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Hawaii’s Black Sand Beach | Punalu’u

The Big Island's famous jet black coast

Hawaii’s Black Sand Beach | Punalu’u

Hawaii’s Black Sand Beach | Punalu’u

August 4, 2014 // In Hawaii

This is the sexiest beach I’ve ever seen. A true gift from the fire goddess of Kīlauea. A shoreline of jet-black earth contrasts against white frothy waves. A small forest of coconut palms towers above. Giant sea turtles roll with the cobalt blue surf, splashing near charcoal tide pools blanketed with neon green moss. An adjacent jagged lava field hints at Punalu’u’s chaotic becoming.

Like so much of Hawaii, this slice of serenity was created from mayhem: hot lava once spilled into the cold seas, exploded into fragments, and was then  pulverized into a fine grain by the Pacific.

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach lies 30 miles south of Volcanoes National Park on The Big Island of Hawaii. It is the most famous & popular because of its accessibility, but don’t worry about crowds. Visitors are sparse, just like The Big Island’s local population. The lonely ride down Highway 11 feels like a safari – the landscape, wide and wild, as if Africa & Wyoming had a love child; very “un-Hawaiian” to a mainlander. Then, with a turn toward the coast, you’re suddenly back in an exotic & vibrant jungle.

 

Seeing that black sand shoreline was like experiencing a beach for the first time all over again. Things like that just don’t exist for most of us! Like an awestruck child, I found myself running out to the sand to test it. The midnight minerals felt soft & warm between my toes, just like “regular” sand. It was magical – like standing in the Negative of a photograph.

Sea Turtle Sanctuary! Punalu’u has become quite the hot spot for The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (Honu). This gentle endangered species can be found sunbathing in the sand, splashing in the surf, and poking around in the tide pools for a snack of red seaweed.

Where is the black sand beach? On the southeastern tip of The Big Island, Highway 11 between mile markers 55 & 56.

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