Maui Black Sand Beaches
Explore the beautiful Black Sand Beaches of Maui
The most famous black sand beach on Maui is Pa’iloa Beach, located in Waianapanapa State Park. It was created hundreds of years ago from the flowing lava of the Haleakala volcano, which formed volcanic materials and lava fragments. The main mineral in these volcanic materials is iron which gives black sand beaches their deep rich and beautiful black color.
Waianapanapaʻs black sand beach is a favorite stop for visitors on their way to “Heavenly Hana”. Due to itʻs popularity you will need to get a reservation for a parking spot and pay an entrance fee. Learn about visiting below.
There are a couple of ways black sand beaches form. One is the erosion of volcanic rock as the water flows down the side of the volcano which creates eroded fragments of rock to continue to break down as it travels towards the ocean and then sediments are released into the ocean.
Another common way that black sand is formed is when hot lava hits the cold ocean water and then cools quickly, causing it to shatter and break into pieces, including grains of black sand.
In addition to Pa’iloa Beach, there is another beautiful black sand beach on Maui called One’uli Beach. This beach is located much closer to the resort areas near Wailea and Kihei and is lesser known compared to Pa’iloa Beach. One’uli Beach is a fantastic place to go if you enjoy snorkeling and diving. There is a coral reef located close to the shore so you can see a large variety of sea creatures up close here, including gorgeous Green Sea Turtles.
It is easy to see why black sand beaches are so fascinating compared to the usual white colored sands found on most beaches. The white sand beaches you find in Hawaii are different as these are composed of shell and coral fragments. The white sand beaches of Hawaii and California may look alike, but they are very different. Hawaii’s white sand beaches are biological while California’s are physical in origin. In fact, black sand beaches are more commonly found in Hawaii and other volcanic islands around the world.
Looking for an intimate experience to explore the tranquil paradise of Maui? You can take our Small Group Road to Hana Tour where you will be able to immerse yourself in all of Maui’s magic and natural wonder with awe-inspiring scenic heaven. It is a day of education and exploration where you learn historical information and teachings about the Hawaiian culture. Here you will see Waianapanapa State Park and visit the famous black sand beach, Pa’iloa Beach.
Want to travel in luxury? Spend the day with us on our Luxury Road to Hana Tour where you will enjoy a personalized tour at a relaxed pace as you take in the natural sights and wonders of Hana. Here you will also see the black sand beach where you can have an ocean swim or a splash in a freshwater pool under the gushing waterfall.
Outside of Waianapanapa, there are small black sand beaches along the coast and around to Kaupo side. You can even find a black sand beach down in Makena area, just outside of Makena State Park.
Red Sand / Pink Sand
Lots of people talk about visiting a Red Sand beach and they refer to one with a dangerous path through private land. Please donʻt visit that one. If you want red sand, head down to Koki Beach, just outside of Hana. You will even see some pink sand there too!
Most of the beaches across the island are white sandy beaches. This is due to most beaches being coral-based sand, versus the red sand cinder-based and black sand, lava-based beaches. They can vary from white to a golden color due to a mixing of nearby cinder elements along the coastline.