Beige sand is so last year…From orange to red, purple to green, there are beaches all over the world with sand as pretty as a picture, and we want to visit them all
Words Hannah Hopkins
Ramla Bay, Gozo, Malta
Colour: Fiery Orange
An under-developed beach is a bit of a rarity these days, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Ramla Bay. The beach’s fiery-coloured sands draw tourists from far and wide, yet its natural beauty has been preserved. The soft sand and shallow water makes this a sweet spot for families, but your ‘run-of-the mill’ beach it is not – there are barely any of the stereotypical food places and rip-off tourist shops. Plus, the Bay is steeped in history. The statue of the Virgin Mary that takes pride of place on the beach was placed in commemoration of a local shipwreck, and Calypso’s Cave, where Odysseus was said to have spent seven years hidden with the temptress, can be found on the western corner of the beach. Soak up all that history as you laze on the beach and chow down on a local prickly pear.
Punalu’u Beach, Pāhala, Hawaii, USA
Colour: Deepest Black
Handily, this shoreline is also known by the much easier to pronounce Black Sand Beach. The black sand is actually basalt, created by lava flowing into the ocean and exploding as it cools. Luckily, there’s no risk of lava flow nowadays, but you can find yourself side-by-side with the resident honus, or Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, who frequently bask on these sandy shores. If you do decide to dip into the ocean, freshwater from nearby springs mixes with the seawater here, bringing the temperature of the water down and making it perfect for a refreshing dip. Legend has it that in times of drought, Hawaiians living in the area would dive underwater with a jug to get their fresh water.
Pfeiffer Beach, California, USA
Colour: Pretty Purple
Pfeiffer Beach is slap-bang in the middle of California’s Big Sur coastline (or the Big South as it’s known to locals). Though it’s a bit of trek to reach, the views make it well worth the trip (and its remote location keeps the tourists away). The beach is filled with sand in every shade of purple and is surrounded by dark stacks of rocks and the deep blue sea, all of which make for a picture-perfect location to take in the Californian sunset. Sunbathers and swimmers rejoice: Pfeiffer Beach is an ideal destination for both activities. Love to be at one with nature? Not a problem. Pfeiffer Beach is occasionally frequented by nudists. Either way, you’ll definitely be getting a view to remember…
Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California, USA
Those who usually eschew pebble beaches should make an exception for this beauty spot in California, USA. It’s multi-coloured jewel-like pebbles are the result of pounding waves breaking down glass and pottery that had been dumped there, and the newly-formed tumbled pieces now draw visitors from far and wide.
Papakōlea Beach, Kaū, Hawaii, USA
Colour: Olive Green
A trip to Papakōlea Beach is not for the faint of heart. To get there, you have to hike two miles across rugged terrain to reach the ‘bowl’ of the coastline, and then climb down a steep slope to the beach, alternatively, hitch a ride with one of the friendly locals. Luckily, this stretch of sand offers plenty of rewards for those who make the effort to get there. Dramatic cliffs, aqua blue water, and, of course, olive-colored sand are three things you don’t often see together. At sunset, the hue of the sand is amplified, and the result is pretty stunning.
Kaihalulu Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA
Colour: Rusty Red
If you ever end up on Maui’s Kaihalulu Beach, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled onto Mars. The sand is rich in iron, giving it a deep red color, and is surrounded by a wall of jagged lava rock that adds to the otherworldly vibe. Like most things worth seeing, you have to work a bit to get there—the hike to the beach is hazardous and steep (sensible footwear is a must)—but you’ll be compensated with a hidden cove beach that takes seclusion to a whole new level. Since swimming is not advised in the turbulent waters, there’s little to do on the beach except for sunbathing and soaking up the laid back atmosphere (perfectly fine by us). Kaihalulu means ‘roaring sea’ in Hawaiian, and it was given that name for a reason.
Pink Sands Beach, Dunmore Town, Bahamas
Colour: Pastel Pink
Coastlines don’t get much dreamier than the aptly named Pink Sands Beach which has (yes, you guessed it), blush pink sand. As it the natural beauty of the beach wasn’t enough, there’s also crystal-clear turquoise waters – ideal for snorkelling, swimming and strolls at sunset.