Black sand beach from the coastal trail

Known for its black sand beach, Waianapanapa State Park is a coastal gem along the Hana road in Maui. Visitors stop at the park to relax at its beach, sample the ocean and enjoy the views of lava formations buffeted by the incoming waves.

Black sand beach

The beach, composed of ground lava, makes a fine backdrop for colorful towels and bathing suits. Most people take a quick dip in the bay, but be careful when the waves are high. While the beach is beautiful and its setting is spectacular, there are many more exciting features in the park.

Black sand beach
Family on the Black sand beach

Trails and sights

A small opening at the edge of the beach leads to a cave, which can hold a surprising number of people. This is another spot to watch the incoming waves. Many people take the trail from the other end of the beach that winds its way along the rocky shore. Going barefoot is not recommended because of the sharp-edged lava boulders. There are fine views of the black sand beach and other park features from the trail.

Rabbit Ears Island
Arch ceeated by wave action

There is also a short trail that begins at the cliff above the east side of the beach. This trail goes through the park campground and a Hawaiian cemetery before reaching a blowhole in the lava. Spectacular islands and lava projections are just offshore. One of them is the aptly named Rabbit Island. If you can find the path, it continues for about three miles, all the way to Hana bay.

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