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Beach sand comes in all kinds of colors. Jason Wire explores the diversity.

Ever played Falling Sand? There’s nothing so satisfying as creating a technicolor sand-sculpture masterpiece and blowing it to smithereens with some explosive mouse-clicking. But where does all that sweet, colored sand come from? Not food coloring, but from the world’s intersections of earth and ocean where crashing waves turn dense minerals and matter into tiny grains. And despite what your color-by-number book tells you, it’s not all yellow.

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About The Author

Jason Wire

Jason Wire graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and spent the year after writing and teaching English in Spain. He's back in the states now, but doesn't know where. Follow him @wirejr.

  • http://carlo-alcos.com Carlo

    Very cool. What a great idea. I’ve never heard of green sand!

  • http://simonegorrindo.wordpress.com/ Simone

    I love the glass sand of California. And WOW to # 2.

  • http://www.expatheather.com Heather Carreiro

    Awesome photos. Love the line about Lisa Frank.

  • Sam

    Amazing article! Hilarious prose Mr. Wire.

  • http://nancythegnomette.com Nancy

    Great photos. Especially loved the Glass Sand pic.

  • Cliff

    Looks beautiful,

    black sand looks the most appealing to me.

  • http://www.holisticwithhumor.com Christine Garvin

    Ok, Mendocino is one of my favorite places in the world and I’ve never seen THOSE rocks. Purty cool.

  • Isaiah

    Absolutely love it! Cant believe that there is actually green sand!

  • Digs

    Sweet Article. Nice Pictures. Clever Commentary

  • John Fox

    I’ve been to the Green Sand Beach on the Big Island in Hawaii. It’s a little difficult to get too unless you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle and once you get to the place where the beach is you have to climb down a cliff side path. But once you get there it is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches you will ever visit.

    Also the Big Island of Hawaii has a Black sand beach which nice.

  • http://staybank.com StayBank

    Earth is all about diversity.

  • Ian

    Amazing, never thought pink sand would look so good

  • Chez

    Love it. Never knew there were so many kinds of beaches. I’ve now added Santorini to one of the stops on the European tour I hope to take this summer.

  • Lowell

    Really cool pictures, had no idea sand could be so many different colors. Green beach is the coolest, I thought it was a golf green at first.

  • http://www.thailand-cheap.com Jim Jones

    Glass sand is my favorite.

  • http://travelerahoy.wordpress.com Alouise

    That green sand is spectacular. And the glass beach looks amazing.

  • Rico

    There are plenty of nice and bizarre beaches OUTSIDE the U.S. you know…

  • Laura

    These pictures are amazing. I would love to check out the glass beach. Check out the beaches on Prince Edward Island in Canada, those have some pretty amazing red sand too.

  • Peter

    #1 i remember this beach being in Paia, Maui hawaii. :) My dad used to take my siblings and i here when i was little. The red muddy sand/dirt would stain the soles of our feet and streaks on our beach towels haha.

  • http://alveta.blogspot.com andin

    There’s a pink beach also in Komodo Island, Indonesia

    • Adri

      Yep, Pink Beach @ Komodo National Park, beautiful place. Underwater also amazing, I love doing nite dive in pink beach.

  • http://annemerritt.blogspot.com Anne

    Beautiful! And thank your for the explanations behind the beaches´colours.

  • Benz

    These beaches are beautiful! I’ve only been to Red Sand Beach in Hawaii but I’d love to travel to all of them!

  • aadil elgadiri

    Uhh I wanna GO there =)

  • vertigo

    Alum bay on the isle of wight,off the south coast of the UK. Multi coloured cliffs and sand.

  • http://itsmyisland.org Steve

    Missed the vertical coloured sands of Alum Bay ~ Isle of Wight.

  • http://google keith kilbourne

    The glass beach looks amazing still think i would wear my flip flops

    keith ashton under lyne uk

    • http://stumbleupon sammi

      I think I would wear my flip flops or fit flops too

  • http://www.sherdog.com canadian dude

    i really want to get drunk in that pink sand……. thanks for showing me my next vacation spot!

  • http://www.composedvolcano.com Priya Q

    wow! this is so kool… thanks for sharing!…loved the pink sand!

  • http://hdvideotv.com/ Jenny

    Wow, that red sand looks like Mars!

    I’ve been to Hawaii on the Big Island and saw that black sand, very cool but HOT to walk on.

  • Cammi

    I love the glass beach, but it doesn’t look like that any more. Years of tourists taking sea glass as souvenirs has really depleted it. There is still plenty of glass, but nothing like it used to be

  • http://jeszvasthi.blogspot.com/ jessica

    the glass beach is so cool!
    btw, theres another pink beach in my country ;)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ng_sebastian/3968377538/

  • Adri

    Green sand, wow! I just know there is the real green sand, amazing!

  • http://everything-everywhere.com Gary Arndt

    That photo is NOT of the green sand beach in Hawaii. I say that as someone who has been there several times including trips with geology classes.

    The sand isn’t pure green. Its green and amber colored because Olivine comes in two varieties: Forsterite and Fayalite. Forsterite is Olivine with magnesium and Fayalite is Olivine with iron. The sand in that photo is pure green and that is not what the beach is like. The beach is green/amber with flecks of black basalt.

    Moreover, the beach isn’t flat like the photo shows. It is at the bottom of a cinder cone and you have to climb down to get to the beach.

    • http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/vagabonderz Carlo Alcos

      Hey Gary…do you have any pics of it? Would love to see it. Link?

  • http://stumbleupon sammi

    These Beaches are sooo beautiful. I wish I could go to each one with the one I Love and collect a small sand sample… and many special memories… Thanks for these

  • http://www.pixelriffic.com Pixelriffic

    I’m always wary about the use of “awe inspiring”. I must say that the glass beaded beach merits the term. I’d never heard of this, and it’s definitely a stunner.

  • http://www.mykta.com Layne

    You inspire me to visit the beaches of the world. This is only a taste of the amazing beaches to visit. Thank you for sharing.
    -Layne

  • stone

    Been to glass beach and live 5 mins away from bowling ball.
    yay mendoland

  • http://www.mundodelamor.com/ MdAmor

    I want to see the glass sand beach.

  • http://www.massiliabalivilla.com/ Massiliavillabali

    What a beautiful photos. Awesome.

  • http://www.emanuelgrigoras.ro Emanuel

    Santorini beach is amazing. As is the sunset seen from the island. Next on the list for me.

  • Jimmy

    There is also a glass beach on the south shore of Kauai that was very interesting. There are all kinds of color glass, from red, brown, blue, clear, green, etc.

    Very interesting

  • http://trekdigest.blogspot.com/ trekdigest

    It is an amazing world!

  • Maya

    That green sand is awesome!! Just a small correction: Bowling Ball Beach is not in Mendocino, it’s in Point Arena (30-45 minutes south of Mendocino).

  • Mike

    Amazing and Beautiful
    Praise GOD for Diversity in NATURE

  • lauren

    awesome, thank you.

  • http://londoniscool.com William K Wallace

    Bowling Ball Beach looks out of the world and green sand just has to be totally insane….

  • http://www.travelwithamate.com Travel With a Mate

    Wow some impressive beaches here. I’d love to do a world tour of all of these beaches although that may take some financing! Nice blog.

  • Lynnette

    Reminds me of the Moeraki boulders in New Zealand, only more so!

  • Jazz

    Nice. On Tenerife you can find a red and black beach.

  • http://www.TracyBarbutes.com Tracy B

    I love this collection! Thanks for pulling it together.

  • http://www.bonvoyagerajasthan.com Deepender

    travel with us ….to india’s glorious beaches…like goa…so see our web page….http://www.bonvoyagerajasthan.com

  • http://europetravel365days.blogspot.com/ Sofia

    Nice article!
    Amazing the black sand beach in Santorini.Also it’s amazing the volcano there!

  • Rajaa

    spectacular photography.Odd, but good colours on the beaches…sure is a treat for the eyes.

  • http://gstyles.us Glenn

    Amazing. #3 is my personal favourite.

  • Rozy

    I am amaze by the glass sand……….its beautiful!!!

  • Che

    Next summer I am planning to go traveling the coast of CA. I live in San Diego. So It am heading all the way to the border of Oregon.
    With out this photo essay I would have never known that in California existed those beaches.
    Thanks again. It has only gotten me more excited to go on this journey. As its my first travel and many more to come.

    Che

  • http://www.bigtimetech.com Ron Lewis

    On the northern coast of France is a small town called Etratet. The sand is the all made of rocks the size of an adult fist and multiple colors. It is also an amazing beach because it is surrounded by very tall cliffs (with a golf course on top of one of them).

  • http://www.beersandbeans.com bethany

    Cool list! I never knew there was pink and green sand. I want to see it! stumbled & tweeted this cool post!

  • http://southerntravelsindia.com deepika

    wow ! beautiful places…

  • http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4CftY7/matadortrips.com/photo-essay-7-beautifully-bizarre-beaches Mary

    Wow!! awesome pics… I sure would like to see a few of these beaches one day :0)

  • http://biliki-travel.blogspot.com/ Fran

    The pink beach is stunning.

  • raghav

    check out mumbai nariman point… http://www.evirtualpie.com/myimage/albums/userpics/nariman-point-mono.jpg the stones are all equal sized

  • mr.g

    nice post, giants causeway in ireland should be there! have a look here http://cannedcumulus.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/giants_causeway1.jpg

  • tim

    Sounds like a plan! Who is paying for me?

  • http://www.qtorrents.com Qtorrents

    Really nice.. especially Santorini.

  • Virginia

    Bermuda has gorgeous pink sand as well.

  • http://simonegorrindo.wordpress.com/ Simone

    California represent!

  • http://www.zazzle.com/LeJardin LeJardin

    Yes, it’s stunning…because the color has been enhanced in Photoshopped so much to make the sand pink, the clouds are now pink.

    I’ve seen this beach. It’s pink sand, but this is ridiculous.

    LJ

  • Andygirl

    there’s a beach in Costa Rica made entirely of shells. Playa Conchal.

  • mohan

    Idiot.. nariman point mumbai has cement blocks of similar size and shape to prevent sea erosion…

  • http://www.coder99.com coder99

    wow, this is just too incredible

  • Ashlea Kelly

    The red sand on Prince Edward Island beaches is a lot more vibrant than the Hawaii beach sand!

  • Smedley Underfoot

    The green sand is cool – but you forgot Coronado – gold sand.

  • jeffrey

    Pink sand is the best!! I have some in a jar that I brought home from “Lighthouse Point” on Eluethra- Bahamas

  • haitravel

    I haven’t heard about the red sand.SO AMAZING.
    http://www.indochinadeluxetravel.com/

     

  • Akin Ed

    Did anyone see Tamm over there.

    • Jimmy Edward Akin Jr.

      Pretty cool

  • Alessandra Volpe

    Green super-cute!

  • Alessandra Volpe

    green look super-cute!

    • Alessandra Volpe

      ecco.. green looks super-cute…

  • ‘Colin Taylor

    Photoshopped

  • Aziz Andilangga

    wonderful

  • Amanda MacArthur

    The reason why people always take close-up photos of glass beach is because even though the sand is glass, it it’s still an old dump. The giant metal structures in the water made out of car parts and everything else are grotesque but I found those pretty neat too.

  • Amanda MacArthur

    The reason why people always take close-up photos of glass beach is because even though the sand is glass, it it’s still an old dump. The giant metal structures in the water made out of car parts and everything else are grotesque but I found those pretty neat too.

  • Amanda MacArthur

    The reason why people always take close-up photos of glass beach is because even though the sand is glass, it it’s still an old dump. The giant metal structures in the water made out of car parts and everything else are grotesque but I found those pretty neat too.

  • Amanda MacArthur

    The reason why people always take close-up photos of glass beach is because even though the sand is glass, it it’s still an old dump. The giant metal structures in the water made out of car parts and everything else are grotesque but I found those pretty neat too.

  • Amanda MacArthur

    The reason why people always take close-up photos of glass beach is because even though the sand is glass, it it’s still an old dump. The giant metal structures in the water made out of car parts and everything else are grotesque but I found those pretty neat too.

  • Amanda MacArthur

    The reason why people always take close-up photos of glass beach is because even though the sand is glass, it it’s still an old dump. The giant metal structures in the water made out of car parts and everything else are grotesque but I found those pretty neat too.

  • The Drifters Blog

    Coming from Hawaii, I am familiar with black, red, green and even pink sand, but the glass sand beach is something I’ve never heard of before!

  • The Drifters Blog

    Coming from Hawaii, I am familiar with black, red, green and even pink sand, but the glass sand beach is something I’ve never heard of before!

  • The Drifters Blog

    Coming from Hawaii, I am familiar with black, red, green and even pink sand, but the glass sand beach is something I’ve never heard of before!

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