Coral reefs are popular though fragile tourist attractions. The media representations of reefs inform tourists’ perceptions, expectations and behaviours and, as such, are an important component of reef management. Indeed, it is the image perceived by potential tourists rather than the image the destination presents that is crucial. Through understanding the concept of image, destinations can implement image management and positioning strategies. In this context, five prominent travel magazines’ representations of coral reefs are explored to identify the coral reef themes they emphasise and how they frame these (positively, neutrally or negatively). Findings show that coral reef representations emphasise tourist activities available at coral reefs. Only 55% of the magazine articles positively framed coral reefs. This exploratory research highlights how the media, and online travel magazines in particular, frame coral reefs in a particular way and that coral reef dependent destinations should be considering how this might affect their management and positioning.