ALOHA!

 

So what are among 2 of the top things to do on the Big Island?!

  1. See turtles!
  2. See a black sand beach!

 

And, with a visit to the Punaluu Black Sand Beach Park, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to check off 2 of the Big Island bucket list items at once!

You will definitely see a black sand beach with a visit to Punaluu Beach.

As far as seeing turtles at the Punaluu black sand beach, there is a chance that you might not see them.

Turtles are wildlife (marine life) after all, so it’s not a 100% guarantee that you’ll have the chance for a turtle sighting.

But at least they are predictable in the sense that they do visit this beach often.

Big Island turtle beach: You could call Punaluu Black Sand Beach the “turtle beach” of the Big Island!

Punaluu Black Sand Beach is the beach on the Big Island that is known as a location where turtles frequently come up onto shore and lay on the beach.

So if you’re looking for a “turtle beach” on the Big Island, Punaluu Black Sand Beach can be it!

For a great chance of being able to see turtles on the Big Island without snorkeling or stepping foot into the ocean, Punaluu Black Sand Beach is the Big Island beach that you want to go to!

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Turtle Beach Big Island Hawaii: Punaluu black sand beach turtles. where to see turtles on the big island on the beach and from shore without snorkeling. best time to see turtles on the big island. where to see turtles in hawaii. hawaii travel blog

 

Punaluu Black Sand Beach is where you can see turtles on the beach on the Big Island. (Or probably where you have the best chance to see turtles on the beach on the Big Island!)

You might see turtles swimming off the shores of Punaluu Black Sand Beach too!

You may be able to see them swimming without going swimming yourself, but you could also get in the water to go snorkeling and swim with them!

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog



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Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to swim with turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

I visited Punaluu Beach 3 times in the span of a week, and I saw turtles every time!

And basically there were 3 main areas that I saw the turtles. (On some days I saw them in 2 different areas.) More below on where you have a chance at spotting turtles!

 

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Side note!

Top Big Island experiences
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Things you might want to pack for your Big Island vacation
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  • For women: Search for a rash guard for swimming and you won't have to worry as much about putting on sunscreen!
  • Water shoes for snorkeling if you won't be wearing fins, or just generally for the beach!
  • Cheapo waterproof phone case so you can capture pictures of colorful fishies swimming underwater!
    • I always have a camera float attached to my phone case that I put around my wrist
  • Snorkeling set: mask and fins
    • Fins allow you to propel further faster (aka see more in less time and energy!)
    • Go cheap if you accept that you need to come up for air frequently: regular swimming googles. They are not as fashionable but if you get swimming goggles, make them the clear kind so you won't be seeing dimmed colors of the colorful fishies!
    • If you are able, I recommend trying out the mask at your local lake (in summer) or pool so you will be good to go in Hawaii when there's actually stuff to see!
  • For women: Merrell hiking shoes (one of the best outdoor shoe brands, perfect for walking over rugged terrain like lava fields!)
  • For men: Merrell hiking shoes
  • Travel-friendly turkish towel for the beach (lightweight compared to regular beach towels)
  • For women: Teva walking sandals (one of the best sandal brands for the outdoors, perfect for lots of walking around outside - that's not a lava field!)
  • For men: Teva sandals
  • Moisture-wicking tech t-shirt for women perfect for hiking and hot days when you'll be outside a lot sweating
  • tech-t-shirt for men
  • For more ideas, do a search for hiking clothes or swimming clothes!

*As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission.


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When to go to Punaluu black sand beach

The Punaluu black sand beach can be a perfect part of your Big Island itinerary when you make the drive from Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

 

And Punaluu Beach isn’t the only black sand beach on the Big Island. If you’re interested in more (probably no turtle spotting), there are more black sand beaches on the Big Island with amazing overlooks! And for another colored beach, many people make a trip to the green sand beach on the same day as Punaluu Beach.

And if you’ll be headed to another Hawaiian island:

 

 

Where on Punaluu black sand beach to see turtles?!

Turtle Beach, Big Island. Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island Hawaii. Turtles kona day trip. Swimming with Hawaiian green sea turtles. Best things to do in Big Island itinerary. Black sand beaches with lava. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This will basically be a walk-through of the beach and where I saw turtles during my visits to the beach!

 

 

Parking at Punaluu black sand beach park

There are 2 main parking lots at this beach park.

To see turtles, it doesn’t matter too much which lot you park at since this beach is not that long.

But, so you can walk from one end to the other directly, this turtle spotting beach walk will start at the parking lot that you’ll reach from taking Ninole Loop Road off the highway.

This is the parking lot that’s closer to the bathrooms, if that matters. 😉

This is also at the south end of the beach.

 

 

So once you’ve parked…

Walk to the black sand beach!

Punaluu black sand beach from ninole loop road parking lot. Hawaii travel blog



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Yes, it really is BLACK!

You’ll see old lava rocks everywhere on this beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. lava rocks. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. lava rocks. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. lava rocks. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

And then…

The turtle spotting beach walk

So once you start walking across the beach, in a very short time you may come across an area of beach that is seemingly blocked off by rocks.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Turtle spotting area. Hawaii travel blog



 


 

If the blocked off area is there, it will also come with signs about not getting too close to the turtles.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Turtle spotting area. Hawaii travel blog

 

The sign reads:

  • Please give turtles space
  • Please never touch turtles
  • Please never feed turtles

 

This is your first indication that this is a spot that turtles like to rest up at!

I saw 2 turtles laying in this area on one of the days I went to the beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Turtle spotting area. Hawaii travel blog

 

This was also the area that I saw one turtle swim off into the ocean too.

 

 

Then, continuing the beach walk…

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Lifeguards and beach facilities. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach park. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Lifeguard tower

Punaluu black sand beach park. Lifeguards and beach facilities. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

Well, side note, one of the things that makes this a nice beach (aside from the bathrooms of course) is that there is a lifeguard here.

One of the days that I went to the beach, there were cones set up in front of the lifeguard tower.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Turtle spotting area. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

Because…

There was a turtle!

I saw one turtle here on one of the days I was at the beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Then, continuing the beach walk…

You’ll come across the other parking lot. This one actually has less parking spaces, so you might even have better luck with parking at the other parking lot anyway.

 

Punaluu black sand beach parking lot. Hawaii travel blog

 

And then, keep walking basically to the other end of the beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

As you’re walking, keep an eye out on the water, because you might see turtles popping their heads out!

Unlike the other sections of the beach in which the turtles came to rest on shore, it’s in this area that I saw several turtles swimming in the water on multiple days!

So if you want to go swimming with turtles on the Big Island, it seems that this might be the best spot on the beach to go snorkeling.

The way I saw them was from shore when they would pop their heads up.

If you’re in the water, you might see even more that are just feeding on food underwater.

So, you might want to get in the water here to go snorkeling for some fun swimming alongside turtles! (But not too close!)

So if swimming with turtles is on your Big Island bucket list, then you might try Punaluu black sand beach to see if you can check it off your list!

 

And then…

This end of the beach can be a good area to find a spot to rest up at a picnic table or under the palm trees.

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Otherwise…

Walk back to the parking lot!

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Be sure to check the same areas to see if more turtles have arrived!

Turtles come and go so new ones might come, and the ones you saw earlier might also have left!

 

 

And then…

What else to do near the black sand beach?!

If you’re trying to figure out how to make this black sand beach a part of your Big Island itinerary…

A perfect day might be:

  • Visit to the green sand beach
  • Visit to South Point aka the southernmost part of the US
  • Visit to the black sand beach!

 

A perfect day on the south coast of the Big Island with the black sand beach

 

Visit the Papakolea green sand beach

Things to do near Punaluu black sand beach, south coast Big Island. Green sand beach to black sand beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Visit South Point park

I saw a pod of dolphins swimming off the coast here!

Things to do near Punaluu black sand beach, south coast Big Island. south point cliff to black sand beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Visit Punaluu black sand beach to see turtles

Things to do near Punaluu black sand beach, south coast Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Also, the drive from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Punaluu black sand beach is around a 30 minute drive. So it can also be reasonable to go for a visit to this beach on the day you visit the national park.

 

HAPPY VISIT TO PUNALUU BLACK SAND BEACH TO SEE TURTLES ON THE BIG ISLAND!

 

Punaluu black sand beach in Big Island Hawaii. Where to see turtles in Big Island Hawaii. Swimming with turtles. Best things to do in Big Island itinerary. Black sand beaches with lava. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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Where to stay near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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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.

👇 Explore the Big Island map on google maps! big island map

See the list:

ALOHA!