Price & Hours
- Beaches, Swimming/Pools Type
- 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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Some say the waters here are too rough and rocky to really enjoy swimming, but that's not the real reason to visit Punalu'u, anyway. This beach in southern Hawai'i is ideal for its picture-taking potential. For one thing, the onyx-tinted sand here owes its unique hue to the ongoing volcanic activity of Kilauea in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. And for another, this beach is often visited by Honu (or Hawaiian green sea turtles) that like to swim to and sun on the shore. You might also catch a glimpse of a hawksbill sea turtle from time to time.
Past travelers were in awe of Punalu'u and said it's a quick "must-see." Other described the beach as "calm," though they cautioned that the beach's black sand can get very hot.
It will most likely take you some time to get to Punalu'u – located off Highway 11 and at the turnoff between mile markers 56 and 57 – because most of the popular accommodations aren't located nearby. Many past visitors recommended making a stop here either before or after a visit to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park as the beach sits about 35 miles south of the national park. If you're looking to experience its wonder with fewer spectators around, heed the advice of past visitors and plan a weekday trip. Pack a picnic for the beach; you'll find plenty of picnic tables set up for just that purpose. Restroom are also located nearby.
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