By Sarah Ryan

When dreaming of a beach vacation, the first thing that used to spring to my mind was lush white sand, with turquoise water and palm trees aplenty. Since the rise of Instagram travel pages, I’ve broadened my horizons. I now dream of sandy hues of pink, purple, vivid red, and even black! 

If you are a beach fanatic like me, add these to your bucket list – the best-coloured beaches to visit worldwide.

Best Black Sand Beach – Vik Beach, Iceland

If you can get past any fear you may have of volcanoes, then hours from Reykjavik, Iceland, you will find the tiny seaside village of Vik. Volcanic activity over the years has led to the formation of jet-black sand. How? 

Well, when lava from the eruptions cools down and dries, it turns to rock, transforming into tiny pebbles that look like sand over time. This particular beach is an excellent example of a black volcanic sand beach with amazing aesthetics for a gothic photo shoot if that is your vibe. 

Be careful, though, the sea here changes really quickly, and it is recommended to stay well away from the water line in case of sneaker waves. 

Best White Sand Beach – Hyams Beach – New South Wales, Australia

Only 2 hours from Sydney, you will find the beach that the Guinness Book of Records dubbed as having the whitest sand in the world. That is saying something, considering how many white sand beaches the world has. 

You’d think that this would mean Hyams Beach would be swarming with tourists, but it actually has a surprisingly untouched vibe. The abundant sea life makes diving and snorkelling popular activities, as are sailing and kayaking. 

Best Pink Sand Beach – Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, The Bahamas

This beach makes my inner Barbie-obsessed child squeal with delight. It has 5km of soft pink sand! Couple that with crystal clear water, and you have something that looks like it’s come right off a watercolour canvas. The sand’s colour is attributed to a marine animal called foraminifera, which has a red shell. Once they die, their shells get crushed and mixed in with the white sand on the beach. 

Swimming, snorkelling, and fishing are allowed at Pink Sands Beach, and there are beautiful resorts on the island if you want to make a vacation out of your visit. The weather is warm year-round, so it is a perfect winter escape. Sounds perfect to me!

Best Red Sand Beach – Thunder Cove Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The reddest thing I formerly knew about Prince Edward Island in Canada was the fictional heroine of my childhood, Anne of Green Gables, who lived there. While her author spoke numerous times about Anne’s bright red locks, she did not mention that PEI also had matching beaches!

Rosy red beaches, to be precise. This is due to eroded sandstone that has made its way onto the beach. Thunder Cove beach is a short drive from the more well-known Cavendish Beach, and it is far enough away from the crowds that you may end up having the entire beach to yourself. 

With interesting rock formations and sea caves to explore nearby, you can spend a couple of hours there watching the sand’s depths of colour change as the sun passes over it. 

Best Purple Sand Beach – Pfeiffer Beach, California

Big Sur has its fair share of magnificent beaches, but Pfeiffer Beach is probably the most unique and definitely one of the most beautiful. Most people head here for sunset to take photos of Keyhole Arch. The purple sand is the most visible after rainfall, and it is not found over the entire beach but mainly on the north side and by the tide pools. 

The colour comes from the mineral manganese, which trickles down from the nearby mountains after rainfall. Swimming isn’t advisable here as the currents can be pretty dangerous, but the water is too cold anyway, so it’s unlikely you will be tempted! 

Special Mention for All the Colours! – Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California

While we said the best 5, I’m throwing in a bonus 6th one for good measure. If you want a rainbow of colours, Glass Beach in California is the place to go. A former glass dumping ground, over time, the glass has broken down and been smoothed by the waves, creating “sea glass” in a rainbow of colours. 

Unfortunately, visitors take the sea glass home, so go check it out as soon as possible because who knows what it will look like in the future. 

Next time you dream of a beach vacay, but want to avoid dealing with the summer crowds, consider one of these lesser-known colourful destinations instead. You are sure to give your Instagram some feed fodder that will have your friends asking, “Where on Earth is THAT?”