One of the most famous black sand beaches in the world was found in the area called Kalapana in the district of Puna on the Big Island. "Was" is the operative word here as this beach was completely covered by lava in 1990. Today, what was once a spectacular black sand beach lying before the small Hawaiian village of Kalapana is now covered by a lava flow perhaps sixty feet deep. The photo above shows the lava flow that now covers the once beautiful Kaimu Beach in Kalapana.
Not to fear though, a new Kaimu Beach is being formed at Kalapana. This mere shadow of its former namesake can be visited near the spot where the lava covered the road leading to Kalapana. You will come to a dead end in the road, be able to park, get out, and walk for ten minutes over a lava flow to the new Kaimu Beach. This beach is not large, extending probably only seventy-five yards or so, but you will see lots of black sand and have an opportunity to walk on it. Keep in mind that this is a beach that is completely surrounded by lava and serves the purpose of being more of an example of how beaches are made on the Big Island rather than being a beach that you might actually enjoy actually laying-out on. The ocean here in fact is actually quite dangerous and not a place you should consider getting into at all. This is a great spot to visit however to get a sense of the great power of the goddess of volcanoes, Pele.
Don't go in the water here!
Kikaua Point Beach is a tiny but very beautiful beach that is located about ten miles north of Kailua-Kona. Kikaua Beach is perhaps the calmest beach on the Big Island being protected from the open ocean by a series of huge boulders and rocks that provide a rim for the pond-like beach within.
La'aloa Beach Park in the town of Kailua-Kona is also referred to as Magic Sands Beach, White Sands Beach and Disappearing Sands Beach. Though its Hawaiian name has implications suggesting it is a beach of sacred nature the other three more popular names refer to the propensity of the beach to lose its sand each winter and early spring to the currents, waves and storms that extract the white sands from the shoreline portion of the beach and temporarily deposit them further out to sea exposing dangerous exposed rocks in the process.
The Old Kona Airport landing field became obsolete in the early 1970's but the one-mile landing strip still exists. This huge stretch of asphalt lies right next to the ocean just north of the city of Kailua-Kona and today serves as the gigantic parking area for the Old Kona Airport Beach.
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is the largest black sand beach in the state. Located south of the Volcanoes National Park on the coastal Highway 11 it is a beach that is basically fairly far from populated areas and most people will decide to enjoy a quick visit when they take the southern route to visit the volcanoes if they are staying in the Kona region.
If it wasn't for the fact that Spencer Beach was located so close to Hapuna and Mauna Kea Beach, it would receive more notoriety than it does. Although it is a beautiful white sand beach with a sand bottom allowing for an easy water entry, it just lacks some of the luster and beauty associated with its nearest beach neighbor.
The Big Island often gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to beaches. Yes, it is true that it is the newest of the Hawaiian islands and as a result it has not had enough geological time pass by to jump-start the laws of physics and allow nature to work its magic on creating the type of amazing beaches that can often be found on other islands of the Hawaiian chain.
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