MNN Galleries

8 spectacular beaches with unusually colored sand

Glass Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Photo: Eli Duke/Flickr

7 of 10

Glass Beach, Hawaii

Glass Beach, in the industrial area of Hanapepe on the island of Kauai, boasts an interesting example of the power of nature. This place is not just called Glass Beach because its sands look like glass.  The beach is covered with actual glass. The smoothed glass pebbles come from waste that was dumped into the sea by local factories decades ago. Much of the glass originally came from bottles, but there were even windows and car windshields thrown into the water here. Bend down and scoop up a handful of “sand” and you will see many different colors (brown, clear, blue, and red are the dominant hues).     

Over the course of about three decades, the ocean currents, underwater rocks, and tides ground down the glass to the smooth sand that now cover the beach. Because it is rather remote and because the rocks and current make swimming dangerous, Glass Beach only draws people because of its unique make-up. This is a favorite spot for beachcombers.