I grew up thinking most sand was a light brownish color… except for the fake sand in stores for aquariums. As I’ve traveled and learned about different countries, I have found there are many colors of sand on different beaches around the world from pink to purple, green and what I find to be one of the most intriguing - black.
Why is the sand black? Black sand is made when lava from a volcano hits the water, explodes as it cools and fragments into tiny pieces. Black sand is usually hotter to walk on that other colors of sand.
I was fortunate to visit a black sand beach when I was in Hawaii. The Big Island is where you will find one of the most famous black sand beaches, Punalu’u Beach. It’s huge and easily accessible located between the towns of Pahala and Naalehu in Kau. It’s in a park so there’ are restrooms and outdoor shows. You might also want to pack a lunch to enjoy in one of the picnic areas. With a permit, you can also tent camp. Coconut palms on the perimeter of the beach provide shade.
Swimming is not recommended at Punalu’u Beach because of the large rocks and cold water. However, it’s a great place to find sea turtles since they often build their nests on black beaches. Sea turtles, which can weigh up to 400 lbs. as adults, are an endangered species so please observe and don’t touch. Panalu’s Beach Park is located less than 20 miles from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which should be on your list of things to do.
On the island of Maui, you will find the Waianapanapa (Glistening Waters) State Park which is also home to a beautiful black beach, Pailoa. You’ll want to plan on enjoying other activities in the park which covers 120 tropical acres and includes many unique opportunities including: lava tubes, blowholes, freshwater caves, and a natural stone arch. The park also allows tent and camper van camping with a permit and fees. There are also twelve cabins available for rent.
If you are like me when it starts to get cold and snowy, you dream of spending time on a warm beach. Have you thought about scheduling your Christmas vacation at the beach? Did you know that many beach communities schedule holiday activities for families, couples and singles? Some are in cold climates and some warm whichever you prefer! Here are three that are often on the top lists of places to visit for the holiday.
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is known as the nation's oldest city and appears on many lists as one of the best places to see holiday lights. Mid-November through early February you can enjoy the radiance of the "Nights of Lights" as more than 3 million tiny white lights adorn and illuminate the city's historic district. And, if you want to plan a special Christmas day meal many area attractions and restaurants are open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You will need to pack accordingly. The average high is 70 degrees and the average low is 50.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
If you like cooler weather you might want to spend Christmas in Gulf Shores, Alabama where the high in December is 67 degrees and the low is 47. For beautiful Christmas decoration and lighting you won't want to miss visiting Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Here you can stroll through the 65-acre garden estate that features over 15 scenes, 1000 set pieces and 3 million lights. You can also enjoy a nightly choral performance and tour the 15-room house, (over 10,000 square feet) decorated for the holidays. The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach should also be on your agenda. Here you can enjoy horse and Carriage rides , view the City of Orange Beach tree lighting, take photos with Santa, play miniature golf and of course there's plenty of shopping and dining. This is one place you'll never have a boring moment because Gulf Shores hosts over 40 holiday events.
West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach refers to the season as "Holiday in Paradise". One of the city's claims to fame is the world's only 35-foot-tall, 700-ton sand tree they call Sandi which is surrounded by additional themed sand sculptures and seasonal activities in Sandi Land. If you love music Clematis by Night is a free outdoor concert series. You can also plan to see the Aloha Islanders Holiday Spectacular on the Waterfront. The authentic Polynesian show features pulsating drums, hula dancers and Samoan fire knife dancers as you are taken through a journey of Polynesia. City Place, the downtown entertainment destination in West Palm Beach, becomes a winter wonderland with ice-skating and nightly snowfalls. You'll be able to enjoy beautiful weather where the highs in December are 77 and the low only 60.
You love the beach? Have you thought about decorating with a beach theme this Christmas? You can do this by incorporating beach colors like teal and sand or with beach colored or bright beach-themed ornaments and decor. Or you can find ornaments & decor that have Santa decked out, ready to go to the beach, or resting in a hammock after delivering all the Christmas toys! You can also go natural with sea shells, natural or painted, starfish and nautical rope or ribbons.
For me,. I have a tendency to collect beach-themed Christmas items on my travels. One place I enjoyed visiting was Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The nearest beach to Bronner's is about an hour away, near Bay City Michigan on Lake Huron.
If you search Bronner's website for "beach," you will find 45 beach-themed ornaments. They even have beach-themed lights: a pink flamingo, Dory, anchor, dolphin, lighthouse, seahorse and sea turtles and many others if you aren't going with a beach theme. They even have a 5-foot starfish garland. They are just one of many stores and websites that have beach-themed Christmas decorations and decor. You can find a beach tree-skirt, beach-themed wrapping paper or wrap your gifts in beach blues or sandy colored paper. Add starfish to your bows.
If you are entertaining you can also find beach themed Christmas napkin rings, name plates, napkins, serving bowls, utensils. You name it in todays internet world you can probably find it!
You can start small with a few items the first year or go all out so others feel like they are at the beach when they walk in your home. If you start small and like it, you can add a few items each year. Maybe catch the sales after the holiday to expand your collection. Ask for items beach related for gifts for you, for Christmas, your birthday or other holidays. Go for what will make you happy when you are in your house doing daily activities or enjoying the holiday season! What would make you feel like you are relaxing at the beach with no worries?
If you are crafter you can also get many ideas on Pinterest or by searching on Google. You can make your own ornaments, with shells, sand, driftwood, etc.. Many are very inexpensive to make. They would also make great gifts. Check out Prudent Penny Pincher's coastal Christmas decoration ideas.
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Christmas the season of giving. We all want to give our friends and family something they will enjoy and use. If you have a beach lover on your list here's a few ideas of items I would enjoy receiving and think they might too.
Get them something they can use at the beach!
Get them something with a beach theme they can use everyday even when they aren't at the beach.
And best of all is every time they see the item or use it they will think of you!!!
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Do you love the Beach? I do and I want to share the joy that it brings to my life. Join me as I research and share info on beaches throughout the world, beach clothing, décor and more.