Black sand beaches are exactly what they sound like…they have black sand! Usually they form in volcanic regions so some of the best black sand beaches can be found in Hawaii and Iceland. In this list, however, we’re going to go all the way from California to Italy in search of the 25 Best Black Sand Beaches You’ll Want To Visit!
Kariotahi Beach, New Zealand
Rugged and windswept, this beach is used for everything from paragliding to horseback riding.
This is Guatemala’s most famous black sand beach and also one of the most visited in Central America.
Waipiʻo Beach, Hawaii
Meaning “curved water,” this valley used to be the home of Hawaii’s kings.
Part of the appeal of this black sand beach is its accessibility. It’s just outside the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.
Sao Miguel, Portugal
Found in the Azores, this island is also known as the “Green Island.” It’s lushness provides the perfect backdrop for some incredible black sand.
After a volcanic eruption in 1990, the old town and beach were covered in lava. Today, locals are working to restore the area to its former glory. Nevertheless, it is already stunningly beautiful.
Playa Negra, Costa Rica
This incredibly scenic Pacific beach is a popular location for surfers.
This black sand beach is well known for its massive sandstone cliffs that hang over the crashing waves.
El Bollullo Beach, Canary Islands
It won’t be the only time we visit the Canary Islands on our list, but this beach is largely ignored by tourists who tend to favor something less remote.
El Tunco, El Salvador
This quiet little village has become one of the most visited sites in El Salvador. Even if you’re not into surfing, the sunset here is legendary.
Batuputih Beach, Indonesia
Given that the beach is in Tangkoko Nature Reserve, don’t be surprised if you’re sharing the coastline with some jungle creatures!
Kehena Beach, Hawaii
You’d never guess why this hidden spot on the Big Island is also called Dolphin Beach…that’s right! Because there are dolphins!
This small Mediterranean island is home to one of Italy’s three active volcanoes. In fact, it has even been called the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean” due to the numerous eruptions. But don’t worry, the beaches are totally worth the risk!
Black Sands Beach, California
Spread out along the northern California coastline, this beach turned black over time due to erosion from the surrounding cliffs.
Miho no Matsubara, Japan
Renowned for its view of Mount Fuji, this shoreline was once also known for its white sands. Today, however, due to nearby construction, it’s sands are now almost uniformly black.
Jökulsárlón Beach, Iceland
It may be impossible to pronounce, and it may not be very warm, but one thing is for sure…it’s beautiful. Between blocks of ice and black sand, it’s no wonder that this beach is a popular setting for numerous Hollywood hits.
Punalu'u Beach, Hawaii
This beach is so popular that there are signs warning tourists not to take the sand. And oh yea, there are sea turtles!
Anse Céron, Martinique
Located on the Caribbean island of Martinique, if you’re into snorkeling, this beach is for you!
Playa Negrita, Puerto Rico
This is probably the only beach on our list that comes with horses!
Black Sand Beach, Hawaii
Found on the island of Maui in Waiʻanapanapa State Park, what its name lacks in creativity, its sand makes up for in beauty. Don’t miss one of America’s most incredible beaches.
Stokksnes Beach, Iceland
Standing along the Icelandic shoreline will make you feel as though you’ve left the planet. It’s quite surreal, especially with the mighty Vestrahorn Mountain providing the backdrop.
Karekare Beach, New Zealand
Although it can require a bit of a plane journey, Karekare Beach is well known for its cliffs and its seals. Seriously, seal watching is a popular thing to do here.
Playa Jardín, Canary Islands
Found on the Spanish island of Tenerife, you can go swimming in the morning and climb Spain’s highest mountain in the afternoon (Mount Teide)
Perissa Beach, Greece
The black pebbles on this beach provide a sharp contrast to the bleached white houses of Santorini.
Vik Beach, Iceland
Known as Reynisfjara in the local language, this beach is dotted with imposing cliffs and incredible caves!
Photos: Featured Image: Marco Verch via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 25. wikimedia commons (public domain), 24. DrStockPhoto.com, Black-sand-beach, CC BY-SA 4.0, 23. SF Brit via flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0, 22. Sue Gardner, Black sand beach outside Reykjavik, Iceland (Eyrarbakkevegur), CC BY-SA 3.0, 21-20. wikimedia commons (public domain), 19. Eric Fredricks via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 18. Kostas Limitsios via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 17. Photo by Xus Badia via goodfreephotos.com (public domain), 16. Hermann Luyken, 2010.05.05.124022 El Tunco El Sunzal El Salvador, CC BY-SA 3.0, 15. Sakurai Midori, Batuputih beach Tangkoko Nature Reserve, CC BY-SA 3.0, 14. Frank Schulenburg, Kehena Beach, Big Island, CC BY-SA 3.0, 13. Norbert Nagel, Island Stromboli – Italy – July 18th 2013 – 06, CC BY-SA 3.0, 12. Wendy Seltzer via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 11. Alpsdake, Miho no Matsubara and Mount Fuji, CC BY-SA 4.0, 10. Debivort at en.wikipedia, Glacial ice on the beach at Jökulsárlón II, CC BY-SA 3.0, 9. Brocken Inaglory, Green turtle Chelonia mydas is basking on Punaluu Beach Big Island of Hawaii, CC BY-SA 3.0, 8. Jmp48, Anse Céron, CC BY-SA 3.0, 7. karlnorling via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 6. Forest & Kim Starr, Starr 060422-7870 Scaevola taccada, CC BY 3.0, 5. Hansueli Krapf, 2008-05-23 27 Stokksnes, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4. Michal Klajban (Hikingisgood.com), Waitakere Ranges, Karekare Beach (5), CC BY-SA 4.0, 3. Jaume Escofet via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2. Aulo Aasmaa, Perissa beach and the sea taxi – panoramio, CC BY 3.0, 1. Marco Verch via flickr, CC BY 2.0