The BEST Hawaii Black Sand Beaches You MUST See!

Hawaii black sand beaches

Are you looking for the BEST black sand beaches in Hawaii? You’re in luck – I’ve got you covered in this blog post!

Traveling to the volcanic islands of Hawaii is a bucket list must, where the power of volcanic eruptions has sculpted landscapes of breathtaking beauty. Here, the erosion of volcanic rock and the solidification of molten lava have given birth to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, with lava rocks and lava fragments crafting a shoreline unlike any other.

This blog post explores Hawai’s incredible black sand beaches, where each grain of sand tells a story of fiery eruptions and the cooling touch of the ocean. These beautiful beaches, ranging from the gorgeous black sand beach adorned with palm trees to the genuine black sand beach hidden away like a precious secret, are havens for both relaxation and adventursafe.

These unique beaches are also a good place to encounter endangered species like the endangered hawksbill turtles, thriving amidst the coral reef and navigating the fresh water sources that dot the landscape. The presence of sea urchins and a rich diversity of marine life around the black rock formations further enriches the experience, offering different ways to appreciate the fragile beauty of our planet.

These fascinating beaches nod to the Hawaiian Islands’ resilience, offering visitors a chance to experience the serene and the sublime. Whether you’re drawn to the ecological wonders or the sheer beauty of these volcanic marvels, Hawaii’s black sand beaches await to mesmerize you in ways only nature can.

Let’s uncover the most popular black sand beaches, as well as the best hidden gems among Hawaii’s black sand beaches, each offering a blend of nature’s artistry, cultural depth, and sheer beauty that stands unparalleled!

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Hawaii’s Best Black Sand Beaches

Hawaii black sand beaches
Image Credit:

Punalu’u Beach

Big Island houses the most popular black sand beach in Hawaii, renowned for its striking juxtaposition of dark, volcanic sands against the serene blue of the Pacific. This is a genuine black sand beach that will leave you speechless with its uniqueness – and accessibility!

This beach, located just south of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park within the lush Puna District, is not only easily accessible but also equipped with facilities like ample parking and picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for a day out in nature.

It’s a haven for endangered wildlife; visitors are often treated to the sight of hawksbill and Hawaiian green sea turtles leisurely sunbathing on the beach, adding a touch of magic to the scenic landscape.

Just a stone’s throw from Punalu’u lies Ninole Cove, a hidden gem for snorkeling aficionados. A short walk from Punalu’u Beach leads to this serene bay, where sand channels offer smooth entry points for snorkelers into the clear waters.

Whether you’re gliding through the water exploring vibrant coral reefs or enjoying a picnic with a view, Punalu’u and its neighboring cove offer a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation amidst the stunning backdrop of Hawaii’s unique geological wonders.

Don’t Miss These Amazing Punalu’u Beach Tours!

Hawaii black sand beaches

Waipio Valley Black Sand Beach

Hidden at the culmination of Waipio Valley Road on the Big Island’s western flank, Waipio Valley Black Sand Beach invites explorers to discover its stunning beauty and historical depth.

This secluded treasure is reached either by navigating a precipitous road or embarking on a demanding trek, offering a journey not for the faint of heart but well worth the effort for the daring. Those who accept the challenge are rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas of the encircling cliffs and lush valleys that seem to embrace the beach in nature’s grand amphitheater.

The shoreline is also sprinkled with vibrant coral reefs, a testament to the rich marine biodiversity that thrives beneath the waves, inviting snorkelers and nature enthusiasts alike to marvel at this underwater spectacle.

Explore these amazing Big island tours:

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Average cost of living in Hawaii

Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Nestled along Maui’s famed Hana Coast in the United States lies the captivating Honokalani Black Sand Beach, a true marvel of nature’s handiwork. This beach stands out as one of Hawaii’s most breathtaking black sand beaches, drawing visitors into its spell with its ebony sands, artistically shaped lava formations, and towering sea cliffs.

Journeying along the picturesque Road to Hana leads you to this secluded paradise, where the lush greenery of the tropics and the soothing sounds of waves crashing onto the shore envelop you in a world of tranquility. At Honokalani, adventurers have the chance to wander along its untamed shores, be awed by the nearby coral reefs’ underwater beauty, and be captivated by the endless ocean views.

Offering a peaceful haven amidst nature’s grandeur, Honokalani Black Sand Beach beckons those eager to dive deep into the mesmerizing coastal landscapes that Hawaii proudly showcases.

Heading to Maui? You Might Like this Blog…

best places to stay in maui for couples

Best Places to Stay in Maui for Couples


Have you ever driven the Road to Hana on Maui? Check out these incredible Road to Hana tours on Maui!

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Hawaii black sand beaches

Waianapanapa State Park

Located n Maui’s eastern coast, amidst the scenic journey of the Road to Hana, lies Waianapanapa State Park, a jewel of Hawaii that boasts one of the most renowned black sand beaches in the archipelago. This beach is a marvel of nature, its dark sands a testament to the erosive power acting upon ancient lava flows and volcanic deposits over millennia. The contrast of the beach’s ebony sands against the backdrop of crystal-clear waters offers an awe-inspiring spectacle to all who visit.

Waianapanapa State Park invites exploration and adventure. Wander its verdant coastal trails, where the lush Hawaiian flora and the ocean’s breeze accompany you. Discover hidden freshwater caves, each with its own story and natural beauty. The park’s vibrant coral reefs and imposing sea stacks provide a glimpse into the rich marine biodiversity and geological history of the area.

For those seeking a moment of tranquility, the beach offers a perfect setting to unwind and soak in the panoramic views of the expansive Pacific Ocean. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a lover of marine life, or simply in search of a peaceful spot to contemplate the ocean’s vastness, Waianapanapa State Park and its iconic black sand beach present an unforgettable experience, capturing the essence of Hawaii’s natural wonders and the enduring allure of its landscapes.

A few Maui Tours I Highly Recommend:


Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Hawaii black sand beaches
Image Credit: Big Island Guide

Polulu Valley Beach

Located at the northern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island, Pololu Valley Beach is a testament to the awe-inspiring forces of nature, where volcanic activity has sculpted one of the most magnificent black sand beaches in the region.

This hidden gem is reached through a moderately easy hike that begins where Highway 270 comes to an end, inviting those with a sense of adventure to discover its secluded beauty.

Encircled by towering cliffs draped in shades of green and dense forests that whisper the tales of the earth’s primordial past, Pololu Valley Beach offers an idyllic setting for a variety of activities.

Whether you’re looking to dive into the cool, refreshing waters for a swim, snorkel among the vivid underwater landscapes, or simply bask in the tranquility that envelops this untouched paradise, this beach is a sanctuary for nature lovers and peace seekers alike.

Must-Do Experiences on Big Island:

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Hawaii black sand beaches
Image Credit:

Kaimu Beach

Kaimu Beach, set in the heart of Hawaii’s Puna District on the vast expanse of the Big Island, epitomizes the indomitable spirit and mesmerizing beauty inherent to this region.

In 1990, the ferocity of the Kilauea Volcano’s eruption laid waste to the area, engulfing it in lava. Yet, from this cataclysm, Kaimu Beach has risen anew, reborn through fresh lava flows that have sculpted an entirely new black sand coastline.

Kaimu Beach is a powerful reminder of nature’s capacity for destruction and renewal, making it an essential pilgrimage for those drawn to the stories and forces that shape our planet. Here, amidst the raw, untouched beauty, you can truly appreciate the resilience of Hawaii and the awe-inspiring processes that continue to mold its landscapes.

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Hawaii black sand beaches
Image Credit:

Pohoiki Black Sand Beach

Pohoiki Black Sand Beach, situated near the towns of Pahala on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a relatively new black sand beach added as an addition to the island’s collection of black sand beaches. It was born from the aftermath of the 2018 eruption of the Kilauea Volcano, a dramatic event that led to the creation of the beach through the natural processes of volcanic rock and lava fragment erosion.

In a short span of time, Pohoiki Beach has carved out a niche for itself as a favored spot among both locals and visitors. Its allure is not just in its origins but also in the rich offerings it presents: from the refreshing embrace of freshwater springs to the underwater spectacle of colorful fish darting among the rocks, there’s a slice of paradise for every beachgoer. The beach’s expansive sands invite a plethora of activities, making it a bustling yet serene getaway.

Looking for an amazing Hawaii vacation rental? You’ll love this blog:

hawaii luxury vacation

The Very Best Hawaii Luxury Vacation Rentals

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Hawaii black sand beaches

Kehena Beach

Tucked away on the east side of Hawaii’s Big Island, this lovely beach offers untouched beauty and secluded charm of the island’s unique black sand beaches.

Affectionately nicknamed Dolphin Beach, Kehena is renowned for the delightful presence of dolphins that are often seen playing in the nearshore waters, adding a whimsical touch to the already picturesque setting.

The beach’s clear waters are a spectacle of nature, inviting visitors to spot dolphins as they dance through the waves, creating unforgettable moments amidst the serene backdrop.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or someone in search of a quiet corner of paradise, Kehena Beach promises a slice of Hawaii’s natural elegance, untouched by the passage of time.

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Hawaii black sand beaches

Black Sand Beaches: Must-Do Activities for a Perfect Beach Day

Here are some of my suggestions on how to spend a perfect day enjoying Hawaii’s black sand beaches:

Early Morning Walk

Start your day with a tranquil morning walk along the beach to enjoy the serene beauty and catch the sunrise painting the sky in hues of pink and orange.

Swimming and Snorkeling

Take a refreshing swim in the clear waters, or snorkel to explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter a variety of marine life, from colorful fish to sea turtles.

Sand Sculpting

Embrace your creative side by sculpting the unique black sand into castles or figures. The distinctive color of the sand adds a unique touch to this classic beach activity.


Pack a picnic with local Hawaiian delicacies and enjoy a meal with a view. The striking contrast of the black sand and azure waters creates a perfect backdrop for a memorable beach picnic. Many of these beaches also have picnic tables for your convenience!

Beach Yoga or Meditation

Practice yoga or meditate on the beach to connect with nature and find inner peace amidst the sound of the waves and the majestic landscape.

Exploring Natural Wonders

Many black sand beaches are near fascinating geological formations like sea stacks, lava tubes, and freshwater caves. Exploring these natural wonders is a must-do activity. Remember to bring your water shoes!

Wildlife Watching

Keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including sea turtles basking on the shore and dolphins playing in the waves. Remember to respect wildlife and keep a safe distance.


Capture the breathtaking beauty of the black sand beaches, from the sparkling sands to the dramatic coastline, ensuring you have memories to cherish and share.

Cultural and Historical Exploration

Learn about the cultural and historical significance of the area. Many beaches are steeped in Hawaiian history and legends, offering a deeper understanding of the island’s heritage.

Sunset Relaxation

End your day by watching the sunset from the beach. The view of the sun dipping below the horizon against the backdrop of black sand is truly a sight to behold.

Travel Tip: Make sure to ALWAYS have a solid travel insurance provider in case the unforseen happens. I highly recommend Safetywing Travel Insurance!

Check out this awesome 7-day Hawaii Itinerary!

Hawaii 7 Day Itinerary

Best Hawaii 7-day Itinerary: One Week on Each Island

Jenn Explores - Travel Inspiration, Hiking, Outdoors, Adventure, Luxury

Final Thoughts about Hawaii Black Sand Beaches

Spanning from the untamed coastlines of the Big Island to the unspoiled sands of Maui, the black sand beaches of Hawaii are an incredible display of Hawaii’s volcanic heritage, offering a window into the raw, enduring beauty of these islands.

The allure of Hawaii’s black sand beaches lies in their stunning contrasts—where the jet-black grains of sand meet the azure embrace of the Pacific, creating scenes so captivating they linger in the heart long after the visit. Whether it’s the thrill of exploring rugged lava flow formations, the tranquility found in the gentle lull of waves on black sands, or the awe of witnessing the rich biodiversity that thrives in these unique ecosystems, the Hawaiian Islands beckon with the promise of unparalleled natural beauty.

These shores are invitations to adventurers and peace-seekers alike, promising an immersive experience into the natural wonders and serene landscapes that only Hawaii can offer.

Why wait to embark on this journey? The magic of Hawaii’s black sand beaches awaits, ready for you to discover the enchantment of Hawaii’s black sand beaches as you let the adventure begin!


JennExplores Signature Love Jenn


Other Hawaii Blogs You Might Like…

The BEST Snorkeling with Dolphins Tours in Hawaii

snorkeling with dolphins hawaii

The Best Scuba Diving in Waikiki (Oahu, Hawaii)

scuba diving waikiki

Hawaii 7 Day Itinerary

Best Hawaii 7-day Itinerary: One Week on Each Island

hawaii luxury vacation

The Very Best Hawaii Luxury Vacation Rentals

best places to stay in maui for couples

Best Places to Stay in Maui for Couples

Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu: Complete Guide

hawaii quotes for instagram

The BEST HAWAII Quotes for Your Instagram Captions

Average cost of living in Hawaii

Average Cost of Living in Hawaii – What to Expect

BEST Time for Whale Watching in Hawaii: Complete Guide


Hawaii black sand beaches

Disclaimer: This blog post may include affiliate links. At absolutely no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission for any purchase made through these links. Any commissions received are very much appreciated, as they help me to be able to continue posting travel blog content free of charge to my lovely readers. Of course, all recommendations are unbiased, and I will always only recommend products and services that I truly believe in. Thank you for your support!



The BEST Hawaii Black Sand Beaches You MUST See!

I’m Jenn, a photographer, travel writer, and content creator based out of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I’m glad you’re here – now let’s explore!

Learn More About Me

email Newsletter

Subscribe to my exclusive email list to receive giveaways, discounts, free travel guides, new blog posts & more!

Your privacy will always be respected; unsubscribe anytime.

    featured From The Blog

    Instagram feed