Directions To Green Sand Beach Hawaii

Getting To Green Sand Beach

On the Big Island of Hawaii, most visitors stay either in the Kona area or up along the Kohala Coast on the island’s west side. Plan on making a day out of your visit down to the Southern Tip’s Green Sand Beach as it is at least a 2 1/2 hour drive from the resorts around the Waikoloa area depending on traffic. From downtown Kona, the drive is a little less. The Queen K Highway or highway 11 which runs along the coast makes for a fairly straight shot down. The video directions and overview of the drive to and around South Point will help to explain some of the aspects of your trip.


While the drive south down the Big Island’s major highway is fairly straight forward, once reaching the Islands southern tip known as South Point or Ka Lae there are a few key directions you’ll want to follow. You will reach a sign pointing to a right hand turn towards South Point, the southernmost area in the United States. Stay on the road as you pass the wind farms on South Point Rd and eventually you will come to an area where you can continue right or split off to the left. Take the left as that will lead to a closer dirt parking lot allowing for a shorter, all be it 2 1/4 mile hike, to Green Sand Beach. The road is fairly narrow so be careful not to drive too quickly and heed oncoming traffic as sometimes one of the vehicles might have to pull to the side. The video above gives a better overview of the journey to this great beach.

The hike to the beach, referred to on maps as Papalokea Beach within Mahana Bay, is about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 miles. If you made the right hand turn instead of following South Point Road left, it will be much longer. Again, please view the short video. The hike itself is long, can be hot and windy, and does have some spots where caution will help avoid any injuries. We’ve seen tourists set out with only flip flops and no water resulting in a miserable time. Hiking shoes are recommended as the route consists of jeep trails, some areas having large ruts and uneven rocks. Remember, round trip, the hike to the beach is approximately 5 miles! Please bring plenty of water, gatorade, passion orange guava juice, or whatever your preference is for the journey. While many tourists make the hike to green sands, there are no refreshment stands, tour buses, or other services anywhere. It is advisable to go as early as possible in the morning when the winds are usually calmer and certainly don’t try to make the hike later afternoon or evening in the dark.

As mentioned in the video, a common question is can we drive? Yes and no! While on the hike to Papalokea we’ve seen jeep wranglers and other 4×4’s successfully navigate the sometimes treacherous trail, it does require some off roading skills as many parts of the road have deep ruts, rocks, some drop offs etc that may not be entirely comfortable or safe. We have also seen cars, minivans, and jeeps bottom out leaving a trail of dripping oil. There are no services down by South Point. None at all! Most times we have not been able to make or receive cell phone calls either. The last thing you want to do is get injured or damage a rental car. Many rental car agencies specifically state no driving on the Saddle Road, or other off road trails so you may be responsible for all costs for repair and towing. Better to get some exercise or hope one of the locals offers a ride in their pickup as quite often has been the case. Please make sure to offer a tip if you do take a ride.

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Don’t forget to get some cool flip flops for your post hike beach or pool time