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13 Different Types of Beaches

A view of a tropical beach.

Don’t we all love beaches? Walking on white, soft sand, listening to the sound of waves, and is surrounded by scenic views are what contributes to the chilling factor of the ultimate beach destination.

To be on the beach means that you can enjoy a wide array of sea sports and activities such as snorkeling, boating, surfing, kayaking, deep-sea diving, and lots more. These activities are not only fun to experience but they also keep you fit and active.

If you are a seafood lover, then there is all the way more reason for you to go to a beach! Being close to the sea allows you to enjoy fresh and tasty seafood. You can catch big fish and make the most of the “catch of the day” with your loved ones!

But that’s not it, folks. Beaches also give you an opportunity to spend some quality time with your family. You can organize a fun picnic, take memorable photos together, and relish in yummy snacks together – sandwiches, chips, etc. Nature lovers can’t find a better spot than beaches to admire natural beauty. The stunning sunset/sunrise, gorgeous sky, palm trees, ocean waves, soothing wind, and there is so much more than you can only witness once you go to a beach yourself.

While we all are a sucker for amazing beaches, many don’t know that there are many types of beaches. Travel around the world and you will notice that there isn’t just one particular beach type. But don’t worry, you can get to know about all of them without having to leave the house.

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You can thank us later!

1. Sandy Beaches

A view of the Baltic Sea Beach.

Sandy beaches are the most iconic beach type with sand being the most classic element of the beach. If it weren’t for sand, we wouldn’t have fun memories of making sandcastles and sand angels. After all, that’s what we all so happily associate beaches with. But at this point, the question that arises is – how is sand created?

Firstly, sand is formed from rocks and minerals which are broken into tiny bits and pieces by waves and tides. Coastal erosions also play a key role in the making of sand. The type of rocks at a beach and the ocean currents of that area affect the formation of sand. Generally, sand is made from the feldspar and quartz which are generated from igneous or metamorphic rocks.

Studies show that feldspar and quartz give rise to light brown sand. The geographic presence of iron oxide results in dark brown sand. Some beaches that have the highest concentration of iron oxide can even transform the sand into a striking red color. One such sand beach is Canada’s Prince Edward Island.

Some popular types of sandy beaches are discussed in detail below:

White Sand Beaches

A beautiful white sand beach.

There is no denying that every beach lover loves soft, smooth white sand beaches. And there could be several generic and personal reasons for that. But the fact that they beautifully contrast with the glistering waves and a heavenly sky is beyond words. White sand beaches across the world get visitors on a daily basis that stroll around, search for seashells, spend some alone time, or simply enjoy good times with their friends.

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The legend has it that some of the white sand beaches are actually made of fish poop. That said, not all white sand beaches are composed of fish sediment. Some of these beaches in Florida are made up of ground-up quartz as well. However, if the sandy beach you go to is packed with coral reefs, it is likely that the sand is the product of parrotfish.

Some of the dreamiest white sand beaches in the world are Koh Lipe in Thailand, Mayan Beach in Mexico, Pernambuco in Brazil, Whitsundays in Australia, and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.

Pink Sand Beaches

A stunning pink sand beach.

It is absolutely normal if you are reading about pink sand beaches for the first time. That’s because these beaches are pretty rare. The first question that pops up to everyone’s mind after seeing pink sand beaches is – what makes the sand bubblegum hued? Research shows that these beaches get the pink color from millions of small, broken coral shell pieces, and the tidbits of calcium carbonate materials (left behind by a type of algae – forams).

As stated, pink sand beaches are quite uncommon; some famous pink sand beaches can be found in Maui, Barbuda, Caribbean Sea, Bahamas, Indonesia, Philippines, and Greece.

Red Sand Beaches

A view of the Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach.

It won’t be fair for us to discuss red sand beaches and not talk about Kaihalulu beach in Maui, Hawaii. That’s because this beach is worldwide famous for its red sand so much so that it is commonly known as the red sand beach. The red hue of sand indicates that there is a high quantity of iron in the surrounding. The increased level of iron is either because it is naturally found in the earth or deposited by volcanic activities.

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You can find these types of beaches, specifically in Hawaii, Italy, and eastern Canada. Kaihalulu Beach in Hawaii happens to be the reddest sand beach in the world. That’s obviously because of the highest iron content in the locality. This also means that the sand is dry and rough which is why it is important to opt for appropriate footwear.

Another famous red sand beach is located in Canada, popularly known as Cavendish Beach. Not only is the sand has the dark hue but the surrounding Cliffside is equally deep and intense in color. Psstt.. the ever-so-popular Green Gables house is nearby!

Orange Sand Beaches

A gorgeous orange sand beach.

If pink or red sand beaches didn’t surprise you enough, orange sand beaches will do the trick! Yes, you read that right. This world is full of unique colored sand beaches and orange ones are on top of the list. At times, the high iron content not only results in red sand but orange too. And this can be seen on the beach of Ramla Bay, Island of Gozo, in Malta.

The vivid orange sand appears beautifully against the light blue waters of the Mediterranean. For mesmerizing scenic views, hike up to Calypso Cave. It is widely believed that this is the same cave mentioned in Homer’s “The Odyssey” – where Calypso confined Odysseus as her “love slave” for many years.

Another great yellow-orange sand beach worth the mention is Porto Ferro Beach in Italy. This beach gets the orange-hued sand from a combination of broken shell pieces, orange limestone, and volcanic deposits. If you look closely, you may spot spectacular sand dunes behind the beach, occupied by happy beachgoers and surfers in the Mediterranean.

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Green Sand Beach

A beautiful green sand beach.

Honestly, green sand beach is a sight to behold!

To state the facts, there are only two green sand beaches in the United States – Talofofo Beach in Guam and Papakolea Beach in Hawaii. The reason behind their greenish sand is because of the presence of a mineral – olivine – in these beaches.

The main attraction of Papakolea Beach is its crystal greensand which is stunningly mixed with black and white sand. Upon close observation, you will see some sand patches greener than others. Take your time to pick different patches of sand to inspect the differences between them. You can also go swimming but at times high tides can make the water rough. Also, keep in mind that there isn’t any covering facility available on the beach. Consider bringing your own beach umbrella or hat for sun protection.

Talofofo Beach in Guam is great for surfing. However, frequent visitors have often remarked that the green sand at this beach is only visible on bright, sunny days. But the picturesque cliffs surrounding the beach make the picnic spot worth the visit.

The best time to visit these green sand beaches is on weekdays or early in the morning of the weekends, especially if you want to escape the crowd.

Black Sand Beaches

A gorgeous black sand beach.

The reason why black sand beaches are black is because of deposits of dark-colored volcanic rocks and minerals. Some of the common types of black rocks include black basalt, darkish gray andesite, and black volcanic glass. The minerals that make these rocks dark in appearance are amphiboles, pyroxenes, and iron oxides.

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As compared to other types of sand, black sand is heavier in nature. During sunny days, the sand tends to become extremely hot as well. Owing to the presence of high iron, the sand changes into a darker color and becomes heavier as compared to light-colored sand.

Also known as volcanic beach sands, this type of beach sand is often a mixture of many other non-black grains like light-colored quartz, green olivine, and red crystals. The most famous black beach on earth is Vik Beach in Iceland.

This beach was nominated as one of the prettiest beaches on Earth in 1991. There is also one found in California, known as the Lost Coast of California. You can find a few black beaches in Hawaii as well such as Pololu Valley Beach, Kehena Beach, Kaimu Beach, and Punaluu Beach.

Sparkling Blue Sand Beach

A view of an illuminated blue sand beach.

Only the Maldives has this astounding beach that glows up at night. This beach is found in Mudhdhoo Island, also known as Vaadhoo Island. The illumination only occurs in the dark. This happens due to a natural phenomenon called “Bioluminescence” in which light is emitted by a living microorganism – plankton. These sea creatures are radiant as they give off a bright blue light under the sea.

There is a lot of science involved in why these aquatic organisms elucidate blue light. Research shows that there is a group of chemicals that make planktons glow at night. These chemicals are termed as “luciferins” and they consist of a catalyst – luciferase – which generates oxidation reactions, creating blue illumination as a result.

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To reach Vaadhoo Island to witness this pixel-isque view isn’t difficult at all. The mind-blowing destination is well-connected to the capital city of Maldives – Males. Travelers can take a speedboat to reach the island which will hardly take 15 minutes or so. This breathtaking view of Maldives is something that people across the world flock to catch a glimpse of.

Purple Sand Beaches

A lovely purple sand beach.

Pfeiffer State Beach is widely known as the purple sand beach, located in Big Sur California. The purple color of the sand is due to sand sediments, like unique minerals, surrounded by the beach. While sands usually comprise of quartz, at this beach the sand is saturated with garnets. This further contributes to shades of purple in the sand.

Note that not all the sand at Pfeiffer beach is purple. Like green sand beaches, there are patches of sands being non-purple in appearance. It is more likely for you to come across the purple color after a winter storm. At times, the color seems to be more pinkish or even greenish too.

The sand is not the only attractive element of the beach. The famous Keyhole Arch sits on the right side of the beach’s entrance. Climb on it, take photos, or witness the glorious sunset or sunrise from the top. The view it offers is indescribable!

The good part is that if you ever feel hungry at the beach, there are a couple of eateries nearby such as the Big Sur Deli and The Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant. They are located just a mile away on the south of the beach.

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2. Seashell Beaches

A close look at seashells on sand.

It is common for beaches to wash up empty shells on the shores. However, there are beaches that wash up seashells in bulks. Commonly, beaches comprise of rock particles like grit, gravel, pebbles, sand, etc. However, very rare beaches are composed of intact, broken, or partially broken seashells.

There are only four such beaches in the entire world; the most famous of them all is the Shell Beach in Western Australia. This stunning white sandy beach consists of millions of small shells that can go up to 10 meters deep. On the upper side of the beach, numerous shells have clammed together to form types of large, solid conglomerations.

Sanibel Island in Florida is another seashell beach that consists of large quantities of seashells. The beach also accommodates plenty of local shell shops where you can get shells of your choice. There is also a museum – the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum – that houses an impressive collection of seashells. The other two beaches where you can look and touch blankets of seashells are Saint Barts Shell Beach (also known as Grande Galet) and Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

3. Glass Beach

Blankets of glass pebbles on a beach.

Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California, is one of the most popular sea glass beaches in the entire world. You will be surprised to know that this beach site was originally a water dump site where people would discard old appliances, glasses, and vehicles too.

After years of discarding the trash, cleanup programs took the initiative to clean up the dumpster. The waves of the ocean rolled and tumbled sleek and shiny pieces of glass that were created from broken glass and metallic bottles and tableware.

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A casual walk on this beach will instantly turn into a happening stroll as you will come across amazing sea glasses in gorgeous colors like amber, sea green, white, and brown. The rarest sea glasses are the ones that boast turquoise, orange, yellow, black, teal, and gray.

Some other notable glass beaches can be found in Hawaii, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico.

4. Rocky Beaches

A view of a rocky beach at sunset.

Rocky beaches are created by the eroding of coastal cliffs. These cliffs are crumbled into different sizes of rocks along the shoreline. The buildup of large rocks prevents the formation of sandy beach sediments.

It is nearly impossible to navigate rock beaches in a vehicle which is why they must be approached on foot. Nonetheless, these beaches make for an amazing picnic destination with your loved ones.  The most astonishing rocky beach is the Giants Causeway Beach Ireland which is composed of volcanic rocks and lava in odd geometric shapes.

People who are into rocky beaches than sandy ones must plan a trip to Ruby Beach in Washington, Koekohe Beach in New Zealand, and Cabo San Juan de la Guia Beach in Colombia.

5. Cave Beaches

A view of a large cave beach.

Sea caves are worth the second glance. We are sure their majestic beauty must make you wonder how they got formed in the first place. Basically, sea caves are created by the wave action of a lake or an ocean.

They usually occur in almost every coastal area where the waves break against a rock cliff. The continuous striking of waves on the cliff makes the rock weaker. Over time, these rocks begin to erode, causing humongous inland caving. Eventually, these cliffs form a hole, commonly called “blowholes”.

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California features several remarkable caves such as the Painted cave of Santa Cruz Island, Terranea cave in Palos Verdes, Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, Avila Beach Caves, Thousand Steps Beach Cave in Laguna Beach.

6. Urban Beaches

An aerial view of an urban beach.

Also known as a city beach, urban beaches are a man-made, artificial environment. Unlike, naturally-occurring beaches, urban beaches are specifically created by urban planners in an urban setting. Like any other beach, they feature a beachfront by using sand, beach umbrellas, and seating arrangements.

The purpose of an urban beach is to give beachgoers a feel of natural beaches by placing in an artificial beach atmosphere.

Urban beaches come in a wide range of variations. They are constructed near or alongside water areas such as riverbanks, poolside, lakeside, water parks, etc. It is not necessary for urban beaches to be public land. However, they are mostly open to the general public, at times with a small entry fee.

Since swimming and engaging in water sports is not possible, there are water features like fountains, misting poles, or wading pools. Most urban beaches accommodate food/beverage cafes or stalls and allow sports facilities like beach volleyball.


Plan a beach getaway by heading to one of these dreamy beaches. You won’t be disappointed!