Walk a Black Sand Beach on the Road to Hana in Maui

I have been to the creamy white sand beaches of the Caribbean, the finely compacted beaches of Georgia’s St. Simons Island and the course salt & pepper beaches of Northern California. But, never have I seen a black sand beach. Until now. Until Maui.

The Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach is at mile marker 32 on the Road to Hana drive. Just one more stop that justifies why the Road to Hana made the Bucket List of the Best Things to Do in Maui.

Counting mile markers whilst driving the Road to Hana, number thirty-two was amongst my favorite, the Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach. After six hours on our travels and a dozen of impressive prior stops, we arrived at the Waianapanapa State Park and headed straight for the black sand beach.
IMG_5328 (800x533)

We parked our car and followed the self-explanatory arrows towards the beach. The path was paved and steep, yet abundantly scenic. This was tricky for my clumsy self.

Watching my footing while trying to take in the beautiful backdrop was a challenge. But, absolutely worth the potential hazard.
Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach Plant at Waianapanapa State Park

After a short descent, we arrived to the beachfront which was layered with black rock all the way to the waters edge.

It started with large coal colored rock, followed by shiny black sand with descending sizes of pebbles.

As soon as my foot touched the beach, I made a run for the water. Didn’t even bother to remove my shoes. I  just couldn’t bare leaving without scooping up a handful of the Waianapanapa black sand. I even thought about sticking a handful in my pocket as a souvenir. But, then if everyone did that there would be no sand left for you to see.
Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach MauiAnnette White at the Black Sand Beach  Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach Maui

There were several other attractions at the 120 acre Waianapanapa State Park; a lava tube, blow hole and sea arche. Bonus. Yet, all supporting actors to the star of the show.
Lava Tube at Waianapanapa State Park Lava Tube at Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach
Sea Arche at Black Sand Beach

Have you ever been to a black sand beach? Have you driven the Road to Hana?


Maui Bucket List: 24 Best Things To Do on the Coolest Hawaiian Island
Attend a Hawaiian Luau in Maui
Facing Pineapple Gluttony in Hali’imaile
Swim with Sea Turtles in Olowalu
The 17 Best Road to Hana Stops on the Hawaiian Island of Maui

2018-12-21T23:26:04+00:00January 10th, 2013|Categories: Hawaii, North America, TRAVEL|Tags: , , |


  1. D.J. - The World of Deej January 10, 2013 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Living in Florida all my life, black sand beaches have always intrigued me. Just another reason to visit Hawaii I guess…

    • Annette White January 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      The beaches of Florida aren’t too shabby either 🙂

  2. Emma January 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    I'm hopefully going to Hana at the end of the month to do some WWOOFing and I can't wait to see a black sand beach!

    • Annette White January 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      I had never heard of WWOOFing, what an interesting concept!! The black sand beach is definitely a bucket list worthy attraction not to be missed 🙂

  3. Madaboutravel January 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    The beaches in Lanzarote (in the Canary islands) also have black sand… Volcanic stuff!

    • Annette White January 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      Very cool! Just one more place to put on my travel bucket list 🙂

  4. Scarlett January 11, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Ahhh what a fabulous place to have visited, I would love love love to see a black sand beach in real life! Also, I love your pics, especially the life is good one 🙂 xx

    • Annette White January 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      I love love that “life is good” photo. It was taken on the path down to the black sand beach 🙂

  5. Mike@EarthDrifter January 11, 2013 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful place!  I played volleyball on a black sand beach on a Greek island.  It can be rough when you dive as the surface is often rocky.   I've never seen hieroglyphs on a plant, so cool.  Thumbs up to Rachel and you for taking the picture.

    • Annette White January 12, 2013 at 10:13 am - Reply

      It sounds a bit painful to play volleyball on a black sand beach! But, what a memorable experience!

  6. Annette White January 13, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your post. I agree that what I would do differently next time is spend more time at the black sand beach!

  7. Juliann | Browsing the Atlas January 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Black sand beaches and luaus are the main reasons I want to go to Hawaii. Can't wait to wiggle my toes in it myself.

    • Annette White January 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      Two great reasons!

  8. Bucket List of 24 Things To Do in Maui, Hawaii April 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    […] Walk on a Black Sand Beach While driving the Road to Hana make a stop at mile marker 32, the Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach. Take the short, yet steep, trail down to the beachfront and walk along the shiny black […]

  9. 17 Stops on the Road to Hana in Maui April 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    […] Marker 32.2-  Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach The Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach was my favorite stop along the Road to Hana. A short, yet steep, path led us to the beach which […]

  10. Kerry July 8, 2014 at 11:14 am - Reply

    I desperately want to go to Hawaii. My friend made it all the way through medical school and took a trip there as a graduation present to herself. She walked on the beach the first day and her feet broke out in a rash of some kind. I don’t know if this was from black sand or if she even saw a black sand beach, but I sure would like to.

    • Annette White July 8, 2014 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      There is something special about Maui: the smell, the air, the laid back attitude. I hope you make it there one day! Even if you can not see the black sand, your feet will definitely know the difference 🙂

  11. N March 21, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Was at the black sand beech today… there was a horrible hydrogen sulfide or sewer smell near the top of the beach…. our hands smelled for hours after touching the pebbles. What it was really worries me…. park rangers or authorities should do an analysis for sewage or chemicals…

    • Annette White March 22, 2016 at 7:17 am - Reply

      That’s horrible. I did not have that experience when I was there, so I wonder what is going on. Hopefully they will clear up the smell soon so other visitors don’t have the same experience!

  12. Matt December 17, 2016 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Great write up and photos!

  13. […] account of the road to Hana on bucketlist.net was posted by a visitor who drove his family of 4 from Paʻia (where they were staying) to Hana’s […]

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