Hawaii is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the country — and perhaps even the world. With approximately 750 miles of coastline, the Hawaiian Islands are home to countless incredible beaches in a variety of captivating colors — including black. Stark black sand contrasting with the crystalline waters of the Pacific Ocean make these ten beaches positively magical. Let’s take a look, shall we?
1. Kehena Beach, Hawaii Island
The Hawaiian Islands are home to several gorgeous black sand beaches, including this picturesque stretch of sand. Sometimes known as Dolphin Beach, Kehena is also a known spinner dolphin hangout. The beach was formed during a 1955 lava flow and is one of the few places in Hawaii that allows nudity.
2. Waianapanapa State Park, Maui
With lush, verdant greenery, and black lava cliffs jutting into the crystal blue ocean, Waianapanapa State Park is easily one of the prettiest parks you’ll find in the Aloha State. And, of course, its main attraction is this breathtaking black sand beach.
3. Pololu Valley Beach, Hawaii Island
If you desire dramatic views of Hawaii Island’s northeastern coastline and impressive cliffs, head to Pololu Valley, Waipio Valley’s lesser-known — but still just as gorgeous — cousin. With a stunning black sand beach, horses grazing on the hillside and small islands offshore, Pololu Valley is one of Hawaii’s most stunning destinations.
4. Waimea Beach, Kauai
Kauai’s secluded Waimea Beach is, quite simply, the stuff dreams are made of. The rare black sand beach is located on Kauai’s relatively undeveloped western shore and will absolutely enchant you. This Kauai gem does not present conditions ideal for surfing or swimming, but as the island’s only black sand beach, we can’t sing its praises enough.
5. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Hawaii Island
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. Punalu’u is the island’s largest black sand beach — and is a truly unforgettable sight to behold.
6. Oneuli Beach, Maui
With stellar swimming and snorkeling, this Maui beach has it all. And, even better, it’s conveniently located within Makena State Park. You’ll find a thick blanket of thick black sand here, and appropriately, Oneuli translates to “dark sands” in Hawaiian.
7. Waipio Valley Beach, Hawaii Island
While this Big Island beach is often seen from above at the Waipio Valley lookout, you will need to hike 1.5 miles from the parking lot down to the beach, so you can bet that you’ll be mostly alone once you arrive. This spot is seriously stunning, and you’ll want to visit as often as you can.
8. Awahua Beach, Molokai
Located on Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula and backed by the world’s tallest sea cliffs, Awahua Beach is as remote as it is beautiful. Comprised of detrital sand which appears black, swimming here is not advised due to a steep dropoff and strong rip currents.
9. Shipman Beach, Hawaii Island
Located on Hawaii Island’s stunning and secluded Puna Coast, Ha’ena Beach, more commonly referred to as Shipman Beach, is a stunning stretch of black and white and so far off the beaten path that you’ll likely have the beach to yourself. You see, this unique beach is only accessible via the moderate 5-mile round trip Puna Trail. The mixture of fine black and white sand at this beach is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and definitely worthy of a visit.
10. New Kaimu Beach
The land that the beach encompasses and the area surrounding it simply didn’t exist thirty years ago. And let’s face it — it’s pretty incredible to walk on land that might be younger than you — especially since so much of the land and wilderness we experience is ancient in comparison. With jaw-dropping views of the Puna coastline, as well as a stunning volcanic landscape, it’s hard not to feel as though you are on the absolute edge of the world.
Black isn’t the only color sand you’ll find in Hawaii, though. One of the world’s only green sand beaches is found on the southwestern tip of Hawaii Island, and Maui’s Hana Highway is home to a striking red sand beach. Add both to your Hawaii beach bucket list.