Make your own hot tub at Hot Water Beach in New Zealand. Credit: Getty Images
It's finally summer — time to swim, sunbathe and surf. While many people dream of white sand, palm trees and clear water, we'd like to shift the focus to the more unusual beaches out there, where dinosaurs once roamed and the sand is the color of another planet's seashore. These places prove that Mother Nature has some surprises in store. Here are five strange and beautiful beaches around the world.
Don't bother looking for Chandipur Beach on the Bay of Bengal at low tide—you won't find it. Twice a day, the water recedes up to three miles from the Indian seashore, leaving long tracts of sand where you can spot horseshoe crabs, seashells, and driftwood. If you hang around for a while, you can watch the sea slowly returning—a strange phenomenon to observe.
Hot Water Beach
If you ever wished you could soak in a hot tub right on the beach, Hot Water Beach on Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, is the place for you. Naturally occurring hot springs bubble up under the sand between high and low tides. For a natural spa-like experience, people dig holes in the sand and lounge in the mineral waters, which reach 150 degrees.
Geologists and fossil hunters travel from far and wide looking for specimens on this beach spanning Dorset and East Devon, England. In addition to the coast's rugged cliffs and coves, 185 million years of the Earth's development are on display here. Because of erosion, fossils are continuously being identified, and visitors can go on guided fossil walks.
Big Sur is known for its natural beauty, and Pfeiffer Beach is especially stunning. This hard-to-find California beach features purple sand thanks to the manganese garnet found on cliffs by the ocean. The road leading to the beach is unmarked, so keep an eye out for it near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on Highway 1.
Of all the beautiful beaches on Australia's coast, only Hyams Beach holds the Guinness Book of World Records title of the whitest sand. Crystal-clear water, forests, and wetlands only add to Jervis Bay's appeal. Inhabited by Aboriginals for thousands of years, the area boasts important archeological sites, like rock art, stone artifacts and axe-grinding grooves.