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The Puna coast is GREAT.

Things to do in Puna are also things to do near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!

If you are on the Big Island for volcanoes and black sand beaches, I think it’s definitely worth considering making a part of your circle the Big Island itinerary!

You’ll see lots of lava fields, there are relatively recently made black sand beaches (because of volcanoes and lava), and you’ll get nice coastal views too.

This is also the area that saw homes devastated by lava in 2018.

 

 

7 best things to do in Puna on the Big Island

Best things to do in Puna coast. things to do in pahoa. Best things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. pahoa, kaimu, kalapana. Hawaii travel blog

 

You just need one day to visit these top spots in Puna, maybe even just a few hours, especially if you cut out a couple of things!

 

 

1. Kaimu black sand beach trail

Best things to do in Puna. new kaimu black sand beach trail. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Take a 10 minute walk on a black sand trail to get to a black sand beach!

This is a very black-colored black sand beach.

 

Best things to do in Puna. kaimu black sand beach trail. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Puna. kaimu black sand beach. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a beach to just look at (not swim at) on the Puna coast, and the views are amazing!

There are lava fields around here too that you can walk around as you take in the coastal views.

 

Best things to do in Puna. kaimu black sand beach hike. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Puna. kaimu black sand beach hike. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Puna. kaimu black sand beach hike. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Puna. kaimu black sand beach hike. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Afterwards, grab a fresh fruit smoothie from the cafe near the parking lot!

 

See more about Kaimu black sand beach and the best places to see lava fields on the Big Island.

 

 

2. Red Road

Best things to do in Puna. Red road aka highway route 137 aka kapoho kalapana road. best scenic drives on the Big Island. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

One of the best scenic drives on the Big Island on a road that runs along the Puna coast.

It’s a pretty short drive – point to point might be 30 minutes, but you can make stops along the way.

This is also route 137 aka Kapoho Kalapana Road.

 

 

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3. Kehena black sand beach

Best things to do in Puna. kehena black sand beach. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

The trail to this beach can be found right off the side of Red Road.

It’s a short but steep trail to get down to Kehena Beach.

 

Best things to do in Puna. kehena black sand beach. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is another very black-colored black sand beach, but it’s important to know that this is a clothing optional beach.

See more about Kehena black sand beach.

 

 

4. Pohoiki black sand beach

Best things to do in Puna. pohoiki black sand beach at isaac hale beach park. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

And…

This is another very black-colored black sand beach.

This is located at Isaac Hale black sand beach.

It’s considered to be the Big Island’s newest black sand beach, in that it was created due to volcanic activity (lava flows) from quite recently – in 2018.

The Kaimu Beach is also sometimes referred to as the “new” kaimu black sand beach, and that “new” dates back to 1990 when that beach was created.

The Pohoiki black sand beach is at one end of the Red Road for another one of the black sand beaches you can see along the Puna coast.

You can make it a black sand beach day by starting at Kaimu Beach, driving on Red Road, stopping at Kehena Beach, and then finally make your way to Pohoiki Beach!

 

 

5. Lava tree state monument

Best things to do in Puna. lava tree state monument. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

You can see how lava took the shape of trees as a result of the lava flowing over the trees.

 

 

6. Leilani Avenue

Best things to do in Puna. leilani avenue road lava. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Maybe you saw on the news about the 2018 volcano eruption in Hawaii that destroyed homes.

That’s the neighborhood of Leilani Estates on the Big Island.

Not all homes were lost in this neighborhood, but you can see where the lava flows stopped with a drive to what’s now the end of Leilani Avenue.

Some residents of Leilani Estates don’t like to see tourists flocking to their neighborhood so just keep this in mind if you do take the drive down Leilani Avenue.

 

 

7. Pahoa Lava Zone Museum

Best things to do in Puna. pahoa lava zone museum instead of closed jaggar museum. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is located in downtown Pahoa, so you can make a slight detour on your way to the Puna coast, or on your way back.

If you look at some older lists of top things to do in the Volcanoes National Park, you’ll see the Jaggar Museum on the list. It’s not possible to go to the Jaggar Museum now, as it’s permanently closed because of the effects of the volcano eruption.

It seems they’ve moved some of the items from that Jaggar Museum to the Pahoa Lava Zone Museum. There was also a sign at the Pahoa museum indicating this.

Visiting this museum before you head towards the Puna coast could be a nice way to get some background of the volcano activity of the area (and the Big Island!) as you see more hardened lava flows around the coast.

 

As the museum says:

The 2018 eruption took hundreds of homes, but it gave us unprecedented scientific discoveries.

See these artifacts in our new collection.

 

This is a volunteer-run organization. While they are open most days, it’s best to call ahead to confirm opening days.

Basically they are open when they have people to volunteer.

I missed out on going because I didn’t call. I was around Puna for a couple of days and it likely would have been open another day if I would have just called to check! Instead I stopped by a closed museum as I was leaving Puna so didn’t have a chance to go back when it was open.

 

 

Where to stay in Puna

If you’re staying directly near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you can make it a day trip to Puna from there.

You might also consider staying in Puna too, to give you another unique Big Island experience by staying at a place surrounded by lava fields!

 

Best things to do in Puna. where to stay in puna - kalapana airbnb lava fields. Things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Where is Puna located?

Puna can be considered to be pretty near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

So it can be perfect to make a visit to Puna after a visit to the national park if you have a couple of hours to spare.

Or you could visit Puna if you’re coming from the south coast and you’re on your way further north after a drive from Kona to the national park… Or before a visit to the national park if you’re coming from Hilo and the north side of the island!

From Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the first Puna activity listed below is about a one hour drive.

 

puna hawaii map. big island map. things to do near hawaii volcanoes national park map
πŸ‘† Map of where Puna is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Explore the Big Island tourist map. Explore the circle the Big Island itinerary! Explore more things to do on the Big Island!

 

 

And those are a few things to do in Puna!

 

If you’re interested in Puna Hawaii, then you may also be interested in these Big Island activities:

 

HAPPY DOING THINGS ON THE PUNA COAST!

 

Best things to do in Puna coast. Best things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. pahoa, kaimu, kalapana. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Puna coast. Best things to do near Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

 

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Here are some ideas for your time on the Big Island!

Among the most popular things to do on the Big Island are Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls State Park, and Waipio Valley!

For Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the main road to drive is Chain of Craters Road and it will take you to see the best lava fields in Hawaii! Before that though (or after!) you will want to make a stop for the Thurston lava tube. You can also hike into a former lava lake by doing the Kilauea Iki Trail!

Other Big Island activities you may want to make time for are the best black sand beaches in Hawaii (including Punaluu black sand beach to see turtles maybe!) and the Papakolea green sand beach of Hawaii.


Volcanoes in Hawaii

There was a time in December 2022 that 2 volcanoes were erupting in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

This was a special occasion because even in the past few years, there was a quiet period where there was NO active lava to be seen anywhere in Hawaii.

As the National Park Service says, it was the first time in nearly 40 years that TWO volcanoes were erupting in Hawaii at the same time!

But what seems like nearly just like that, they stopped erupting.

As it goes with volcanoes, things can change in an instant!

So be sure to check National Park Service updates when your Big Island trip gets closer: What's going on with the volcanoes?




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ALOHA!