Our Top Black Sand Beaches in Hawaii!

Hawaii is full of natural wonders. We’ve got craters and volcanoes, gorgeous marine and sea life, and of course miles of beautiful beaches. If you want to see something that you’ll never forget, check out these black sand beaches in Hawaii. And definitely have your cameras ready for this trip!


Punaluu Beach, Hawaii

The most notable and frequented black sand beach is located on the southeastern Kau coast of the Big Island. Punaluu Black Sand Beach is one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii, if not the world, due to its shimmering grains of sand and lava. To get to Punaluu, you’ll travel nine miles north of Na’alehu off of the Hawaii Belt Road, Highway 11. Located between Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the small town of Naalehu, Punaluu Black Sand Beach’s obsidian shores are an unforgettable sight. Coconut palms fringe the upper edge of sand and you’ll also come upon large sea turtles basking on the beach. Although swimming isn’t ideal since there’s no lifeguard, you can enjoy the scenery while sitting at their picnic area.

Wainapanapa State Park, Maui

If your Hawaii vacation includes island hopping to Maui, then check out one of the black sand beaches on the eastern side of the island in the Hana area. This gorgeous stretch of sand was created from lava that erupted from the now dormant Mt. Haleakala. This beach, which also allows camping, is great for snorkeling and swimming at times when the surf isn’t rough. There’s some Hawaiian legends here too! Wainapanapa Beach is known for a cave associated with King Ka’akea, who reportedly killed his wife Popu’alea when he found her hiding in the cave. Steer clear of any caves!


Awahua Beach, Molokai

If you find yourself on the remote north coast of Molokai, enjoy the stunning views at Awahua Beach. Here you’ll see the Wailau Stream that flows into the Pacific Ocean near Lapau Point forming one of the most picturesque black sand beaches. Located in Kalaupapa, this beach gets a lot of surf action, particularly during the winter months, but makes swimming quite dangerous. To get to the beach, you’ll need a guide as the trail down is long and steep. But it’s worth the trip since you’ll see sea cliffs that are among the tallest on the planet. If you’re not up for the hiking adventure, you can always view the beach from a cliff-side public lookout at the beginning of the trail.

Wherever you end up, make sure you have a camera handy to capture some of the unique views of these black sand beaches in Hawaii!

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