If you’re visiting the island, or a long time island resident looking for an adventure try hiking to Green Sand Beach. Green Sand Beach is located in the district of Ka’u, on the south end of the island. This adventure is a great stop on your way to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
The Green Sand Beach, also called Papakolea or Mahana Beach, is a unique green and black sand beach. The green sand color comes from the mineral olovine, which is commonly found in the volcanic formations around the island. Green Sand Beach is formed as the ocean has eroded Pu’u Mahana, a magma produced cone.
To get to Green Sand Beach drive south on Hwy 11, turn south onto South Point Road. South Point Road will be on your right hand side if you’re coming from Kona, and on your left hand side just after passing through Waiohinu if you are coming from Hilo. Follow South Point Road approximately 20 miles. Along South Point Road, you’ll pass many ranches, and on the right you will see the Kamaoa and Pakini Nui Wind Farms. South Point Road is newly paved, until you reach into Ka Lae South Point Register Land Mark District, then it gets a little bumpy. Once, you are in the park area you’ll come to an intersection. If you take a right this will take you past Broken Road, a destroyed boat ramp, and over to the boat hoists. If you go straight this will take you to the parking for Green Sand Beach. If you’re interested in a longer hike park by the boat hoists, and follow the coast line around. It’s an incredible hike, but adds another 2 miles to your hike.
Once, you park your car you have a 2 mile walk to the beach. The high road is probably the easiest route, but you shouldn’t miss all the little bays along the way. I recommend taking the lower roads going in, and the higher road coming back. All roads will get you to the beach though. If you’re vehicle has 4×4 you can drive, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.
This area commonly has a strong head wind while walking in. It’s warm, windy, and the sun is relentless. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and sunscreen.
Once, you’ve reached the beach you’ll notice the Welcome to Mahana Beach sign. Please, don’t take the sand! It’s unique, and special to this place. It’s also against the law to remove the sand from the beach.
Getting down to the beach is quite easy thanks to a short set of stairs, then follow the steps made in the eroded wall. It’s steep, but not as steep as it looks. Take your time in getting down. Once, at the beach there is little shade, and no facilities.
The beach is beautiful, and the water is clear. There are often honu in the water eating on the rocks at the left side of the bay.
Heading back to the car is a little less painful as the wind will be at your back.