Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Maui’s famous black sand beach, named Honokalani and located in Waianapanapa State Park about three miles north of the town of Hana, is more than just a beach. It was historically a very important place for Hawaiians, and there are various Hawaiian legends about this place as it is deemed as sacred by the Hawaiian people. The park itself comprises of 122 acres, encompassing the beach, lava caves, wind-twisted foliage, Hawaii’s largest known heiau (temple), stone arches, and blow holes. The park is very interesting to hike through, and there are even a few wet, spring-fed sea caves and lava tubes.

A black sand beach is truly a magnificent sight, formed by lava flow that has cooled, hardened, and then fractured into tiny pieces by the relentless battering of the ocean waves over thousands of years. This is why you will see a variety of rounded, smoothed pebbles as well as the coarser – and in some areas – fine – black sand. In ancient Hawaii, people would collect the larger pebbles to use for the flooring of their dwellings.

Framed by colorful tropical plants and nestled between black lava cliffs, the beach is perfect for that unique photo opportunity, especially when the light is right. Waianapanapa means “glistening water,” and you can easily see how it earned this name if you visit on a sunny day when the waters are illuminated by the light and contrasted beautifully against the jet-black sandy beach. The sand is also glittery as the sun shines on it. It is quite a breathtaking sight.

Swimming is dangerous here and should be mostly avoided, unless the ocean is calm, which is a rare event only in the summertime. Caution should be taken at all times as fierce rip currents can sweep through the bay, and the ocean bottom drops off quite close to shore.

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HTR Maui Admin

October 11th, 2016

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