The World’s Strangest Beaches

February 18, 2016 by

Beach & Water Adventures, Top Travel Destinations, Travel Advice & Inspiration

While white-sand beaches with azure waters and billowing palms are nice, they’re far from unusual. For those looking for a unique coastal experience, the following beaches provide just that. Barking sand, star-shaped fossils and natural underground hot springs are just a few of the experiences you’ll find on some of the world’s strangest beaches.

Gulpiyuri Beach, Llanes, Spain

While there’s nothing unusual about a beach with golden sand, crystal waters and waves, there is when its location is in the middle of a meadow. The 131-foot (40-meter) shoreline of Gulpiyuri Beach offers a whole new type of beach serenity, as you can cool off in the translucent salt waters while taking in both beach and rolling countryside hills.

Hoshizuna Beach, Okinawa, Japan

Hoshizuna Beach is one of the unique beaches in the world where you can find star-shaped sand (the other two, Kaijihama Beach and Aiyaruhama Beach, are on Taketomi Island, also in Okinawa). The tiny stars are actually fossils from thousands of tiny crustaceans.

That said, locals have a mythical story to go along with the star-shaped sand. Legend has it that there once was a star mother and father who had a star baby. While they consulted the god of the sky about the birth, they left out the god of the ocean, who became infuriated and killed the baby star with a big snake. The snake’s feces became the fossils we see today on the beach. Additionally, the god of sky put the baby star into the heavens as a fossil, which is why you see stars in the sky today.

Loango National Park, Gabon, Africa

For those who want a mixture of pristine beach and wildlife spotting, Loango National Park is the place for you. The park extends all the way to the white-sanded coast, where you can watch hippos, gorillas, buffaloes, leopards, elephants and wild pigs take a dip in the water. It’s definitely not your usual day of building sand castles and playing beach volleyball.

Petroglyph Beach, Alaska, USA

Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site will take you back in time. Nobody is quite sure how the 40-plus rock carvings got there, but they make the beach quite unusual as you take in the boulders etched with faces, birds and fish, thought to be carved over 8,000 years ago. For a mix of mystery, history and culture, Petroglyph Beach is a must.

Barking Sands Beach, Hawaii, USA

Just as its name suggests, the sand on this Kaua’i beach makes a barking noise when rubbed. This means as you walk over its 17 miles (27 kilometers) of coastline, it sounds like a rambunctious dog. What makes this beach even more unusual is it’s also home to a rocket-launch site and missile-defense testing center.

Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas

While white- and golden-sand beaches are commonplace, when is the last time you laid out on a beach of striking pink sand? Counted amongst the best beaches in the Bahamas, Pink Sands Beach is over three miles (five kilometers) long and 50 to 100 feet (80 to 161 kilometers) wide. The cause of its unusual hue is Foraminifera, a coral organism that leaves behind its pink shell when it dies.

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Due to intense geothermal activity on the Coromandel Peninsula, visitors to the Hot Water Beach can dig holes into the sand to create natural hot spring pools. The water gets as hot as 147°F (64°C), and makes for a relaxing and unique beach experience.

Schooner Gulch, California, USA

Also known as “Bowling Ball Beach,” Schooner Gulch has thousands of boulders of equal shape, size and spacing lined up like soldiers defying the tides. What’s truly amazing about this rare phenomenon is it’s completely natural, with no human interference. The geological explanation is that these concretions are created from resilient minerals and materials that have been able to withstand damage from the Pacific Ocean.

Giant’s Causeway, Near Bushmills, Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Ireland

Giant’s Causeway, Ireland

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway is home to 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, created by volcanic eruptions. These natural formations feature precise hexagonal shapes laid out like honeycomb clusters that disappear into the sea. The landscape is so dramatic in appearance it has inspired local legends of giants walking over the water to Scotland, hence the name.

Chandipur Beach, Chandipur, India

At high tide Chandipur Beach may appear like any other; however, at low tide the water recedes about three miles (five kilometers) from the shore, exposing the seabed to beach-goers. Visitors can see unusual seashells, driftwood, crabs and other organisms usually not exposed on the beach, giving them the feeling they’re walking into the sea.

Genipabu Beach, Natal, Brazil

Genipabu Beach, Natal, Brazil

Genipabu Beach, Natal, Brazil

Genipabu offers much more than just swimming, as the landscape is a mix of beach and enormous sand dunes, which allow for sand boarding and camel riding. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Ocean provides opportunities for water sports.

Perissa, Santorini, Greece

Perissa Beach, Santorini, Greece. World's Strangest Beaches

Perissa Beach, Santorini, Greece

Perissa Beach’s pitch-black sand creates a strikingly eerie yet beautiful landscape. The dark volcanic granules are extremely soft and fine as well. From the beach you can also walk to the ancient city of Thira, thought to have once been a Spartan colony, by hiking up the Perissa’s backdrop mountain of Mesa Vouno. Warning: Because of the sand’s dark color it tends to get extremely hot, so bring your flip flops.

 – Jessica Festa

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2 Responses to “The World’s Strangest Beaches”

  1. Tammy Says:

    The pink sand at Harbour Island is beautiful to see. It wasn’t easy for us to get to as we arrived on the other side of the island via sailboat, but it was worth all the effort.

  2. Bahamas Finder Says:

    WOW you were able to find some of the most amazing beaches in the World. The Bahamas Pink Sands beaches is so amazing to see in person. No pictures will do it justice. Although I’m sure the other beaches are amazing too. Thanks again for sharing.

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