Image source: Flickr - Travel Junction
Sure, white powder sand beaches are great, but what about when you want something a little out of the ordinary? Whether you're looking to explore Jurassic history, immerse yourself in odd-colored or uniquely shaped sand, or want to watch exotic wildlife catching waves, we've got you covered. To help you plan your trip, here is a guide to six of the world's best unusual beaches.
Tip: Whether you're booking a stay at your favorite Caribbean resort or one of these more quirky offerings, you'll want to make sure you're covered in case of emergencies with travel insurance. A beach getaway is no fun - nor is it safe - in a hurricane or tornado. Moreover, if you're traveling during winter, and there is severe weather causing a trip delay, you'll be able to get reimbursed for your time lost - which you can put toward making your vacation even better.
Star Sand Beach (Japan)
Imagine a beach made up of star-shaped sand. Or, if you'd like to experience this in real life, head to Okinawa, Japan. Here, you'll find three beautiful beaches featuring these unusual granules, Hoshizuna Beach on Iriomote Island and Kaijihama and Aiyaruhama Beaches on Taktomi Island. Legend has it that there were once two stars who had a baby without the permission of the Ocean God. In anger, the Ocean God sent a snake to kill the baby. When the snake went to the bathroom, it came out as star-shaped fossils, which is how the beaches have star-shaped sand. If you want the scientific reason, the sand is small fossilized crustaceans washed onto shore. Whichever theory you believe, these beaches are absolutely breathtaking, situated on azure waters full of tropical fish.
Giant's Causeway Beach (Ireland)
Located in Ireland's County Antrim, Giant's Causeway features about 40,000 basalt columns that are connected to make you feel like you're walking on another planet (with very uneven block-like ground that disappears into the water). The beach - which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - was formed by a volcanic eruption about 50 or 60 million years ago, with black basalt lava cooling in an unusual way. There are a variety of hikes around Giant's Causeway for people of all fitness levels, although the cliff walk with its stunning aerial views is highly recommended.
Pink Sands Beach (Bahamas)
While travelers always seem to be searching for the perfect sugar white sand beach, what about a powder pink stretch of coast? Located on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Pink Sands Beach sits on the Atlantic Ocean and offers an unusual hue from crushed pink coral, which glows even brighter during sunrise and sunset. Watching the bright turquoise waters touch the rose-colored shore is an experience not to be missed.
Hot Water Beach (New Zealand)
Head to Coromandel in New Zealand and you'll be privy to a relaxing spa experience, free of charge (and no need to tip your therapist!). During Mercury Bay's low tide, beach-goers dig sand pits that naturally fill with hot water that's about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Camping, fishing, swimming (within the flags), kayaking, surfing, and snorkeling are just a few of the many other activities to enjoy at the quirky Hot Water Beach.
Jurassic Coast (England)
History buffs will love this unusual beach, a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching for nearly 100 miles along the English Channel coast. As you stroll the soft sands, make sure to peek at the rock beds that surround you. As the surrounding cliffs feature sediment from over 180 million years during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous geological periods, you can see preserved footprints, fossils, and extinct specimens from pre-historic times. Everyone is welcome to search for fossils, although to dig you'll need to obtain permission from a local heritage center. Who knows? You might make the next big discovery in pre-history!
Loango National Park (Gabon)
Located on Africa's West Coast in Gabon, Loango National Park is often touted as Africa's Last Eden, a nickname coined by naturalist Mike Fay. Along with the mangroves, woodland, and savannah one may expect in safari country, the park is also home to pristine sandy beach. Keep in mind, this probably isn't the safest beach to take the kids swimming, as hippos, elephants, gorillas, leopards, and other large and carnivorous animals frequent the sands - an amazing sight to witness from a safari vehicle. Another interesting spectacle here is seeing the surfing hippos (without boards) famously documented by National Geographic photographer Michael "Nick" Nichols.
Where is your favorite unusual beach?
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