It’s finally summer—time to swim, sunbathe, and surf. While many people dream of white sand, palm trees, and clear water,do you think that beaches are blase tourist destinations with nothing unique or interesting to offer?Well, we’d like to shift the focus to the more unusual beaches out there that prove that Mother Nature has some surprises in store.A singing beach, a glowing beach, a beach with colorful sand —here are 30 strange and beautiful seaside destinations you’ll find on Earth.
What’s so special about it: It’s an ocean of stars! Bioluminescent phytoplankton, which glows when agitated, can be found in many shores all over the world, but it seems they’re found more often in Maldives.
Location: Hanapepe, Kauai, Hawaii
What’s so special about it: Though it’s regular rock is basalt, the Glass Beach in Kauai is blanketed with millions of sea glass particles which came from years of discarded glass washed up on shore. Similar beaches include Fort Bragg and Benicia, which are both in California.
3.Beach of the Cathedrals
Location: Playa de las Catedrales/Praia de Augas Santas, Ribadeo, Spain
What’s so special about it: Magnificent geological formations form a cathedral-like effect across this idyllic beach in Spain. The beach can only be easily accessible during low tide.
Location: Playa de Amor, Marieta Islands, Mexico
What’s so special about it: This idyllic beach paradise was actually created when the Mexican government in the early 1900’s made a bombsite out of the area, blasting a huge hole on the canopy of the grotto. Despite its dreadful past, we’re actually grateful — the beach looks absolutely gorgeous!
5.Pink Sand Beach
Location: Harbour Island, Bahamas
What’s so special about it: The beautiful pink hue radiating from the Pink Sands Beach is actually a mixture of bits of broken shells, coral, and tiny pink-shelled animals known as Foraminifera. If you’re a fan of pink, this beach is the way to go.
6.Black Sand Beach
Location: Punalu’u Park, Hawaii
What’s so special about it: Sick of ordinary white sand beaches? Head down to Punalu’u Park for something entirely different. As for why the sand is colored black, we have theories:the black sand is formed by basalt lava, which explodes as it flows into the sea and rapidly cools.
Location: Algarve, Portugal
What’s so special about it:The Algarve coast consists of limestone, which is easily eroded and can form stunning sea caves like this one.
8.Purple Sand Beach
Location: Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, USA
What’s so special about it: Another cute-colored sand beach is found in Big Sur, California. The purple tint of the sands of Pfeiffer Beach comes from its dominant mineral quartz combined with manganese garnet deposits found in the surrounding rocks.
9.Giants Causeway Beach
Location: Northern Ireland
What’s so special about it: Few beaches are more shrouded in mythology than Giant’s Causeway. The story goes that the giant Finn MacCool created the hexagonal rock formations as stepping-stones in an attempt to reach his beloved giantess in Scotland. When the giantess’s boyfriend fought back, Finn grabbed a chunk of land and flung it toward Scotland, creating the Isle of Man and leaving behind a gaping hole—Lough Neagh. The Scottish side of the sea has similar hexagonal structures, supporting the myth. A more scientific explanation maintains that the strange rock formations were created by volcanic eruptions bursting into the sea 60 million years ago.
Location: Playa De Gulpiyuri, Llanes, Spain
What’s so special about it:Can you imagine a tiny beach over 100 meters from the sea? In Llanes, Spain, there is such a place. Gulpiyuri Beach was formed by a sinkhole and is fed by salt water from the Bay of Biscay, which flows in through underground caves. Limestone cliffs and grassy meadows hide this little inland beach, which has become a tourist attraction for people who have to see it to believe it.
Location: L’Haridon Bight, Shark Bay, western Australia
What’s special about it: Shell Beach is filled with millions of tiny white shells up to 32 feet deep giving it a snowy white appearance when you’re looking from a distance. It is one of the only two beaches made entirely out of shells.
12.Green Sand Beach
Location: Papakolea Beach/Mahana Beach, South Point, Ka’u, Hawaii
What’s so special about it: Thanks to the mineral olivine, which comes from the nearby cinder cone, this peculiar beach sparkles a brilliant green. It’s only one of the four beaches in the world with bright green sand, the others being Talofofo Beach, Guam, Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island in the Galapagos Islands, and Hornindalsvatnet, Norway.
13.Hot Water Beach
Location: East coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
What’s so special about it: Drive down to this beach armed with a shovel, because the best thing to do here is to dig your very own DIY spa. This geothermal beach can get as hot as 64°C (147°F), its heated water spouting from two nearby underground springs. Check out their website for updates on the water conditions before you drop by.
14.Bowling Ball Beach
Location:Schooner Gulch, California, USA
What’s so special about it:The sight of the huge, round boulders on the Mendocino Coast might make you wonder if giants really exist. A rare sight, these boulders are surprisingly smooth and lined up like bowling balls. That’s not the only odd thing about this beach—legend has it Schooner Gulch got its name after a washed-up schooner was spotted in the gulch one night, but there was no sign of it in the morning.
Location: Jökulsárlón Lake, southeastern Iceland
What’s special about it:Jökulsárlón can only be described as otherworldly. At this glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland, icebergs float and drift toward the Atlantic. Skua, large predatory sea birds, have made Jökulsárlón their home and can be seen nesting on the black sand. Chunks of ice like huge glistening crystals scattered across the jet black bay make this natural scene seem right out of a dream.This stunning place was the setting for scenes in the James Bond movies A View to Kill and Die Another Day, as well as Tomb Raider. Don’t expect to swim in the freezing waters; you can take a boat tour instead.
Location: South-eastern Queensland, Australia
What’s so special about it: Multi-colored sand dunes surrounding the town supply Rainbow Beach with as many as 74 different colors of sand. The colorful sand dunes are a result of years of erosion and iron oxidation dating back since the Ice Age.
Location: Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, USA
What’s so special about it:Before you get carried away by your imagination, the sounds coming from the friction between the grains of sand in this beach are actually more of the creaky, squeaky kind than the melodic, symphonic type, which is probably how you imagine it. Though you might call this false advertising, the experience is still one-of-a-kind. That Singing Beach is still one of of North Shore’s most popular attractions attests to that.
Location: Saint Martin Island, Sint Maarten
What’s so special about it: With the beach’s location adjacent to the Princess Juliana International Airport, vacationers can actually jump up and touch a flying airplane.
What’s so special about it:The unusual Moeraki boulders(Dragon Eggs)can be found along a stretch of Koekohe Beach in New Zealand. Some believe they are comprised from the remains of eel baskets.
Location:Dorset and East Devon, England
What’s so special about it:In addition to the coast’s rugged cliffs and coves,185 million years of the earth’s development are on display along the 95 miles of England’s southern coast.An expansive array of fossil forest remnants and prehistoric dinosaur footprints are just waiting to be discovered.
21.Star Sand Beach
Location: Irimote Island, Japan
What’s so special about it: Visitors of the star sand beaches of Irimote Island and neighboring islands in southern Japan are more often seen crouched over the sand, examining the curiously-shaped particles on their hands. Star sand are actually exoskeletons of foraminiferans (microscopic marine organisms) which have washed up by the millions for years on the island’s shores. Those who look closely enough might find some that are still alive.
22.Cathedral Cove Beach
Location: East coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
What’s so special about it:Not far from Hot Water Beach you will find the Cathedral Cove Beach, which boasts of huge, naturally carved cathedral-style archways.
Location: Hyams Beach, New South Wales, Australia
What’s so special about it: Hyams Beach holds a Guinness Record for having the whitest sand in the world. It’s like snow in summer! Crystal-clear water, forests, and wetlands only add to Jervis Bay’s appeal. Inhabited by Aboriginals for thousands of years, the area boasts important archeological sites, like rock art, stone artifacts, and axe grinding grooves.
Location: Big Major Cay, Bahamas
What’s so special about it: Big major Cay is an island in the Bahamas that’s populated by 20 or so feral pigs who are often seen lounging about and swimming in the clear waters around the island. No one really knows where they came from, but they sure are bringing more and more curious travelers to their island.
Location: : Cape Town,South Africa
What’s so special about it:African penguins waddle along the coast on Boulders Beach, part of Table Mountain National Park. Watch them from the boardwalks (built specifically for penguin-viewing), but stay away from their breeding grounds, as their beaks are razor-sharp and they will bite. The reason for the beach’s name is the collection of giant granite boulders weathered down by thousands of years of erosion. All together, the inlets and shady coves provide a unique setting for a vacation.
Location: Chandipur Beach, eastern India
What’s so special about it:
In the morning, the sea in Chandipur Beach vanishes completely like a miracle. It recedes up to 5 kilometers from the shore, giving visitors an opportunity to walk in the sea and explore the sea bed on foot. But once high tide kicks in, they better be back in shore, since that’s when the sea rushes back into place. This strange phenomenon happens twice a day throughout the year.
27.Scala Dei Turchi
Location: southern Sicily, Realmonte, Italy
What’s so special about it: Scala dei Turchi is a set of stairs formed out of natural white rock by years of wave action. Beach-goers are often found covered in white paste made from the mineral Marl that’s abundant in the area and is said to be good for the skin.
Location: Whitsunday Island, Australia
What’s so special about it: Not only is Whitehaven Beach visually spectacular, it’s also actually awarded as the most eco-friendly beach in the world by CNN. Local sands are bright white containing a large amount of silica, which does not retain heat, enabling visitors to walk around the silky shore comfortably while barefoot on a sunny day.
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
What’s so special about it: After trekking across a private farmland, beach-goers must pass this long creepy tunnel to get to the actual beach. On the other side are beautiful sandstone cliffs, rock arches, caves, and other stunning rock formations against the backdrop of the magnificent Pacific Ocea
Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
What’s so special about it: Prince Edward Island near Nova Scotia is full of picturesque beaches, meadows, and farm colonies. Fishermen haul in mussels, oysters, and lobsters from P. E. I.’s shores. What’s striking is about half of the beaches have red sand due to high iron oxide content. Thunder Cove is especially surreal and beautiful, with rust-colored sand and dunes.
A desert that turns into a beach on certain parts of the year
Location: Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Maranhão, Brazil.
What’s so special about it: Every start of the year, continuous rainfall floods the desert dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, creating a series of lovely turquoise lagoons in the white valleys of sand. The desert beach persists until it completely dries up in October. If you look closely in the water, you’ll be surprised to find a variety of fishes swimming around–a result of adaptation through the periodic drying and flooding of the desert oasis.