White sand beaches are usually everyone’s favorite, but did you know beaches come in all kinds of other hues, including pink, green, black, purple, and more? Find out what makes these brightly tinted beaches.


Fun Facts

  • White: Hyams Beach in Australia holds the Guinness Book of World Record for whitest sand. Quarz crystals cause it to gleam.
  • Black: Muriwai Black Sand Beach in Aukland, New Zealand is a spectacular black sand beach created by volcanic rock, iron, and titanium. Punalu’u Beach in Hawaii is another black sand beach.
  • Gray: Erosion from nearby cliffs has caused gray sands at Shelter Cove in Humboldt County, California.
  • Red: In Santorini, Greece, deep red and black volcanic rock made the sand on Red Beach. In Maui, Hawaii, you’ll find another red beach.
  • Green: Papakolea Beach on the southern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island is also known as Green Sand for its olive green sand. The sand gets its hue from olivine crystals in nearby lava rock.
  • Orange: Bright orange sand found on the Maltese island of Gozo is caused by high iron content in the sand. At Porto Ferro in Sardinia, Italy, crushed shells, limestone, and volcanic rock have also created a bright orange beach.
  • Pink: Look for pink beaches in Bermuda created by crushed shells, calcium carbonate, and coral. Harbor Island in the Bahamas and Tangsi Beach in Indonesia have pink beaches for the same reason.
  • Purple: At Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California, you’ll find violet sand. The purple color is most apparent after a rainstorm and is caused by garnet manganese and quartz deposits washed down to the beach.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is the colored sand in craft stores from these special beaches?

Answer: Probably not. It’s more likely been dyed.


Learn More

Find out how sand is made.