Where Is The Black Sand Beach In Hawaii? 7 Best Beaches On The Big Island

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Hawaii is a state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, and the only state in the tropics. It is also known as a “paradise on Earth” and is a popular tourist destination due to its many beautiful pink sand – black sand beaches Hawaii. However, many people are curious about the location of Hawaii’s black sand beach. Here is some information you should know before going to a black sand beach Hawaii, as well as where to go.

Read more: The Top 45+ Best And Popular Hawaii Restaurants To Eat In That You Must Try

On which Hawaiian island can you see black sand beaches?

You may wonder where is black sand beach in Hawaii? In the main Hawaiian Islands, there are two strong contenders which have black sand Hawaii beaches: Maui and the Big Island.

Though some options are a little more difficult to get to, many of the beaches on this list are very easy to get to. If seeing a black sand beach is your top priority, the Big Island should be your first stop.

Hawaii black sand beach in Maui may not have as many, but it does have one truly exceptional black sand beach in Hawaii for you to enjoy. Aside from this well-known tourist beach, there are other options that are less popular but still stunning. You could think of them as dark to light gray rather than black. They are all still uncommon in Hawaii.

So, if you’re debating whether to visit Maui or Big Island, you can’t go wrong with either! Both of these tropical destinations have at least one black sand beach where you can walk around and enjoy the scenery.

Depending on your definition of a black beach, Kauai could be another island with a black sand beach. It all depends on how dark the sand must be to be considered black.

Oahu does not have any black sand beaches, but there are some desirable locations if you are only interested in seeing the island’s blue coasts.

Why are there black sand beaches in Hawaii?

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Volcano activity and lava flows are responsible for Hawaii’s black sand beaches.

This could also explain why the Big Island is the best Hawaiian island to visit if you want to see black sand beaches. The most recent volcanic activity has occurred on the Big Island! It is also the only island with several active volcanoes, and the Big Island is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Maui has one volcano, which is located in Haleakala National Park.

If you’re going to Hawaii for the volcanoes, make sure to check out the list of places to see old lava flows in Hawaii!

For another adventure: 15 Best Kihei Beaches You Must Visit Today!

7 Best black sand beaches on the Big Island in Hawaii

After knowing the basic information of black sand beach big island Hawaii, Let’s move on to 7 top-rated black sand Hawaii beaches. 

Punalu’u black sand beach

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Turtle on Punalu’u Beaches

This is probably the most well-known Hawaii black sand beach on the Big Island.

Punalu’u Beach is well-known for more than just its black sand.

It’s also a good place to go if you want to see sea turtles while on the Big Island!

Although turtles can be found swimming in the ocean at times, there is one spot near the lifeguard tower in particular that is a frequent turtle resting spot on Punaluu black sand beach that can give you the best chance of seeing turtles when visiting the Big Island!

Because this is a beach park, there are a variety of beach amenities available, such as lifeguards and restrooms.

If you drive from Kona to the Volcanoes National Park area along the southern coast, you can make a quick stop at Punaluu black sand beach.

This is a beach where you can relax and is also close to the United States’ southernmost point (South Point Park) and the green sand beach.

Further Reading: 15 Spots You Definitely Can Find Turtle Beach Maui

Pololu Valley black sand beach

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Pololu Valley is the most northerly of the Big Island’s valleys. These valleys have been carved inside the Kohala volcano, which is located near lush pastures in the Kohala region.

Take in the breathtaking views of the landscape and its stunning steep cliffs that end in the ocean. Aside from that, the main attraction is the hike to the valley floor’s black sand beach.

To be honest, the ocean at Pololu is not suitable for swimming. There are also many stones near the entryway, which cause abrasions on bare feet and make it difficult to enter the waters.

The presence of riptides, undertow, and high surf is almost always present. Only experienced swimmers should enter the water, and they should be careful not to go too deep.

Explore more: List Of 11 Best North Shore Beaches Oahu For Whole Family

Kaimu black sand beach

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Kaim Beach, located south of Pahoa in the Puna district of the Big Island, is a relatively new black sand beach Big Island Hawaii that was formed in 1990. There aren’t many beaches on Big Island with as rich and intriguing a history as Kaimu Beach.

The Kilauea volcano erupted in 1983, and lava gradually covered the original beach. It had reached the shoreline by 1990. The Kalapana community and other areas were buried by 70 feet of molten lava at the time.

The lava steadily flowed into the water over a few months, and new lands began to form as the lava covered the bay. The sculpting of new land is still a sight to behold nearly thirty years later.

This beach is not suitable for snorkeling or swimming. The ocean is usually dangerous because the waves and currents are too strong. Furthermore, there is no form of sun or wind protection. Kaimu, on the other hand, is a must-see for anyone interested in volcanoes!

To visit this beach, go to Kalapana and take a short walk on a trail that leads to the Puna coast. This journey should take about 10 minutes, and the trail is also covered in black sand!

There are also palm trees in the lava fields with views of the cliffs. This scenery is simply breathtaking.

Read more: The 14 Best Beaches In Oahu For An Exciting Summer

Waipi’o Valley Beach

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Waipi’o Valley is named after a river that runs through it and has a depth of six miles and a width of one mile. This beach is located on the Big Island’s northeastern coast.

Prepare to be awestruck by a stunning landscape that has a rich history as the former residence of numerous Hawaiian kings. Many sacred rituals were performed on this beach, and some locals still believe that the land has been blessed by the spirits of the kings.

This valley is densely forested, with beautiful waterfalls cascading down the valley walls. They run straight into the sea, along the velvety black sand.

It’s worth noting that the sand here isn’t as dark as it is on Punaluu Beach. It’s more of an ashy gray, but it’s still stunning.

If you don’t want to go down to the beach, Waipi’o Beach has a nice overlook where you can see it from a high point. The beach can only be reached on foot or by car.

To drive across the beach, you’ll need a 4×4. If you hike down to the beach, be prepared for a nearly 37 percent incline on the way back up the wall.

If you try to go into the water once you arrive, be cautious because Waipi’o Beach is not known for its friendly currents. The waves slam against the shore, and the rip currents are hazardous to swimmers. Aside from that, the view from the bottom is breathtaking.

It’s difficult to put into words how it feels to stand with black sand between your toes, salty water spraying your face, and miles and miles of horizon in front of you. The word “awesome” comes to mind! 

See also: 13 Most Beautiful Kona Beaches You Have To Go

Pohoiki Beach

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Pohoiki Black Sand Beach

Pohoiki Beach is located within the Isaac Hale Beach Park. This black sand beach was formed as a result of the 2018 Lower East Zone volcanic eruption, making it one of the newer beaches on the map.

Though the lava stopped short of the harbor, many aspects of the island were damaged, and it is no longer the same as it once was.

The boat ramp and the majority of the park were spared. Currently, a large amount of new black sand is constantly being deposited in the bay, resulting in the formation of a black sand beach.

There are many ocean thermal ponds and a recreational area here. It’s also a popular surfing spot for experienced surfers.

The beach is slightly sloping, and the sand is coarse. The sand, on the other hand, will become finer as the waves continue to grind down the lava fragments. Life has already begun to return to the ocean, and the beach is breathtaking to behold!

This beach was previously closed and inaccessible to visitors. It’s now very accessible, and all you have to do is walk from the parking lot to the beach. Once there, feel free to wander around and take in the atmosphere of this cool and relaxing area.

Kehena Beach

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Kehena is located on the Big Island’s eastern shore. Locals refer to it as Dolphin Beach because of the Spinner dolphins that can be found frolicking in the waters. After lava from an eruption flowed over the sea cliffs and eventually into the ocean, Kehena Beach was formed in 1955.

You can still see the rocky tip of the land, which is a result of the lava flow, if you’re on the beach’s east end. The black sand appeared as a result of this interaction.

Kehena Beach is considered a hidden gem because it can only be reached by trekking down a steep path off the main road. It will take some time to get down there, but it will be worthwhile. Be aware that strong waves crash at the intersection of the beach and the trail.

Make sure you go with at least one other person, as this journey may necessitate you jumping down and then pulling yourself back up when you return. The beach is lined with lovely Ironwood trees and Coconut palms for shade, which is nice to get a break from the sun.

If the water is calm enough, you can swim here. At certain times of the year, high surf takes over, causing undertows and rip currents. This black sand beach has a unique feature in that sea turtles frequent the area, and a Laguna is just behind the beach.

If you have the time, it’s a fantastic place to visit and hike the trail.

See continue: Top 10+ Best Beaches In Hawaii You Can’t Miss

Richardson Ocean Park

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Bring the kids along because there are tide pools, a nice clean picnic area, and eventide pools. Richardson Ocean Beach is one of many along South Hilo’s (Kalaniana’ole) coastline. The weather is usually clear and dryer than at other nearby beaches.

A marine conversation site can be found at Richardson’s. The ocean there is fed by freshwater reserves, which create numerous ponds at this and other beaches. Even though the spring water is slightly cooler, the ocean water is warm. In addition, the waters are shallow and nearly current-free.

As you stroll through this paradise, you’ll notice that the sand is composed of black lava and olivine crystals. The sand becomes black and green as a result of these rock combinations. The sand may appear brighter or darker depending on the time of day you visit.

While it is not a completely black sand beach, we thought it was worth including on the list. It does have some black sand, and it offers more activities than other beaches.

In case you have questions: Do I need a passport to go to Hawaii?


There are only a few black sand beaches in the world, which is a rare and beautiful sight. We can name you some of the places beside Big Island and Maui such as black sand beach Hawaii Oahu, Hana Hawaii black sand beach, black sand beach Kona Hawaii, etc. 

Don’t take any rocks or sand from the beaches, and don’t disturb the wildlife. These beaches are the remnants of a nearly destroyed land mass. As such, it is legally protected for preservation.

If you ever visit the Big Island or other popular Hawaiian islands, be sure to visit some of the black sand beach Hawaii on our list!