If you're a seasoned traveler, you must have been to quite a few beaches and you understand that after some time and after you have visited a certain number of them, all beaches start blurring in your mind. There is a simple reason for it: most of the beaches are rather similar. They have sand or pebbles, they have sea or ocean waves crashing on the shore, and they all are beautiful.
If you crave something different and want to have another kind of a beach vacation, this list will do you a great service. It features a number of unique beaches that will be to the liking of pretty much any traveler. If you like cats or dogs, there are beaches, where you can go to pet these wonderful animals and even take one of them home with you. If you want to see beautiful horses galloping in the waves, or if you'd love to share a beach with penguins, kangaroos, flamingos, or elephants, there are nice options for you, too! And if you don't like to see animals roaming the beach right next to you, you still have a number of coastlines to choose from, including those with unusual colors of sand and those featuring one-of-a-kind rock formations.
Have you started to feel wanderlust yet?
25 Camargue, France - Horses
You must have seen the photos of beautiful grey horses galloping through the water, but do you know where they were taken and where you can actually see the same picture with your own eyes? Now you know - it's Camargue, a region in Southern France.
It's interesting that these horses, called the Camargue horses, have lived in this region for centuries or even thousands of years, and it's considered one of the oldest horse breeds in the world.
Inhabiting the marshes and wetlands and adapting to these challenging conditions, they developed agility and stamina the breed is known for today.
24 The Seychelles - Hawksbill Turtles
Seychelles is a place, where humans aren't the only living being feeling peaceful and relaxed. It's also a place, where hawksbill turtles can come to the shore and lay their eggs, without having any fear.
According to The Telegraph, "In most parts of the world turtles use the cover of darkness for protection as they lay and hatch their eggs – an attempt to address those odds. But in the Seychelles, quiet, protected beaches surrounded by indigenous forest allow them a degree of safety, even in daylight."
23 Boulders Beach, South Africa - Penguins
If you love penguins, but think that you'll never see them in the wild with your own eyes because you prefer beach vacations over trips to frosty areas, here's a surprise for you. There is a huge colony of penguins living on Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa!
Having a vacation on Boulders Beach, you can either swim with the penguins (you'll have to wear a wetsuit in this case) or just lie down on the beach and sunbathe, while watching these funny creatures waddling and squawking.
22 The Lofoten Islands, Norway - Sheep
If you think that you've seen it all, then come to the Lofoten Islands in Norway and look at sheep roaming the beach and freely grazing on the mountains.
Doesn't it make you think that these sheep have a better view than you see every single day out of the window of your home or office?
In fact, if you spend your vacation on the Lofoten Island and watch the sheep living there, you can learn quite a few things from these animals. First and foremost, they are never in a hurry, unlike us, city dwellers. Looking at them will make you take a break and just enjoy the scenery around you, without any rush...
21 Itsukushima, Japan - Deer
Itsukushima is a beach in Japan located northwest of Hiroshima Bay. The most notable thing about this coastline is the fact that a large number of deer live there, roaming the beach, finding some food to eat, and interacting with tourists and locals. And, who knows, perhaps they look at the torii shrine and admire its beauty, just like humans do.
It's interesting that, according to Shinto, a religion native to Japan, the deer are considered sacred animals. Probably, it's one of the reasons why their population flourishes on the beach.
20 Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand - Monkeys
On the south-western part of Ko Phi Phi Don, there is a so-called Monkey Beach that, as you can guess from its name, is inhabited by monkeys. These primates actually live in the limestone mountains, but, as soon as tourists began coming to the beach, they noticed that where there are people, there is also food. For this reason, monkeys began coming down from the mountains and now they roam the beach, expecting some of the human visitors to give them a snack, or finding inattentive tourists and stealing their belongings.
19 Aruba, The Caribbean - Flamingos
Just 300 meters from the coast of Aruba, there is a small island that is considered one of the best spots for beach photos in the world. The reason why is simple - it's inhabited by gorgeous flamingos.
The beach where flamingos dwell and walk around, not being afraid of humans at all, is artificial. It belongs to Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, a 5-star hotspot on the island.
Guests of the hotel can visit the beach with no extra charge, but everyone else has to buy a day pass to get there. But don't you think it's worth it?
18 Cape Le Grand National Park, Australia - Kangaroos
If you would like to share a beach with hopping kangaroos, come to Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park, Australia. These marsupial animals are generally very friendly and they don't mind being fed by tourists. And while they're eating, they might even let you pet them and take a number of photos!
Other than kangaroos, there is another reason to come to Lucky Bay. According to the locals and to many of the tourists who visited it, this beach has the whitest sand in the whole world!
17 Big Major Cay, The Bahamas - Pigs
One of the most popular beaches in this list, Big Major Cay is home to a colony of pigs, who, except for a few goats and stray cats, are the only permanent inhabitants of the island.
However, things on Big Major Cay aren't as serene as they seem, because tourists bring quite a few problems to the island.
After their attempts to ride the pigs and feed them alcohol, seven pigs died only in 2017. So it seems that some of the visitors need to be lectured about proper behavior before even coming to the island.
16 Havelock Island, India - Elephants
According to a lot of travelers, Elephant beach on Havelock Island is one of the best places to visit in the Andaman Islands. It's frequently visited by foreigners and Indians alike, because who doesn't like gazing at these majestic animals, roaming the beach and even swimming in the pristine ocean waters?
For this reason, many people say that if you've been to the Andaman Islands, but haven't visited the Elephant beach, you haven't been to the Andaman Islands...
Besides watching elephants having fun in the water, tourists can also do quite a few activities on the beach, including diving, snorkeling, bird-watching, trekking, and kayaking.
15 Turks and Caicos, the Caribbean - Puppies
Remember yourself as a little kid, wanting to get a dog, against the will of your parents? Well, if you never was lucky enough to actually get a dog, you should know that there is a place in the world, where you can go and have the best dog time possible. It's Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean.
On the island of Providenciales, there is a non-profit organization, Potcake Place, that aims to reduce the number of homeless dogs in the area by rescuing them and encouraging them to socialize. The organization provides visitors with food, toys, and advice, before letting them spend some quality time with a puppy on the beach. In some cases, visitors even end up adopting the fluffy creature they walked!
14 Su Pallosu, Sardinia, Italy - Cats
Since there is a dog beach, it would be unfair not to have a cat beach. Luckily for cat lovers from all around the world, there is one - it's Su Pallosu on the island of Sardinia, Italy. According to Daily Mail, this cat colony has existed for over a century, when fishermen introduced them to the island to reduce the population of rats. Now there are at least 60 felines there (and, as you can guess, no sign of rats).
All these cats live together and a non-profit organization called I Gatti di Su Pallosu takes care of them. Visitors are welcome to come to the town and visit the beach to communicate with the cats.
13 Fort Bragg, California - Pieces of Glass
Near Fort Bragg, California, there is a beach that looks astonishingly now, even though it used to be a dumping ground in the 1960s. After the dumping was prohibited by law, the beach began slowly restoring itself and turned the mankind's mistake into a natural wonder.
These days, the pieces of glass, pounded by the water and washed back onto the shore, look like the gorgeous gems that make this beach so unique. To preserve the special look of the beach, visitors are even forbidden from taking any of these glass pieces with them.
12 Koekohe Beach, New Zealand - "Dragon Eggs"
The boulders on this beach in New Zealand consist of a hard solid mass. Exactly, for this reason, they weren't broken down by the water during the centuries after their formation.
However, the water still did all the job it could, pounding them and smoothing them out, turning the boulders into round rock formations that give such a unique look to this beach.
These boulders were called "Dragon's Balls" for a reason. I mean, just look at them - don't they resemble the props from a fantasy movie?
11 Beach of the Cathedrals, Ribadeo, Spain - Rock Formations
Have you ever been to a Gothic cathedral located outdoors? If you haven't, come to the Beach of the Cathedrals located in Ribadeo, Spain. Of course, technically, it's not a cathedral at all - these stunning rock formations were created by nature itself. The water was pounding them for thousands and thousands of years, slowly but surely creating these gorgeous arcs that reach approximately 27 meters (90 feet) in height.
Isn't this beach a perfect place for arranging a photoshoot or even carrying out a wedding ceremony?
10 Genipabu Beach, Natal, Brazil - Sand Dunes
Another otherworldly beach in this list has a potential to stun even the most seasoned travelers because it shows a one-of-a-kind combination of sand dunes and waves of the Atlantic Ocean. So if you've ever wanted to get what a person feels, while walking in the middle of the desert (but didn't want to go to the desert), this is a place for you.
As soon as you're done gazing at the dunes, you can take a short walk and quickly reach the coastline and take a dip in the refreshing ocean waters.
For an even more desert-like experience, you can also take a camel ride or go sandboarding there. Just remind yourself from time to time that you're still in Brazil. Believe me, you'll need it!
9 Jokulsarlon, Iceland - Chunks of Ice
Of course, Iceland doesn't have the beaches you're used to seeing, because, after all, it's Ice-Land, which means that its beaches are also covered in, well, ice. Jokulsarlon is the most stunning one of them. Just look at it: the white and glassy ice chunks lying around on the shoreline create a striking contrast with the black volcanic sand, thus creating a unique and, somewhat, otherworldly landscape.
So are you ready to take your beach vacation to a new level and visit this Icelandic beach instead of, say, Maldives?
8 Pink Sand Beach, Harbor Island, Bahamas - Coral Remains
Harbor Island is rather small, being only 5 kilometers (3.5 miles) long and 2 kilometers (1.5 miles) wide, but it has one of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean and, perhaps, in the world, too. And it's all due to the beautiful pinkish color of its sand.
The sand is pigmented due to the tiny pieces of coral remnants, broken down in the ocean and dashed onto the ground. If you take a closer look at the sand, you can even find the bigger pieces of broken shells and marvel at the strength of our Mother Nature.
7 Papakōlea, Hawaii - Green Sand
Looking at this beach in Hawaii, you can't help but feel like you're looking at a glassy field, due to the green color of its sand. This beautiful color is due to the volcanic mountains surrounding the beach. Let me explain you the process of its formation. After the eruption, the lava flows down into the sea. It cools off there and creates a mineral called olivine that, logically, has an olive color. Then it's washed up back onto the shore and gives this green hue to the sand.
6 Punaluu, Hawaii - Black Sand
Another unique beach in Hawaii has a kind of post-apocalyptic look due to the sand of black color. This color is formed by basalt lava that flows into the sea after eruption to cool down and then comes back to the shore in the form of black sand.
But the sand isn't the only thing that attracts tourists to this beach in Punaluu. Another interesting attraction there is the frequent appearance of green sea turtles on the beach and right off the coast.
Just note that, if you go there, you can only look at them. Since this species of turtles is endangered, it's forbidden to even touch them.
5 Pfeiffer Beach, California - Purple Sand
Big Sur has some of the prettiest natural landscapes in California, from its dramatic cliffs and grassy meadows to Pfeiffer Beach known for its beautiful purple sand. According to Travel + Leisure, this color was formed due to the manganese garnet fragments of rocks on cliffs near the ocean.
If you would like to see this unique beach with your own eyes, be ready to take a bit of a challenge because getting to Pfeiffer Beach isn't the easiest thing to do. But it's totally worth it!
4 Rabida, Galapagos - Red Sand
Galapagos is known for a lot of things, from being the place that inspired Charles Darwin to come up with his theory of evolution, to providing a home to numerous species of plants and animals. But another interesting thing about this island is its Red Sand Beach at Rabida.
According to Earth Porm, there are two versions as to how this bright red color was formed. First, it was due to oxidization of iron-rich lava. And second, it was the result of washing up coral sediments onto the shore.
3 Xi Beach, Greece - Red Sand and White Cliffs
Xi Beach located on the Ionian island of Kefalonia shows us how stunning the natural contrast can be. Its red sandy shore creates an incredibly beautiful combination with stark white cliffs, making visitors feel like they got to another planet.
Unlike some of the other beaches on this list, Xi Beach is relatively easy to reach and it makes it a popular destination for tourists. It has a lot of restaurants, hotels, resorts, as well as apartments for rent. So if you'd like to see the red-and-white contrast with your own eyes, you're welcome!
2 Cave Beach in Algarve, Portugal - Limestone Formations
The Algarve coast consists of limestone and it has quite a few caves that attract spelunkers, as well as other tourists, who just like gazing at natural wonders. After all, the rocks that had been eroded by the force of water for hundreds or, more probably, thousands of years, can give us a view to behold and remember for our whole life.
If you're lucky to come to this cave at a time, when there are no other tourists, you can get the one-of-a-kind feeling that you're alone in the whole world, swimming at the most secluded beach ever.
1 Hot Water Beach, Coromandel, New Zealand - Natural Hot Tubs
Would you like to dig out your own hot spring and soak in it like a boss? Then come to Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. The water that flows beneath the sand reaches 64 degrees Celsius (147 degrees Fahrenheit).
Isn't it a good alternative to a spa resort? What makes it even better is the fact that you can get this experience free of charge. Just dig up your own hole and you're good to go!
And the next day, when you come to this beach again, you're going to see your pool completely washed away and canvass created for the next spa-seeking tourist. The law of impermanence at its best...