HAWAII BEACH GUIDE
The Big Island has excellent beaches for sunning, snorkeling, surfing, boogie boarding, and swimming as well as some truly unique beaches formed by its volcanos.
Because the island is relatively young, many of its beaches are rocky but you'll find great white, black and even green sand beaches as well.
All beahes in Hawaii are public and it is usually easy to find access paths to the most popular ones.
Kahalu'u Beach Park is right down the hill from our condo and is a great place to spend a day and excellent for families. Its shallow waters are great for kids and you'll see lots of turtle, fish,
and other things to see. It's like swimming in an aquarium. Honaunau Place of Refuge, has a palace, fishpond, private canoe landing, and three heiaus, and is ideal for snoprkeling and shore diving. Spencer Beach Park, Anaehoomalu Bay, lined by tranquil palm trees, and pristine Kikaua Point Beach
are also great choices for a family day of rest and relaxation.
Two popular surf spots, Banyans and Lymans, are about 2 miles from the condo along Alii Drive. And Kahaluu Beach Park described above is a great place to learn. You'll often find
surf schools set up there.
Black Sand Beach
Punalu'u Beach Park is the most famous black sand beach on the island. Black sand beaches also have black crabs and part of the fun is being
able to spot them scampering over black boulders among the tide pools.
Honu, protected Hawaiian sea turtles, can be found here resting in the sun. Respect their peace and watch them from a distance. Also look for them diving and
playing in the surf just off shore.
Green Sand Beach
The most amazing beach of all is found on the island near South Point. A relatively easy four mile round trip trek on foot or by sturdy jeep,
Papakolea green sand beach is one of only two green sand beaches in the world and every minute spent getting to it is worth the trip.
The beach is located in a bay circled by Pu'u Mahana, a cinder cone formed over 49,000 years ago and associated with the southwest rift of Mauna Loa.
Since its last eruption over 10,000 years ago, the cinder cone has partially collapsed and been eroded by the ocean.
The cinder cone is rich in green olivine, also known as "Hawaiian Diamond." Olivine is a common mineral component of Hawaiian lavas and one of the first crystals to form
as magma cools. It is denser than the rest of the rocks and lava flows, so it accumulates on the beach much like gold dust accumulates in a miner's pan.
Papakolea beach sparkles in the sun like a field of green diamonds.
The Ka`u region where the green sand beach is located has been very active geologically.
The geologic history of the site can be seen in the rock surrounding the beach and bay, which have not been eroded.
Layers formed by previous lava flows and volcanic events are clearly visible.
Current erosion patterns are also visible because only the part at the bottom of the cinder cone collapse has been subjected
to the waves and turned into green sand. The remaining cliff above the water line appears a volcanic gray.