Hawaii March 07, 2017
You’ll Want To Add This Green Sand Beach To Your Hawaii Bucket List
Hawaii is home to 750 miles of stunning coastline – as well as beaches in a And while we love all of the incredible beaches found throughout the Hawaiian Islands – from variety of colors. Kauai’s black sand beach to Maui’s red sand beach, there is one beach that is entirely unique. According to National Geographic, Papakolea Green Sand Beach is not only one of the world’s few green sand beaches, but also one of the “ 21 Best Beaches In The World.”
A once-in-a-lifetime experience, the magnificent Papakolea Green Sand Beach is located on Hawaii Island’s southern shore, near Ka Lae, the southernmost point in the United States.
This green sand beach so unique that you will only find a few other spots with similar iconic green sand on the planet.
The green hue comes from tiny crystals called olivine, a mineral found in the rocks of the surrounding 49,000-year-old cinder cone, Pu’u Mahana.
In fact, Papakolea is located in what was once the Pu’u Mahana cinder cone; three sides of the cinder cone surround the beach, with the ocean coming in from what was once the eastern side of the cone.
Because olivine is denser than other minerals, it accumulates on the shoreline naturally, creating a vibrant green beach that looks like grass from far away.
The unique beach is only accessible via a 2.5 mile trail open only to pedestrians and four-wheel drive vehicles, and the dangerous offshore waters make it one of the best spots in Hawaii for shoreline fishing.
The hike is hot, dusty, and wind swept - so remember to bring sunscreen, a hat, plenty of water, and your beach gear. Just be careful if you choose to swim here, since the surf along the southern shore of Hawaii Island is notoriously strong.
While the secluded beach isn’t necessarily easy to get to, it is well worth the journey – where else are you able to leave your footprints in striking green sand? Absolutely nowhere.
You will not find any facilities at either the trailhead or the beach, and visitors are sure to feel as though they are some of the last people on earth.
While the sand is beautiful, please refrain from taking any home as a souvenir. Not only will you face the wrath of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, but it just isn’t good for the beach. The constant erosion of the beach releases more green sand, but eventually, once the olivine has been swept out to see, the beach will be as ordinary as any other.
To find Papakolea, take Highway 11 to South Point Road – located between mile markers 69 and 70. Drive down this road for eight miles, and take the left fork in the road towards “Green Sand Beach.” Park at the end of the road, and set off on foot along the coast.
Have you ever visited Papakolea? Share your photos and experiences with us on our Only In Hawaii Facebook page, as well as any other recommendations on Hawaii’s magnificent natural wonders that we should feature.