Maui Black Sand Beaches

Are There Black Sand Beaches On Maui?

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Does Maui have Black Sand Beaches?

The answer is yes, there are beautiful black sand beaches on Maui. The most famous black sand beach on Maui is Honokalani Beach, located in Wai’ānapanapa State Park. There are a few other black sand beaches on Maui as well, and we will explore them in this post.

What are black sand beaches and how are they formed

The black sand beaches found throughout Maui are a result of the island’s volcanic origins. Black sand beaches are a result of the volcanic eruptions that take place on the islands. The molten lava cools and solidifies as it comes into contact with the ocean water, creating black sand beaches.

Black Sand Beach MAui

What is the difference between a black sand beach and a white sand beach?

Most black “sand” beaches arent soft, powdery sand that you associate with beautiful beaches. Most of the black sand beaches aren’t sandy, but instead, are rocky. These rocks can range from pebbles to giant boulders.

Where are the black sand beaches on Maui

Map of Maui’s Black Sand Beaches

Trip map courtesy of Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

Honokalani (Wai’ānapanapa State Park Black Sand Beach)

Honokalani Beach at Paiola Bay is the most popular and best black sand beach on Maui. This Maui black sand beach is located in Wai’ānapanapa State Park at mile marker 32 on the famous Road to Hana.

This stunning beach sits in a small cove surrounded by lush greenery, sparkling turquoise waters, and jagged black volcanic rock. This unique park offers plenty of photo opportunities, especially when the light is right. The name Waianapanapa means “glistening water,” and visitors can see why this is an apt name for the park. The sand is black and glittery, and the ocean waters are a beautiful blue.

To access the beach, you will need to walk down a set of stairs. The beach is pebbles and you’ll definitely want shoes here.

You’ll need a reservation to visit the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park. The fee is $5 per person plus $10 to park. Reservations are time stamped and you must arrive and leave during your reservation time. If you plan to stay longer, you’ll need to secure additional reservations. The website to make reservations to visit this Road to Hana black sand beach is right here.

While you are here be sure and explore one of Maui’s lava tubes, see the blow hole, and caves, and explore the park.

Swimming is considered dangerous here due to strong rip currents and a sudden and extreme drop-off. There are no lifeguards on duty.

Although swimming is dangerous at Waianapanapa State Park, visitors can still enjoy plenty of activities. There is a trail that goes all the way to Hana town, and along this trail, visitors will find the Ohala Heiau ( an ancient temple that was a shrine to a fishing God) and the blowhole. The Waianapanapa State Park is also a great spot for bird-watching enthusiasts.

If you want to extend your stay here, there are twelve cabins available for rent at the park, and there are also picnic areas and restrooms.

Before you head out on the Road to Hana, be sure and download the GyPSy Audio Tour! This guide will tell you about all the stops you won’t want to miss on the Road to Hana! I recommend you use the tour that covers all of Maui, including the Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park. This tour added so much to our Maui vacation!

Honomanu Bay Beach

Honomanu Bay Beach is also located along the Road To Hana. You’ll find this Maui black sand beach just off mile marker 14.

Honomanu Beach is a local favorite, and tourists are generally aren’t readily accepted here. The water is dangerous, and the beach isn’t great for sunbathing or hanging out. You can see locals surfing here quite frequently.

Our suggestion is to see this black sand beach from above and save your time and energy for better black sand beaches. You can check out Honomanu Bay Beach from pullouts along Hana Highway between mile markers 12 and 13.

One’uli Beach

One’uli Beach is a black sand beach in South Maui. Whereas Honokalani Beach is pebbles, One’uli Beach is sand and crushed lava fragments and shells. Its been described as a “salt and pepper” beach because there is some white sand mixed in with the black sand.

One’uli Beach is a great place to kayak and snorkel. There is a layer of lava rock when you enter the water. There is also a great coral reef off the shores of One’uli Beach. The area is frequented by sea turtles, as well as small sharks.

One’uli Beach is located next to Makena State Park in South Maui. Coming from the area of Kihei drive south on Piilani Highway. Turn right onto Wailea Ike Drive, and then left onto Wailea Alanui Drive. This road will become Makena Road.

Watch for orange-brown gates on the right and head down the dirt road to get to this Maui black sand beach.

If you get to Makena Beach, you need to turn around, you’ve gone too far!

After spending time at One’uli Black Sand Beach, grab some yummy grub from one of the food trucks that park along Makena Drive.

Unnamed beach near Alelele Falls

If you decide to drive the “back road to Hana” during your exploration of Maui or are visiting the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, you will want to visit Alelele Falls. While driving to these falls, keep your eyes on the lookout for a few black sand beaches too!

La Perouse Black Sand Beach

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

This black sand beach is very rocky. You will definitely want to wear tennis shoes as the rocks are sharp.

La Perouse Bay is located on Maui’s south shore in the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. The bay is an excellent snorkeling location. Be sure and with local rules before you go, as in the past this area has been closed due to overuse in order to protect the environment.

Black sand beach safety tips

Black sand beaches are unique and beautiful, but they can also be treacherous. Always do your homework ahead of time to see if swimming is allowed.

Some beaches will use beach flags to inform you of the swimming conditions, but not always. Watch for rip tides and unsafe currents.

Be cautious of sharp and jagged lava rock formations when swimming on black sand beaches.

Tips for Visiting the Black Sand Beaches on Maui

  • Wear water shoes, the rocks can be sharp, but also can be hot and may burn or cut your feet
  • Be respectful, a lot of the beaches are sacred to Hawaiians and their culture
  • Do not take any black sand or rocks from Maui black sand beaches. As mentioned above, the beaches are sacred. In addition, taking sand from any beach is detrimental to the environment and should never be done. If those reasons aren’t enough, it’s also illegal and punishable by fines of up to $100,000.
  • Always wear only reef-safe sunscreen to protect the marine life and reefs in the area.
  • Do not approach, feed, touch, or harass turtles or any other marine life you see while visiting the Hawaiian Islands. (or anywhere else)

Maui Black Sand Beaches

If you’re looking for an amazing and unique beach experience, be sure to add one or all of Maui’s black sand beaches to your list. Just be sure to heed the warnings and follow the posted rules – these beaches can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Have you had a chance to visit any of them yet? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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