Halle Berry is #goals for myriad reasons (not least of all her workouts). But when the actress posted the above picture of herself walking along a black-sand beach, it triggered FOMO for her 2.4 million followers. And it’s easy to see why.
These moody stretches of sand are mostly the result of long-ago volcanic explosions, which gives them an otherworldly vibe. As an added bonus, they also tend to be found in places you might not hate visiting, e.g. Hawaii and Tahiti. The latter happens to be where Berry spent her island getaway late last year.
Scroll down for intel on it, plus 10 more of the most-striking black-sand beaches in the world.
1. Punalu’lu Beach: Big Island, Hawaii
Punalu’lu is the largest and most well-known of Hawaii’s black-sand beaches, and it’s often referred to simply as “Black Sand Beach”—as if it’s their one and only. Its striking sand is made from cooled molten lava expended from nearby volcanoes, the moody effects of which are contrasted by rows of cheerful coconut palms. It’s fittingly located near Volcano Village on the Big Island and is an ideal location from which to spot the endangered green and hawksbill turtles, both of which are frequent visitors.
2. Reynisfjara Black-Sand Beach: Southern Iceland
If you’re looking for a dark-and-stormy kinda vibe, this may be the black-sand beach for you. It’s pummeled by large Atlantic waves, which means that it’s not safe for swimming but offers an impressive view nonetheless. Adding to the drama are large basalt columns which, local legend has it, developed when two Icelandic sea trolls tried to drag a boat to shore but were turned to stone when the sun rose on their efforts.
3. Pa’iloa Beach: Maui, Hawaii
This popular beach is located in Waianapanapa State Park and was formed when Maui’s largest volcano erupted hundreds of years ago. Due to its strong surf and prosperous jellyfish population, Pa’iloa is, like the other black-sand beaches listed above, better for Instagram-ing than for taking a dip.
4. Black Sands Beach: Lost Coast, California
This beach, located in Northern California’s Humboldt County, is different from all other black-sand beaches in that its sand was created from eroded shale cliffs rather than cooled molten lava. Redwoods offer a picturesque backdrop for both the beginner and the more experienced surfers who populate the well-known lineup.
5. Playa Jardín: Tenerife, Canary Islands
This area was actually landscaped in the 1990s by a high-profile Canarian artist, who lined pathways to the shore with various gardens replete with local plants in order to create a visual contrast to the moody volcanic sand. It’s divided into three sections—Castillo Beach, Charcón Beach, and the less crowded Punta Brava Beach—which are swimmable only on days when the current is not too strong, though, surfing is a must.
6. Pepenoo Beach: near Papeete, Tahiti
If you’re looking for a true black-sand surf spot, this small village has your name on it. Know though that it’s not off the radar for wave finders. The lineup can get crowded with locals, though weekdays are generally quieter than weekends.
7. Jökulsárlón, Iceland
This is Iceland’s most-popular filming spot—scenes from Batman Begins, Die Another Day, and other movies were shot here—and for good reason. The ice lagoon’s black-sand beach is punctuated with bits of glacier, giving it an extraterrestrial vibe. And you could go back ever year and take in a new view, sadly, because climate change continues to grow the lake as it shrinks the glacier.
8. Lovina Beach: Kalibubuk, Bali
This beach is located in the Northern part of Bali and offers more low-key vibes than its southern counterparts (e.g. Seminyak). Along with its stunning black sand, it’s also known as an ideal spot for dolphin watching.
9. Miho no Matsubara: Shizuoka, Japan
The tens of thousands of pine trees which populate this black-sand shoreline are included on the World Heritage List as part of the Fujisan Cultural Site (partly because of how it’s inspired many an artist and poet and others as a pilgrimage spot). The beach itself is famous for its views of Mt. Fuji. En route to its volcanic sands, visit the Miho temple, then take God’s Road to the Hagoromo no Matsu, a revered, 200-year-old pine tree.
10. Karekare Beach: Karekare, New Zealand
Scenes from the film The Piano where shot on this black-sand beach, which is a popular summer spot for nearby Auckland residents. Swimming is advised only when patrols or lifeguards are on duty, though surfers are known to brave its waves.
11. Perissa Beach: Santorini, Greece
Though you may think mainly of the colors white and blue when you imagine Santorini—due to its famous, picturesque cliffside settlements awash in those hues—many of the beaches in this coastal Greek town are actually composed of black (and even red) sand. Perissa is a great option for those who wish to enjoy a lively atmosphere and close proximity to a village (read: cocktails), as well as to the ancient ruins of Messa Vuna.
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