Sure, you’ve heard of pristine white sand beaches and perhaps even black sand beaches, but did you know that there are green, pink, even purple beaches on this very planet? That’s right, folks! And these beaches are all natural! There’s no group of elves mysteriously popping around the world with buckets of dye, peppering these sandy getaways with bursts of color. Nope, it’s all Mother Nature’s doing. So, where can you see these beautiful beaches? Read on and get ready to dig your toes into the radiant sand!
Papakōlea Beach, Hawaii
Papakōlea beach is one of very few green sand beaches in the world. The unique, lush green color comes from the mineral olivine of the ancient volcano of Pu’u Mahana. In fact, olivine is locally known as “Hawaiian Diamond.” Getting to this beach is a bit of a trek as it’s rather secluded, but it’s definitely worth the adventure! Other green sand beaches exist in Guam, the Galapagos Islands, and Norway.
Grass Beach, Kourou, French Guiana
From afar, this beach could easily be mistaken for lush greenery in Ireland. But upon closer inspection, you’ll find that this green stuff is actually sand! Kourou is a small town located in French Guiana on the northern border of Brazil. The interesting green color of the town’s rare beach is formed due to the mineral olivine which is formed by lava as it cools.
Tangsi Beach, Lombok, Indonesia
You may have seen photos on social media of folks flaunting poses on beautiful pink sand beaches– did you think it was Photoshop? Well, it may be in some cases . . . but if they’re on Tangsi Beach, you can bet that the pink sand is as natural as a thunderstorm. Tangsi Beach gets its beautiful pink hue from the white sand that ends up mixed with fragments of pink coral. Mother Nature is clearly showing off here, so book a ticket to see her art while you can!
Balos Beach, Greece
Another gorgeous country where you’ll find pink sand is Greece! Specifically, the island of Crete is home to Balos Beach where you can dip your toes in the beautiful pink sand. Here, the sand gets its pink hue thanks to millions of crushed shells. The pink sand set against the stunning aqua blues of the lagoon is definitely Insta-worthy. Leave your followers breathless as you share photos from a scene out of a coloring book. If you’re lucky enough to be in Crete for an extended period of time, check out the pink sands of Elafonisi Beach as well. The sand here is pink due to coral that has been broken down over time by Mother Nature herself.
Pfeiffer Beach, California
Few things in this world are naturally purple but Pfeiffer Beach in California is one of them! According to locals, the beautiful amethyst-colored sand is best viewed after it’s rained. The purple sand here is created from manganese garnet particles that get washed down the hillside. Apparently, the further north on the beach you go, the more purple it becomes! This beach is relatively secluded and offers a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Mudhdhoo Island, Maldives
Have you ever seen a glow-in-the-dark beach? Look no further than the Maldives! If you’ve seen images of the Northern Lights, or have been lucky enough to see them in person, imagine those lights projected onto the ocean. Bright, glowing blue sparkles pepper the beaches of Mudhdhoo Island– but this isn’t a magic trick. This glowing phenomenon is all thanks to ostracod crustaceans (also known as seed shrimp). These seed shrimp emit a stunning blue light when they are disturbed or, more often, right before they die.
Porto Ferro Beach, Sardinia, Italy
Have you ever seen bright blue water wash up against a bright orange shoreline? No? It’s time that you travel to Sardinia, Italy to have a look for yourself! On Porto Ferro Beach you’ll find sand that rivals the colors of an Italian sunset. The color is said to come from a combination of orange limestone, finely-crushed shells, and volcanic deposits that have all mixed together over the years. Sardinia is actually an Italian island located in the Mediterranean Sea that’s home to over 1.6 million folks.
Red Sands Shore, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Canada is home to much more than maple syrup! Prince Edward Island is located on Canada’s east coast and is home to incredible red sand beaches. The rich red color of the sand is due to the high iron content of the soil. This iron creates red sandstone cliffs which, in turn, tint the sand along the shores of the island. You’ll find sand that’s just a bit rosy to shores that will have you think the ocean is bleeding.
Glass Beach, California
Another colorful beach in California is Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. Located in Northern CA, this beach is peppered with sea glass of all shades– from ruby reds and emerald greens to bright orange and spectacular blues. However, don’t think about leaving with hoards of sea glass. These precious gems are protected by law, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. So, be sure to bring your camera and take plenty of photos to keep the memory of this colorful beach alive!
Hyams Beach, Australia
This beach is a bit different than others on the list because it is known for its stunning absence of color. In fact, Hyams Beach is in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the beaches with the whitest sand in the world. A three-hour drive from Sydney, this beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the glow of the brilliant white sand beneath your toes.
Now, the next time you see a sandcastle on your Instagram feed that looks as though it were colored in with chalk, don’t assume it’s Photoshop! Chances are that the sand is brilliantly colored by Mother Nature herself. Looking for places to add to your beach bucket list? Tack on seeing sand that’s every color of the rainbow. As bleak as the world can seem at times, there is so much life and beautiful color to be seen. Keep exploring and adventuring! Enjoy the sea breeze, salty air, and stunning sand along the coasts.