Best time to travel to Hawaii

Green Sand Beach (Papakōlea) in Hawaii

Relax on the amazing sand of Mahana Bay, on one of the four green beaches in the world

Best time: all year round

Green Sand Beach (Papakōlea)
Green Sand Beach (Papakōlea)
Green Sand Beach (Papakōlea)
Green Sand Beach (Papakōlea)

Papakōlea or Mahana Beach, better known as Green Sand Beach, is located near South Point, in the Kaʻu district of the island of Hawaii. South Point marks the southernmost tip of the USA that can be reached by car. From there, you'll need to walk to the beach for 2.5 mi (4 km). However, the view is definitely worth the short hike. The trail is accessible all year round.

One of the most beautiful beaches of the Ka'u is formed from a 49,000-year-old cinder cone volcano on the Mauna Loa southwest rift. Due to its volcanic origin, the beautiful bay got covered by rare green crystals that are called olivines.

Papakōlea is one of only four green sand beaches in the world. The others are located in the Galapagos Islands and in Norway. The green olivine stone crystals that are mixed with black lava sand and coral shell sand give the beach its unique color that has become the main attraction of the bay. As a result of weathering and erosion, the crystals were washed out from the base of Pu'u o Mahana cinder cone and deposited on the ground.

It's best to visit the beach early in the morning to avoid crowds. It's also beautiful during the sunset. However, don't stay on the beach for too long since the area is undeveloped and you don't want to lose your way in the dark.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Papakōlea Green Sand Beach?

The ideal visit to Papakōlea is early in the morning or during sunset to avoid crowds. However, visitors must not stay too long as the area is undeveloped and potentially dangerous at night. Papakōlea beach, accessible throughout the year, has a relatively dry, hot, and sunny climate with some trade winds during the winter months, all features worth considering when choosing the best visit time. Show more

How far is the hike to Green Sand Beach?

From the parking area at South Point, it takes roughly 2.5 miles (4 km) to hike to Green Sand beach. While the trail is mainly flat, there are a few hills and bumps along the way. Visitors must bring enough water and sunscreen since no shops or shade are available on the way. Buses are available and at a cost for people who don't feel like walking or want comfort. Show more

What is Papakōlea's unique feature that makes it different from other beaches in Hawaii?

Apart from being situated near a 49,000-year-old cinder cone volcano, Papakōlea, commonly known as Green Sand Beach, has black lava sand, coral shell sand, and unique green olivine stone crystals that give it a unique color. Its intriguing appearance contributed to its primary attraction. Out of the four green sand beaches worldwide, Papakōlea is the most famous, and its unusual green sand sets it apart from other beaches in Hawaii. Show more

Where can one find Green Sand Beach in Hawaii?

The Big Island of Hawaii, inside the Kaʻu district, is where Green Sand Beach, also known as Papakōlea, is located. The southernmost point accessible in the USA by car is South Point, where one can find the beach. The trip to the beach takes about an hour on the 2.5-mile (4-km) hiking trail. However, those who do not feel like travelling can always opt to use a shuttle for a fee, a reliable alternative. Show more

Are there any precautions to take when visiting Papakōlea Green Sand Beach?

It's critical to take several precautions when visiting Papakōlea, such as staying hydrated and sun-protected, wearing comfortable and sturdy shoes, and being aware of your surroundings. The beach has no lifeguards, services, or facilities, and being alone at night in the area can be dangerous. Visitors must follow the legal rule of not taking sand from the beach, which can harm the natural ecosystem. Show more

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