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14 Awe-Inspiring Beaches That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once

14 Awe-Inspiring Beaches That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once

With the curtains finally drawing on summer, take a scroll through a list of both traditionally beautiful and more unorthodox beaches littered around the world. Whether you prefer sunsets, flour-like sand, or even below freezing temperatures, each paradise listed below has its own unusual characteristic that is worth a spot on your bucket list.

1. Bioluminescent Bay (a.k.a. Mosquito Bay) – Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico

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    Depending on the brightness of the moon, Bioluminescent Bay provides visitors with an enlightening experience. Hidden along the Caribbean coast and only 10 miles from Puerto Rico’s main island, this bay is home to micro-organisms (plankton known as dinoflagellates) that radiate a blue-green glow in the otherwise dark waters. Interested? Be sure to hurry, as the fragile eco-system has recently been experiencing a dimming of its main attraction, likely due to interference from tourists – enjoy it gently.

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      2. Playa del Amor (a.k.a. Hidden Beach), Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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        Shrouded in mystery, no one is certain if the unique structure of this covert paradise is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption or deliberate and experimental bombings by the Mexican government that occurred in the 1960’s. Visitors can kayak into the Hidden Beach, which is also accessible through an underground water tunnel that stretches all the way to the Pacific ocean. Photogenically magical, appearing as though it has come straight off of a National Geographic cover, it’s a definite must-see for adventure-goers.

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          3. Giant’s Causeway – Antrim, Northern Ireland

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            Not necessarily known for its tropical weather or powdery white sand, the Giant’s Causeway is famous for it’s unique and mysterious landscape. The hexagonal basalt columns have drawn inspiration from artists and provoked scientific debate for centuries. This beach is steeped in folklore; many claim that it had been carved out by giant Finn McCool eons ago. Although it had been likely formed by the result of intense volcanic activity, let your imagination guide you.

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              4. Hot Water Beach – Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

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                Within two hours of the low tide, the usually deserted Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand becomes a literal hotbed of tourist activity. Hot water gushes through the golden sands of the beach, allowing visitors to dig their own spa pool – no more inadvertent and awkward games of footsie. Underneath the beach lie two volcanic hot water springs that keep visitors toasty in the face of New Zealand’s cold oceanic winds.

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                  5. Hyams Beach – New South Wales, Australia

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                    On the southern shores of Jervis Bay lies Hyams Beach. Surrounded by clifftops and forests, Hyams stands out because of its extraordinary white sand. How white is it really? The sand covering Hyams Beach holds the Guinness World Record for the whitest sand in the world. Visitors to the record-breaking beach can enjoy surfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling (it’s the second most dive-worthy spot in Australia next to the Great Barrier Reef), and bragging rights to have visited a beach that really had the whitest sand on our planet.

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                      6. Pink Sands Beach – Harbour Island, Bahamas

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                        White sand too common for you? Try pink. Composed of coral, broken shells, bits of rock and calcium carbonate, the Pink Sand Beach of Harbour Island boasts a three-mile long stretch of the pinkest sand in the world. Microscopic shelled organisms called foraminifera inhabit the seafloors, washing up on shore to give the sand a pale pink hue. In additional to its unique setting, Pink Sands Beach offers up captivating sunsets and seasonally warm, clear waters.

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                          7. Jokulsarlon, Iceland

                          Jokulsarlon

                            Translating into “glacial river lagoon”, Jokulsarlon is a large glacial lake situated in southeast Iceland. Considered one of the greatest natural wonders of Iceland, the lagoon is often described as ‘other worldly’, as it is surrounded by luminous blue icebergs. Witness some of the most breath-taking (insert your own cold pun here) glaciers that reflect the glow of the rising or setting sun. Easily accessible from the town of Hofn, tour operators are frequently conducting snowmobile and jeep tours to visit the area. So scenic that it had been the setting for films such as Batman Begins, Die Another Day and Tomb Raider, Jokulsarlon and it’s millennium-old ice are worth a taste for the adventurous – seriously, they take you to taste 1000-year old ice.

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                              8. Gulpiyuri Beach – Llanes, Spain

                              Gulpiyuri

                                Roughly 40 meters in length, Gulpiyuri Beach is a flooded sinkhole, described as an inland beach and located a half-mile from the Cantabrian Sea. Interestingly, it is fully aligned with the tides of the Sea, as a series of underground tunnels carved out by salt water allow the water to flow freely back and forth, resulting in a fresh and diverse medley of wildlife and ever-changing experience.

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                                  9. Chandipur Beach – Odisha, India

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                                    Amidst the lush and beautiful vegetation that India has to offer, beyond the sand dunes visible from the oceanfront, there exists an interesting bay of water known as Chandipur Beach. Then, for parts of the day, it ceases to exist, as it disappears into the swells of the ocean. Twice a day, the sea water of Chandipur Beach recedes up to five kilometres. When the water recedes, visitors can explore the exposed underworld, even via a jeep ride on the ocean floor. Whereas other beaches wait for visitors to come to them, this beach proves the complete opposite.

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                                      10. Zlatni Rat Beach – Brac Island, Croatia

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                                        Reaching over a quarter of a mile into the ocean, the pebbly peninsula holds a very interesting characteristic. Supported by the changing direction and strength of the ocean currents, the peninsula frequently changes shape. Due to the fact that the beach consists of pebbles, and not sand, the waters surrounding it are crystal clear and perfect for divers. Much like the Chandipur Beach noted above, the peninsula can disappear completely if swallowed up by a high enough tide. Try not to fall asleep too close to the water.

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                                          11. Cable Beach, Broome, WA

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                                            No beach experience is complete without an unforgettable sunset – exactly what Cable Beach is famous for. Oftentimes described as ‘postcard perfect’ by first-time visitors, Cable Beach boasts the most attractive and photogenic view of the sun. Setting over the Indian Ocean rather than the Pacific, the sun often appears as a setting, orange-red globe lingering in the sky. Easily accessible and within walking distance from the town of Broome, the beach is a must-see for photographers or couples seeking that unforgettable sunset.

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                                              12. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, QLD

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                                                Australia is home to a number of postcard beaches, but Whitehaven proves to be the pinnacle on the long list, standing out as one of the most perfect beaches in the world. Powder-soft, white silica sand (an extremely high-purity of sand), contrasted with the vivid blue of the waters that cover the beach, Whitehaven can only be described as true perfection. Located on Whitsunday Island, it boasts five miles of immaculate shoreline, exposed to endless rays of sun and littered with lagoons and coves that provide an extraordinary experience.

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                                                  13. Panari Island – Okinawa, Japan

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                                                    It’s a sad reality that some of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world are exposed to an endless slew of tourists, creating a thirsty market and resulting in various measures of exploitation by the tourism industry. Panari Island, situated in Okinawa, has managed to elude these forces. The small, very isolated beaches of this island are only accessible through private tour companies, costing a pretty penny but well worth the experience. The untouched marine life and coral reef surrounding the island are comparable to that of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Rich in natural, untouched beauty, Panari Island contains the traditionally perfect white sand and clear blue waters but lacks the nuisance of shops, resorts and swarms of tourists, ensuring a rare and pure experience.

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                                                      14. ToSua Ocean Trench, Samoa

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                                                        While it may not fall under the traditional definition of a beach, ToSua Trench seems like something straight out of a movie. It is located in a small village known as Lotofaga, home to a medley of ocean blowholes and hidden beaches. Otherwise regarded as a swimming hole, it has been converted into a popular swimming attraction, equipped with a ladder for convenient entry into the 30 meter deep, crystal-clear blue water. One of the most unique swimming locations in the world, ToSua is surrounded by gorgeous gardens and lush vegetation, offering an attractive experience to adventure-seekers with an assortment of nearby must-see’s.

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                                                          Featured photo credit: Crashing Waves, Cabo/liezelzpineda via pixabay.com

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                                                          Michael Woronko

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                                                          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                                                          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                                                          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                                                          The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                                                          1. Understand Yourself Better

                                                          Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                                                          Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                                                          2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                                                          I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                                                          Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                                                          3. Become Aware of What Matters

                                                          As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                                                          You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                                                          4. Boost Creativity

                                                          The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                                                          When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                                                          You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                                                          5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                                                          A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                                                          Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                                                          6. Process Life Experiences

                                                          When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                                                          Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                                                          7. Stress Relief

                                                          In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                                                          Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                                                          8. Provide Direction

                                                          Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                                                          One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                                                          9. Solve Problems

                                                          Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                                                          Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                                                          When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                                                          10. Find Relief From Fighting

                                                          Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                                                          Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                                                          11. Find Meaning in Life

                                                          Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                                                          12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                                                          Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                                                          13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                                                          When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                                                          14. Let the Past Go

                                                          I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                                                          15. Allow Freedom

                                                          Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                                                          16. Enhance Your Career

                                                          Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                                                          Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                                                          17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                                                          All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                                                          18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                                                          No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                                                          We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                                                          Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                                                          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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