Along the road to Hana, stop at Waianapanapa State Park

Here’s what you need to know about visiting the amazing black sand beach off the Road to Hana. We include everything from what to plan ahead to what to see and do when you’re there.


Wai’anapanapa State Park is one of those not-to-be-missed stops along the road to Hana. The beauty of this park is striking — with the black sand beach surrounded by ocean blue and a vibrantly green landscape. Oh, it is absolutely stunning!

Here’s what you need to know about visiting this beautiful park:

Reserve your entry

The most important thing you need to know about visiting this park is that you need to pre-reserve your entry. Effective March 1, 2021, a paid-reservation system was implemented for out-of-state visitors. See our article with the news of this reservation system and our advice. Check the park’s webpage for entries fees and information about the park.

Wai’anapanapa’s location

Wai’anapanapa State Park is located between mile markers 32 and 33 of the Hana Highway. The turn is closest to mile marker 32 on the makai (ocean) side of the road.

What to see and do when you are at Wai’anapanapa State Park

1. Walk to short path and stairs down to the black sand beach

You might be tempted to look at the beach from a distance, but there are two great reasons to go stand on this beach. First, black sand beaches are relatively rare, so it’s a unique opportunity to stand on one. The other reason to go to the beach level is that this beach has lots of pebbles that make a neat swishing sound as the waves come to shore and then roll back.

Waianapanapa State Park - Black Sand Beach

2. Check out the lava tube
Waianapanapa State Park - Lava Tube
A view through the lava tube at Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach

There’s a neat lava tube that’s on the right side of this black sand beach as you face the ocean.

3. Do some bird watching at this bird sanctuary

Waianapanapa State Park

As you walk along the ocean pathway, check out all the neat little lava rock islands. They’re all bird sanctuaries. Whether you are a expert or novice bird watcher, you can enjoy watching the birds enjoying life in this gorgeous setting.

4. See the lava arch

Waianapanapa State Park

To the right of the black sand beach, look for the natural sea arch. It’s a marvelous sight.

Other practical tips for enjoying your visit to Wai’anapanapa

  • We recommend you plan a minimum of 15 minutes here. Of course, if you have more time and want to linger, take advantage of some of the trails. There’s so much to see and do off the road to Hana that you probably want to make sure you budget your time at stops.
  • Check the weather forecast for Wai’anapanapa here.
  • Swimming at Wai’anapanapa can be dangerous with hazardous shorebreaks and strong currents. This beach is not monitored by a lifeguard.
  • If you need a restroom break, you’ll find restrooms at the park. Picnic facilities are also available.
  • If you’d like to stay overnight, camping is allowed at Wai’anapanapa State Park and cabins are available for rent. See this link to reserve online for more information on camping and cabin rates.

Video of Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach 

We created a nice video from Wai’anapanapa State Park:

See more photos from our visits to Wai’anapanapa State Park.

You May Also Like