- Type: Beaches, Swimming/Pools
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Of Papakolea Beach, Frommer's writes, "The place has its problems: It's difficult to reach; the open bay is often rough; there are no facilities, fresh water, or shade from the relentless sun; and howling winds scour the point." We know what you're thinking -- why the heck should you go?
It's because of all of Big Island's interesting sand hues, Papakolea Beach's is the rarest. The sand is green. Actual, olive-tapenade green, and travelers can't get enough of it. Papakolea is one of two green-sand beaches in the United States (the other one is Talofofo Beach in Guam), so even if you're only going to snap a few photos, it's absolutely worth the trip.
Papakolea earned this distinction thanks to the Pu'u Mahana cinder cone (or volcanic fragment) that circles the beach's shoreline and erodes into the sand. Allot at least two hours for an excursion here, time enough to get to this secluded spot -- you'll find a dead-end road in South Point off Highway 11 -- and then to make the two-mile hike or drive to the cinder cone's steep descent to Papakolea.