When you hear the word “beach” the typical image that pops into your head is probably sand and blue waves crashing. However, the world is full of beaches with sand the color of charcoal, pastel peach, reddish rust and olive green. Depending on the surroundings, the shore can evolve and transform as a result of collapsing cliffs overlooking the beach, active and dormant volcanos and even industrial areas.
Indulge your mind and formulate a new image of paradise-filled word “beach” with images ranging from slate-black sand to a multi-colored sea glass shore.
Lauren Spiler is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia, but most call her Spiler.
1 of 9
Punalu'u (Black Sand Beach), Big Island, Hawaii
Over the years, molten lava from two nearby active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, has flowed into the ocean, cooled, then broken into fragments that washed ashore. This gave way to the slate black pebbled shore located at the southern part of Hawaii. The black sand is also home to two endangered turtles species, the hawksbill turtle and the green turtle, which sunbathe on the charcoal sand.
2 of 9
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
If for some reason the Big Sur isn't epic enough for you, wait until you see Pfeiffer Beach. A keyhole rock formation named "the door" is one of the most photographed landmarks of the central coast. Pfeiffer's sand has violet and purple hues that are a result of quartz and garnet deposits. This beach, which is park of the Los Padres National Forest, is only accessible by foot. However, when you arrive you'll see it's worth the hike.
3 of 9
Glass Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
The last thing you want are shards of glass in your foot on the beach, but what about a walk over soft glass pebbles? This shore is home to millions of sea glass pieces that are clear, blue, green, brown and aqua colored. Glass Beach originated from broken auto glass and bottles that were dumped here years ago. The beach is located in the middle of an industrial area near Port Allen Harbor in Ele'ele. Over the course of 10 to 30 years the glass has been continually washed over by the ocean water, transforming the sea glass into glass pebbles.
Photo courtesy of Eric Lin CC BY SA
4 of 9
Papakolea (Green Sand Beach) Big Island, Hawaii
Thanks to olivine crystals, a mineral that was created from past eruptions from a nearby dormant volcano, Papakolea has earned its nickname, Green Sand Beach. To visit this shore on the Big Island, you have to hike along sea cliffs for two and a half miles.
5 of 9
Red Sands Shore, Prince Edward Island, Canada
The coast of the island stretches around 600 miles and is rich in iron oxide giving the shore a crimson tone, thus it being named Red Sands Shore. The rose jutting cliffs and red clay roads give this island, named after Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, an out-of-this-world ambiance.
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Raymond CC BY
6 of 9
Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Red shells of microscopic creatures called foraminifera mixed with fragments of white coral and broken shells give this shore its pale pink sand. The three-mile peachy powder has the Atlantic's gentle, warm and shallow waters washing to shore, which are excellent for swimming and snorkeling.
Photo courtesy of Alex Schwab CC BY ND
7 of 9
Hyams Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Sometimes a lack of color, whitewashing so to speak, can make you see things in a new light. Hyams Beach holds the Guinness World Record for the whitest sand in the world making the aqua clear water pop. It is located on the southern shores of Jervis Bay.
Photo courtesy of Julia Koefender CC BY
8 of 9
Kaihalulu Bay (Red Sand Beach), Maui, Hawaii
It has been said that this crescent-shaped beach, which is cut deep into the Ka'uiki Head cinder cone, has played host to many nude beach-goers. The rust-red lava cliffs are responsible for the red shore. These secluded peaks have continued to crumble over the years, adding more red sand to the beach as they erode. Since the cliffs are extremely vertical and high, only experienced hikers should have a go at the cove.
Photo courtesy of Courtney Nash CC BY
9 of 9
Reynisfjara (Black Sand Beaches), Vik, Iceland
The nearby Katla Volcano is responsible for the jet-black sand in Iceland. The volcano's lava flowed into the sea, hardened and split into tiny particles that washed ashore. Cliffs of basalt columns appear on the black sandy shore, adding to the ominous look.