Have You Seen a Black Sand Beach? Travel to Maui Hawaii Wai’anapanapa State Park

If you have never seen a black sand beach, Hawaii is a great place to find one. Black sand beaches are found in areas where there is or was volcanic activity. When I went to Maui, it was my chance to see a black sand beach for the first time! So I made sure to plan to visit Wai’anapanapa State Park which holds one of Maui’s most beautiful black sand beaches.

See this Black Sand Beach in Maui Hawaii


Wai’anapanapa State Park, a well known stop along the Road to Hana at mile marker 32, was once a sacred place to the Hawaiians. Today it is a popular tourist spot, although the park has preserved some of the ancient burial sites and temples in the Park.

Once I took my first look at the coast line of Wai’anapanapa, it was striking to see the contrast of black sand, lava rock shoreline and green plants to the blue hues of the ocean. It was a rare beautiful sight to see!

Amazing view from Maui Hawaii Waianapanapa State Park

Warning of Strong Current in Maui Hawaii
Warning of Strong Current

Once you walk into the park, to the left, a set of stairs will lead you down to the black sand beach.  The black sand is made from volcanic lava rock. As you walk on the beach, it can be a bit rough to walk on since there are small rocks and twigs on the shore. So if you are wearing sandals, expect a few rocks in your toes!

Take a look at the stones on the shore!

Black Rocks on the beach!
Black Lava Rocks on the beach!

Once on the beach, if you look to your right, there is a lava tunnel. It is also fun to check out the lava tunnels throughout the park. The lava tunnels are tunnels once created by flowing lava through this area. Today, you will see water flowing in and out of the tunnels and also some blow holes when the surf is up!

Lava Tunnels at Waianapanapa State Park
Lava Tunnel at Waianapanapa State Park

Maui Hawaii Black Sand Beach

The park also has a short hiking trail around the coastline, fresh water pools and caves. If you have time to explore or want to take a swim, you can! I arrived to the park late in the day and the weather was not ideal for swimming at the time. But I have heard from others it can be a great beach for swimming.  You may want to check weather conditions if you plan on swimming and spending more time here.

I recommend you spend at least 30 minutes here during your drive along the Road to Hana.

There are so many things to do along the Road to Hana that it is impossible to fit them all in. So you may have to pick and choose what is most important to you and how much time you want to spend at each activity. I will be writing more about the Road to Hana and my tips for the road trip in the next post.

This video below will give you footage from my visit at the beach and show you a few bonus things I did not get to show in this post. Enjoy!


Questions, comments about planning your trip? Comment below, I would love to help!

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    1. Thank you Denise. I really appreciate your comments… It is great that it still looks the same because sometimes places change and are not preserved. I love visiting a place and feel like I am going back in time when it was untouched and held sacred. I definitely feel blessed to see such places.

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