Sometimes it can be hard to pick the best beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii. After all, there are stunning sandy nooks tucked away all over the island’s coastlines. That said, I’ve compiled a list of three of my favorite beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Most of the beaches around today have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. That is not the case for Pohoiki Beach, as it was created during the October 2018 lava flow. And, yes, that means Pohoiki Beach is a black sand beach.
Why is this black sand beach better than the other ones, you ask? Pohoiki Beach is one of the best beaches on the Big Island, because of its newness. The other black sand beaches have become a little grayed, because of the sun’s rays constantly beaming on them. The effect can actually already be seen at Pohoiki Beach, even though it’s only been a few months! However, if you brush away the first inch or so of sand, the sand underneath is pure black. That’s only possible after a fresh lava flow!
There are also green flecks in the sand at Pohoiki Beach. These little green flecks are pieces of olivine, which also come from the lava. These pieces of olivine are much more common in fresh lava rock, rather than older lava rock.
That said, Pohoiki Beach is not a beach for swimming. In order for the lava rock to become black sand so quickly, there had to be constant, huge, violent waves. The locals of the Big Island knew this, so before anything else was built or placed at the beach, two lifeguard towers were installed, and lifeguards were hired. So please be careful and avoid going into the water at Pohoiki Beach.
This list of the best beaches on the Big Island would not be complete without the famed green sand beach, Papakolea Beach. This little gem is one of a handful of green sand beaches in the entire world.
Located at the Southern tip of the Big Island, Papakolea Beach is green because it is filled with green olivine crystals from lava flows! As a matter of fact, Papakolea Beach is located within an ancient cinder cone of the Mauna Loa volcano! Do note that in order to reach Papakolea Beach, you must complete a two-mile hike.
While I think Papakolea Beach is an amazing place to stop, it is important that there is a scam being run there. It has been going on since 2016, and, as of June 2019, it is still in practice. Know that all beaches in Hawaii are public property, and you should NEVER have to pay to access them! I will be publishing a post with more details about the scam in the near future!
Most people would expect that all of the best beaches on the Big Island would be beaches with exotically colored sand. After all, it’s one of the only places in the world where you can check out black sand beaches AND green sand beaches. But Kua Bay is on par with – if not better than – these colorful Big Island beaches.
Kua Bay, officially known as Maniniowali Beach, has waters that shift from one shade of beautiful blue to another. It combines the beautiful light blue of Lanikai Beach on Oahu’s east shore with the darker blues of the North Shore of Oahu. I think this is due to the sand slowly becoming finer as it reaches the shores, so by the time it reaches where you’ll lay your towel, it’s as soft as can be. (But it’s not so fine that it blows into your eyes.)
There is also some prime snorkeling at Kua Bay. There are hundreds of light blue fish in the shallow waters that seem to disappear when you are above water. It’s like the world’s greatest magic trick! If you’re lucky, you might even see a little turtle or two feeding on the rocks!
While there is so much to do at Kua Bay, this is just a glimpse of this magical little lagoon.
The one downside of Kua Bay is that all the locals know that this beach is fantastic, which means that it’s pretty much always packed. It’s pretty much impossible to find a corner for yourself, but that’s just a small sacrifice to visit such an amazing little oasis. So grab your towel, swimsuit, and umbrella and get ready for an amazing morning!
Looking for more to read?
Interested in spending a bit more time in the Hawaiian Islands but not sure which other islands to visit? Check out this complete guide: “Which Is the Best Hawaiian Island to Visit?”
Have you ever been to any of these Big Island beaches? Or do you think that there’s a beach that absolutely should’ve made it onto this list of the best beaches on the Big Island? Tell me about it in the comments! (I promise I’ll respond!)
Thinking about visiting some of these beaches on your next trip to the Big Island of Hawaii? Or maybe just planning your dream vacation for the future? Pin this post for later!
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