Coastline of Hawaiian island

The Green Sand Beaches At This Hawaiian Destination Are One Of Few

By Katie Downey


Located in Naalehu, Hawaii, Papakōlea Beach has olive-colored sand framed by picturesque rocky cliffs and bright blue water reminiscent of a fabled island from a children's book.
The green sand is coarse olivine made of dark-colored igneous rocks like basalt, diabase, and peridotite. There are only four beaches in the world with this type of sand.
The olivine is created when magma begins to cool and crystalize. Olivine can become the precious gemstone peridot, so the locals refer to the gem as the "Hawaiian Diamond."
Getting to the beach requires a roundtrip hike of 5.5 miles with minimal elevation gain. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks because there isn't anywhere to shop.
Visitors are not allowed to take any green sand as a souvenir, so take plenty of photos to remember it. Swimming is at your own risk and can become deadly in some conditions.