Thinking about an exotic place to hang out in your next vacation?
Would you like to discover new places while having fun? Then black sand beaches are definitely for you.
What is so amazing about black sand beaches and why is the sand black?
Well, before showing you the most stunning beaches with these characteristics, you need to know that this particular sand comes from eroded volcanic materials such as lava and other dark-colored stones and minerals.
Table of Contents
- List of the Best Black Sand Beaches on Earth
- 20) Black Sand Beach, California
- 19) Albay Islands, Philippines
- 18) Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Indonesia
- 17) Karekare Beach, New Zealand
- 16) Papenoo Beach, Tahiti
- 15) Playa Negra, Puerto Rico
- 14) Kamari Beach, Greece
- 13) Soufriere, St. Lucia
- 12) Marigot, Grenada
- 11) Panalu’u Beach, Hawaii
- 10) Miho-no-Matsubara, Japan
- 9) Playa Jardin, Spain
- 8) Prince William Sound, Alaska
- 7) Playa Negra, Costa Rica
- 6) Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia
- 5) Stokksnes Beach, Iceland
- 4) Waianapanapa State Park, Hawaii
- 3) Kaimu, Hawaii
- 2) Diamond Beach, Iceland
- 1) Reynisfjara, Iceland
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Black Sand Beaches
- Where are black sand beaches?
- What beaches have black sand?
- What gives black sand beaches their color?
List of the Best Black Sand Beaches on Earth
However, what makes these beaches so incredibly beautiful is the fact they are unique as they exist only in specific parts of the world.
So pack your luggage and be ready to get lost in one of the eye-catching black sand beaches on earth!
20) Black Sand Beach, California
Hidden within the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Recreation Area, this black sand beach is one of a kind in America. This beach looks like it doesn’t belong to this shore as black sand beaches are natural phenomenons related to volcanic areas. And that is what makes this place so special.
The dark sand comes from iron minerals that surround the 20 miles long coastline.
Regardless of its beauty, you can’t swim there due to heavy waves. In fact, there are signs all over the place warning people not to dive in the water.
However, it is a cool place to chill with friends or family. Explore the area by taking one of these awesome San Francisco walking tours.
See Related: Best Things to do in East Bay, California
19) Albay Islands, Philippines
The best part about this place, you have three islands to choose from.
Albay is an island complex where Bacacay, Sto. Domingo and Tiwi offer both locals and tourists a unique day.
They show you don’t have to go to Hawaii or Iceland to enjoy the majestic views of black sand beaches.
The volcanic rock and ground lava give the beach a distinctive dark color. Whichever Island you choose to visit, you’ll feel relaxed.
Also, you can get to Albay from the capital city Manila by direct flight or around 10 hours by bus or car.
If adrenaline rushes are your thing, check out these top zip lines in the Phillippines.
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18) Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Indonesia
Deep into the woods of the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, lies one of the most beautiful black sand beaches on earth.
Located in Sulawesi island, this beach combines a unique dark-sand color with an awesome natural park with endemic and exotic species all over the area. That is why this place should be on your bucket list.
Furthermore, it is relatively easy to get here. You can fly from Manado and once you arrive in Sulawesi, the 2-hour drive to Tangkoko will take you to amazing landscape views before getting to the beach.
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17) Karekare Beach, New Zealand
New Zealand also has a place on this list and northern Auckland offers one magical black sand beach.
Karekare is a non-conventional beach as you get here hiking through steep ridges that surround the whole area. But it definitely worth the effort once you are there.
This is one of the black sand beaches where surfers and risky swimmers pave their way. However, it is dangerous as the waves strike at the beach violently.
If you are planning to visit Karekare on a family trip, authorities advise you to first know about the place to avoid any dangerous situations.
In any case, this is a gorgeous beach that deserves your time.
Want to know more about this remote place? So go check out an amazing tour that GuideYourGuide has around this area.
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16) Papenoo Beach, Tahiti
Can you imagine how is a beach in French Polynesia? Exactly, amazing. Papenoo is in this ranking for a reason and is because it’s one of the nicest black sand beaches.
This is not your typical white and light sand beach that crowds the whole country. Indeed, volcanic materials make this place different.
Locals say this beach has to be your first step before going through The Papenoo Valley, which is a jungle on the island of Tahiti that offers incredible mountainous landscapes.
What else can you ask for in French Polynesia?
15) Playa Negra, Puerto Rico
Did you think white sand beaches are the only ones in the Caribbean Sea? Think twice!
Puerto Rico shows you that black sand beaches can also be a primary destination in the Caribbean area.
This black sand beach in Vieques is the result of volcanic materials beneath the surface, which cause this amazing dark tone.
As it is in the Caribbean zone, the sea is clear and totally available to swim and spend a good time with friends and family.
What’s even funnier is that many locals were totally unaware of Vieques existence until 2004, when more and more Puerto Ricans started noticing this gem in their own country.
They named it “Playa Negrita”, and it also shows you don’t have to go so far to see a natural treasure.
See Related: When is the Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico?
14) Kamari Beach, Greece
Greece is home to Western Civilization, it offers a rich cultural history and wonderful heritage.
However, this country also gives you the opportunity to see awe-inspiring beaches, such as the black sand beach at Kamari, Santorini.
Normally you would think of white sand beaches when it comes to Greece, but it turns out that also offers one of the fanciest black sand beaches.
Santorini rests on the rim of a volcano, that is the reason for the glimmering black sand on Perissa.
Both locals and tourists make a journey to Santorini only to witness this unique place in Greece.
Looking to visit Greece? Check out these quiet Greek islands so you can avoid sweaty partiers messing up your trip.
If you like partying, then you can check out these top Greek party islands.
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13) Soufriere, St. Lucia
This time the Caribbean Sea brings up another treasure. But in this case, this black sand beach is even more difficult to know about due to St. Lucia’s lack of awareness.
In fact, black sand beaches are what make St. Lucia a different place among the other Caribbean countries because it offers views that you rarely see. It’s amazing.
Not for nothing, Soufriere Beach is one of the main attractions to locals.
Every year St. Lucia’s residents try to put Soufriere on the map so more people can appreciate this beautiful place.
Now you know the Caribbean area it’s not only light sandy. This region always finds a way to amaze locals and tourists.
Also, don’t miss 4 Hidden Gems in the Caribbean Sea
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12) Marigot, Grenada
The last of the black sand beaches from the Caribbean region on this list, and by far the most difficult to get to. You find Marigot in St. George, a northern city in the town of Concord. Once you are there, expect a challenging hike until you reach the beach.
But Marigot is on this list for a reason. Once you make the stroll through Grenada’s dense jungle you will arrive in one of the most lonely places in the entire planet.
No noise, probably no other humans around other than you and your crew. Certainly, you will feel that you are far away from everything.
That for itself is more than a good reason to visit this remarkable beach.
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11) Panalu’u Beach, Hawaii
The first or many Hawaiian black sand beaches on this ranking. It couldn’t be another one than Panalu’u Beach, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. The exotic dark sandy comes from basalt and lava flooding into the ocean. When you see this beauty, you will feel all the journey worth it.
The beach is rocky and in some seasons of the year is dangerous to swim. For this reason, authorities warn tourists to stay awake.
The downside of this natural beauty is that there are some endangered species such as the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, or the Hawaiian monk seal.
Locals are doing a titanic effort to preserve their endemic animals. This is why you must be respectful of the area, you are here to relax and become one with nature.
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10) Miho-no-Matsubara, Japan
In the Miho Peninsula of Shizuoka City, you will find this natural treasure. When you arrive here, you won’t believe how amazing this place is, ever. Miho-no-Matsubara was included in 2013 in the UNESCO World Heritage site. So you can have an idea of the magic of this area.
The black sand beach only adds a piece of attractiveness to this place.
What’s more incredible is that here you will be surrounded by over thirty-thousand pine trees as well as Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan as the background. Make your stay even more relaxing by staying at a traditional Japanese ryokan in Hakone.
Without a doubt, this is a landscape you don’t want to miss out on.
Also, you need to know what to buy in Japan: souvenirs to take home.
See Related: Kyoto vs Tokyo
9) Playa Jardin, Spain
As you may know, Spain has a lot to offer. And of course, Playa Jardin is one of them.
Located in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Playa Jardin (Garden Beach) is what every tourist wants when it comes to a relaxing vacation.
When you see the beautiful landscape with palm trees and volcanic black sand alongside a botanical garden, you can easily notice that is not a coincidence this beach was named the Garden Beach.
The best part? This beach is safe to swim!
You can enjoy the view of Tenerife’s volcano Mount Teide while swimming or snorkeling.
It is a great place to go on a family trip or just chilling out with friends.
For further information about Playa Jardin, check out the amazing offer GetYourGuide has for you.
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8) Prince William Sound, Alaska
Going down on this ranking you find this wonderful black sand beach in Alaska. You won’t regret it if you ever visit this place. Unfortunately, and for obvious reasons, you can swim here.
But Prince William Sound is not here for swimmers, rather you will be delighted with the landscape surrounded by glaciers and mountains all around the area.
Perhaps the most intriguing past about this place is the paddling off the shore going through the colossal glaciers and towering rocks on a deep-blue background. This experience undoubtedly is breathtaking.
Furthermore, this is a great spot for campers. Due to its location, Alaska displays one of the most if not the best sunset on the entire planet. Now you can notice that the dark sand is only a complement of this area.
The volcano sand is soft and you can hike around the place as well or just enjoy a picnic while delighting yourself with a beautiful sunset.
All of these components make this place one of the most amazing black sand beaches on earth.
Check out these other top places to visit in Alaska.
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7) Playa Negra, Costa Rica
Starting the top 7 there is another Playa Negra, but this time the travel takes us to Costa Rica. Playa Negra, located in the northwestern region of Guanacaste, is what every surfer would call paradise. Indeed, this beach was the filming spot of Bruce Brown’s The Endless Summer II.
Playa Negra amuses visitors not only with the beauty of the place itself but the renowned resorts, hotels and cafes make this place even more amazing.
Small but great, Playa Negra is considered by many as one of the best zones in Costa Rica. Check and plan the safety conditions of Costa Rica before visiting.
Don’t miss out on 10 Best Beaches in Costa Rica (Top Spots Ranked!)
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6) Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia
When you think about Bali, tranquillity is the first thing that comes to mind.
And, who wouldn’t be amazed at Bali?
Well, when you visit Lovina Beach you will confirm this place should absolutely be on everyone’s bucket list and it’s a true hidden gem of Bali that’s totally worth exploring.
Situated just 2 hours away by plane from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, Lovina will delight you with its grey and black sand together with a dolphin show in the mornings.
Want more? Here you can dive, snorkeling and go on a boat trip on the sunrise to the dolphins. So yes, it’s safe to swim!
You simply cannot miss this place. It’s the true definition when someone refers to a ‘different vacation’.
See Related: Best Things to do in Nassau, Bahamas
5) Stokksnes Beach, Iceland
Entering the top 5 you will see a lot of Iceland here, and Stokksnes Beach is a place you only see in movies.
In fact, it is true. This place in southeast Iceland looks like a background in a Disney film. The cliffs that surround the areas combined with the beautiful lagoon and the amazing black sand beaches result in a breathtaking landscape.
Without a doubt, one of the best places to enjoy the black sand beaches in Iceland.
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4) Waianapanapa State Park, Hawaii
Located minutes away from the Hana Highway, Waianapanata State Park is everything you’ve ever dreamed of when it comes to unique beaches.This place is not only a black sand beach, but it also represents a cultural heritage as there are various legends about this area.
And once you see the marvelous beach you will immediately realize why this natural park is one of a kind.
When you are here you will not know what to take pictures of, it’s simply amazing.
Lava caves, the coastline, stone arches, blowholes and the glimmering black sand beach make this place a paradise to hike.
See Related: Maui Travel Itinerary
3) Kaimu, Hawaii
Going deep into the top 3 we reach the newest of the black sand beaches on earth, and it couldn’t be located in a more delightful place than Hawaii.
Kaimu is a local favorite place although you can’t swim there due to hazardous waves and currents.
However, what makes this beach special is its amazing landscape surrounded by coconut trees alongside heavy dark volcano sand.
This beach was formed after a river of lava destroyed the original place in 1990.
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2) Diamond Beach, Iceland
Deciding between the first two spots is not always easy, and this is exactly what happens in this case. The next two black sand beaches are so amazing that ranking one ahead of the other is torture. But one has to win, hasn’t it?
Regardless, Diamond Beach will make you feel in a magical world. It’s so amazing and not for anything is considered one of the best black sand beaches in Iceland.
The ice shapes in a unique way make the beach look like there are diamonds all around the place.
You will never see the beach in the same way. While some ices melt, new ones are forming every time, and thanks to this natural phenomenon this place never looks the same.
So you will have a lot of pictures to take when you visit Diamond Beach. If you like to take pictures be sure to grab one of these best travel camera lenses to capture these epic moments.
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1) Reynisfjara, Iceland
What does Game of Thrones and Star Wars have in common? They both were filmed in Reynisfjara.
In fact, many other movies and series have this astonishing place as their filming spot.
It easy to notice why many all over the globe consider this place on the South Coast of Iceland as the best non-tropical beach on earth.
Reynisfjara takes you to another dimension, it’s only you, and the powerful waves that combining with the volcanic sand will make you feel your life’s worths every single second.
Just looking at pictures of it you automatically feel in another world.
As there are no many humans strolling around, this is a perfect location to blow your mind.
You can’t miss this overwhelming place, that’s why GetYourGuide offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Reynisfjara.
After seeing this, are you still wondering why you should visit black sand beaches?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Black Sand Beaches
Where are black sand beaches?
Most beaches are known to have pearl cream to caramel-colored sand beaches. However, seeing and visiting beaches with unique black sand is remarkably fascinating. The majority of these beaches can be found in Hawaii, Spain, Greece, and Indonesia.
What beaches have black sand?
Black sand on beaches is uncommon and unique, which is why these beaches attract thousands of tourists each year.
Examples of some of the most well-known beaches with black sand are Lafayette Beach in Tahiti, Playa Jardín in the Canary Islands, Punalu’u Beach in Hawaii, the beach of Spiaggia di Ficogrande in Italy and Kamari Beach in Greece.
What gives black sand beaches their color?
The black color of the sand is largely due to the massive amount of volcanic minerals it has that are broken down over the ages. The minerals are also high in iron content which gives off the black color.
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