Nature June 12, 2017
The Hawaii Beach That’s Unlike Any Other In The World
Hawaii beaches are truly second to none: with approximately 750 miles of stunning shoreline, you will find incredible beaches in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors – including Oahu’s famous Hanauma Bay, Maui’s beautiful Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, and Hawaii Island’s Papakolea Green Sand Beach. And while all of Hawaii’s beaches are truly incredible, there is one stunning stretch of jet black sand that stands out in a crowd.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Nestled on the shoreline between Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Naalehu town on the Big Island, Punalu’u is perhaps the world’s most famous black sand beach, and an absolute must-visit for anyone living on - or vacationing to - the Big Island.
Lined with a thick belt of coconut palm trees, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is located just 30 miles south of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the stunning Ka’u coast.
Punalu’u is the island’s largest black sand beach - and is a truly unforgettable sight to behold.
The shiny, black volcanic sand is a magnet for honu: visitors may fight themselves basking in the sun alongside Hawaiian green sea turtles - and maybe even an endangered hawksbill turtle, if you’re lucky.
Other natural attractions include anchialine ponds - coastal rock pools linked by natural plumbing to the nearshore waters - and a lush, spring-fed wetland located behind the beach.
This expansive black sand beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling when the conditions are right, and picnicking, coastal hiking, and even camping (with a permit, of course) when the ocean currents are too strong to hang out in the water.
Made from small, pitch-black fragments of lava that was created from lava flowing into the sea, the sand at Punalu’u can get quite hot when the sun is shining, and setting up camp below the shade of the coconut palms is always a good idea.
With striking black sand, towering coconut palms, and crashing blue waves, there is little more jaw-dropping than the stunning Punalu’u Beach. Visitors are sure to be overwhelmed by the beach’s serene beauty, and you won’t find another beach quite as special anywhere in the world.
Just a warning: please do not take any of the beach’s jet-black sand home with you. As enticing as it is, the sand here is finite, meaning it is not replenished by the fish like many white sand beaches, and Pele will almost certainly curse you.
Want to check out other incredible black sand beaches in Hawaii? You’ll love
Kauai’s Waimea Beach, and Hawaii Island’s Waipio Valley Beach.