Green Sand (Papakolea) Beach
One of the only green sand beaches in the world, Papakolea Beach is adjacent to Puʻu Mahana, a dramatic cinder cone that erupted about 50,000 years ago. The green sand beach was crafted by nature when the volcano blew out olivine-rich lava. Because the olivine crystals are fairly heavy, they stay accumulated on the shore, while the volcanic sand was washed away. Heightening the wow-factor of this unique beach is the turquoise water roiling on its shore.
Green Sand Beach is closest to Kona. From Kona, take Hwy 11 toward Volcano Village until you reach the turnoff for South Point between mile markers 69 and 70. Follow this road until you reach a harbor at the end of the road. You can park your car in the lot on the left and walk towards the beach until you hit a road that runs parallel to the ocean. Turn left on this road (east) and follow it for about 2.5 miles until you reach the bluff above the beach. Non-stop North American flights to Kona International Airport can be found in Los Angeles, Seattle, Honolulu, San Francisco, and Portland. From Canada, you can catch a non-stop flight from Vancouver, and Europe offers one-stop flights from London, Frankfurt, and Zurich.