Looking for something a little unconventional to see this summer? Beaches don’t always have to be white sand and still seas — here, a look at ten unique alternatives.
Cow Beach, Goa, India
This beach seems universally popular with visitors, including those of the bovine variety ; humans and cattle share the beach to work on their tans on the brown sand.
Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
One of the more unusual beach tones, the Pink Sands Beach lives up to its name, as three miles (five km) of pristine bay colored bright pink. The hue is caused by Foraminifera, a coral insect which leaves behind its pink shell when it dies.
Hot Water Beach, New Zealand
The Coromandel Peninsula is home to some spectacular geothermal activity that means visitors are rarely cold — dig deep enough into the sand and you’ll be able to hollow out a pool at bathwater temperature, perfect for a relaxing afternoon soak.
Glass Beach, California
Once used as a dumping ground for Fort Bragg’s waste, the sea has cleansed much of Glass Beach’s refuse since it was closed in the 1960s, resulting in a beach covered in glass, the only material that remains. Smoothed by the sea, the glass now creates a dazzling ‘sea of gems’ effect.
Chandipur’s beach is one of the most unusual in the world. Thanks to its geography, the sea can retreat by up to four kilometers at low tide, revealing the sea bed and all its secrets every time.
Papakolea Beach, Hawaii
Another unusual color for a beach is the strong olivine green on show at Papakolea. While it looks like algae, the color is actually caused by a mineral created by the Big Island’s volcanic activity.
Barking Sands Beach, Hawaii
Part of a 17-mile (27 km) stretch of national park beach on Hawaii, Barking Sands has an unusual property — footsteps sound like dog barks. According to scientists, the grains of sands are perforated with tiny echo chambers which make the noise.
Red Beach, Santorini, Greece
Santorini is well known for its black beaches, caused by volcanic explosions, but the Mars-red stretch of sand is even more breathtaking.
From a distance, the shallow water looks like blood — although the darker colors mean that it can be scorching on the feet.
Bowling Ball Beach, California
The huge, round rocks on this beach look as if they’ve been carefully placed in their perfect rows, but they’re a testament to the power of nature over time.
The sea has eroded the softer rock around them, leaving only the perfectly smoothed boulders remaining.
Vik Beach, Iceland
The southernmost point of Iceland is windy, wild and cold, but the stunning black sands of this mysterious beach make up for the foreboding atmosphere.
Beyond the dark beach, black basalt figures rise from the water, standing firm against the crashing Atlantic waves. Vik lies directly in the path of the Katla volcano, believed by experts to be close to eruption.