Travel the World
8 Unusual and Unforgettable Beaches
If you’ve ever thought you’ve seen one beach, you’ve seen them all then you need to get around a bit more. Beaches come in all kinds of consistencies, from that of powdered sugar to large skipping stones. And even what one might consider the “normal” sand color is a shade that varies from white towards light brown.
1. Kaihalulu Beach – Maui, Hawaii
Wherever there’s volcanoes by the sea (or the ancient remains of one) you can expect something a bit unusual. How about a beach with sand in a shade of red? An eroding cinder cone hill surrounds the bay contributing to the unlikely colour of the sand on this isolated beach. Although the sea is often too rough to swim in, and the hike to get there is a bit treacherous, the rare view and the contrast with the big blue and the surrounding green ironwood trees is worth the effort.
2. Papakolea Beach – Big Island of Hawaii
Also known as Mahana Beach, the sand carries a green hue from yet another cinder cone crumbling into the sea. The cone is partly made up of olivine crystals, which contain iron and magnesium, and while the lighter volcanic sands get washed into the sea, the heavier crystals stay along the shore to dominate the colour scheme.
3. Monterrico – Guatemala
Located on Guatemala’s southern shore, the Pacific Ocean pounds along the ebony sands of this popular beach while visitors typically lounge in hammocks during the day when the waves are strongest and the sands get rather hot in the tropical sun. Humans aren’t the only visitors to this beach. Sea turtles find it a lovely piece of real estate for their nests.
4. Hyams Beach – New South Wales, Australia
This stretch of brilliant sand sits along Jervis Bay about three hours south of Sydney and is alleged to have the most amazingly white sand. Even Guinness has weighed in on the matter, giving Hyams the world’s record. Is it really that white? Be sure to be wearing sunglasses when you check.
5. Pfeiffer Beach – Big Sur, California
Are the sands of this Californian beach purple or pink? It all depends how the light catches it, but Pfeiffer Beach is generally referred to as purple. Get out your geology books and look up manganese garnets. The presence of these coloured minerals in the surrounding rocky hills gives the beach its unique beauty. Go there around sunset and see how the light catches it.
6. Harbour Island – Bahamas
Stretching over three miles, the beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas is sporting a little pink. Dead coral and old shells from offshore have been pulverized over time to make up the sand. But the rosy shade comes from a tiny sea critter called Foraminifera. Often less than one millimetre in size, they build shells of calcium carbonate which in abundance have created this blushing beach.
7. Andaman Sea beaches – Thailand
Unusual beaches aren’t always about colour. How about a now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t beach? In the Andaman Sea of the western coast of Thailand, the tides sometimes reveal and conceal some particularly beautiful sand. One example is this narrow spit that joins Tup and Chicken Islands offshore from Ao Nang-but only at low tide. Take one of the famous “longtail” boats from shore and frolic until the tide comes back in.
8. Oludeniz Beaches – Turkey
Do you prefer fine sand or larger, rounded stones? Turkey’s most famous beach offers a bit of both. A pebbled strip at the end of a long sandy beach on the Mediterranean protects a sheltered bay at Oludeniz, which means “dead sea.” This of course refers to the calm waters; there’s nothing dead about the place when beach season arrives with its crowds of sunbathers and swimmers.