Do you think that beaches are blasé tourist destinations with nothing unique or interesting to offer? Well, you’re only partly correct. Many of them are over crowded and boring, but none of the beaches we feature here will disappoint. A singing beach, a glowing beach, a beach with rainbow-colored sand — here are the most offbeat seaside destinations you’ll find on Earth.
1. Glass Beach – Hanapepe, Kauai, Hawaii
Though it’s regular rock is basalt, the Glass Beach in Kauai is blanketed with millions of sea glass particles which came from years of discarded glass washed up on shore. Similar beaches include Fort Bragg and Benicia, which are both in California
2. Green Sand Beach – Papakolea Beach/Mahana Beach, South Point, Ka’u, Hawaii
Thanks to the mineral olivine, which comes from the nearby cinder cone, this peculiar beach sparkles a brilliant green. It’s only one of the four beaches in the world with bright green sand, the others being Talofofo Beach, Guam, Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island in the Galapagos Islands, and Hornindalsvatnet, Norway
3. Hot Water Beach – East coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Drive down to this beach armed with a shovel, because the best thing to do here is to dig your very own DIY spa. This geothermal beach can get as hot as 64°C (147°F), its heated water spouting from two nearby underground springs.
After trekking across a private farmland, beach-goers must pass this long creepy tunnel to get to the actual beach. On the other side are beautiful sandstone cliffs, rock arches, caves, and other stunning rock formations against the backdrop of the magnificent Pacific Ocean.
5. Star Sand Beach – Irimote Island, Japan
Visitors of the star sand beaches of Irimote Island and neighboring islands in southern Japan are more often seen crouched over the sand, examining the curiously-shaped particles on their hands. Star sand are actually exoskeletons of foraminiferans (microscopic marine organisms) which have washed up by the millions for years on the island’s shores. Those who look closely enough might find some that are still alive.
6. Singing Beach – Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, USA
Before you get carried away by your imagination, the sounds coming from the friction between the grains of sand in this beach are actually more of the creaky, squeaky kind than the melodic, symphonic type, which is probably how you imagine it. Though you might call this false advertising, the experience is still one-of-a-kind. That Singing Beach is still one of of North Shore’s most popular attractions attests to that.
If you’re walking in a meadow and suddenly find yourself in a beach, it’s likely you’ve come to Playa De Gulpiyuri. Though the ocean is nowhere in sight, the beach is actually connected by a network of intricate underground waterways to the Atlantic where its water is sourced.
8. Pink Sand Beach – Harbour Island, Bahamas
Eroded particles from red corals across the eastern coast of the Bahamas have washed to shore to give the powdery sand of Harbor island a pinkish glow. If you’re a fan of pink, this beach is the way to go.
Another cute-colored sand beach is found in Big Sur, California. The purple tint of the sands of Pfeiffer Beach comes from its dominant mineral quartz combined with manganese garnet deposits found in the surrounding rocks.
10. Bioluminescent Beach – Maldives
It’s an ocean of stars! Bioluminescent phytoplankton, which glows when agitated, can be found in many shores all over the world, but it seems they’re found more often in Maldives. This amazing photo was taken by Taiwanese photographer Will Ho.
11. Beach of the Cathedrals – Playa de las Catedrales/Praia de Augas Santas, Ribadeo, Spain
Magnificent geological formations form a cathedral-like effect across this idyllic beach in Spain. The beach can only be easily accessible during low tide.
12. Bowling Ball Beach – Schooner Gulch State Beach, Mendocino County, California, USA
Large spherical rocks, like over-sized bowling balls, are scattered across the shore of this beach in Schooner Gulch. The boulders are said to have been caused by millions of years of erosion and “concretion” a rare geologic phenomenon also observed in the Moeraki and Koutu Boulders in New Zealand and Cannonball River in North Dakota.
13. Maho Beach – Saint Martin Island, Sint Maarten
With the beach’s location adjacent to the Princess Juliana International Airport, vacationers can actually jump up and touch a flying airplane.
This idyllic beach paradise was actually created when the Mexican government in the early 1900’s made a bombsite out of the area, blasting a huge hole on the canopy of the grotto. Despite its dreadful past, we’re actually grateful — the beach looks absolutely gorgeous!