Hawaii in Contrasts – Red and Green Sand Beaches

Last week we looked at black and white sand beaches, but did you know that Hawaii also has red and green sand beaches? As a fun fact, you’ll find that green and red are exact opposites on a color wheel, which makes them the perfect example of a color contrast.

We took the photo of this red sand beach in Hana on Maui. It’s located at the end of Uakea Road–off the Road to Hana. It’s just outside the main town of Hana on the southern end.

Coast View along Road to Hana

Hawaii also has a green sand beach that’s located near the southern most tip of the Big Island. I’ve not had the opportunity to see it yet. It’s still on my to do list. I found this excellent photo of the green sand beach on Flickr. The photo credit goes to RaShi with use by Creative Commons.


  1. Adam and I went to that red sand beach — on our honeymoon! It was perfectly quiet and a great place to pick up unusual rocks. The only other red sand beach we’ve yet seen is on Santorini…go figure. As for the green sand beach on the Big Island, I wish we could walk into this photo and meet you there.

  2. The hike to Green Sands Beach is long, hot (no shade) and dusty, and the hike back with sandy shorts seems twice as long. πŸ˜‰ It is a beautiful place though. If people go, can I reiterate what a sign at the beach says: this sand is rare – please don’t take home for your collection!

    During our visit I watched as a woman and her family took several large containers of sand and hid them in a bag to take home. Clearly they knew it was wrong, and yet did it anyway. I debated whether or not to say anything. Ultimately I did not.

    On our drive home we passed the family, who had run out of gas in their rental car. Karma? Or Pele? You decide! πŸ˜‰

  3. @ Melanie – how soon can you and Adam get there? πŸ˜‰ Did you see the Fairmont Orchid “2 rooms for the price of 1” deal that I posted today? Hmmmm πŸ˜‰

    @ Kris – thanks for sharing your experience hiking to the green sand beach and story. Serves that woman and her family right.

    Dusty, long and hot are not normally the descriptions of hikes that I like, but sounds like that view makes it worth it to see such a rare sight.

  4. Hi Sheila: I’ve been to this green sand beach! I’ve just realized it was nearly 40 years ago…scary! When I was 13, my family came to the islands and took a once-in-a-lifetime trip where we were met at the airport at each island with a camper, packed up, and took off wherever we wanted to go. We drove to the trailhead for the green sand beach late one afternoon and stayed overnight. In the middle of the night we heard strange noises and opened the camper door to find we were surrounded by a herd of cattle! πŸ™‚ We hiked to the beach in the early morning and spent the day picnicking and body surfing (the shore break is steep, I got tossed a couple of times and gave up). Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      What an amazing vacation you must have had. You might be glad to know on the Big Island, you can rent a sleep-in van. Maybe you could try to re-visit your vacation from almost 40 years ago. πŸ™‚

  5. Great shot of Koki Beach (the red one on top). One of my co-workers didn’t believe me when I told them there was red sand on Maui, and even after I showed them photos I had taken, one that was super red, they thought I faked the photo with Photoshop. πŸ™‚

    I’d love to trek out to the Green Sand beach on the Big Island someday.

  6. This may have sound impossible to me but the pictures proved it and removed all doubts. I love going to beaches and the red and green sand on the beaches has made more excited.

  7. Sheila, I was just a short distance from the red sand beach, and if someone or something didn’t take out the narrow path to it, I would’ve had my own picture of it. My brother was trying to show us that beach, and we were so upset that we couldn’t reach it. Did Melanie visit that beach since June 2008? If so I’d love to know how she got down there–I might try to get back just to say I WAS THERE TOO!!!

  8. The green sand beach… Just like everyone else said, it is a long dusty walk but worth the view once you get there. We were lucky and met a local that followed us out and gave us a ride back in his 4 wheel drive truck. Along the way he took us to a smaller beach where the sand was much greener. He asked us not to give out the location and we never will. But, if you happen to see a tall man in a tan Toyota pickup, be sure to smile and speak. You may get lucky.

    1. Boyd – what a special opportunity you had. I love hearing stories of Aloha like yours. Thanks for taking the time to share it.

  9. My husband and I just came back from the Green Beach today. An hour into the hike, we did ask ourselves was this worth it? We decided we didn’t start this journey just to quit and I can honestly say that it was definitely worth it. The landscape was breathtaking, the sand was beautiful and the company of David Sr. was perfect! If you are reading this and visit the big island, make sure you count this as a must do!! Love you on our 4th and always DSP Sr.

  10. Sir
    Just to let you know ther is one other green sand beach in the world other than Hawai.
    Saint Martin in the Caribbean. Has a actual beach where the sands are green. This beach site may be one of two such beaches in the world and should be listed on the world heritage site. As an auspicious place to visit.
    How does one get the world heritage site make a listing of such a locationA?
    Timothy young
    Saint Martin in the Caribbean

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like