Summer is officially here and it's time to hit the beach, but as you look for an ideal spot for sun and sand, why not try one of these unusual destinations?
From ancient beaches to sand made entirely out of stones or different colors like purple and green. America has some of the world’s most fascinating places right in its backyard.
Bowling Ball Beach, California
The Golden State is known for its surf and sand but one beach really stands out. In Medocino, one summer hotspot gets its name thanks to what lies on the sand.
Bowling Ball Beach features large round stones lined up in rows like bowling balls in an alley.
According to Travel and Leisure, “These ‘concretions’ formed in layers of sedimentary rock, and years of weathering have uncovered them.”
Glass Beach, California
Fort Bragg is known across the country as a famous military base — the largest in the world — but it also has one of the best hidden treasures in America: Glass Beach.
Prior to the late 1960s, the beach was used as a dumping ground by Californians and after the government banned the placement of garbage on the shore, the rough waves turned the glass into smooth stones.
While the weathered glass makes for a magical ambiance and unique setting, removing them from the beach is strictly forbidden.
Ocean Beach, Fire Island, New York
Fire Island is a barrier island resting on the South Shore of New York’s Long Island. The island is 32 miles long and a half-a-mile wide, which makes for an interesting day or weekend trip, since no cars are allowed to be there without a special permit.
Locals get around by bike or golf cart. Some even wheel their belongings in a wagon.
One town, Ocean Beach, is known by locals as “The Land of No” or “NOcean Beach.” The island’s most popular town is home to some of the best restaurants and bars, however, its strict rules make it a safe haven and clean area for families.
You are not allowed to be without shoes or a shirt outside of the beach, you cannot ride a bike on the weekends in the center of town, also you cannot eat or drink outside or on the beach. Pets, music and kites are forbidden on the sand.
With all of the strange and strict rules in place, hundreds of thousands gather each year and board the ferries from the South Shore of the mainland for an escape.
Siesta Beach, Florida
Along Florida’s Gulf Coast lies a beach so perfect it was once hailed as the best in the country by Dr. Beach.
Siesta Beach has clear blue waters and white, powdery sand that is so unique it doesn't even get hot under the blistering summer sun.
The sand is made from 99.9 percent quartz, causing it to remain cool. It also makes a squeaking noise when visitors step or sit in it. It could be Mother Nature’s way of making music with the sound of crashing waves.
Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii
On Hawaii’s Big Island is a beach so different that it defies the common thinking of the Aloha State’s hot spots.
What makes Punalu’u Beach so unique is the jet black sand that the waves crash on. The sand is made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean where it explodes as it cools when it hits the water.
The beach is also home to reptiles that manage to camouflage within the darkness of the ground.
Pfeiffer Beach, California
Inside Big Sur, visitors will find one of the world’s most unique waterfront properties – Pfeiffer Beach.
The beach is home to purple sand, which is believed to get its color from manganese garnet fragments from rocks on the cliffs that overlook the beach.
While on the beach, visitors will see a cave and a giant rock formation out in the water, which they can swim to for an additional one-of-a-kind experience.
Papakolea Beach, Hawaii
On the southernmost point of Hawaii, visitors will find Papakolea Beach.
The beach, only accessible by foot following a near three-mile hike along cliffs, is home to green sand. It gets its color from a green mineral known as pure olivine that comes from the Puu Mahana volcano that rests directly above the beach.
Barking Sands Beach, Hawaii
Hawaii is known for visitors coming to their beaches, cherishing the moments there and leaving with memories that will last a lifetime. However, what if the beach talked back?
One beach, Barking Sands, gets its name from the dog-like sound that resonates from the sand as you step, just like a canine crying for your attention.
The sound is created due to the porous nature of the sand. Dr. James Blake of the California Academy of Sciences told The Garden Island: “The structure of the grains explains the reason why sounds are emitted when they are set in motion.”
The beach is also home to a rocket launch-site and missile-defense testing center, which is off limits to the public.
Petroglyph Beach, Alaska
Ever wonder what life was like 8,000 years ago? One Alaskan beach may hold the key.
Petroglyph Beach is a rocky area of various stones and rubble that features rock carvings of faces, animals, and other hieroglyphic writing that is believed to have been written 8 millennia ago.
The boulders remain on the shoreline and are protected by locals so the history remains intact.
Assateague Island, Maryland / Virginia
Horseback riding on the beach is fairly common depending on where you are. However, horses roaming around on an island is truly a sight to be seen.
The wild horses roam free on the barrier island of Assateague that is off the coast of Maryland and Virginia.
According to the National Parks Services website: “The ‘wild’ horses on Assateague are actually feral animals, descendants of domestic horses that have reverted to a wild state. Horses tough enough to survive the scorching heat, abundant mosquitoes, stormy weather and poor quality of food found on the remote, windswept barrier island have formed a unique wild horse society.”
How the horses got on the island is still a mystery, however, a plausible explanation is that the animals are descendants of stallions that were brought to the barrier island in the late 17th century by mainland owners to avoid paying taxes on the livestock, according to Assateague’s website.
But don't get any ideas, cowboy. The horses are meant to be viewed only from a distance, and must be allowed to roam free.