Punalu’u Beach Park is the most famous black sand beach on the island. This black sand beach is the most expansive and most accessible black sand beach on the Big Island. This is a perfect place to enjoy the scenery, explore the black sand beach, watch the sea turtles, and swim or snorkel.
You can also spread out a blanket under a towering coconut tree for a midday picnic or afternoon siesta, or sit for hours watching the action in the park’s beautiful freshwater fish pond. The white tips of cresting waves against the deep blue Pacific are beautiful, but it’s the astonishing black sand beach that will take your breath away.
Although there are several other black sand beaches on the Big Island, this is the largest black sand beach, with its vast crescent of sand stretching from the lava rock formations on the south to a large thicket of tall swaying palm trees to the north.
Punalu’u Beach Park is located off Hwy 11 on Puna district’s south shore, south of the town of Hilo. This quiet beach is a perfect spot for people who want to do nothing but just relax. Punalu’u is also famous for the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles who frequent this beach, sunbathing on the warm sand. Come and view these wonderful turtles, but please don’t touch them or scare them. Please don’t take any of the black sand and don’t distress or even touch our beloved turtles – keep a wide berth between you and the turtles! They are endangered species and the bacteria transferred to them via our human skin can kill them as they have no immune system for it.
Punalu’u's jet-black sand and contrasting waves offer you a great subject to photograph. Additionally, the Sea Turtles that are basking on the beach are wonderful photography subjects as well.
The waters here are protected by the small cove and the black sand is soft and welcoming. Tall palm trees ring the beach area providing some shade at the outer edge. There is a large, paved parking lot with full facilities nearby. Now that you’ve experienced a black sand beach, consider venturing out to see the famous Green Sand Beach at South Point.
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is located just south of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and a good place to stop to enjoy the view or have a picnic. If you are driving to the Volcano from Kona, however, stopping at Punalu’u may be tough with your already long day due to the 2.5 hour drive back to Kona. Hilo visitors will find the trip South to Punalu’u a rewarding one.
- Nearby Attractions: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kapoho Tide Pools, Green Sand Beach.
- Places to Swim with Sea Turtles: Leleiwi Beach Park, Honaunau Bay, Anaehoomalu Bay, Spencer Beach
- View a map of Punaluu Beach Park