Big Island Adventure: Green Sand Beach & Coffee Spots!

Exploring Green Sand Beach, The Big Island, Hawaii!

You know how my recap posts from the week are usually pretty long? Well, this post is lengthy, and it’s only one day of activities. I am going to have to break down each day of the trip into a separate post because they’ve been pretty eventful, and I like to take 1000 photos of course.EXPLORING GREEN SAND BEACH THE BIG ISLAND HAWAII

Today, I’m going to share something you must add to your itinerary if you’re planning a trip the Big Island, Green Sand Beach. Its one of only two green sand beaches in the U.S. Its real name is “Papakōlea beach,” but Green Sand Beach is way easier to pronounce. It was named Papakōlea because of the kōlea birds frequently seen at the beach. Before you head to the beach, assuming you’re coming from Kona, you’ll want a nutritious breakfast, and I know just the spot. 
Caitlin and I were still adjusting to the time change, so we were up having coffee at 5 am out on the patio planning our day. Green Sand Beach isn’t a place you can just drive to. Even if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, I’d bring your hiking shoes, or leave it to the charter vehicles. It’s a bit of an adventure. You’ll want to make sure to bring a camera because there are so many pretty places to stop along the way.
the coffee shack big islandLast year, I had breakfast at The Coffee Shack, and it definitely made a lasting impression. I couldn’t wait to go back for their juicy papaya and fresh eggs. Even though their food is great, nothing beats the views. the coffee shack big island
When you’re heading to Green Sand Beach, stop and have breakfast at The Coffee Shack on the way. If you like geckos, you can put the little jelly packets on the windowsill, and they’ll come and eat it. It’s pretty fun to watch! (location map to get there)
the coffee shack big islandWe made it to the Coffee Shack around 7:30 am, right when they opened, so we had a lot of places to choose from. the coffee shack big island
How about this for a breakfast view? the coffee shack big island the coffee shack big island
I ordered their papaya boat with two eggs and a cup of coffee. I totally broke my one cup of coffee a day rule on this trip, but I’m not too mad about it. The Big Island’s coffee is too good to pass up. I’ll go back to my routine when I get home. The Coffee Shack grows their own coffee below their lanai. Its flavor and aromas are so good because it’s grown on the side of the mountain at an elevation level of 1,400 feet! Green Sand Beach / South Point / Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach / South Point / Big Island Hawaii
After filling our bellies with delicious food, we headed to the southern tip of the island to visit Green Sand Beach. Don’t let your GPS discourage you. It’s going to tell you that it’s a 2 1/2 hour drive, but it’s actually only 60 miles. It’ll take you a little over an hour, but they calculate the extra miles down to the beach (usually a 2.5 mi hike, or 4 mi charter) around an hour.

Once you get to South Point, the whole look of the island changes. It almost looks like Ireland, with its gorgeous green grass, and the temperature even dropped. It was much cooler. We didn’t even feel like we were in Hawaii anymore. Green Sand Beach / South Point / Big Island Hawaii
The road will eventually turn into one lane, so you’ll be pulling over a lot for the passing cars if it’s busy.

If you keep going down the road (about 11 miles), you’ll reach a public parking lot. You can park your car there and start your hike, or pay for a charter. There are people there with four-wheelers, jeeps, or very rundown vehicles.

We planned on walking, but it was so dry and windy out, and we wanted to make it back to the house before three so we could be with Kona. We settled on the charter to save a few hours. I definitely plan on hiking it next time.
Green Sand Beach / South Point / Big Island Hawaii We took the back trails (not walking trails) down to the Green Sand Beach.

It was a VERY BUMPY 45-minutes drive. I don’t think we’re ever going to forget that experience. We are pretty sure our driver cracked open a beer cannot/will not confirm.)Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii The views on the way down were breathtaking. Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii
And don’t bother showering before you go to the beach. You’re going to be FILTHY. The Green Sand beach is rocky and dusty, so you’ll find dirt in all the fun places. Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii
It’s a steep drop to get down to the beach, but the cliff has a ladder, and rocks to hold onto. Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii
It’s honestly breathtaking. As soon as you look down and see the gorgeous crystal clear water, it almost feels unreal. Don’t forget to pack a lot of water and snacks if you plan on staying out there for the day. We bought salads at Island Naturals Market to take with us.
Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii The waves were pretty powerful when we were in the water, so we dried off, and started making our way back after having our salads. We wanted to stop at a few places on the way back, and then make dinner and watch the sunset in the backyard.
Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii How incredible is the sand?

There are only four (discovered) green sand beaches in the world, and two of them are in the U.S. The green sand is made up of olivine crystals. Some people call them the “Hawaiian Diamond.” The olivine crystals come from the cinder cone that spewed olivine-rich lava 49,000 years ago. It doesn’t feel as light as white sand, it feels more like tiny little pebbles.

If you can, plan to visit the beach on a sunny day because it’ll appear “greener.” The light will shine down on the olivine crystals. Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii vGreen Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii
After making it back to the car, we washed off our legs and changed out of our clothes so we could have a clean drive home. Green Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii
On our way back, we passed an adorable hidden coffee shop that we just had to stop at. Stop at Kalae Coffee on your way back from Green Sand Beach. There is nothing better than having a cup of coffee on a drive home. Oh, and the coffee was amazing! Are you surprised? Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S.
This wasn’t just a coffee shop to grab a coffee and go, it was a gorgeous coffee shop with gorgeous gardens to walk around in. And the really cool part about this coffee shop? It’s the southernmost coffee shop in the United States! Checked that one off my bucket list. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S.
The coffee shop was beautiful and so fun! I was obsessed with the colors. This makes me want to have my own coffee shop so bad. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S.
Caitlin ordered a chai and I ordered a coconut milk latte. We also grabbed a guava dessert. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S.
This is basically succulent heaven. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Kalae Coffee Shop, The Most Southernmost Coffee shop in the U.S. Paradise Meadows Farm South Point
A quarter mile up the road, we stopped at Paradise Meadows. Paradise Meadows Farm South PointParadise Meadows Farm South Point
We tried coffee, macadamia nuts, played with the animals, and explored the grounds for a bit. This place was really neat! I loved the dark roast coffee we tried, so I bought a bag of that to bring home with me.
Paradise Meadows Farm South PointParadise Meadows Farm South PointParadise Meadows Farm South PointParadise Meadows Farm South PointParadise Meadows Farm South PointExploring the big island Hawaii
the big island Hawaii We were only 40 miles from Kilauea. Our parents didn’t find this photo that amusing.

I do want to say that it’s unfortunate what is happening to the people living near the eruptions, but the media is making it look like it’s the entire island that is being affected. The only thing affecting the big island is the drop in tourism. The island is looking at a 5+ million loss for May and June in cancellations. I’ve had many people ask about the island’s safety, and I can see why it looks like it’s unsafe because of how bad the media is making it look. Don’t cancel your trips, or fear the eruptions. That is in a contained area, and there is so much fun to experience on the Big Island. Tourism is what keeps the businesses afloat, so don’t let the media stop you from the fun to be had! Obviously, just stay away from Kilauea. 
We picked up some fresh yellowfin mahi on the way home for dinner.

I seasoned it with minced onion, black pepper, sesame seeds, oregano, honey, and sesame oil. I baked it at 400 degrees for 7 minutes.
We made it outside just in time to watch the sun go down.

Man, I’m going to miss this place! 
This was such a fun day, and if you’re visiting the Big Island, make sure to include Green Sand Beach on your itinerary! It’s totally worth it. Next, I’ll be blogging all about our manta ray adventure!

Questions for you!

  1. Have you ever visited Green Sand Beach?
  2. Have you ever found a hidden coffee shop?
  3. What was the last beach you visited?

 

Comments

  • Addison

    All your photos are so beautiful! Looks like so much fun! 🙂

    Reply to Addison
  • Chari Bauman

    I loved our visit to Hawaii! The Big Island is definitely my favorite over Maui because it is so different with every new place you visit! We stopped at a couple of coffee shops there that were amazing. One of my favorite “secret coffee shop” finds was on Highway 1 in California. It was a beautiful place with gardens overlooking the ocean, somewhere south of San Francisco. The mist was heavy that day and it was so relaxing to stop, rest, and chat with the owner. His daughter was a main actress in the Hunger Games movies, which made the place especially memorable in one more little way.

    I love reading your posts. I was reading your intro again today and I realized I have been following you since you began! You’ve been a big inspiration for me! Being a teacher I find it difficult to fit all of the health and fitness I would like into my schedule, but seeing great ideas from people like you and soaking up the positive health vibes is great for pushing me to work harder at it. Thank you!

    Reply to Chari Bauman
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Chari!

      I have to agree about it being so different and unique all over the Island. I do need to visit Maui sometime though!

      Omg that coffee shop sounds magical! And how cool that his daughter was an actress!

      & THANK YOU for the kind words about my blog. I agree that fitness can be hard to fit in (especially if you’re a teacher) and that’s why you have to find fitness that fits your schedule like walks, a saturday class, or getting active in ways that you love! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brittany

    Love love love all of your photos Taralynn 🙂 Also, on a side note, I noticed an aquaponic in one of your photos and the nerd in me got a little excited – I wrote a paper on them back when I was in college!

    Reply to Brittany
  • Courtney

    Do you mind if I ask how much it was to charter a 4×4 to the green sands beach? I was on the island last fall and almost went down there. We had heard that driving all the way is actually illegal, and I knew my mom couldn’t make the hike. Next time it’s a definite must, even if I’ve got to be a rebel. 😉

    Also, I agree. Keep going to the big island regardless of the volcano! My aunt and uncle live in Waimea and are perfectly safe, with the exception of what’s in the air. A majority of the island is safe!

    Reply to Courtney
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Courtney!

      It was $20 a person and super worth it.

      Waimea is a gorgeous place! I’m doing the horseback riding there next time I’m on the island! Have you done that yet?

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Caity

    Loved this post! Keep us posted on your travels.

    Caity

    Reply to Caity
  • Ann

    Gorgeous fun! ☀️

    Reply to Ann
  • Liz

    I agree your photos are beautiful! And inspiring! Looks like a whole lot of fun!

    Reply to Liz
  • Katy

    Looks like a blast!

    Reply to Katy
  • Jenn

    Looks like you are having an amazing time! But I bet you can’t wait to get back to the pups and Kyle too :). Enjoy the rest of your time there.

    Reply to Jenn
  • Shanna G.

    Woah, your pictures are so gorgeous that I seriously just scrolled past the first one thinking it was a professional ad on your site 😆 your trip/all the things you’ve been doing look like so much fun! I love your travel posts!

    Reply to Shanna G.
  • Malyssa Hull

    Where did you get your swimsuit?! It’s adorable.

    Reply to Malyssa Hull
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    I wonder if that coffee shack sources their food locally? And if so, if their eggs are pasture raised!

    And green sand beaches are a THING!? I don’t like beaches but I’ve gotta visit a green sand beach sometime.

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
  • Ashton

    Yes Girl! You are really selling the big island for me!We always do Maui, but I want to visit that green sand beach, and the volcano once it settles down. I’m not sure if I have found a hidden coffee shop but there is this amazing one near me in Seal Beach CA called Bogart’s Coffee. It’s named after Humphrey Bogart and the theme is all Casablanca inside. That is also the last beach I was at, my husband and I picked up a cappuccino and walked the pier. It’s one of my favorite weekend activities. Can’t wait to read more about your trip, and that mahi looks delicious! I love marinating mine in Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce and tossing it on the grill for a few minutes. Aloha!

    Reply to Ashton
  • Krista

    That’s crazy about the green sand beaches– I had no idea they existed! I’d always heard about black sand beaches, so I guess that’s just more motivation to make Hawaii the next place to go for us! Also, that totally looks like Ireland.. just less rainy (and despite all of the rain when we visited, they were allegedly in a drought, LOL)! 😛

    My fiance and I aren’t super beachy people– beaches here are packed in the summers– but the last beach we did go to was in the Outer Banks, since we live so close to it. We need to travel more once we actually get married (less than one month left!); all of our traveling has been to visit family over the past few years since we live so far away from everyone!

    Reply to Krista
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I had no idea either! I had heard of black sands, but never green sands.

      You should totally make Hawaii your next spot!

      I can’t believe I haven’t been to the outer banks yet! It looks amazing.

      Congrats on your engagement, and I’ms sure your wedding is going to be amazing!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    Awhhh looks AMAZING and like sooo much fun!!
    XOXO, Katie | http://www.meshkomoments.com

    Reply to Katie
  • Shruti

    AH! this makes me want to go on a vacay super soon! But your life looks like a holiday every day, and I’m sure it takes conscious effort to look at the positive in every moment and choose to savor the little things!

    Reply to Shruti
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Shruti!

      My life is definitely not a holiday every day, but I definitely make sure it’s a good day every day 😀 I agree with ALWAYS savoring the little things!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    Your photos are amazing!

    Reply to Katie
  • Casidy

    I love the colors on your blog!

    Reply to Casidy
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Oh my, those horses at Sand Point! How beautiful! 🙂

    The last time I went to a beach was a long time ago, I think last April when I was in Nha Trang, Vietnam, actually! I’m not much of a beach person though I suppose I should go soon anyway, since it’s summer! ❤️❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    SUCH a cool spot! I love how the Big Island has so many different places to explore on one island. Why is it always the sketchiest journey will take you to the most magical places?!
    I honestly never even knew Green Sand Beach existed until now, but of course it’s now a must!
    We found a few hidden coffee shops in Italy and they were the best ones we experienced! Going off the tourist areas is the way to go :).
    The last beach we were at was in Cinque Terre Italy. So much fun! Barbados is on the horizon for us. 63 days! Not that we’re counting or anything… 🙂
    Glad you’re having so much fun!

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Susie!

      I think that is my favorite part of the big island. You can go to one side and it looks like Ireland, and then the top of one of their mountains is snowy and looks like Switzerland! It’s incredible.

      You and Ben have to do it! I know you’d love it.

      I bet the coffee is magical in Italy. It’s on my list, but I want to go with Kyle, so saving that one!

      63 days will be here sooner than you know it!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Leslie

    This day adventure looked like a blast. Your travel blogs are so real and down to earth! Continue being you.

    Reply to Leslie

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