By Julia Austin, Planet Green
Your friends send you pictures from their mobile phone of the snow white sand under their toes while on their beach vacation. Sure, those pristine beaches are nice and few and far between, but you’re not really a devotee to finding less-chartered beaches until you’ve explored these totally strange sandy shores:
1. Hyams Beach in New South Wales, Australia
Since there is a fascination with snow-white beaches, it’s only right I include Hyams Beach, which is actually the whitest beach in the world. At least no other beach has yet to beat it in the Guinness Book of Records.
Image credit: Julia Koefender / Flickr
2. Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California
The surrounding hills are rich in Manganese Garnet and the substance has been washed down onto the beach, lending it’s purple and pink hues to the sand. The result is a beach that looks like a rainbow sorbet, or one dressed up for Valentine’s Day.
3. Kaihalulu, or Red Sand Beach and Maui
With a canvas consisting of mainly blacks and reds, it looks like a scene straight out of Dante’s Inferno. The conjoining cindercone hill contributes tiny red deposits that stain the sand, while larger pieces of the hill make for an eery mix of rock potpourri with the slick black ones at the water.
Image credit: Courtney Nash / Flickr
4. Fraser Island
What can ruin a beach day? Rising tide? Sudden rain? How about traffic…on the beach? This can and does happen on the 75 mile beach on Australia’s Fraser Island. It’s said the world is running out of space for cars, and maybe this beach is proof of that. It’s an actual motorway and runway for airplanes. Not the safest place to doze off under the sun.
5. Sandcut Beach
This beach offers two sites of natural beauty for the price of one. Sandcut beach in Vancouver Island, Canada has a waterfall running off the neighboring cliff right into the ocean. In the morning, the stony beach looks almost black, making the whole scene appear other-worldly.
Image credit: quas / Flickr
6. Papakolea Beach
Endearingly called “Green Sand Beach,” Papakolea Beach is located near South Point on the island of Hawai’i. The encircling cinder cone composed of olivine crystals is what gives the sand its foresty color. While from a distance the beach looks entirely green, if you pick up a handful of the salt, a closer look will reflect more of the gold tint in the crystals.
Image credit: Steve Dunleavy / Flickr
7. Ramla il-Hamra Beach
And to cover most of the rainbow, I had to include Ramla il-Hamra beach on the Maltese island, Gozo. The island can thank its volcanic nature for its Creamiscle colored sands. This island arose from the Mediterranean sea off the southern shores of Italy and tiny volvanic deposits, mixed with the rare local orange limestone, make it look like the sun is always shining on this beach.
Next time you’re planning a tropical vacation, think twice before looking up the typical clean, white beach.