all have different perspectives.

So, while some may find their ultimate slice of beach paradise among the well-heeled weekend partiers in the Hamptons, others prefer the sedate charms of Tulum, Mexico, the surf scene at Hawaii’s world-famous Banzai Pipeline or the killer sunset from the bluffs at San Diego’s La Jolla Cove.

World's sexiest beachesOthers will find the beach love-of-their-lives (or steamy holiday fling) at unexpected and counter-intuitive spots like Chicago’s sultry summer party circuit at Oak Street Beach—yes, sexy beaches include the lakeside kind—or at the hedonistic frenzy that graces Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach when the July and August sun heats this intoxicating nexus of sea, forest and mountains.

In the following list, you’ll find our top 10 North American beaches from Florida to Hawaii to Mexico and Canada. These are the places where people go to shake off the urban grime, reacquaint themselves with romance, sensuality and stoke their libidos. If you’re an adult with adult tastes and an eye for others like you, then perhaps you’ve come to the right place. Enjoy responsibly—or irresponsibly. We won’t tell anyone.

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