Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park

5 stars from 20 reviews
Address Ninole Loop Rd, Pahala, HI 96777
Easy to reach. Genuine black sand beach. Has lifeguard and facilities.

• Facilities: Bathrooms • Facilities: Camping
• Facilities: Lifeguard • Facilities: Picnic Tables
• Facilities: Showers • Sand Type: Black
• Parking: Good / Plenty • Good For: Turtle Sightings

Full Description
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is probably the most famous black sand beach on the Big Island. Swimming here is not recommended unless the ocean is very calm. Even then you need to be careful not to go far out due to strong riptides. Snorkeling may be a challenge because the water is not that clear. Talk with the lifeguard if you plan to swim to get updated on current conditions.

Turtles can be seen swimming and warming themselves on the sand. As tempting as it might be never not touch the turtles! They do not have an immune system to protect them against human-transmitted bacteria. They are beautiful creatures and we would like them to be around forever.

There is a Hawaiian legend that says if you take home Lava Rock & Sand Souvenirs that you will be cursed by Pele - The Volcano Goddess. There is a cabinet filled with rocks and letters sent from people returning the cursed objects back to where they belong. So, you know, maybe just leave the rocks and sand here to be safe. Don't believe us? Read Lava Rock & Sand Souvenirs for more information.

In addition to the lifeguard, this beach has bathrooms, showers, picnic areas, and plenty of parking. The south end of the beach is more heavily used while the north end is often more empty. Camping is allowed with a permit.

This beach is worth seeing. Real black sand beaches, with actual black sand (not tiny pebbles), are rare. Even if you don't swim, this is not to be missed.

Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
An amazing beach to see and this one has real black sand. Honu (turtle) sightings are common here so it's worth coming just for that as well.
Dawn G
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 26
Likes Received: 0
Great little beach. Easy to get to. Ample parking. Nice restrooms to change in. There was a turtle sunning on the rocks when we were there. You can walk out on the lava rocks and it's really beautiful or just enjoy your time on the black sand. It has a nice, kid friendly beach area. There are picnic tables. It's the perfect place to have a picnic or spend a little time with the family.
Lisa F
Joined: Jan 2017
Reviews: 48
Likes Received: 13
What a beautiful place! On one side you have the beach with turtles swimming around and lots of locals and tourists interacting. Behind the beach is a beautiful marsh with palm trees and Lilly pads. There is even a lovely little bridge you can walk over to take pictures on or from. Yes, there are lots of people and even a stand to buy souvenirs, yet this is still a definite must see! The black sand is soft and just gorgeous as it contrasts with the turquoise ocean. The water is a little cooler and a bit more rough, but well worth wading into. We visit there every time we are on the island and just love it.
Sue E
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 27
Likes Received: 3
A must see, sea turtles galore!
Joanne Z
Joined: Jan 2017
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
We visited this beach 2 days ago. The waves came crashing in and the sand is soft and very black. It was very windy but we loved walking across the sand. As a bonus, we saw 5 full grown turtles sunbathing on the sand. It is a beautiful beach and easy to reach. There was a lifeguard on duty.
sabrina r
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 13
Likes Received: 0
This was a very unique beach. Black sand and turtles (Honu) just hanging out on the shore. Quite amazing. Be sure not to touch or bother the turtles...you can be fined. A must do on the Big Island and maybe on your way to Hawaii Volcanoes Park!
Laura W
Joined: Nov 2016
Reviews: 35
Likes Received: 1
Amazing spot to see! Snorkeling is excellent for strong swimmers, but always be aware of the surf forecasts and make sure it's safe to get in. Excellent spot to see sea turtles!
Joined: Sep 2016
Reviews: 13
Likes Received: 0
Very cool beach. There were sea turtles. Each sunning while we were there. Was incredible walking over the lava rocks and looking out at the ocean. The black sand was truly incredible.
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 237
Likes Received: 33
We have been to this beach. The sand is in fact black and feels different than regular sand. Some say it feels like powder. We tried to write our names in it however it did not work. I would love to go back here and try it again. Very beautiful place to see and a must see during your explorations of the Big Island!
laura m
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 21
Likes Received: 0
Beautiful black sand beach on the southern end of the island! Great opportunity to spot turtles on the beach. There are a number of tide pools to play in. There is a swimming beach, but the current is so strong it is not recommended unless a lifeguard is on duty. There is a small building on the south end with trinkets and t-shirts for sale in front of a beautiful lily pond. There is also a house for rent on the beach. A few people have set up stands to sell homemade ice cream bars and coconut water. There are semi-clean bathrooms and picnic tables as well as showers. Definitely, a place to stop if you are on this side of the island.
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