Like many others, I saw my first black sand beach on a visit to the big island of Hawaii. We went to Kaimu Beach, with beautiful black sand, palm trees right up to the water line and a ragged coastline of past lava flows.
We were fortunate to have visited this particular beach, because in 1990, shortly after our visit, lava from the Kilauea volcano engulfed Kaimu, the town of Kalapana and the surrounding area. Today, much of the original beach, bay and town are buried under 50-80 feet of lava. The area is still accessible and offers you a chance to walk on some dirt that is younger than 25 years. The power of Mother Nature.
I never realized how many black sand beaches there
were around the world. The next time you are in these areas, include these beaches in your itinerary. But be careful - not all are easy to get to, some are not suitable for swimming, and most require shoes - black sand gets quite hot!
Scattered all throughout the Caribbean islands are black sand beaches. On the Lesser Antilles one can find them on the islands of Dominica, Grenada, Monserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, and St Lucia.
Vik Beach is named after the small town of Vik, located approximately 100 miles east of Reykjavik towards the southern end of the island. It has the honor of being the wettest village on the island. While not a beach for swimming, the beach offers plenty of opportunities to spot numerous types of seabirds including the puffin.
Muriwai Black Sand Beach is approximately 40 minutes west of Auckland, and stretches close to 37 miles along the coast. Also close to Auckland on New Zealand's west coast are Bethell, Karekare Beach (part of a beautiful wilderness area) and Piha Beach, which is one of New Zealand's best surf spots, although swimming and surfing is limited due to the very strong currents.
Tahiti is well known for their gorgeous white sand beaches, but here too one can find black sand beaches. The best known is Lafayette Beach on the island of Tahiti, part of which fronts the Radisson Plaza Tahiti Resort.
Prince William Sound Black Sand Beach in Alaska is located 60 miles from Anchorage and is a very popular place for kayaking. Black Sand Beach in Lost Coast, California is located about 230 miles north of San Francisco. This is fairly wild coastline and the beach is not often visited as it is not east to get to. On the Big Island of Hawaii visit Kaimu Beach. Twenty-five years ago the area was covered under a lava flow from Kilauea. At Kehena Beach you can swim with the dolphins as long as the currents aren't too strong. Panaluu is Hawaii's most famous black sand beach and it is here where you can observe the Green sea turtles. Pololu Valley Beach is located at the end of Highway 270 and requires a 20 minute hike to reach. On Maui, you can find Honokalani Beach, Oneuli Beach and Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach. One can swim at all three, however Oneuli has the best conditions.
Elsewhere in the world, one can find these beautiful black sand beaches on the Azores, the Canary Islands, the Greek island of Santorini, in Italy on the islands of Sicily and Stromboli and in Costa Rica with beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific oceans.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder