Hawaii Green Sand Beach: NOT Worth It

Hawaii Green Sand Beach: NOT Worth It

One thing I love is beautiful scenery. I was equally excited for the gorgeous locations as the adventure activities in Hawaii, so something that really stuck out to me was seeing white, black, and green sand beaches. Well, I’m disappointed to say the Hawaii Green Sand Beach is not worth it.

Not for us, at least.

In all fairness, our visit was poorly planned and at the end of a pretty tiring day. We left Kona for a 2-hour drive around the southern coast of the Big Island to Volcano around noon. It was a beautiful drive, but being in the car for so long tends to tire me out no matter what, you know? We took a quick detour to cliff jump at South Point, which turned into a long detour, then realized the famous Green Sand Beach was down the road just as we were getting comfortable for the rest of our drive.

But an impromptu change of plans has never been an issue.

Getting to the Green Sand Beach

Hawaii Green Sand Beach Map

What we didn’t know ahead of time was that the Green Sand Beach is pretty well hidden. It’s only available on this little cove that’s 2.5 miles away from the dirt parking lot. It’s a rocky, hilly path so only specific off-roading trucks and vehicles should attempt the drive, meaning you choose to walk there from the parking lot or rent a spot on the back of a truck for $15/ person. Seriously.

Well, the truck shuttles weren’t around when we arrived and I’m always up for a good walk in a gorgeous location so I convinced Ben to do the hike with me.

We changed into better shoes, but were unprepared with adequate sunscreen or water. Or a basic understanding of the distance and terrain of this “walk.”

Let’s just say it was pretty miserable. 2.5 miles didn’t seem like long when we were starting out, but it took around 2 hours to make it over the lava rocks and dirt hills in the beating sun with no water or snacks.

Bad call to save $30 on my part. At least Ben never resorted to, “I told you so.”

We tried to occupy our time walking with taking pictures and video of the coastline, but every time a battered truck with 20 people standing in the bed passed us with a holler I got more frustrated. I even fell down a hill of lava rock scree in an attempt to take a cool picture of Ben. Having a torn-up leg and sore hip and ankle did not make the walk go by any faster!

About .5 miles from our destination hikers on their way back would pass and tell us to keep at it; the view was worth it. That helped in the moment, but once we arrived we felt like we’d been duped.

The Green Sand Beach

Hawaii Green Sand Beach With People

The cove was really cool, but the sand is not the Kelly green we were promised in Google Images.

It’s actually a deep army green mixed with other colors to make a dull greenish brown. Not only was the color disappointing, but there were a lot of people hanging out in this small beach, and we felt kind of claustrophobic.

Frustrated from the walk and disappointed with the sand, I was no longer in the mood to hang out on the beach. After a few drone videos (we couldn’t resist) we ended up paying $10 each to catch a ride on a truck bed back to the parking lot. That’s right- $20 anyway for a ride back vs. $30 for a ride both ways. What can I say, it was getting late and we had to make it back to Cell Service Land to call Whit before he went to sleep.

Hawaii Green Sand Beach: NOT Worth It

Hawaii Green Sand Beach Side View

Neither of us felt like the Hawaii Green Sand Beach was worth it, but that was definitely impacted by our high expectations of the sand color, our lack of preparation, and our misunderstanding of how long and tedious the walk would be.

I’m still glad we went just to say we saw a green sand beach, though. Since they are pretty rare. Just wish we’d had lower expectations.

Planning a trip to Hawaii? Go to Hawaii's Green Sand Beach! Read about how to get there, what to expect, and a video of the area. Things to do in Hawaii, Vacation in Hawaii, Honeymoon in Hawaii


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  1. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii and it will always be on my bucket list. Different colored beaches are so cool
    to me, so I’m sorry it wasn’t your expectation. That always sucks! But I’m glad you otherwise, had a great time 🙂

  2. This brings back memories of my last trip to Hawaii. We had a few hikes to locations that didn’t quite live up to our visions. Thanks for the info and kudos to your hubby for avoiding the “told you so” line. Beautiful photos nonetheless!

  3. Wow, since I am from Finland I have never actually even knew there are different colored beaches in Hawaii. 😀 worth it or not, at least it was something to see and great that you shared it! 🙂
    Loved to read it and getting to know something new.

  4. What an ordeal!! I can’t say that I would’ve hiked anywhere to see green sand – lol. Where I live green sand isn’t really a beautiful things, it usually means that the sand is kind of icky. It’s been wet for too long and is getting algae growth on it – not nice for sun bathing!! Of course, I’m pretty sure that the green sand in Hawaii has a completely different origin story, but still!! Thanks for your review 🙂

  5. Your photos are awesome even if it ended up being disappointing. I hate it when I’m on vacation and something ends up not being as awesome as I wanted. It’s really discouraging sometimes. 🙁

  6. The Hawaii Green Sand Beach has us filled with mixed emotions also. It was a cool experience to see the sand,but the girls was over it before we even made it to the beach and but we were happy to experience it.

  7. I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii. And at first sight, when you hear green beach, I would definitely put that on my list. But after reading this and especially traveling with little ones the green sand doesn’t seem worth the trip. Great post and thanks for the advice

  8. Hawaii is on my bucket list! But I’ll probably skip this, there is a black sand beach in Brazil that me and my husband drove a couple hours to and I excitedly expected a pavement looking beach. In actuality, it was just black specs mixed in with regular colored sand… bummer!

  9. You are adventurous! I never would have walked 2.5 miles to a beach. Glad to know what it is in case I go find myself in Hawaii and that beach is on the map.

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