Hawaii beaches are some of the most unique beaches you can find... When you think of tropical beaches, you may think of a white sand crescent shaped beach with palm trees blowing in the breeze....right?
Yes, the Big Island of Hawaii does have that kind of beach, but there are four other types of beaches as well. There are black, green, and even red sand beaches! Hawaii Island also has lava rock beaches and giant tide pools.
White sand beaches are common on most of the Hawaiian Islands, but not so much on the Big Island.
Hapuna Beach, Mauna Kea Beach, Kua Bay, and Spencers Beach are very beautiful, accessible white sand tropical beaches on the Big Island. There are others on this island, but you have to hike or use a 4 wheel drive to get to them.....
White sand beaches are made of coral that has been ground up over millions of years by wave action. Parrot fish also contribute to its formation by chewing on the coral and spitting it out.
Maui and the Big Island are the only Hawaiian Islands with black sand beaches.
There is just one on Maui, but they are very common on the Big Island. Black sand beaches always have a dramatic effect..... imagine the dark black sand, with turquoise waves rushing up the shore, green palms scattered about, and blue sky above.
These beaches have coarse sand made from black lava that has been crushed by the waves of the ocean over thousands of centuries.
Some of the black sand beauties on the Big Island are.. Waipio Valley, Pololu Valley, Richardson's Beach Park, PunaLu'u Black Sand Beach, Shipman Beach (hike), and New Black Sand Beach
One very unusual Big Island beach is Green Sand Beach , also call Papakolea. These are extremely scarce ...there being only one in Hawaii, and a handful of others throughout the world. This stunning beach is very remote, and only accessible by hiking or by four wheel drive. Green sand beaches are formed by a type of lava that is rich in olivine....a glassy green mineral.
Red sand beaches
These are even more rare. Out of all the Hawaii beaches, there is only one red sand beach and it is on Maui. It has been creatively named "Red Sand Beach". It was formed from the red lava of Haleakela and is situated along the famous and spectacular Road to Hana.
Tropical beaches on the Big Island can be made of lava. These lava beaches are formed where black pahoehoe lava has flowed into the ocean. They can be excellent places to snorkel because there are a lot of fish, coral and other sea life around the rocks.
The best part is, usually you don't have to swim far out into the ocean to find a deep spot, because as soon as you get into the water, it is deep.
But when swimming at a rocky beach, make sure to always wear water socks and do not jump in with out first checking to see if it is deep enough. Otherwise, you could cut your feet on the rocks. You could also step on vana (sea urchin) and that is no fun!
Some great lava rock beaches on the Big Island are Issac Hale Beach Park, and Kielakekua Lava Beach.
The Big Island of Hawaii also has Giant Tide Pools. Most people think of tide pools as small puddles that trap tiny critters at low tide. But giant tide pools offer a whole new experience.
They are big enough that you can get in and swim or snorkel alongside the not-so-tiny critters. The tide pools can be 50-100 feet long and up to 15 feet deep. These tide pools are ponds of sea water that were formed by the uneven flow of lava into the ocean.
At high tide, the ocean fills up the low spots, creating a pool that is closed off to the rest of the ocean. Fish and other sea creatures get stuck in the pools when the tide goes out. You can find sea anemones, sea slugs, big tropical fish and coral in a rainbow of colors.
Then...there is a handfull of other unique Hawaii beaches that don't quite fit into these other catagories, but are still equally beautiful and exotic.
Some of these beaches are the Ahalanui Warm Ponds, Keokea Beach Park, and Coconut Island.
While it may be tempting to sneak some sand from these unusual Hawaii beaches ....resist the urge It is kapu as well as illegal. If you get caught, you could find yourself going home with a big fat fine.
When going to Hawaii beaches make sure to always follow these safety guidlines...
Nature is a powerful mother....do NOT underestimate Her.