Updated: Dec 7, 2018
If you are expecting to see black sand beaches in Hawaii you need to either visit Big Island or Maui. Maui has two primary black sand beaches, and no you won’t have to drive all the way to Hana to see one.
1. Oneuli Beach, Makena
Oneuli Beach is a beautiful gem most tourist don’t know about. Located off a dirt road right before getting to Makena State Park (Big Beach), it is often overpassed, which is a good thing if you want some privacy.
This beach has a great view if the Pu'u Ola'i cinder cone on the east end of the beach which makes a great backdrop for pictures on the beach. There’s also good snorkeling here, but only for advanced snorkelers as there is a strong current at the point of the cone, sharp and rocky ocean entry, and potentially dangerous ocean creatures such as sharks, eels, and rays. So if you aren’t comfortable in these conditions it may be best to avoid the water here and work on your tan.
Some things to keep in mind: The gates open around 7am and close around 8pm. The road and parking lot are dirt. There’s only port-o-potties for bathrooms. There’s no showers.
All that being said I’m not trying to deter you from coming to this beach, it really is a pretty gem worth a visit.
2. Honokalani Beach, Waianapanapa State Park
This is the famous black sand beach of Maui, located out in Hana, so it is about 4 hours from the Kahului airport. This is must a see stop if you decide to do the Hana trip. The entrance will be on your left on Honokalani Road shortly after entering Hana driving in from the north side. This beach has an epic view of a big lava sea arch, a sea cave you can walk through, and a fun shore break to swim in. There’s nothing to see in the water so I wouldn’t plan on snorkeling here, but you can get wet and lay out on the beach.
Waianapanapa State Park also has a fun trail called the Kings Trail that gives you a great view of the lava cliff coastline, a blowhole, and plenty of coconut trees. You can also camp at this park if you make a reservation online, you’ll wake up to a great sunrise from the campsite and its nice to split the Hana Trip into 2 days. There are also showers and real bathrooms at this park which is nice.
That wraps up the two places to see black sand beaches on Maui. Happy travels.