Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach
Time your visit to Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach for afternoon, and spend a leisurely few hours on the coconut tree–lined beach observing the sea turtles that frequently dot the shoreline, especially so near dusk. The beach is a common stop on island tours, and visiting on a guided tour enables you to skip the hassle of driving and more freely enjoy watching and photographing the sea turtles. Tours that stop at the beach typically also include other Big Island highlights such as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a coffee plantation, and waterfalls.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Picnic areas, bathrooms, and an on-duty lifeguard make this spot family-friendly.
The jagged, rocky shoreline means the beach is not ideal for swimming, but you can sometimes snorkel when the waters are calm.
Admire the turtles from a distance, but don’t touch the protected species.
You can camp at the beach if you have the required county permits.
How to Get There
Set on Hawaii’s southeastern coast, Punaluʻu beach is just off Highway 11 and a 20-minute drive from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Head southwest on Highway 11, turn left onto Punaluʻu Road and then follow Ninole Loop Road to the beach. To avoid renting a car and driving, visit the beach on a guided tour.
When to Get There
The popular beach is busiest on weekends, so if you want to avoid the crowds, visit on a weekday morning. To see the turtles at their most active, visit around dusk.
Where to Find Sea Turtles on Hawaii
While Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach is one of the best places for observing sea turtles, these creatures can be found in numerous locations across the island. If you want to see more sea turtles after visiting Punaluʻu beach, head to Kiholo Bay, Kahalu’u Beach Park (a great spot to snorkel with the turtles), and Carl Smith Beach.
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