Even in their simplest forms, beaches are spectacular places. Some, however, claim an even more magical level of excellence thanks to peculiar properties boasted by their sands.
Singing beaches—also known as barking or whistling sand beaches—are, put simply, beaches whose sands emit sounds. These natural wonders are found all across the globe except for Antarctica and have three properties in common: they contain silica, are at a certain level of humidity, and are made up of grains that are between .1 and .55 mm in diameter. In order for the squeals to be heard, visitors must simply walk across the sand.
Here are seven singing beaches all over the world that are worth traveling for.
Basin Head, Prince Edward Island, Canada
One of the most renowned beach spots in Canada, the squeaking sound that the ground makes when walked across is usually muffled by the screams of folks partaking in the local favorite activity “bridge jump into the run.” Beach goers jump off the Basin Head bridge here and then head to the nearby gift shop to mark their moment with a “Done the Run” T-shirt.
Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts
Likely the best-known location to witness the phenomenon within the United States, the half-mile-wide destination in the North Shore of Massachusetts is almost perennially crowded so we do suggest heading here pretty early. Keep in mind that the parking lot is also relatively small. Once here, the most efficient way to hear the sounds is to head to the dried portion of the beach, which is found above normal high-tide lines.
Isle of Eigg, Scotland
After marveling at the exciting natural wonder, take some time to take in the sheer variety of additional astounding geological and historical attractions that make this Scottish island unique. Among them: the largest sgurr (a pitchstone ridge, which is a dull glassy volcanic rock formed by quickly-drying felsic lava) of its kind in Europe, which you can climb. Also, walk along the white Atlantic beach on Laig Bay to admire the beautiful panorama that makes up Scotland’s west coast.
Lake Michigan Beach
Make the sand sing on this American beach but also head to the southwestern part of the state, by the Warren Dunes, to take in a similar phenomenon: singing sand dunes. Similar in composition to the beaches, the “booming” sounds these emit can be as loud as 105 decibels and can last for several minutes after the wind has swept through the area.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
Not only does the sand at this Australian destination squeak (and loudly at that) but its magical properties extend to its heat-retaining capacity: no matter how warm it gets (and it gets hot here), the sand doesn’t overheat. Also: although this is likely a myth, some area tourist guides claim that the local sand is so pure that it was once used to build the glass portion of the Hubble telescope.
The singing beaches in the British Isles are some of the most reported upon: back in 2006, an article in Sedimentology counted a total of 33 locations across the area boasting the properties, the absolute most within a single destination across the world.
Porthor, Aberdaron, United Kingdom
The nickname for this destination is “whistling sands,” and for obvious reasons: when walking across, beachgoers will literally hear the grains below their feet whistle. When here, partake in a variety of watersports or just sit back and admire the steep, grassy cliffs that surround the beautiful area—you’re on the British Llŷn Heritage Coast, after all.