Beaches of my Favorite Big Island, Hawaii !

Did you know, depending on which area of the island you are, the color of the sand on Big Island beaches differs ?

White sand beaches consisting of crushed shells and corals are mainly located on the north end of the island
Black sand beaches , which evolve from ground lava, are located mostly on the southeast part of the island which is the most volcanically active part of the island.
Green sand beaches which are made from olivine crystals are rare. the only green sand beach on the Big Island is located at the southern most tip, Ka u.


Honokohau, White Sand Beach.

Honokohau beach, is now Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. You may swim in the Pacific Ocean, relax to the sounds of wild birds, watch ducks on the pond, and relish the scenery of Hualualai Mountain. There is no lifeguard. To get there, take route 19 north from Kailua-Kona for three miles and turn left on the access road to Honokohau Harbor. Then take the first right turn which should take you around to the dry dock area. Next continue to the end of the pavement and park anywhere along there. Look for the signs of a path between the large lava boulders. Once over the boulders continue on the path until you see the ocean. Then follow the shore to the right to get to the beach area.

Punaluu, Black Sand Beach

Punaluu is a good swimming beach, but watch for the current just outside the bay because it can be dangerous. There is a small curio shop there which sells post cards, shell leis, and other tourist goodies. The soothing massaging feeling of the lava granules under foot is an experience everyone should enjoy.

Kamoamoa, Black Sand Beach.

Kamoamoa is now history. A few years ago it was covered with a new lava flow. It was located in the most popular spot on the island, the Volcano National Park. The black lava granules, which covered the beach when caught by the sunlight, looked iridescent. I would like to take you on a virtual field trip to the park. So make yourself comfortable; we have plenty of time. Now, you're ready to go to the Virtual Field Trips web site, where you may find spectacular photos of the park.

Puu Mahana, Green Sand Beach.

Puu Mahana, Green Sand Beach, is located in the Kau' district. It is primarily located on the slopes of Mauna Loa, the world's largest and most massive active volcano on the southwestern part of the island. To get to this beach, one must either use a four wheel drive or hike six miles from South Point, Ka Lae, the southern most tip of the United States.

Volcanologist, Steve Mattox of University of North Dakota gives this explanation for such a spectacular one of a kind place.

"The beach formed by the erosion and concentration of olivine crystals derived from the surrounding cone. The volcanic cone is Puu Mahana and it is a tuff ring (a type of volcano formed by the interaction of magma and shallow groundwater). The cone is associated with the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa (although the cone is not right on the rift). Mauna Loa flow can contain abundant olivine crystals. As ocean waves crashed against the coast they wore away at the cone and made a small bay along the coast. The waves also removed the lighter grains of sand (made of volcanic ash) leaving the denser olivine crystals behind to form the beach. I do not know of another green sand beach. Olivine is common in basalt lava. A few crystals might be found in some andesite lava. It is never found in dacite and rhyolite lava."

For information about the Hawaii Islands, visit:


I hope you have enjoyed your visit.