The Road to Hana is on plenty of people’s Maui bucket lists, and it’s no wonder why. It’s an incredible, adventurous journey through hairpin turns and one-lane bridges through some of the most beautiful tropical rainforest in the world. Waterfalls, native plants, and hidden beaches lie around almost every corner, and for most folks who travel it, the Road to Hana is simply unforgettable. Another reason thousands of Maui visitors are clamoring to travel this world-famous highway is the promise of a black-sand beach—Wai’anapanapa—that lies on the other end of all those twists and turns.
Meaning “sparkling water” in Hawaiian, Wai’anapanapa is one of the most breathtaking locales on Maui. On a sunny day, the ocean shines a deep, rich cerulean that is only enhanced by the surrounding emerald greenery, and the stark black sand. It’s that—the black sand—that draws many visitors to this unique state park location.
Rather than the brilliant white or warm golden sand that makes up most of Maui’s beaches, the sand at Wai’anapanapa was formed by the last lava flow from Haleakala; that’s right—our famous landmark wasn’t always dormant! What happens when hot lava reaches cool ocean water? It’s pretty dramatic, but the end result is hardened shards of black rock that, over the years, get worn down into ocean movement into tiny sand particles settled on the shoreline. It makes for a beautiful, other-worldly sight, and is an experience you can have in only a few places in the world—Maui included!
If you’re joining us on any of our Road to Hana tours, you’ll have a chance to see Wai’anapanapa and its unique black sand yourself, and perhaps even enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking it! If you’re planning on taking a beach-side stroll, remember to bring some sandals or water shoes—black sand holds a lot more of the sun’s heat than its lighter counterparts, so it can get to be hot hot HOT! Whether you want to get up close and personal, or just take pictures from afar, we’d love to tell you even more about our black sand beach when you join us on the Road to Hana!