Dare we say it? Beach vacations are getting a little…well, run-of-the-mill. Once you’ve seen a few golden-sanded, palm-fringed beaches, maybe you’ve seen them all?
But our extraordinary guide to these five awesome black sand beaches — where the great blue ocean laps against charcoal, ashen shores — is sure to pump new life into your next beach getaway.
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii, United States
Hawaii may be peppered with a number of beautiful black sand beaches, but the volcanic sands of Punalu’u are considered by many to be the best in the world.
Bordered by a pretty fringe of coconut trees on the famous southeastern Kau coast, Punalu’u is a popular rest stop for Hawaiian green turtles, which congregate to relax on the warm dark sand.
Lost Coast Black Sands Beach, California, United States
Lost to everyone except hikers and naturalists, California’s enigmatic Lost Coast stretches north for 80 miles of wild and rugged coastline.
Enjoy the strips of black sandy beaches set against a backdrop of mountainous peaks and beautiful ocean vistas.
Vík í Mýrdal Beach, Iceland
Voted one of the most beautiful beaches on Earth, Vík í Mýrdal Beach makes it easy to see what all the fuss is about. This haven of desolate beauty is amazing on a sunny day, when the rock formations are highlighted in shadows and the puffins are perched nesting in the cliff.
That said, it does rain a lot here: Pack your raincoat and hope for the best.
Prince William Sound Black Sand Beach, Alaska, United States
You might not think of beaches when you think of Alaska, but black-sanded shores are a striking detail in the landscape of Prince William Sound.
Ashen sands form a dramatic rim around spectacular tidewater glaciers, green hillsides and gigantic peaks mirrored in the icy water.
Jökulsárlón Beach, Iceland
The outstanding beauty of Jökulsárlón Beach speaks for itself, attracting thousands of photographers from around the world, desperate to catch a glimpse of turquoise icebergs set against the dark dramatic sands.
The glacial lagoon lights up with the contrast, exhibiting singular masses of ice sculpted into strange formations by the water and wind.
Featured image: © Chrstiankeller/iStock/Thinkstock
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.