12 In Beaches + Ocean Activities/ Hawaii/ Travel

Punalu’u Beach [Black Sand Beach] The Big Island, Hawai’i

After visiting Kīlauea’s caldera and watching the firy-colored steam billow out of a hole in the ground. We had well over an hour before the sun was going to rise so we decided to make the 40 – 45 minute drive from the Jagger Museum down to Punalu’u Beach, which, from what I’ve found, seems to be the Big Island’s most popular black sand beach.

Not only is this beach famous for its volcanic, black sands, but it is also famous for the turtles that often come ashore here. We were hoping to maybe catch a glimpse of these beauties, but apparently we weren’t there at the right time.


We arrived well before the sun came up, but the promise of dawn was on us because all of the trees around us were illuminated in a shade of purple.


Of course, the moon helped too.


This was a totally impromptu trip, so we didn’t have a beach towel or anything with us to sit on, but it was quite beautiful even fifty yards back from the shore.

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I loved the way the fresh morning light illuminated the water. You pair that with the contrasting black sand and it’s just mesmerizing.


Photo by my husband, Matt


The more the light flowed in, the more my focus turned upward.

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Eventually, the sky just lit up with these soft purples, pinks, blues and yellows. This glowing, pastel sky was so worth getting here before dawn to see.


Once the sun finally showed up, the sky turned a glowing yellow and filled the bay with a soft, glowing light.



Just a couple of honeymooners! It’s pretty hard to be upset when your day starts like this.


We packed up in the car and made our way back to Hilo, we had decided to spend the rest of that day in that area, soaking up the city around our hotel. It was our last full day on the Big Island and we wanted to soak up as much as possible.

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  • Reply
    August 22, 2016 at 7:14 am

    And looking at these pictures is also a beautiful way to start the day!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2016 at 10:22 am

    What a beautiful sunrise that you experienced it is a spectacular way to start the day.

  • Reply
    Cori Carl
    August 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Your photos are stunning! I have a couple states left to hit and Hawaii is one of them.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 23, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you so much! Hawaii was my last and it was worth the wait! I wasn’t ever super jazzed up about going there, not being much of a beach person, but there is truly SO MUCH to see! What other states have you not visited yet and which has been your favorite so far?

  • Reply
    Thuymi @ www.AdventureFaktory.com
    August 23, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Hawaiiiii can’t wait to go next year! Your beautiful pictures got me all excited!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 23, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Which island(s) are you going to? I am already envious without even knowing! I really loved my time in Hawai’i!

  • Reply
    Ami Bhat
    August 23, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Loved the way you have captured the transformation of the sky from dawn. Gorgeous colors and even better captures. Thanks for sharing them

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 23, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Thank you so much Ami! Watching it change was like watching a work of art unfold. Every sunrise and sunset has its own beauty, don’t you think?

  • Reply
    August 26, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Words, pictures, beautiful!

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