1. Punalu’u on Big Island, Hawaii
This black sand beach is formed from basalt from the volcano. It’s also a favorite spot for green sea turtles to bask.
2. Harbour Islands in the Bahamas
The pink color in the sand comes from microscopic animals known as Forminifera, who have bright pink shells.
3. Hoshizuna no Hama on Iriomote Island, Japan
Hoshizuna no Hama means star sand beach. The sand looks like stars but is actually the skeletons of tiny one-celled organisms that live among the sea grass.
4. Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway is made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
5. Kaihalulu Beach on Maui, Hawaii
This red sand beach formed from the eroded wall of a cinder cone.
6. Bowling Ball Beach in California
These bowling balls, technically called “concretions,” formed in layers of sedimentary rock, and millions of years of weathering have uncovered them.
7. Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California
The Fort Bragg city dump was once located here. It closed in the 1960s, but broken glass remained and over the years it’s become smooth. A similar glass beach exists on Kauai, Hawaii.
8. Hidden Beach in Marieta, Mexico
This secluded beach on the uninhabited Marieta Islands is believed to have formed in the early 1900s when it was used as target practice by the Mexican Government. The beach also known as Playa del Amor can only be entered from a small tunnel in the ocean.
9. Papakolea Beach on Big Island, Hawaii
The green sand of this beach is made up of olivine crystals from the cinder cone just east of the beach.
10. Hot Water Beach in Coromandel, New Zealand
Beneath the sand flows mineral water that heats up to nearly 150 degrees. Visitors dig holes in the ground, making their own natural hot tubs.
11. Scala dei Turchi in Sicily, Italy
Scala dei Turchi is Italian for “stairs of the Turks” and is famous for the white colors of its “stairs,” which lie between two beaches.
12. Vik Beach in Iceland
This black sand beach is lined with basalt pillars.
13. Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California
The sand here ranges from fuchsia to royal purple and is made from manganese garnet deposits.
14. Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa
Thousands of years of erosion uncovered massive granite boulders. Boulders Beach is also home to about 3,000 penguins.
15. Red Beach in Santorini, Greece
Red Beach earns its name from the red sand and iron-rich sedimentary rocks.
16. Shell Beach in Saint Barthélemy
Tons of shells piled everywhere.