Black Sand Beach

Alaska, U.S.A.

Starfish Rating of 3.5

Claim to Fame

Consistently rated one of the world’s top ten black sand beaches; in the midst of staggering natural beauty.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of Threat to Democracy
  • Where is it?60 miles (96.5 kilometers) east of Anchorage on the Gulf of Alaska (Pacific Ocean)
  • Coordinates: latitude» 60.8401°
    longitude» -146.88°
  • Water Type: saltwater
  • Climate: cold oceanic
  • Development: undeveloped
  • Length of Beach: 1m/1.6km
  • Type: black sand
Current Weather

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Even in the height of summer, this is not much of a beach for sunbathing or swimming; there is a lot more to do here than sit around or float in the sea! This beach is one of the natural gems in the world, enclosed in pristine Prince William Sound, dotted with small icebergs and 26 tidewater glaciers.

The Sound boasts 40 fjords and dozens of small bays, and wildlife in abundance. Free to roam, soar and swim as they wish, the mountain goats, bald eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, black bears and orcas pay little heed to human visitors. Tours of 4 or 6 hours can be had in kayaking expeditions, cruise boats and water taxis equipped with kayaks. The best way to experience the Sound and its bountiful natural treasures is to get out in the water and be among them. Just be.

The area tends to be marshy due to high rainfall levels, making for slushy saltwater in areas. Green hillsides preside over the pitch black, fine-sand beach, surrounded on three sides by cascading waterfalls and brisk blue glaciers. Talk about an ice show! No skates required!

Between May and September, you can kayak or hike around the Sound and camp on the beach. Nibble on local wild blueberries, and breathe the scent of wildflowers popping up in clusters amid the greenery in this cold rainforest atmosphere.

The Black Sand Beach makes for a relaxing stroll where beauty abounds, and there’s terrific beachcombing; watch for sand dollars and glass flasks that have washed in from the ocean. The Chugach Mountain Range encircles, and there is an eerie sense of being watched, but in the most amazing way. This is a cold spot, but who ever said that paradise was warm?

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