Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Photo Tour

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Photo Tour


This Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Photo Tour is from a recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui, with stays at Four Seasons Resort Hawaii at Hualalai, Andaz Maui at Wailea and Four Seasons Maui at Wailea. 

For prior posts in this trip report, please see:

Alaska Airlines First Class Review

Alaska Airlines Board Room Seattle Lounge Review

Alaska Airlines First Class to Hawaii

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Review

Andaz Maui at Wailea Suite Review

Ka'ana Kitchen Review and Andaz Maui at Wailea Dining

Mama's Fish House Review in Paia, Maui

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea Review

Breakfast at DUO at Four Seasons Maui at Wailea

Koiso Sushi Bar Maui Review

Hawaii Volcano Treehouse Review

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Review

Kilauea Lodge Restaurant Review


Getting to Punalu'u Beach

Punalu'u Beach is about half an hour south of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, off Highway 11. Look for the turn on the left, between mile markers 55 and 56.

Or, if you're coming from Kona, for example from Kona Airport, it will be nearly a 2 hour drive (about 75 miles), and you'll be looking to turn right.


When to Visit

Since Punalu'u Beach is popular with locals as well as tourists, try to time your visit for a weekday, as weekends can get very crowded, particularly during holidays or peak travel periods.


Punalu'u Black Sand Beach: Best for Picnics, Walking, Tidepooling, Relaxing

After we parked, we were lucky enough to find an unoccupied picnic table, where we enjoyed a simple lunch (part of it yummy leftovers from our Kilauea Lodge dinner the night before). From our table, we had a view of the lily pond at the back of the beach:

Punalu'u Beach - Lily Pond


We were fortunate that Punalu'u wasn't that crowded when we visited. Here's a view of the beach looking north:

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach


And here's the view looking south. Although there's a lifeguard structure, I didn't see a lifeguard on duty, and I would highly recommend NOT swimming here, due to the often strong rip currents.

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach: Good for Relaxing, Not Swimming


Instead, Punalu'u is a good beach to walk along, relax, and possibly see some endangered Hawksbill Turtles or Green Sea Turtles. While we didn't see any turtles during our brief visit, we did enjoy going tidepooling, exploring the various pools in the lava rock that covers part of the beach. Here's the munchkin peering into one of the pools:

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach - Tidepooling


And here's a close up of some of the pahoehoe lava:

Pahoehoe Lava, Punalu'u Beach


Black sand castle building was also on the agenda. First there was the conceptualizing / daydreaming stage 🙂

Daydreaming at Punalu'u Beach


Then the actual building of the black sand castle:

Building a Black Sand Castle, Punalu'u Beach


All in all, it was well worth going this way around the island to stop at Punalu'u Beach, to break up the long drive and to show the munchkin (and my husband) their first ever black sand beach.

Have you visited Punalu'u Black Sand Beach in Hawaii?

Related Posts

Hawaii Volcano Treehouse Review

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Review

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