When you think of a beach vacation, are you picturing yourself stretched out on a towel, soaking up tropical temperatures, and working the sand between your toes? Most likely you are, but many folks are not all that fond of sand. We are constantly inundated with visages of sandy beaches on vacation flyers, calendars, and travel websites, however there exist a number of unique oceanfront escapes that feature alternatives to sand. Whether you are a fan of the tiny rock particles or not, check out these gorgeous locales without having to worry about finding sand in all the wrong places afterwards!
Shell Beach, Australia
This beautiful beach in Western Australia is composed entirely of cute little cockle shells, giving it a slight pink tint and making it one of only a handful of places in the world that can boast a beach that trades all of its sand for seashells. Due to the high salinity of the sea water in this area, cockles are able to survive and persist unchecked by typical predators. Enjoy the blue water and remoteness of this beach in addition to the remnants of tiny dead creatures!
Durdle Door Beach, Dorset, England
Durdle Door Beach is a shingle beach, meaning it’s composed of small pebbles rather than sand particles. However, the most scenic part of this site is the Durdle Door itself—a huge natural limestone arch. This formation has been featured in lore, poetry, films, calendars, and even music videos. It provides an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind beach view for travelers.
Sarakiniko, Milos, Greece
Greece is undoubtedly known for its impressive beaches, but Sarakiniko is truly unusual because it is formed completely of volcanic white rock, making it seem as if you are setting foot on the moon. Emerald tidal pools and inlets offer ideal swimming spots and the smooth rock surface, barren of vegetation, makes for perfect sun-bathing. Despite being one of the most photographed places along the Aegean, this site is surprisingly devoid of signs of tourists—bring your own towels and supplies and look forward to a peaceful day on the moon.
Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California
In this case, one man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure. For years, residents of the nearby town discarded household garbage over the cliff to what was formerly designated a dump site. After years of restoration work to clean up larger items, all that remained was colorful glass, polished smooth by the sea. The beach has now been opened for public access, but as tourists continue to take the glass for souvenirs, bit by bit it is disappearing. Hurry and visit this beautiful beach while you still can!
Stiniva Beach, Vis, Croatia
Croatia is home to many amazing coastal expanses, boasting clear, blue waters, but the beaches in Vis often feature smooth stones. Stiniva Beach, in particular, is found in a hidden cove, which can only be accessed by boat or by a short, rugged hike. Picturesque, like it was pulled from the scenes of a romantic movie, you won’t even miss the sand of traditional beaches!