Top 10 World's Strangest Beaches
POSTED BY Adam | July 7, 2014
Label: Beach Holidays, Top 10s
Everyone has their own favourite beach; a vast expanse of sand stretching out towards the horizon that epitomises that well-earned summer holiday. But, sometimes the most interesting beaches are those that offer something quirky and unexpected. We’ve handpicked our favourite weird and wonderful beaches that you don’t see in the brochures. Red beaches; beaches on a volcano; beaches made of glass; our top ten has it all!
If you’re looking for a relaxing, peaceful sunbathe, Maho Beach (pictured above) on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin is probably best avoided. The beach happens to be directly below the landing path of Princess Juliana International Airport, with incoming aircraft forced to approach at minimal altitude due to the airport’s short runway. The beach is a popular spot with plane spotters and thrill seekers alike. The surrounding beach bars display copies of daily flight timetables and an additional fence has been erected to stop people hanging on to the runway fence to feel the potentially deadly jet flow from landing aircraft!
Papakolea Beach in Hawaii begins on the side of a volcanic cinder cone before a sharp slide down to the sea below. The sand is a distinctive dark green – in fact, Papakoloea is one of only four green sand beaches in the world. Due to its location, accessing the bottom of the beach requires some dedication.
Who says beaches have to be sandy? Red Seabeach in the Panjin area of China gets its distinctive colour from the Suaeda salsa that grows around the mouth of the Liache River. The plants are a less spectacular green during the summer months, turning crimson in the autumn which is the most popular time to visit.
Pig Beach (officially known as Big Major Cay) is an island found in the remote Exuma area of Caribbean nation the Bahamas. It has become more well-known in the last year thanks to a succession of viral online posts and even TV ads. The cay is free from human residents and is inhabited by a group of twenty or so feral pigs who swim playfully in the waters when they’re not relaxing and sunbathing on the beach.
San Alfonso del Mar Resort
The beach at San Alfonso del Mar Resort is pleasant enough, but what really sets apart this stretch of South American sand is the swimming pool that borders it. The Chilean resort’s saltwater swimming pool is the largest in the world; it stretches for over half a mile and holds 66 million gallons of water. If you’re struggling to decide which would be better to swim in, perhaps the difference temperature will help – it’s ten degrees warmer in the heated pool.
The Canary Islands are well renowned for their parasol-lined beaches but on Lanzarote there is something a bit different. This rocky beach on the west coast of the island is home to an emerald green lake known as El Golfo, made famous by the film One Million Years B.C. This is just one of numerous natural attractions on Lanzarote including the otherworldly, almost martian landscapes of the Timanfaya National Park.
Mexico is home to one of the most bizarre beaches of all. Virtually invisible from the outside, the ‘Hidden Beach’ is found in a giant crater in the little-known Marieta Islands, around an hour’s boat ride from the town of Puerto Vallarta. The crater is said to have been caused by military testing in the early 1900s but the area has since become a National Park. The beach is also said to be home to over one hundred species of marine fish so its crystal waters are ideal for snorkelling.
Proving that nature can make something beautiful out of something ugly, Glass Beach (formerly ‘The Dumps’) near Fort Bragg, northern California was once the site of a dumping ground for all forms of rubbish. The practice of dumping waste there was outlawed in 1967 but much of the colourful glass remained. Decades later, the waves now wash upon a kaleidoscope of eroded glass, softened and moulded into multi-coloured stones by the Pacific Ocean.
Red Beach (Playa Roja)
Found in the Paracas National Park on Peru’s west coast, the distinctive reddish sand and golden cliffs of Red Beach (Playa Roja) are a photographer’s dream come true. Entrance to the park isn’t free but it’s worth it to see this striking beach. Nearby wildlife includes similarly colourful flamingos as well as sea lions and lizards.
Bowling Ball Beach
Near to the Californian town of Mendocino is this unusual spot known as Bowling Ball Beach. The beach is perhaps at its most impressive at low tide when the boulders begin to appear. Scores of them, roughly four to five feet in diameter, line the beach in strangely orderly rows.
Which of our top ten is your favourite?