The Breakdown of the Most Spectacular Black Sand Beaches in the World

All around the globe, there are beaches that come in an array of sandy colors. There are green sand beaches, there are white sand beaches, and there are black sand beaches. As exotic as black sand beaches sound, you may be surprised by how close you are to some of them. Wherever volcanoes are located, there will be black sand beaches. Most black sand beaches are created from volcanic rocks that has been tumbled by waves and the wind for decades upon decades. Eventually, it produces the fine black sandy texture found on these beaches. Therefore, plenty of black sand beaches can be found in places such as Hawaii, Iceland, and in the Mediterranean. In no particular order, here are the 18 best black sand beaches in the world. The photos will speak for themselves and tell you just how stunning these destinations are.

1. Vik Beach, Iceland

black sand beaches - Vik Beach, Iceland
Credit: Landscape Photography Magazine

When visiting the south coast of Iceland, Vik Beach is not to be missed. Walk down the beach, or jump from one basalt column to the next. However, we advise being extra careful near the water. The ocean can be rough and unpredictable. At Viki Beach, you come to take in the wonder of this unique, black sand destination, not to necessarily swim or lounge on the shore.

2. Perissa Beach, Greece

Perissa Beach is a friendly place with a gentle breeze and midnight-colored sand. Snag a seat on one of the comfortable lounge chairs set up on the beach and soak in all that Perissa Beach has to offer. Most of the chairs are owned by the bars and restaurants spotted along the beach, and if you order a drink you can get a lounge chair for free.

3. Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii

black sand beaches - Punalu'u Beach, Hawaii
Credit: Steve Pribut

Hawaii has some of the most colorful beaches in the world. There are white sand beaches, green sand beaches, and black sand beaches, which makes Hawaii a playground of beauty to explore. Located on the big island of Hawaii, Punalu’u Beach is one of the best black sand beaches to visit. Massive sea turtles call this place home as well, so don’t be surprised to find some strolling, ever so slowly, on the shore.

4. Playa Negrita, Puerto Rico

In addition to black sand, you may find giant hermit crabs scurrying along the beach. You may also find fallen mangos on the ground from a mango tree nearby. You never know what to expect at Playa Negrita, but you can count on the beach to be beautiful. It is only a 10-minute walk from the parking area to the water. And the mild walk itself is a gorgeous path beneath lush, green trees arching overhead.

5. Playa Jardín, Canary Islands

black sand beaches - Canary Islands
Credit: Jaime Hernández Barrera

Unlike some black sand beaches that are too dangerous to swim in, Playa Jardín invites you to dive on in. There are plenty of lifeguards to keep an eye on everyone who decides to swim (or surf!) in the water. People also can spend the entire day resting on the shore with a book in hand. Just remember, this soft black sand can heat up, so it is best to wear your flip-flops while taking a stroll on the beach.

6. Kamari Beach, Greece

Kamari Beach is an upscale, touristy beach that has many things to do. Walk along the beach, pop into a café or restaurant, grab a drink in an outdoor bar, or go snorkeling and swimming in the calm, cobalt blue ocean.

7. Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Indonesia

Tangkoko Nature Reserve
Credit: leivischem [federleicht]

Not only does one go to the Tangkoko Nature Reserve to behold the black sand beach, but also you must take in the vast plant and animal life. Monkeys are likely to be leaping along the shore when you visit this black sandy beach.

8. Point Venus, Tahiti

Tahiti lies in the South Pacific and is one of the 118 islands that make up the French Polynesia. When driving around the island of Tahiti, Point Venus is at worth stopping by. In addition to the beautiful shore, there are monuments in the area, as well as one tall white lighthouse that is still in working order. The monuments and the lighthouse are all worth visiting while at Point Venus. As far as the beach, the waves are gentle and the swimming is fun at Point Venus.

9. Lovina Beach, Bali

black sand beaches - Lovina Beach, Bali
Credit: Signe

Lovina Beach is a quiet setting that travelers from all over the world find rest at. There’s a great chance you will see dolphins swimming around in these waters and an even greater chance that you will enjoy your time sitting, splashing, and playing on this black sand beach.

10. Playa Negra, Costa Rica

For surfers wanting to check out the black sand beach scene, but also desiring to ride some world-class waves, Playa Negra is your kind of place. Playa Negra is a laid-back area located on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica and is an incredible surf spot.

11. Miho no Matsubara, Japan

black sand beaches - Miho no Matsubara
Credit: Thanapol Marattana

Not only can you walk across the black sandy shore while listening to the sound of waves crash, but you also can take in the view of Mount Fuji while you are at it. Mount Fuji, with its snow-covered peak, stands tall in mighty in the distance, providing an even more awe-inspiring view at the beach of Miho no Matsubara.

12. Back Sands Beach, California

Back Sands Beach, California provides the best of both world: Mountains and water. Hikers will enjoy trekking around this state park and will find quiet refuge on this secluded 3.5-mile beach. The dark sand is visually beautiful next to the rocky and mountainous terrain.

13. Black Sand Beach, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Black Sand Beach, Glacier Bay
Credit: Matt Zimmerman

Glacier Day is not only one of the best black sand beaches in the world, but also one of the world’s most mind-blowing destinations overall. The scenic views are extraordinary between the stretching mountains and the sparkling water surrounded by glaciers. Kayaking is a must when at Glacier Bay Natural Park (but be careful). You won’t find views like this anywhere else.

14. Anse Couleuvre, Martinique

The deep, black colored sand contrasts with the blue Caribbean water and the tropical green jungle to create a magical scene. Anse Couleuvre is a remote beach that is bursting with color. The water at this beach will wave to invite you in. At Anse Couleuvre you can also walk right off the beach to catch some spectacular snorkeling in the blue waters of the Caribbean.

15. Stokksnes Beach, Iceland

Stokksnes Beach, Iceland
Credit: Nick Leonard

Iceland, oh Iceland, how we love you and all of the inky-black sanded beaches you have. Paired with a mountainous landscape, Stokksnes Beach is yet another Icelandic treasure to see. If you are in the area, you won’t want to miss seeing this colorful coastline of black hills, green grass, and a bright blue ocean.

16. Piha Beach, New Zealand

Famous for the surfing and the sand, Piha Beach is located a short distance from Auckland, New Zealand. The ocean here can be dangerous and swimming is only advised in designated areas. However, the scenic view can be taken in from anywhere. There are also plenty of areas to picnic, hike, and explore around Piha Beach.

17. Diamond Beach, Iceland

Diamond Beach, Iceland
Credit: Hai Hua

There is no place like Diamond Beach. Truly. The drive alone to the shore will make your trip worth it, but then, the beach itself will take the breath straight out of you. Eyes will widen and words will fall to express the beauty of this place. Icebergs like diamonds are sprinkled upon the black shoreline and the water complements it all well with its deep blue color. Remember to bring your camera when visiting Diamond Beach. Or, simply take photographs with your eyes because the wonders of Diamond Beach will be something you will want to tuck away in your memory forever.

18. Walanapanapa Black Sand Beach, Hawaii

Located in Maui, Hawaii, the name alone gives away that this beach has a beautiful black shoreline. The beach was created by waves colliding upon the volcanic rock for years and years and years. Eventually, the volcanic rock smashed into small fragments of sand. Black Sand Beach just had to be on our list the best black sand beaches in the world. At this state park beach there are also freshwater sea caves, lava formations, natural stone arches, ancient temples, and anchialine pools to explore

There you have it, the 18 best black sand beaches in the world. While everyone is flocking to traditional white sand beaches, plan your next vacation to be at one of these extraordinary black sand beaches. Many of these destinations are located in lively cities with lots to do, see, and explore. Families and solo travelers alike will enjoy their time beholding the beauty of these unique beach destinations.

Have you been to one of these black sand beaches? Share about your experience in the comments!

Related: The New 7 Wonders of the World That Will Take Your Breath Away

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