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Punalu’u Beach

Hawaii

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Black-Sand Beauty

One of the most popular and highly regarded black-sand beaches on Hawaii, Punalu’u Beach surprises visitors with its silky, ebony grains, its trove of coconut palms and its peaceful presence. This is not a beach for lounging in a rented chair and sipping a piña colada. This is awe-inspiring Hawaiian nature at its most humbling, and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this rare attribute.

Lucky visitors often report seeing sea turtles basking under the sun on the shores of Punalu’u Beach, but a word of warning: Don’t ever attempt to touch one of these endangered creatures. Signs tell visitors to stay at least 15 feet away from them, so leave them to relax on the beach just as you would.

Another big beach no-no: taking some of the black sand or rocks from the area. Not only is it forbidden, but legend has it that Pele, goddess of the volcano, will have her revenge if you desecrate her sacred spot. Better play it safe and simply take a photo as your keepsake.

Relax and Enjoy

Though swimming may look tempting, the rocky shoreline makes it risky, and freshwater flowing from underground can make the water very cold. Instead, set out some snacks and refreshments at one of the public picnic tables, or lay a blanket in the shade of a palm tree. There are restrooms here, so sit back, chill out and spend as much time as you like in this remote paradise.

Nature All Around

While you’re in the area, be sure to check out Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a display of volcanic activity that helped form the island chain, and experience its magnificence with a driving or hiking tour. For a bit to eat, stop by the nearby village of Naalehu and choose from several quaint cafes and restaurants.

Punalu’u Beach at a Glance

City:Hawaii (Big Island)

Country or State:Hawaii

Length of Beach:200 yards

Access:By car, by taxi

Best time to visit:September to November - great hotel and flight rates

High Season:December to April

Low Season:May to November

Facilities:

  • Snack shop
  • Lifeguards
  • Public restrooms

Beach Type:

  • Black sand
  • Secluded
  • Saltwater

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