From California to the Caribbean, and Greece to South East Asia, many of the world’s most popular beach destinations have a pink sand beach to call their own.
Forget soft white sand or bright yellow beaches—it’s all about pretty in pink at the seaside these days, and there are plenty of places around the world where you can find sun, sea, and pastel pink-hued sands—which can get their color from rocks, coral, and more. We’ve picked the best pink sand beaches from across the globe to plan your next beach break around.
Pfeiffer Beach, California, USA
Just off California’s stunning Pacific Coast Highway, Pfeiffer Beach is tucked away from the main road at the end of Sycamore Canyon Road, an unmarked two-mile-long winding track. The pinky-purple color of the sand—the color comes from manganese garnet rocks—isn’t immediately obvious, but stroll out to where the ocean is lapping the shore to the north and you’ll find some interesting shades as the water flows in and out.
This part of the coast is beautifully craggy, with rocky outcrops just offshore, including the much-photographed Keyhole Rock where the last light of day shines through a natural arch come sunset. There’s a car park (a fee is charged) but no other facilities, so bring your own picnic if you want to stop for the day.
Don’t expect to have the sands to yourself on Bermuda’s most famous beach. Horseshoe Bay is an extremely popular spot for visitors and locals alike. Don’t let that put you off, though—it’s still a fantastic day out for both couples and families. Rocky outcrops in the azure ocean have small pools and caves to explore, and the beach trails along the rugged coastline make for spectacular walks.
There are plenty of facilities, including loungers and chairs for rent from Rum Bum Beach Bar and public restrooms and showers. Local minibuses and public buses stop here from all over the island, so it’s an easy do-it-yourself excursion, and there’s a free car park just behind the sands.
Pink Sands Beach, Harbor Island, Bahamas
On a thin peninsula at the northern end of the Bahamas, Pink Sands Beach is a strikingly beautiful 2.3-mile stretch of sand. The soft, fine grains get their colour from the shells of microscopic foraminifera that wash up with waves from the ocean. The result is a gorgeous pastel pink beach, soft under barefeet and superb for swimming.
The four-star beachfront Pink Sand Resort has unrivalled views out to the ocean from its rooms and excellent restaurants (expect locally caught seafood cooked with a European bent), and offers bicycle, kayak, and paddleboard rental. Just 10 minutes east on foot from the beach, Dunmore Town has plenty to entertain—stop in at Princess Street Gallery for local art and crafts, and don’t miss a meal at Famous Brian’s BBQ.
A quintessential Caribbean beach, Crane Beach in Barbados is backed by swaying coconut palms and looks out to the azure waters of the north Atlantic ocean. Rent a sunbed on its pink-hued sand (available from The Crane Hotel; free to staying guests) and listen as the waves gently land on the shore, or hire a boogie board get out into the surf. An informal beach bar under parasols on the sand sells cocktails in coconuts—it doesn’t get much better than this!
Elafonisi, Crete, Greece
One of the world’s most famous pink sand beaches, Elafonisi on the Greek island of Crete is a popular vacation hotspot from spring right through to fall thanks to the region’s balmy temperatures. Its pink-tinged sands are lapped by crystal-clear Mediterranean waters, and come low tide, a sandbar provides access to an island with a small chapel.
There are sunbeds to rent, as well as plenty of space for setting down your towel, and active types can get thrills with kite surfing lessons from Elafonisi Kite Club. There’s a handful of restaurants around the free car park and further up the road inland, though you’re better off bringing a picnic.
Great Santa Cruz Island, the Philippines
Just over a mile south of Zamboanga City, the uninhabited Great Santa Cruz Island has the only pink beach in the Philippines. Reachable on day tours from the mainland (book via the kiosk on the Paseo del Mar walk), it’s a beautiful escape from the city. Swimming isn’t recommended as the current can be very strong, but you can paddle and take plenty of pictures on the pink-tinged sand.
Visitor numbers are restricted, so arrive at the kiosk early, and note that all visitors are required to vacate the island by 2 p.m. in the interest of conservation.
Tangsi Beach, Lombok, Indonesia
Tucked away in the remote southeastern corner of Lombok, Tangsi Beach is a little-visited gem. Rent a scooter and ride out to the peninsula and you’ll be treated with glorious scenic views of rice paddies and rural life in Indonesia before reaching the pink-colored sands, which get their color from miniscule pieces of dead coral washing up on the shore.
There’s a casual restaurant, Lombok Rasa Waroeng Pantai Pink, among a cluster of corrugated iron huts on the western end of the beach serving local delights such as nasi goreng (fried rice) and satay ayam (chicken satay).
Komodo Island is best known for the prehistoric-looking dragons that roam its pristine wilderness areas, but it’s not all about reptiles here. The beautiful pink beach, which also gets its hue from fragments of dead coral, has excellent snorkelling opportunities, and you might spot manta rays or even sperm whales in the ocean.
Komodo Island is a national park, and can only be reached on tours from Flores or on multi-day boat trips from Lombok. Elsewhere on the island, there’s superb trekking and bird-watching—look out for the megapode bird, which builds huge ground nests and incubates its eggs in warm dung.