Punalu'u Black Sand beach
Punalu'u Black Sand beach
4.5
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Monday
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Tuesday
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Wednesday
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Thursday
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Friday
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Saturday
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Sunday
6:00 AM - 11:00 PM
About
This easily accessible beach lies between the towns of Pahala and Naalehu, and is a popular detour when visiting the Volcanoes National Park. It draws both locals and travelers to its shores for its gorgeous black sand—a result of underwater volcanic activity—and for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive and endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles. If you're lucky, you might spot these creatures resting on the warm, black sand. Hawaiian monk seals sometimes make a rare appearance, too. Tours of the Big Island often include a stop at this black sand beach, along with Akaka and Rainbow Falls. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • DOUG
    18 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Neat outing
    Fairly busy when we went there around 4, but not overcrowded. The black sand is interesting. No turtles were visible when we were there but there were several snorkelers that could see them around 50 feet out. I chose not to snorkel because the water was cold and jagged rocks are under the water. We bought a coconut from a local for $8 right from the tree. He cut it up for water and meat.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 6 June 2023
  • Melly Mel
    25 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Never seen anything like it
    Black sand! Amazing to see and stand right in it. The black sand is so beautiful. Hard to believe its all natural. The beach is just as breathtaking. We got to see one turtle resting on the sand. No one was in the water, but there is a lifeguard on duty. We asked him if there was a specific time of day when the turtles come ashore, with attitude he said he had "no clue". Okayyy Mitch Buchannon.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 26 July 2023
  • Edward
    Santa Rosa, California1,974 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Striking Looking Beach
    We stopped at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on our drive between Pu'uhonua O Honaunau and the Volcano House. It is very striking, scenic, and unusual. There appears to be some good swimming as well as rocky areas, but it gets crowded with tour buses stopping here and the groups getting out and walking around. There were two smaller buses there when we arrived and another arrived as we were leaving. There are restrooms and a parking area. We ourselves did not see any turtles but supposedly they are there. The beach is not very large and the sand is on the more coarse and rough side. It is interesting to see and perhaps would be nice for seeing the turtles, but as a beach for swimming and relaxing, it is not that great. I would recommend stopping here if you have the time, but not going out of the way for it, or expecting a great or relaxed beach/swimming experience.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 August 2023
  • County-Hunter
    Tacoma, Washington3,211 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Should have brought the bathing suit.
    We stopped here on our way to Hawaii Volcanoes NP. I thought it was just to grab some pics of the Black Sand and if lucky, maybe spot a turtle. Well, not turtles but there was a nice little area for swimming or snorkeling and there was even a lifeguard on duty. Unfortunately, we hadn't planned on swimming so we didn't have any swimwear. Oh well, next time. Parking was free and it wasn't very crowded. There were a few stands selling food and trinkets. A nice spot for an hour or two.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 6 September 2023
  • Southwest_Gaucho
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona1,126 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Black beach and green turtles.
    Stopped in on the southern way back from Hilo to Kona. Parked in the little dirt lot not knowing there is a larger lot just down the road. Not a huge beach but nice place to stop. We came in later in the day so the black sand wasn't hot and we were able to take sandals off. If you come when the sun is out though, wear something on your feet. The concession stand was closed and there were some guys climbing palm trees to get coconuts. Entertaining to watch. Found a few turtles on the beach which was nice to see. Worth a stop if in the area.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 3 October 2023
  • VncrCanada
    Vancouver, Canada232 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Scenic, and interesting!
    Beautiful, picturesque spot, a small jet black beach framed by gorgeous coconut palms, and a lagoon with water hyacinths planted by a local school to limit erosion. There was a small hand-made sign explaining that. We did not swim as the beach has a lot of rocks jutting into the water and strong currents. We came there as a half day trip from Volcano village specifically to see turtles. Apparently, there is no guarantee to see them as these turtles are not always on the beach, or else they are out in the water, not easy to spot.BUT we got lucky and saw two huge ones resting on the beach! They were as magnificent as I imagined, and larger than we were expecting, having never seen wild sea turtles before. The locals had ‘fenced’ a row of sharp black rocks around the area where the turtles come to rest. You could still get close enough for an excellent view and photos, without harassing or disturbing them. We were there around 9:30 AM when the beach wasn’t too busy, and everyone was being respectful to the turtles, phew! There is larger park at one end of the beach with washrooms, a covered picnic area, and lots of parking. We parked at a smaller, dirt parking lot nesr the lagoon where there were locals selling freshly picked coconuts for a high price $10 each, so we didn’t get one but cool to watch a guy slicing them open! There were some shacks down at the far end of the beach where locals were fishing. We also saw a school group camping near the larger parking lot. The place is a mix of public park at one end of the beach and local subsistence at the other end. We hung out for a long time at the picnic tables by the dirt parking lot. You could move those tables to keep them under the shade of the trees. Be careful of falling coconuts, there is a warning sign about that on one of the trees near the washrooms.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 November 2023
  • smhr
    Pickering, Canada277 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic beach. Turtles are there. Amazing views. A must do if you are in the Big Island
    This is a must do if you are in the Big Island. The sand was black. There were turtles basking on one side. What a serene and beautiful place There was a guy selling coconuts for $10 per coconut There is ample parking there. No entrance and no parking fees
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 November 2023
  • Monty D
    15 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Black Sand Beach
    This is a cool place, if for no other reason, of the black sand. As you can see from my pic, the sand is course and a lighter black, in color (see my pics). The beach itself was relatively flat and, on this day, had very low waves. In this area, there were some tidal basins. We enjoyed the slow-paced stroll of walking around the tidal basins looking at all of the small sea life. In the area where we parked, while it was close to the beach, there were only a few spaces. Also the snack stand was closed. So may want to plan accordingly.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 December 2023
  • NicoleAD119
    Lake Orion, Michigan4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Make the stop!
    I read a travel review or blog that told me to skip this beach. I had removed it from my itinerary but as I drove by my gut told me to stop. Man am I glad I did! I left the beach and my trip could have been over and I would have been ok. I knocked 2 bucket items off the list in one spot. I walked up and it was beautiful then I see a crowd and got to watch sea turtles come up on shore. One of the highlights of my trip! Make the stop!
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 16 December 2023
  • kevan j
    Norman, Oklahoma1,444 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A beautiful black sand beach.
    This beach is very beautiful and definitely has black sand. I definitely recommend stopping and checking it out. The beach is right near the highway, and the parking lots are right next to the beach, so you don't need to walk very far. And it was really cool to see the sea turtles sunning themselves on the beach and swimming among the waves. There are good bathrooms, a shower to rinse off the sand from your legs, and a lifeguard. The beach is not so good for swimming, but it seems pretty good for snorkeling. There's also a souvenir shop right there on the beach. Definitely worth a stop if you're driving around the far south part of the island.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 22 December 2023
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,807 reviews
Excellent
1,117
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529
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143
Poor
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Terrible
7

Manarola3
Austin, TX99 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Beautiful and in danger: this is a small lovely beach where endangered turtles eat and rest. It’s in danger bc of a proposal to develop the land adjacent. I hope it stays special and protected.
Written 9 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

froggie93
fl706 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We had to make a stop here to see this black sand beach.We stopped here on the way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There is a pavaillion and public restrooms. This beach is in a pretty remote area. There was a person selling fresh coconuts.
Written 24 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Global64776565112
3 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
The Beach was really nice. Even though it was pretty crowded. We even saw turtles. I would probably not go again but I still think it's a really nice beach.
Written 23 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Caitlin M
New York City, NY30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
One of the top beaches I’ve been to in the world—gentle waves, beautiful (soft) black sand, in a bay which has sea turtles, palms trees right up to the black sand. Pristine beach. Highly recommend you spend the day here. Parking is super easy.
Written 22 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

F A
7 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
The Black Sand will burn your feet. If you are a newbie to travelling in a tropical climate you would expect a warning sign that the beach can burn your feet. This is not the case. There are plenty of No Trespassing signs but no safety signs. There are people working there who say nothing, but like most of the Big Island Beaches, the beautiful facilities from the 50's and 60's are condemned and there has been no revival to replace structures or use DOT money to improve roads for park access adjacent to sea.
Written 20 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa J
Plant City, FL762 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
OMG absolutely stunning! I think this was my favorite location on Hawaii. Not much sand, mostly rock, and we did not see to many people swimming because of the rocks and waves. But the most exsiting thing is there were several sea turtles laying on the beach. There is a large parking lot with bathrooms that we did not use. The only negative is there is a bath house and homeless people have taken it over. And there was a food truck there at the time but we did not eat anything.
Written 19 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hal72
Olympia, WA653 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We always stop here on trips around the south end. Beautiful beach. We come primarily for the Green Turtles that are sleeping on the beach or feeding on the rocks close to shore. A reliable place to see them. We have never snorkeled here. Does not seem to be a great place for snarling as the bay is open to the ocean and there is quite a bit of surge. Nice picnic tables under the palms for a meal.
Written 17 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lynn E
Bullhead City, AZ3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
Don’t miss this beach. Be sure to get a shirt when you’re there. You can’t find them anywhere once you leave the island! Enjoy the turtles!
Written 12 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ACSquare
Seattle, WA555 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Beautiful ! The beach looks very serene ! The sand is completely black! A lot of parking is there just by the beach !
Must visit it feels like out of the world !
Written 22 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NJR
Anchorage, AK38 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Friends
My friend and I had quite the experience on a recent overnight camping trip at Punalu’u Black Sand Sand Beach. First off - we would never do it again. We arrived on a Friday evening around 4pm and the beach was packed. There were a couple sea turtles resting on the beach and the beach itself was pretty nice. They had a large stand with snacks and souvenirs set up. A couple lifeguards were present. People started leaving the beach around 5 and by the time we were setting up our camping gear at 6 everyone was gone except some drugged out homeless guy wandering the area with his belongings. Between the hours of 6 and 10 we saw a few sketchy characters walking around and were a little nervous to fall asleep here but we did anyways. Around 11pm we awoke to some horribly loud noise as if someone was unsuccessfully trying to start their car. There was yelling in the distance and dogs barking. Then we noticed that there was light outside our tents. I nervously unzipped the tent to take a look outside to then see that a truck parked on the hill above the campsite was on fire. (The next morning we walked up there and could see that this was obviously a place for people to come and engage in illicit activities.) Fire trucks and police officers arrived and an hour later we were able to go back to sleep. At 4:30AM we woke up once again to strong wind that was nearly pushing or tents over. That lasted for a couple hours when finally it was morning. We awoke to the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen and I’m still debating whether or not the chaos of the night was worth it just for that.
Written 11 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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PUNALU'U BLACK SAND BEACH: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Punalu'u Black Sand beach





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