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The Colorful Sands of Maui Beaches

August 11 is "Play in the Sand Day"
August 11, 2017


Maui is blessed with the best beaches in the world. A unique thing about our beaches is the variety of sands you can discover. Here's a quick primer on three different types of sands and where you can find them on Maui. Plus, we'll point you to two more sands found on other islands.

Golden sand
Golden sands are the most common you'll find on Maui. Our beaches are primarily volcanic in origin. Mixed into this base is organically formed "sand" created by sloughed off dead corals, broken shells of sea creatures, minerals, and bio matter deposited by fish. When combined, the result is the golden sands found in Lahaina, Wailea, Kihei and most beaches around Maui.

Red sand
Kaihalulu Beach, located south of Hana Bay at the base Ka'uiki Head, is an excellent example of a rare, red sand beach. Ka'uiki head is a cindercone, rich with iron. As it erodes, this iron seeps onto the beach to give it a magnificent, deep red hue. To get to Kaihalulu Beach, you must traverse a fairly treacherous hiking trail. Unless you are accustomed to hiking and walking along steep ledges, you may want to steer clear.

Black sand
The nicest black sand beach on Maui is Wai'anapanapa State Park, located just off the Road to Hana. When volcanic lava meets the ocean, it rapidly cools and shatters. The smallest of the shattered debris becomes black sand. While black sand beaches can form in mere hours, without an ongoing source of lava, they can also quickly disappear. Since Wai'anapanapa was formed by a now dormant volcano, the black sand you see on the beach is all the black sand you'll ever see here. Because of this, it's against the law to remove sand from the beach.

White sand beaches of Oahu
Mainland beaches, like the white sand beaches of Florida, are primarily formed with quartz minerals. Hawai'i, however, does not have quartz deposits. The best examples of white sand beaches in Hawai'i are Lanikai and Waimanolo on Oahu. These beaches are made up primarily of carbonate shells of marine organisms. Another source of white "sand" is the refuse created when fishes eat dead coral. The fishes cannot digest it and "poop" it back out. One parrotfish can create more than 800 pounds of "sand" per year!

Green sand beach on the Big Island
Papakolea Beach, located in a bay southwest of the Mauna Loa volcano, is one of only four green sand beaches in the world. The green coloring comes from the green crystals (olivine) that formed when magma from the volcano cooled. Because these green crystals are more dense than normal volcanic ash sediments, they accumulate on the beach, rather than being swept out to sea. If you examine the sand at Papakolea Beach closely, you'll see the green crystal sand mixed in among black lava sand and white coral sand.

What are your favorite beaches on Maui? Hit us up on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject and tell us where you love to go.

Blogs for August 2017

10 Fun Facts About Dolphins

Posted on August 19, 2017

10 Fun Facts About Dolphins

Spinner dolphin sightings are common on our Lanai snorkel tours. We'll take you to areas off Lanai's gorgeous coastline that dolphin pods tend to favor. These charismatic marine mammals are known throughout the world as some of the smartest and most playful creatures on… Continue Reading

HOP to it: Where to Drink Wine on Maui

Posted on August 18, 2017

For many people, a romantic night on the lanai, with a nice bottle of wine makes for a perfect night. For others, part of the fun of vacation is going to a lively bar and laughing with friends. Here are five places on Maui that serve fantastic wines… Continue Reading

Can You See The Eclipse On Maui?

Posted on August 17, 2017


By now, you've probably heard there's a solar eclipse occurring on August 21. But you may be wondering if you can see it from Maui. We'll attempt to answer some of your basic questions...

I'll be on Maui on August 21. Will I be able to see the… Continue Reading

HOP to it: 5 Best Hot Dogs on Maui

Posted on August 16, 2017


When you travel to an island locale like Maui, the last thing you think about eating is a hot dog. But not all hot dogs are created equal. One thing that separates Maui hot dogs from hot dogs available elsewhere are the local toppings we can offer… Continue Reading

HOP to it: Five Best Places for Pie on Maui

Posted on August 15, 2017


Pie or cake? That's the age old question. Here on Maui, we're blessed with some amazing bakeries. Some do pie, some do cake and some do both. But today, we're focusing solely on pie. Not all of these places serve lemon meringue pie, but when on Maui,… Continue Reading

HOP to it: Best Shave Ice on Maui

Posted on August 14, 2017


After a fun day on a snorkel adventure to Molokini or Lanai, nothing says "refreshing" quite like Hawaiian shave ice. What makes Hawaiian shave ice so good? For some, it's the fresh syrups, for others it may be the add-ins, but for most people it's the actual ice. Here… Continue Reading

HOP to it: Where to snorkel on Maui

Posted on August 14, 2017

On Maui, we're blessed with world class beaches for numerous activities. Definitely one of the most popular things to do here is to don a mask, snorkel, and flippers and explore our clear waters. Here's a list of some of our favorite snorkel locations, listed alphabetically.
One note:… Continue Reading

Snorkeling Q & A

Posted on August 14, 2017

Snorkeling ranks high on the list of things to do when visiting Maui. But you can't just snorkel anywhere there's a beach. Well, you can, but you might not see more than the back of your hand. To help you get started, we've put together a list of… Continue Reading

Underwater Drones Expand Ocean Exploration

Posted on August 12, 2017

Underwater Drones Expand Ocean Exploration

The Hawaiian islands represent one of the most biologically diverse locations on the planet. The marine life throughout our archipelago is spectacular, as you'll find on our Lanai and Molokini snorkel tours. But a lot of the most fascinating and mysterious creatures live at… Continue Reading

The Colorful Sands of Maui Beaches

Posted on August 11, 2017


Maui is blessed with the best beaches in the world. A unique thing about our beaches is the variety of sands you can discover. Here's a quick primer on three different types of sands and where you can find them on Maui. Plus, we'll point you to… Continue Reading

HOP to it: Five Favorite Maui Baked Treats

Posted on August 10, 2017


S'mores are awesome. Who doesn't love the gooey, marshmallowy, chocolatey goodness of a freshly roasted S'more? But more times than not, making s'mores isn't practical. Here on Maui, we have locally produced treats that are excellent around a campfire, or really, anywhere.

1. Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mochi [Maui… Continue Reading

HOP to it: Five Favorite Books about Hawai'i

Posted on August 09, 2017


In celebration of Book Lover's Day, we've put together a list of our favorite books about Hawai'i and its people. Until we finished writing it, we didn't realize the common theme with all of them (minus the guidebook) is the resiliency of the human spirit. These stories… Continue Reading

10 Reasons We Love Living in Hawai'i

Posted on August 08, 2017


The #luckywelivehawaii hashtag exists for a reason. Whether you live in Hawai'i or are just visiting, here are 10 reasons happiness happens in Hawaii.

The weather-- It never really gets too hot or too cold. When it does get too hot, the trade winds come in to save… Continue Reading

HOP to it: Best Beaches for Every Occasion

Posted on August 07, 2017


On Maui, we're blessed with beaches for all occasions. Whether you like to body surf, build sand castles or play with your keiki in shallow surf, Maui has you covered. In celebration of Beach Party Day, here is a rundown of the best beaches for every type… Continue Reading

New Glowing Shark Species Discovered in Hawaii

Posted on August 05, 2017

New Glowing Shark Species Discovered in Hawaii

A new shark species from the deep waters off the northwestern Hawaiian islands has been discovered recently. Don't worry, this diminutive creature is less than a foot long, and you won't see it on our Hawaii snorkeling tours because it has been… Continue Reading

HOP To It - Five Favorite Local Beers

Posted on August 04, 2017


Hawai’i has become a hotbed for excellent craft breweries. In celebration of International Beer Day, here is our list of the top five locally brewed beers.

Coconut Hiwa Porter (Maui Brewing Company) -- We're suckers for a smooth porter. This bad boy is like silk, if silk tastes a bit chocolatey,… Continue Reading

A Brief History of Macadamia Nuts

Posted on August 03, 2017

It's August 3rd, and you know what that means? It's "Grab Some Nuts Day!" In honor of this special day, we thought we'd present a brief history of the macadamia nut in Hawai’i.

Originating in Australia, the first macadamia tree was planted, on the Big Island, in 1881, by… Continue Reading

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Our Latest Blogs

10 Fun Facts About Dolphins
  (Posted: August 19, 2017)

HOP to it: Where to Drink Wine on Maui
  (Posted: August 18, 2017)

Can You See The Eclipse On Maui?
  (Posted: August 17, 2017)

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