Hawaii is blessed with a wide spectrum of beaches–yellow, white, red, green, black, and more. On the Big Island’s southern shores near the town of Pahala you’ll find Punalu’u County Beach Park, an exceptional example of what a black (ele’ele in Hawaiian)sand beach should be.
Sheltered in a small cove, the shoreline here is a mixed of jet black a’a, pohoehoe, and sand. The beach’s qualities were created when fresh lava flowed down the mountain, meeting the ocean at the perfect temperature and speed to cause it’s coloring.
Over many years the solid lava rock was buffeted by waves and wind to form medium-sized grains of sand.
Punalu’u draws a large population of green sea turtles who take advantage of the warm black sand while basking in the sun. Alternatively, these turtles then cool off by playing the cove’s waves.
This photo shows the rugged lava shoreline in the foreground and the sandy beach in the background.