BEACH VACATION IDEAS

Photos: The World's Most Colorful Beaches

From green to purple to red, the sand at these beaches needs to be seen to be believed.

  1. Located on the southern tip of Hawaii's Big Island, Papakōlea Beach is more commonly referred to as Green Sand Beach.

    (Galina Barskaya/Dreamstime)
  2. Papakōlea Beach's sand is made of tiny olivine crystals from the surrounding lava rocks that are trapped in the 49,000 year-old Pu'u Mahana cinder cone by the waters of Mahana Bay

    (Courtesy jonny-mt/Wikimedia Commons)
  3. You can take the two-mile hike along the southernmost point in the U.S.A. for a glimpse of the uniquely olive-green sand.

    (dannyman/Flickr)
  4. The colorful red sand of Santorini's Kokkini Beach is a result of the surrounding iron-rich black and red lava rocks left over from the ancient volcanic activity of Thira, the impressive volcano that erupted and essentially shaped the island in 1450 B.C.

    (Roman Rodionov/Dreamstime)
  5. Kokkini Beach is set at the base of giant red cliffs that rise high over crystal-blue Mediterranean waters.

    (Bowie15/Dreamstime)
  6. It's best to visit Kokkini in the early morning hours—the sand heats up under the warm Mediterranean sun.

    (Whitney Tressel)
  7. What makes this Pink Sand Beach in the Bahamas so pink? Thousands of broken coral pieces, shells, and calcium carbonate materials left behind by foraminifera (tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells).

    (Courtesy Mike’s Birds/Flickr)
  8. Many beaches on Harbour Island in the Bahamas have rosy sand.

    (Rtowle12/Dreamstime)
  9. New Zealand's stunning Muriwai Black Sand Beach is a 37-mile stretch of sparkling black sand.

    (Courtesy itravelnzâ„¢/Flickr)
  10. Black sand beaches are typically a result of an island's explosive volcanic past—the rich color is a result of a mixture of iron, titanium, and several other volcanic materials.

    (Tomas Pavelka/Dreamstime)
  11. Just a 40-minute ride west of downtown Auckland, Muriwai Black Sand Beach is an easy day trip.

    (Nzgmw2788/Dreamstime)
  12. Head to the northern coastline of Pfeiffer Beach, in Big Sur, CA, where patches of violet and deep-purple sand can be found.

    (Courtesy John Loo/Flickr)
  13. The source for the purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach is large deposits of quartz and manganese garnet originating in the nearby hills being washed down from the creek to its final resting place along the Pacific.

    (Mariusz Jurgielewicz/Dreamstime)
  14. The northern corner of Italy's island of Sardinia is home to Porto Ferro, a stretch of oddly orange-colored sand thanks to a unique mixture of the area's native orange limestone, crushed shells, and other volcanic deposits.

    (Courtesy Daygum/Wikimedia Commons)
  15. This area of Sardinia is also known for its scenic bike and hiking paths, and three Spanish lookout towers that date back to the 1600s.

    (Courtesy DONFA/Flickr)
  16. This pristine area of Sardinia is also a popular spot for diving, surfing, and windsurfing.

    (Alkan2011/Dreamstime)
  17. There are 74 different hues in the sand at Australia's Rainbow Beach, a clandestine combination of erosion and iron oxide buildup that has been occurring since the last ice age.

    (Chee-onn Leong/Dreamstime)
  18. According to an ancient Aboriginal legend, the sands at Rainbow Beach are a result of the rainbow spirit falling onto the large beachside cliffs after losing a battle over a beautiful woman.

    (West117/Dreamstime)
  19. Rainbow Beach is a three-hour drive north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast of northeast Queensland.

    (Wouter Tolenaars/Dreamstime)
  20. It's worth the trip to California's remote Shelter Cove to see the gray-colored sand, the result of years of erosion of the nearby gray-shale cliffs along the shore.

    (Courtesy renedrivers/Flickr)
  21. Shelter Cove is also known for its scenic coastal drives, hikes, and an abundant source of wildlife at the nearby 68,000-acre King Range National Conservation Area.

    (Courtesy markodesign/Flickr)
  22. Shelter Cove is along "The Lost Coast" just above Mendocino County and about an hour south of Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

    (Courtesy abrahamhyat/Flickr)
  23. The sand doesn't get much whiter than at Crescent Beach, located on Florida's Siesta Key.

    (Courtesy ForthDude/Flickr)
  24. The sand along Florida's Crescent Beach is 99 percent pure quartz, which has traveled down Florida's rivers from the Appalachian Mountains.

    (Courtesy ksr8s/Flickr)
  25. The best part about Crescent Beach's sand: Not only does it feel like you're walking through powdered sugar, but it will never heat up no matter how hot the Florida sun beats down.

    (Courtesy mathewingram/Flickr)

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Recent Slideshows


Budget Travel Real Deals


  • From $1,078
  • From $1,199
  • From $2,727

See more deals »

Recent Articles



Budget Travel Real Deals


  • From $1,078
  • From $1,199
  • From $2,727

See more deals »

Video


Loading Comments...

Our newsletter delivers vacation inspiration straight to your inbox.

Check Prices