Hawaii is known for many of the best black sand beaches in the world [toptenz.net]. While the most famous ones are found on Big Island, Maui has a few nice ones to explore. Honokalani and Waianapanapa are the more well-known black sand beaches located close to Hana, but if you are staying near Kihei you might want to check out Naupaka Beach, also known as One’uli [mauiguidebook.com].
Located in Makena State Park, a short 20 minute drive south of Kihei, Naupaka is very close to most of the island’s more affordable tourist accommodations yet is still reasonably quiet. The volcanic black sand is relatively coarse compared to Hawaii’s white sand beaches and there aren’t any typical public beach amenities but it’s still a great place to stop for a picnic and to take in some unique views. Snorkeling and kayaking are also supposed to be good here, but be very careful of the sharp volcanic rocks surrounding the beach!
Of course, if there is a typhoon heading on its way between Maui and Oahu like there was on the day that we visited you might just want to stop, take a few pictures, and get back to the hotel like we did. I’m not sure where this sailboat was heading for safe harbour.
To get to Naupaka you just head south from Kihei and go past the Grand Waliea and Four Seasons. After that you’ll pass a couple of golf courses. About a mile past the Makena Beach & Golf Resort you’ll see a small dirt road with a yellow gate. Follow the very bumpy dirt road for a few hundred yards until you get to a small parking area next to the beach.
This is the view from the bumpy dirt road.