Hawaii Beach Sand Colors

A guide to all of Hawaii's most amazing beach sand colors.

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• General: Educational • General: Guide
• General: Kid Friendly

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We all know Hawaii is home to some of the world's most gorgeous beaches. But did you know that some of these beaches are really unique with sand colors you likely won't find anywhere else? From green sand to red sand and everything in between, here's a complete guide to all of Hawaii's most amazing beach sand colors.

First - A Warning


You may be tempted to scoop up some of the incredibly unique sand to take as a souvenir, but please don't. It's best to leave the sand where you found it, on the beach. Lava Rock & Sand Souvenirs has been well documented by many people over the years as causing nothing but trouble, which most attribute to the wrath of Pele - The Volcano Goddess. Didn't we all learn this from that old Brady Bunch episode anyhow?!

What about the sand you'll be picking out of your toes and butt crack for weeks after you leave the islands? Don't worry about it, we're sure that's just Pele's idea of the gift that keeps on giving. What if you didn't listen to us and now need to return sand to get some good karma back? Read Lava Rock & Sand Souvenirs which even lists addresses where you can mail Pele's stolen goods back to (no joke).

Hawaii's Black Sand Beaches


If there's a single type of beach that most Hawaii visitors consider to be special, it's the coveted black sand beach. Even the best photos don't do these beaches any justice. You have to see them in person but they're not all that common so you have to know where to go which is the island of Maui and Hawaii's Big Island.

On Maui, the main black sand beach is the popular Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach found on the east side of the island in the town of Hana. You'll take the infamous Road To Hana to get there which is part of the fun (see also: Hana, Hawaii Guide). If you're headed to the Big Island, you'll have the largest selection of black sand beaches in Hawaii. You can view all of the Big Island's black sand beaches here.

Hawaii's Green Sand Beaches


Few people are aware that these green sand beaches even exist. That's probably because there are only four in the entire world! If you're lucky enough to be headed for the Big Island you can even view one of those four beaches. Papakolea Green Sand Beach is made of the mineral Olivine, which is found in the eroding cinder cone that was created by an eruption of Mauna Loa in ancient times.

Getting to and from this beach isn't the easiest, nor is it for everyone. For those that are up for the adventure, you can learn how to get here by reading more at our Papakolea Green Sand Beach page.

Hawaii's Red Sand Beaches


If you're looking for some interesting beaches on the island of Maui then be sure to check out a red sand beach. While Maui does offer a few beaches that can sort of / kind of / almost be called red sand, there is one that stands out as truly red and that's Kaihalulu (Red Sand) Beach.

You'll find Kaihalulu (Red Sand) Beach on the east side of Maui in the town of Hana which you'll access via the Road To Hana so if you're headed here be sure to also stop at the other unique beach in the area which is Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach.

Hawaii's Glass Sand Beaches


While there are plenty of beaches in Hawaii where sea glass (also called beach glass) will wash up, there is only one beach where the entire sandy beach area is made up of sea glass and that's Glass Beach. Most would agree that this isn't the most desirable beach you can find on Kaua'i, but it's certainly unique and amazing to see in person.

It's also true that this beach isn't always made up of glass. No matter when you go you will see a lot of tiny bits of smooth and rounded sea glass. But the amount of glass here changes based on the time of year along with tides and storm patterns. When it's truly loaded the entire beach is literally filled with small glass beads. Go on a sunny day and it's a sight to see! We list directions to this one on our Glass Beach page.

Hawaii's Gold, Brown, & White Sand Beaches


Most of Hawaii's beaches are made up of more common sand colors that gradient between white, gold, and dark brown. For example, some of the beaches in the Wailea area of south Maui have very brown colored sands (that are also baby powder soft). Wailea Beach Park and Ulua Beach Park are great examples of this.


Hawaii also has several white sand beaches such as Kua Bay / Manini'owali Beach on the Big Island or Kailua Beach Park on O'ahu to name a few. Of course, our white sand beaches aren't usually quite the "brilliant white" you'll find in other places like Florida but there's still pretty white and bright. Of course, the more common Hawaiian beach sand color is that perfect, light golden brown that is so iconic of paradise.

Want to see all of Hawaii's beaches? We'll break them down by island:
Oahu Beaches
Maui Beaches
Kauai Beaches
Big Island Beaches
Lanai Beaches
Molokai Beaches
More Top Rated All Islands Places