Papakolea Green Sand Beach
South Point Road, Naalehu, Big Island, Hawaii
You know about white sand beaches, black sand beaches and maybe even salt and pepper beaches. But a green sand beach? Nope, it isn’t a whimsical invention of Dr. Seuss, there are actually two (and only two) green sand beaches in the entire world, and the Big Island is home to one of them. The half-circle shaped beach is actually the tip of Pu’u Mahana, an ancient cinder cone volcano, and the unusual hue is the result of a semi-precious mineral called olivine (which, obviously, gets its name from its olive-green tint) which the sea has battered into sand grains. The beach itself is a little-visited area, owing to the fact that a two-mile trek and cliff descent is required to get down to it. But those up to the task will, no doubt, be rewarded with a rare and wonderful sight.