A look at 10 of the most unusual beaches around the world

Today once again with us is David with another one of his fantastic top tens. This time David is taking us on a trip around several of the most unique and unusual beaches of the world...

Sun loungers, beach balls and sandcastles aren't everyone's idea of fun and even if you enjoy spending some time lounging on the stereotypical beach, you're likely to find at least one of these unusual beaches intriguing.

Giant's Causeway - Bushmills, Northern Ireland - This UNESCO World Heritage site is said to have been created by a giant, Finn McCool, in order to allow him to walk across the sea and face his Scottish rival. Mythology aside, the huge interlocking basalt columns that have formed along Northern Ireland's coast in a stepping-stone formation make for a very unique experience and can be explored via the coastal paths or the purpose-built visitor centre.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the area, stop for lunch at the local caff and spot dolphins and basking sharks from the nearby cliffs. The beach attracts over 750,000 people annually and temperatures range from -6 to 27°C.
Red Beach - Santorini, Greece - With its lava cliffs and red sand, this beach, which was created from a series of volcanic eruptions, would be at home in any sci-fi film. The red landscape contrasts beautifully with the clear waters of the Aegean Sea and creates a unique cove for swimming and snorkelling. The beach is popular with visitors, attracting around half a million people every year, despite its remote location. Other attractions nearby include the ancient city of Akrotiri, Santorini Wine Museum and a waterpark. Average temperatures range from 12-27°C.
Maho Beach - St. Maarten - Situated right next to the busy airport on the popular Caribbean Island of St. Maarten, Maho Beach is not the place to go for some peace and quiet. On the contrary, it's developed quite a reputation with sun seekers who want to experience the thrill of jumbo jets passing so low overhead they could almost reach out and touch them.

Every thirty minutes, jets that are taking off or landing create winds of up to 100mph, adding a very unique twist to sunbathing in the Caribbean. The island has a number of other beaches to explore, a zip line adventure park, hiking trails and a popular shopping area, Front Street. Just over half a million people visit the area each year and average temperatures range from 24-27°C.
Glass Beach - Ft. Bragg, California - On hearing the history of Glass Beach, one would be forgiven for being reluctant to visit. Once used by residents as a dumping ground, decades of erosion turned the broken glass bottles and car lights into tiny, smooth, translucent pebbles of various colours and shapes, leaving the beach with the highest levels of sea glass in the world. Glass Beach now forms part of MacKerricher State Park and removing any of the glass pebbles is prohibited. The area is ideal for whale watching, hiking, fishing and cycling, with average temperatures ranging from 4 - 21°C.
Petroglyph Beach - Wrangell, Alaska - The tiny island of Wrangell in southeast Alaska is home to Petroglyph Beach, which features 40 rock carvings thought to have been etched out by the indigenous Tlingit people some 8,000 years ago. The carvings, which are visible at low tide, feature birds, fish and faces and the area became a State Park in 2000.

Visitors enjoy discussing the meaning behind the carvings and taking photographs, but are urged to tread carefully and with respect. Other attractions include wildlife tours, sea kayaking, fishing and Chief Shakes Tribal House. Average temperatures range from -2 to 18°C.
Hot Water Beach - Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand - At low tide, beachgoers bask in little geothermal pools that they have dug themselves and the scene looks more like a spa party than a day out at the seaside. Visitors take a shovel and dig a hole, which then fills with warm water until the tide comes in and clears away the pools.

This beach can get busy at the weekends, but you can have the place almost to yourself during the week. Annual visitor numbers are thought to be around 700,000 and nearby attractions include several wineries, galleries, guided walks and fishing charters. Temperatures vary between 8 and 24°C.
Jurassic Coast - Dorset and East Devon, England - As the name suggests, this 95 mile stretch of coastline is home to a large number of well-preserved dinosaur footprints and fossils. Additionally, there are striated rock faces, limestone arches and white chalk stacks to explore. The geology of the area depicts the last 185 million years and visitors often kayak from Studland Beach out to the nearby stacks. There's a visitor centre, several walking trails and a museum dedicated to the site, which attracts around 270,000 visitors annually. Average temperatures for the area range from 0-29°C.
Venice Beach - Sarasota, Florida - Affectionately known as 'Sharks' Teeth Capital of the World,' Venice Beach is literally covered in fossilised teeth that get washed up onto the shore each year as a reminder of the prevalence of sharks during the prehistoric era. Spend an hour or two combing the beach for small grey, brown or black triangles and you're almost guaranteed to go home with a small handful of fossils. The area is also home to several golf courses, an art gallery, theatre and street market and attracts over 760,000 visitors each year. Average temperatures range from 11-33°C.
Papakolea Beach - Big Island, Hawaii - Accessible only by four-wheel drive or a three mile hike on foot through lava fields, this remote beach boasts the best example of olivine mineral anywhere on Earth. Created by volcanic activity and rich in magnesium and iron, the deep green sand of Papakolea Beach is a unique sight and draws several thousand visitors each year. Other local attractions include Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Kea Observatory, a winery and Thurston Lava Tube. Average temperatures range from 21-30°C.
Prince William Sound - Alaska - With tidewater glaciers, black sand, blue ice and green hills, this beach on the Gulf of Alaska certainly has an otherworldly feel about it. Visitors can often see the reflections of the surrounding mountains in the pure waters and the bay is teeming with wildlife, including eagles, whales, seals and otters, making it popular with kayakers and photographers alike.

Boat tours are available and there are several other attractions nearby including a historic mining town and native Aleut villages. Around 100,000 visit the area each year and temperatures range between -5 to 16°C.
All of the above beaches are well worth a visit so if you’re planning a trip to any of these destinations in 2013 you should be sure to make time for a visit while on holiday.

As usual, a big thanks to David and also a big thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the photos!