The World's Most Colorful Beaches

Beach sand comes in more colors than you thought

Many travelers crave a white (or, less often, golden) sand beach. And who can blame them? Whether in the islands of Greece or Hawaii, or the glitzy shores of Miami or the French Riviera, there's a reason for the uniformity of my postcard beaches. With this being said, if you're looking for colorful beaches around the world—well, there's an entire rainbow waiting for you. Continue scrolling to see!

  • 01 of 10

    Bermuda's – and Indonesia's – Pink Beaches

    Pink Beach view
    John Crux Photography/Getty Images

    One of the most popular location around the world to find colorful beaches is Bermuda. Formed from coraline shells that centuries of waves have pulverized, Bermuda's pink beaches are practically mainstream, thanks in part to how close the island is to the mainland US.

    As it turns out, pink beaches are not entirely uncommon the world over. Bermuda notwithstanding, you can also find them on Komodo Island in Indonesia, although that entails sharing the beach with potentially lethal Komodo dragons – I think I'll stick with Bermuda.

  • 02 of 10

    The Green Sands of Hawaii

    Hawaii's Green Sand Beach
    Phil Hollman via Wikimedia Commons

    It's no secret that Hawaii is full of amazing natural wonders and thus, it should be no surprise that a Hawaiian beach—specifically, Papakōlea Beach in the Kau district of Hawaii's big island—is where you'll find green sands. The sand itself is not green but rather takes on a green color due to crystals of the mineral olivine, which have been mixed in with it over millions of years.

  • 03 of 10

    California's Glass Beach

    California Glass Beach
    Jorge Villalba via Getty Images 

    If you're looking for a colorful beach along California's Highway 1, you'll have to scroll down a few paragraphs. However, if you don't mind driving to the north of San Francisco for several hours, you can find a beach that has all the colors.

    The beach of Ft. Bragg, on California's Mendocino Coast, was once a toxic trash dump, and not safe for swimming or even walking. However, authorities ran the glass that once polluted the beach through a tumbler, and it now sits on the beach in the form of smooth rocks, providing a veritable rainbow of (harmless) glass in lieu of sandy of any color.

  • 04 of 10

    Malta's Orange Beach

    Orange Beach at Ramla Bay in Malta
    Jennifer Morrow via Flickr

    Poor Malta. With a land area of just 122 square miles, it's way too easy to forget when thinking of Europe, which is the main reason so many people miss it when they travel. If you eventually do get to Malta, however, you can bet one of your first stops will be Gozo island, whose Ramla Bay is home to extremely rare orange sand, which makes for amazing pictures even if you don't consider all the Roman ruins nearby.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Hawaii's Got a Red Beach, Too

    Maui Red Sand Beach
    Courtney Nash via Flickr

    Ho, ho, ho—it's Christmas in Hawaii! Or Christmas colors, anyway: You'll not only find green sand in Hawaii, but also red sand. Maui's Kaihalulu Beach takes on a rusty, red color, thanks to iron ore deposits in the land just underneath it. This color seems all the more amazing when you consider that the water just offshore retains a fluorescent blue-green color.

  • 06 of 10

    Black Sand in Iceland

    Black Sand Beach Iceland
    Hugo via Getty Images

    Iceland is in a perpetual state of over-tourism—and it's easy to see why. Among the country's incredible attractions is the black sand beach at Reynisfjara, near the city of Vík on the country's southern coast. This isn't the only colorful beach in Iceland (or the only black one—you can read about another just down this page), but it's become famous on account of its proximity to the tourist-filled Ring Road, as well as the dramatic stone stacks that sit just off-shore. 

  • 07 of 10

    There's Also a Purple Beach in California

    Pfeiffer Beach Purple Sand
    Akos Kokai via Flickr

    Here's the California Route 1 Beach you were promised—and it's a purple one. Well, kind of. Though there are amethyst deposits in the sands of Pfeiffer Beach, which is located within Big Sur National Park a couple hours north of San Luis Obispo, the purple color isn't conspicuous with the naked eye. You have to get very close to the sand and scrutinize it, and even then it can be a stretch to see shades of violet. It's a beautiful beach, anyway!

  • 08 of 10

    The Rusty Beach of Santorini

    Red Beach in Santorini
    Jayjay via Getty Images

    Want to see a red-orange beach, but don't plan to find yourself anywhere near Hawaii? Head to Greece's famous Santorini island, but bypass the village of Oia, where throngs of tourists will be waiting to take sunset selfies. The Red Beach (that's its name) of Greece is near the town of Akrotiri, which is about 40 minutes by taxi from Oia and the rest of Santorini's main tourism area.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Iceland's Diamond Beach

    Diamond Beach Iceland
    Robert Schrader 

    Another example of a colorful beach in Iceland boasts not so much a color, but a texture. Well, that's not entirely true—the sand of the so-called "Diamond Beach," located near Jokusarlon Glaicer Lagoon is black.

    However, what sets this beach apart is the icebergs that cover it for most of the year, which glisten so brilliantly during day-time hours that this beach has very much earned its nickname. Certainly, this place is a (selfie-loving) girl's best friend! Try and come around sunset or sunrise to juxtapose the glittering beach with a colorful spectrum in the sky!

  • 10 of 10

    An Iridescent Beach on Japan's Seto Inland Sea

    Okayama, Japan Glowing Beach
    Tdub via Getty Images 

    It might surprise you to learn that one of the beaches in Japan, which tend not to be remarkable apart from the sub-tropical shores of Okinawa, made this list. However, as is the case with Iceland's Diamond Beach, it's not the sand at the foot of the "Weeping Stones" near the city of Okayama that's worth noting.

    Rather, the particular species of plankton of the waters that lap at these stones (and coat them, during high tide) results in a glowing blue bioluminescence. This is definitely among the most colorful beaches in the world, and without a doubt the most impressive beach on Japan's Seto Inland Sea.

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