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12 Stunning Black Sand Beaches You Never Knew Existed

Mother Nature never fails to surprise us.

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When you imagine yourself at the beach, you might think of seagulls, the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore, and burying your feet in the warm, glistening, white sand. Now, imagine that sand black—yes, black. Black sand beaches are way more common than you’d think. In fact, you can find them all around the world. Start packing! In case black sand isn’t impressive enough, check out these gorgeous pink sand beaches.

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Miho no Matsubara—Shizuoka, Japan

With over four miles of shoreline covered in over 30,000 ancient pine trees and a breathtaking backdrop of Mt. Fuji, taking a trip to this black sand beach is a no-brainer. Even if you visit on a cloudy day and aren’t able to see the mountain, the sound of the warm, crystal clear water crashing on the shore will leave you in a trance.

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Tulamben Beach—Bali, Indonesia

The large volcanic pebbles lining the black sandy shores of Tulamben Beach might not be the most comfortable to walk on barefoot, but its crystal clear waters sure do appeal to scuba divers. Past the beach’s rocky shore, divers are met by a spectacular underwater show of gorgeous marine fauna and flora. Speaking of crystal clear water, you NEED to see these beaches with the most transparent water in the world.

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Punalu’u Beach—Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, there’s a good chance you’ve at least heard about Punalu’u Beach. Lined with gorgeous coconut palm trees and covered with lava sand, this famous beach is easily accessible and great for swimming, snorkeling, hiking, camping, and picnicking. Besides its uniquely colored sand, it’s also home to endangered Hawksbill and green turtles. Fleeing the winter? These are the best beaches to visit during the colder months.

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Playa Jardín—Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

If you’re bringing the whole family, Playa Jardin couldn’t be more perfect. Whether you want to sunbathe, surf, visit the beautiful gardens, bring your kids to the playgrounds, or check out one of the concerts at the nearby stage, this black sand beach has it all. These are the 50 best beaches in the world.

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Taharuu Beach—Tahiti, French Polynesia

Another family-friend black sand beach can be found on the southern coast of French Polynesia. It’s not uncommon to see first-timers learning how to surf at Tahiti’s Taharuu Beach since the waters are hardly ever crowded. There’s even a small snack shop conveniently located right on the beach.

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Muriwai Beach—Auckland, New Zealand

Also called the Muriwai Gannet Colony, Muriwai Beach in Auckland is filled with thousands of nesting gannets. The rugged terrain makes for flawless photo ops, especially during sunrise and sunset, and the shimmering blue waters are exemplary for beach-goers who want to go swimming or snorkeling. Speaking of incredible beaches, you’ll definitely want to add these ones to your bucket list.

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Anse Ceron—Martinique, Caribbean

There’s no question why Anse Ceron is one of the most sought-out beaches in Martinique. Its snorkeler-, surfer-, sunbather-, and swimmer-friendly location is ideal for visitors who want to avoid other nearby crowded beaches but still get the most out of their visit.

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Kaimu Beach—Pāhoa, Hawaii

With little shade and strong currents, you won’t find many sunbathers at Hawaii’s Kaimu Beach. The beach that is there now actually formed above the original Kaimu beach. According to lovebigisland.com, the new beach has only been around since 1990, which makes Kaimu the perfect spot for volcano-lovers to see just how powerful the Kilauea volcano is first-hand. You might be better off visiting Hawaii’s black sand beaches, anyway. These are the most dangerous beaches in the world.

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Playa Negra—Vieques, Puerto Rico

Caused by heavy rain washing volcanic fragments onto its shore, Vieques’ Playa Negra’s black sand is surely a sight to see. Its surrounding golden cliffs create a dramatic landscape that appears to hug the beach’s black sand, which makes the hike to the beach itself worthwhile.

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Karekare Beach—Karekare, New Zealand

If you’ve ever seen the 1993 movie The Piano, you’ll know exactly what Karekare Beach looks like. Located on Auckland’s west coast, this black sand beach is great for surfing the Pacific waves and is only a short walk away from Karekare Waterfall. Its surrounding rugged cliffs, gorgeous coastline, and panoramic scenery that seems to go on forever will have you wanting to stay for days. These are the best island vacations to take in the U.S.

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Reynisfjara Beach—Vik, Iceland

You won’t need to pack your bathing suit for a trip to Renisfjara. Situated along Iceland’s south coast, this black sand beach is incredible regardless of the weather. Besides being notoriously known for its sand, the beach also offers opportunities to explore caves and climb basalt columns. But beware of getting anywhere near the water—the strong Atlantic currents can be fatal.

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Perissa Beach—Santorini, Greece

You’ll never run out of things to do at Perissa Beach in Santorini. With over four miles of black sand, this beach is usually a tourist hotspot with plenty of beach facilities like restaurants and bars. Besides its sand, Perissa is well-known for Mesa Vouno, an enormous rock that emerges from the sea not far off the shore, which has ruins of an ancient city at the very top. Don’t miss these Caribbean island vacations that are perfect for beating the winter blues.

Brittany Gibson
Brittany Gibson is a regular contributor to RD.com’s culture, food, health, and travel sections. She was previously an editorial intern for RD.com and Westchester Magazine. Her articles have appeared on Buzzfeed, Business Insider, AOL, Yahoo, and MSN, among other sites. She earned a BA in English from the University of Connecticut