Beaches usually mean sand, but not always. There are beaches made of sea shells, broken glasses pounded smooth by the surf and pebbles. While stray pebbles on the beach are common, a beach made entirely out of pebbles are few and far between. But they aren’t exactly rare (some websites claim there are only five pebble beaches in the world, which is incorrect).
Chesil Beach, England
Chesil Beach is a 29 km-long pebble beach (also called shingle beach) located in Dorset, southern England. The size of pebbles varies from pea-sized at West Bay on the north-west end, to fist-sized near Portland at the south-east end. It is said that smugglers who landed on the beach in the middle of the night could judge exactly where they were by the size of the shingles. A variety of rocks can be found here including flint, quartzite, granite, magnetite, pumice and others.
Large chert and flint shingle near the Portland (southern) entrance to beach. Photo credit
Towards the northern end, the shingle becomes much smaller. Photo credit
Schoolhouse Beach, USA
Schoolhouse Beach is located on Washington Island in Wisconsin, in the U.S. The beach got its name from a wooden schoolhouse that used to stand here. The small white limestone pebbles, polished by the action of glaciers thousands of years ago, are so precious that souvenir hunters used to carry them off until a ban was placed. Now anybody found removing pebbles from the beach are imposed a hefty fine.
Mabua Pebble Beach, Philippines
Mabua Pebble Beach is located about 30-minutes drive away from Surigao, a city located at the north-easternmost tip of Mindanao Island in the Philippines. The kilometer-long shoreline is composed entirely of pebbles of varying size – the ones near the water are smaller while the once farther the sea are palm-sized.
Valugan Boulder Beach, Philippines
Valugan Boulder Beach is just a short bike ride away from Basco, in Batanes, in Philippines. The beach is known for its smooth boulders that line the shoreline which stretches for miles. Unlike most pebble beaches, the pebbles on Valugan – aptly called boulders - are enormous in size. The boulders are said to have originated from Mt. Iraya, a nearby active volcano. The pounding waves of the sea slowly polished the rough andesite rocks into smooth boulders that you can see today.
White Pebble Beach, Philippines
Yet another pebble beach is located in Bagolatao, in the town of Minalabac, just 45 minutes away from Naga City, also in Philippines. This is a relatively unknown beach and therefore remains mostly uncrowded.
Jasper Beach, USA
Jasper Beach is located in Howard Cove, in Machiasport, in Maine. This 800-meter-long beach is piled high with rocks. The stones are large at the top of the beach, but by the time you reach the waters edge they are the size of fine gravel. The name is a misnomer though - there is no jasper on Jasper Beach, just rhyolite, a volcanic rock which, like jasper, is also dark red.
Birdlings Flat, New Zealand
Birdlings Flat is a settlement and a beach on the south side of Banks Peninsula, in Canterbury. A large number of Agates and colorful round pebbles are washed ashore here swept up by the northern travelling ocean currents from the rivers in mid and South Canterbury and beyond. For years Birdlings Flat has been a favourite haunt for rock and gem collectors.
Slapton Sands, England
Slapton Sands is a popular pebble beach in the village of Slapton in Devon, England. The pebbles stretch for 3 miles.
Pebble Beach at Nice, France
The pebble beach in Nice, in southern France, stretches for miles along the French coastline on the Mediterranean coast. Being a major tourist centre and a leading resort on the French Riviera, it’s a popular beach and remains pretty much crowded.
Black Pebble Beach, USA
This small pebble beach is located at Yaquina Head on the central Oregon coast. A stairway from the beach head leads down to the pebble beach filled with round black basalt stones. During low tide, when the sea goes out, the brilliantly colored marine world of sea anenomes, urchins, and mussels is exposed.
There are other pebble beaches in Broulee, New South Wales, Australia; one in Somerset, England; another one in Brighton, also England, to name a few.
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