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14 Best Pink Sand Beaches in the World

Written by Shandley McMurray
Nov 3, 2020

Beach lovers look for three main features in a holiday: sun, sand, and surf. Those hoping to push their sunny vacay into bucket list territory will choose a locale offering something rare and spectacular, like a pink sand beach.

A photographer’s dream, the contrast between rose-tinted strands and bright turquoise seas is breathtaking. These rare beauties, blushing due to the crushed coral and shells off their shores, also present travelers with spectacular places to swim, snorkel, and dive.

Luckily, you can find stunning pink sand beaches dotted across the globe — we’re talking Bermuda, Greece, Indonesia, and French Polynesia to name a few places. And each strand is worthy of a day-long visit so enjoyable, you’ll be tickled pink (sorry, we had to!).

Decide where to stop first with our list of the best pink sand beaches in the world.

1. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda

Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda

Horseshoe Bay Beach boasts the luxuriant turquoise water we dream about during winter. What this strand is most famous for, however, is its pastel-pink sand. Colored by crushed sea creatures and shells, this southern Bermuda beach is a photographer’s utopia.

One of the best beaches in Bermuda, this lovely strand attracts a ton of tourists (especially those arriving on cruise ships), so don’t expect tranquility. Arrive early to score a good spot during high season (May through October). Don’t worry! You’ll have fun regardless of the crowd.

Named after its shape, Horseshoe Bay is surrounded by limestone cliffs, reefs perfect for snorkeling, and coastline trails that lead to other area beaches. A lifeguard is on duty during high season, and there’s a concession stand to keep you satiated. Lounge chairs and water sports equipment are available for rent.

Accommodation: Best Hotels in Bermuda

2. Elafonissi Beach, Greece

Elafonissi Beach, Crete

A picturesque beach located on its own island in the southwest corner of the beautiful island of Crete, this is where you’ll find serenity — and the rose-pink sand you’ve been looking for. Speaking of sand, it’s actually a mix of pale pink and white, and it’s some of the softest footing you’ll find on beaches lining the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s easy to wade through the water from the mainland (especially at low tide) to reach this pretty marvel, which is one of the best beaches on Crete. The area is protected, which helps maintain its natural beauty.

Kids will love splashing about in the warm, crystal-clear blue water of the lagoons surrounding the shore. Beware, though, it can get quite windy.

3. Pink Sands Beach, The Bahamas

Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island

Pink Sands Beach blankets three miles of coast on quiet Harbour Island, which lies only a mile and a half north of Eleuthra. Thanks to crushed microscopic marine insects, known as foraminifera, and shells, the sand really is pink at this Bahamian paradise.

What makes this beach so popular (in addition to its rosy-hued sand) is the calm water lapping the shore. Thanks to a large reef just off the coast, the waves are small and the water shallow, making this a perfect spot for little ones to frolic and snorkelers to explore.

Don’t be surprised if you spot horseback riders trotting along the beach; they’re taking advantage of the cool sand (never hot enough to burn your feet) and picturesque views.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in The Bahamas

4. Pink Beach, Indonesia

Pink Beach on Komodo Island

The closer you get to the crystalline azure water, the pinker the sand becomes at the aptly named Pink Beach on Komodo Island in Indonesia. A breathtaking beauty, this beach is what dreams are made of. No wonder it’s become known as one of the best beaches in Indonesia.

Shells from foraminifera combine to create the magnificent blush sand, while lush, verdant trees and rugged mountains back the shore. It's set within the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site, Komodo National Park, and you may just spot a Komodo dragon or two peeking out from the surroundings.

Getting here isn’t easy, but many resorts and tourist companies offer boat excursions that will take you to this marvelous shore. Remember to pack water, a swimsuit, a towel, and snorkel gear — the reefs are amazing.

5. Crane Beach, Barbados

Crane Beach, Barbados

Crane Beach is one of the best beaches in Barbados. Once you see the stunning contrast between its pale pink sand, vibrant turquoise water, and lush coconut grove, you’ll understand why.

The best way to get here is through the plush hilltop retreat, the Crane Resort. You’ll have to descend 98 steps or ride in a glass elevator (yes, please). There’s also an entrance at the far end of the beach. Be prepared to cross a rocky path.

Guests of the resort are given free umbrellas and lounge chairs, which can be rented for a fee by others. One thing you can’t get on-site are boogie boards — a shame considering the awesome waves that make this a well-known boogie board destination. If you’re hoping to ride them anyway, BYOB — bring your own boogie board.

Accommodation: Best Resorts in Barbados

6. Pink Beaches of Barbuda

Pink Beach on Barbuda

The most romantic beaches in Barbuda are tinted a Valentine-rose. Famous 17 Mile Beach is particularly dreamy, offering couples a serene, often secluded spot to soak up the rays. Clear aqua water laps the blushing shore, which is tinged pale pink, especially near the spot where gentle waves crest the shore.

Barbuda has the bonus of being somewhat undiscovered by tourists, leaving its long, rosy beaches virtually untouched. This makes it the perfect destination for those who eschew high rises and booming nightlife in favor of a peaceful, more “real” beach experience.

Located just north of Antigua, this lovely little isle also boats an impressive variety of marine life to explore by snorkeling or scuba diving through the crystal-clear and calm Caribbean Sea (to the southwest) or slightly rougher Atlantic Ocean (to the east).

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Antigua

7. Tangsi Beach, Indonesia

Tangsi Beach

Indonesia is filled with some of the world’s most spectacular beaches. One of its less prominent, slightly secluded, and most beautiful strands is Tangsi Beach. This lovely pink gem is located in the southeastern tip of Lombok, a small island that lies beside Bali and boasts captivating views of Mount Rinjani.

Snorkeling is popular here, as coral reefs lie just off the blushing shores. Speaking of shores, the sand here is an eye-popping pink. Unlike other beaches on this list that may be brushed with a rosy hue, Tangsi Beach (a.k.a. Pink Beach by tourists) is undoubtedly colorful.

The water is calm, making it a perfect swim destination for those with kids. Unless you’re planning to visit during big holidays, you won’t have to fight crowds for a spot on the pastel sand. Insider’s tip: The best time for photos is early morning, when the colors are at their brightest.

8. Beaches of Great Santa Cruz Island, Philippines

Great Santa Cruz Island, Philippines

A beautiful slice of paradise lies just over two miles south of Zamboanga City in the Philippines. Pale pink sand rings the island of Great Santa Cruz, a protected marine reserve offering visitors a quiet and beautiful respite from its noisy neighbor.

The island is only reachable by a 15-minute boat ride from Zamboanga. You’ll have to arrange your trip at the local tourist office at least a day in advance, as only a certain number of visitors are allowed, and they can only be present between the hours of 8am and 2pm daily.

While most visit this island to enjoy the unique, sandy beaches, many partake in organized tours of the mangrove lagoon, which include up close encounters of some of the area’s most incredible wildlife. Swimming isn’t a popular activity due to the rough waters, especially during the afternoon.

Insider’s tip: You won’t find concessions on this lovely isle, so bring your own snacks, and be prepared to take garbage with you.

9. Pfeiffer Beach, California

Pfeiffer Beach at dusk

What’s better than a beach featuring rose-tinted sand? One that also boasts hues of purple and breathtaking rocky views. One of the most beautiful strands in California, Pfeiffer Beach sits within Pfeiffer State Park in the legendary Big Sur, surrounded by towering cliffs and massive climb-worthy boulders.

Keyhole Rock is one of the most photo-worthy sections of this off-the-beaten-path strand. Its arch, which has been worn away by years of pounding by saltwater waves, offers photographers a perfect subject, especially during sunset.

While swimming isn’t a great option (the waves are fierce and currents strong), there are plenty of other ways to keep occupied. Build a pink- and purple-tinted sandcastle, scramble around the giant rocks, or search for the natural caves peppered throughout the area.

Insider’s tip: The colorful sand, which is caused by manganese garnet deposits found in the nearby hills, is much darker in the wettest sections (i.e. near the spot where the waves crash upon the shore).

10. Playa de ses Illetes, Spain

Pink sand and clear water on Playa de ses Illetes

While Playa de Ses Illetes may look white from afar, you won’t need rose-colored glasses to see its pale pink tone up close. It is located on Formentera, one of the most pristine and tranquil of Spain’s beautiful Balearic Islands.

Those looking for a quiet beach vacation will be happy they chose this gorgeous spot over the busier (and much louder) beaches of Ibiza and Mallorca. This idyllic strand may be peaceful, but you can find plenty of glitz bobbing along the vibrant azure water just off the sand. Large luxury yachts love to putter around this area.

The beach is set within a conservation area, which helps to protect its perfect shore. It also boasts spots that rent water sports equipment and a few award-worthy restaurants serving fresh food you’ll want to savor.

Insider’s tip: These eateries come with hefty price tags, so you might want to pack food for the day instead.

11. Pink Beach, Bonaire

Sunset at Pink Beach in Bonaire

Another blushing beauty, Pink Beach lies on Bonaire, a small island in the Dutch part of the Caribbean. Featuring a narrow strip of sand flanked in part by waving palms, this strand is as pretty as a postcard thanks to the millions of crushed foraminifera shells that lend it their rosy hue.

Snorkeling and scuba diving are the activities of choice due to calm, clear water and vibrant reefs. A kaleidoscope of blues become lighter as they reach shore, making this a wonderful spot to come face to fin with sea creatures. Don’t miss the Bonaire National Marine Park, one of the Caribbean’s best dive spots.

Insider’s tip: Watch where you step! Stingrays like to mosey their way along the shallow, sandy bottom, which adds to the area’s allure.

12. Pink Beaches of Tikehau, French Polynesia

Kayak on a pink beach on Tikehau, French Polynesia

French Polynesia contains the stuff that dreams are made of: bright turquoise waters, towering palms, warm lagoons, and lusciously soft sandy beaches.

Beautiful Tikehau, a relatively round atoll (a.k.a. a coral islet that encircles a lagoon), is one of its best assets, especially if you’re looking for a pretty pink strand. This small atoll lies just over 200 miles northeast of Tahiti and features multiple tiny beaches boasting rosy white sand.

Swimming and snorkeling are the most popular activities due to the area’s 15-mile wide, 100-foot-deep lagoon teeming with fish and other underwater creatures. The lagoon is ringed by coral, which attracts marine life and causes the pink hues on land.

Insider’s tip: For the best diving, head to the Tuheiava Pass on the isle’s west coast.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Tahiti

13. Balos Lagoon Beach, Greece

Balos Lagoon Beach

It’s easy to see why Balos Lagoon Beach is deemed one of the best beaches on Crete. Its two main features include sugar white (and slightly pink) sand so soft, it pillows your feet and a sea so vividly green and blue, it begs to be photographed. No wonder its image graces so many postcards.

The water in this lagoon is both warm and shallow, a double win for those traveling with kids. It’s also devoid of concession stands and buildings, which makes for a more natural and rustic beach experience. Hoping to snorkel? No problem. The water gets deeper once you’ve passed the rocks.

Getting to Balos Lagoon Beach will take a bit of planning. Members of the elite can arrive by private yacht while those of us with a bit less to spend can grab a ferry from the port in Kissamos. Visitors can also drive but will have to walk for 25 minutes before arriving at the sand.

14. Kaihalulu Beach, Maui

Kaihalulu Beach, Maui

While not technically pink, the red sand on Kaihalulu beach is more than worthy of a visit for those looking for interesting and colorful beaches. Your Instagram page will thank you for adding pics of this phenomenal beauty.

Located near the popular Hana Bay, this lovely spot is one of the best beaches in Maui. Lined by towering, rocky red cliffs on one side and sparkling azure waves on the other, it’s easy to see why so many vacationers make the trip to this Hawaiian strand.

Kaihalulu Beach isn’t easy to reach, you’ll have to hike down a steep trail off the Hana Highway that’s often slippery and filled with crumbling rocks.

Insider’s tip: If you plan to spend a day here, wear comfy shoes and pack a thick towel as well as food and water. The famous sand, red because of the crushed lava from which it is made, is coarse and riddled with pebbles.

The water close to shore in this cove is calm and protected by a reef that lies just offshore.

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