Beaches mark the borders between sea and land, and as such have unique characteristics derived from both geological parents (no wonder everyone wants a beach home). These 10 amazing beaches showcase the best, the brightest and the most sublime sandy shores ever to rock your world!

1. Red Beach, Kaihalulu, Hawaii

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The Red Sand Beach of Kaihalulu can be found on the Hawaiian island of Maui, south of Hana Bay on the far side of Ka’uiki Hill. The beach is relatively narrow, a factor which combined with its isolation makes it popular with nude sunbathers.

2. Shell Beach, St. Barts

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Every beachcomber enjoys searching for exquisite, exotic seashells while walking along the shore, and one won’t have to walk far if they happen to be at Shell Beach, near Gustavia on the Caribbean island of St. Barts. A fortuitous combination of abundant marine life, strong currents and the odd hurricane has, over the centuries and millennia, driven countless seashells onto the sands of this eponymously named beach.

3. Hyams Beach, New South Wales, Australia

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Though many beaches sell themselves by advertising their pristine white sand, Hyams Beach in southern Australia takes the cake – with vanilla icing on top. Located 3 hours drive south of Sydney, the beach’s fine, soft, powdery white sands are recognized by none other than The Guinness Book of Records as having the whitest sand in the world. Those planning a trip should put both sunglasses and sunscreen atop their “to bring” list.

4. Papakolea Beach, Hawaii

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“Sea of blue, and beach of green…” Apologies to The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, but Hawaii’s Papakolea Beach would make even the bluest Meanie grin. This exquisite emerald beach can be found at South Point in the Ka’u district on Hawaii’s Big Island. Green sand beaches are exceedingly rare – the only other ones in the world can be found on the United States territory of Guam and in the Galapagos Islands.

5. Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK

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From time immemorial, fossils of extinct sea creatures dating back tens or even hundreds of millions of years have been eroding out onto the beaches of Dorset, England. One of the most famous sites is Lyme Regis where fossil ammonites – tentacled cephalopods that grew to astonishing sizes – literally litter the beach. The pyritized ammonite shell above lurks among grains of beach sand from the so-called “fossil beach” at Stonebarrow, Charmouth, Dorset in the United Kingdom.

6. Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii

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The deep black sands of Punalu’u Beach in Hawaii were created when hot erupting lava met cold ocean water, exploding into tiny bits. The name “Puna’lu” means “diving beach” in the native Hawaiian tongue; referring to the practice by ancestral Hawaiians of diving down to where freshwater springs poured into the ocean and filling up water jugs in times of drought on land.

7. Pink Sand Beaches, Bermuda and the Bahamas

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The Pink Sands Beach in Harbour Island, The Bahamas is one of the most beautiful pink sand beaches in the world. Part of the allure is due to the pleasing combination of pastel pink sand and the shallow Caribbean water that provides a contrasting turquoise shade. The pink tint is derived from several sources, including finely ground coral and microscopic red plankton blending with white quartz and limestone sand.