The Ultimate Guide to Pohoiki Black Sand Beach: Everything You Need to Know

Are you looking for the ultimate guide to Pohoiki Black Sand Beach? This guide from a Hawaii local has everything that you need to know!

Pohoiki Beach Opener

It’s not every day that a completely new beach is created. Pohoiki Black Sand Beach, also known as Isaac Hale Beach Park, was created in October 2018 from the lava flow from the Big Island’s Kilauea Volcano. The lava was hardened into lava rock, and then the huge waves broke down these rocks rather quickly into glistening black sand at this brand new black sand beach.

Where is Pohoiki Black Sand Beach?

Pohoiki Black Sand Beach is located in the Puna district just below the city of Hilo on the eastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. There is a dedicated parking area for visitors to this beach as well.

When Should I Visit Pohoiki Black Sand Beach?

While Pohoiki Black Sand Beach is amazing any time of day, I would recommend getting an early(ish) start, simply because it takes quite a while to get there. If you’re staying in downtown Hilo, the drive only takes about an hour. However, if you are staying on the Kona side, the drive takes about two and a half hours. (Perhaps combine this trip with a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.)

Pohoiki Coconut Tree

What Do I Need to Bring to Pohoiki Black Sand Beach?

Downloaded Google Maps

The most important item to bring on your trip to Pohoiki Black Sand Beach isn’t actually a physical item. It’s downloaded Google Maps. In order to get to this rather secluded beach, you’ll likely get out of cell service range. So, unless you plan on using a paper map, you’ll have to download Google Maps to get there.

To do so, follow these few steps:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your phone.
  2. Type “Big Island” into the search bar and click on that option.
  3. In the top right corner, click on the vertical ellipses (“…”).
  4. From there, it should give you the option to “download.” Click on that and leave the Google Maps app open to complete the download.
  5. Use as desired (even when you’re out of range of service)!


Like any other Hawaii beach, it can get quite sunny at Pohoiki Black Sand Beach. Protect your eyesight with a pair of shades!

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

If you’re protecting your eyes from the sun, you’ll also want to protect your skin with some reef-safe sunscreen. While there are quite a few Hawaii reef-safe sunscreen brands out there, Little Hands Hawaii is my personal favorite (also available on Amazon).

Use the code BORDERS15 on the Little Hands Hawaii website to get 15% off your order!


It can get hot at this secluded beach. After all, the black sand absorbs a ton of heat from the sun! Bring some water in a nice reusable bottle to rehydrate!

Pohoiki Beach Shore

What Can I Do at Pohoiki Black Sand Beach?

To be clear: Pohoiki Black Sand Beach is not the kind of beach where you take a relaxing dip in the water. The waves are HUGE. That’s how they were able to break the lava rock into sand so quickly. So it’s not a smart decision to get into the water at this particular Big Island beach. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do at this stunning black sand beach.

Enjoy the Drive Over

Because of the lava flow in 2018, the drive to Pohoiki Black Sand Beach is quite an interesting one. While sections are lush and green, they swiftly change into a sparkling black landscape covered with fallen white trees, which were bleached from the lava’s heat. It truly is something that you can’t see anywhere else.

Another interesting sight to see on the drive over is some volcano steam. There are sections of the road that have the capacity to open up about an inch to let the steam from the volcano out! So, if you do see the steam, don’t worry, there’s no fire!

Check Out the Black Sand

Obviously, the highlight of Pohoiki Black Sand Beach is the fresh black sand. In comparison to other black sand beaches on the island, the sand at Pohoiki is significantly darker, because it is much fresher. The sun hasn’t had time to make it a little grayer. If you want the blackest of sand, brush away the top level of sand with your foot. The sand beneath the surface hasn’t even seen sun before, so it’s the blackest it can get!

Look for the Specks of Green

In addition to the extra black sand, you’ll also notice that there are little specks of green! These are small pieces of olivine, a green crystal that also comes from lava. These olivine pieces actually get rarer the older a black sand beach gets, so there is quite a lot at Pohoiki Black Sand Beach in comparison to the other black sand beaches around the world.

*Bonus: this is the same green crystal that is found at the famed green sand beach on the Big Island.

Watch the Waves Roll In

As I mentioned earlier, the waves at Pohoiki Black Sand Beach are HUGE. So why not just sit there and watch ‘em roll in? You’ll be amazed at how fast the time flies!

Enjoy the Sun

Most people don’t actually sit and enjoy the sun at Pohoiki Black Sand Beach. Most visitors treat it as more of a drive-up-and-take-some-pictures beach. But the sun at this Big Island beach can be quite nice! So why not lay out a towel and enjoy it?

Have you ever been to Pohoiki Black Sand Beach? Tell me about it in the comments!

Thinking about visiting some of Pohoiki Black Sand Beach on your next trip to the Big Island of Hawaii? Or maybe just planning your dream vacation for the future? Pin this post for later!

Everything to Know About Pohoiki Beach, Big Island, Hawaii #bigisland #blacksandbeach #pohoiki #hawaii
Local's Guide to Pohoiki Beach, Big Island, Hawaii #bigisland #blacksandbeach #pohoiki #hawaii

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