When winter comes to the Northern hemisphere, many of us start dreaming about tropical paradises, island escapes and long stretches of white, sandy beaches. But white sand beaches are the only beaches that are stunningly beautiful to look at and lounge on. The beaches of the world come in a dazzling array of hues, and black sand beaches are perhaps some of the most arresting, if only because they are the polar opposite of our white-sand infused daydreams. If you’re hoping to jet off to paradise in the coming months, read this list before you book your ticket. We guarantee you won’t regret visiting the stunning, midnight-hued dunes of the locales, both exotic and close to home. All we ask is that you remember to send us a “Wish You Were Here” postcard.
12. Shelter Cove, California, USA
When someone says “black sand beach,” you probably think of an exotic locale. While it’s true that black sand beaches occur in some pretty far-flung and exotic places, they also exist in places like Shelter Cove, California. Situated on California’s Lost Coast, Shelter Cove is secluded and quiet, accessible only by boat, plane or a small mountain road through the King Range. It’s home to Black Sands Beach state park, which features 3.5 miles of black sand beach and offshore reefs to explore. The sand comes from greywacke, a dark-colored sandstone, and compressed shale that was produced by tectonic activity just off the shore. Popular with hikers, as well as travelers looking for a quiet vacation spot, the rugged terrain makes this an area worth exploring.