Punalu'u Black Sand Beach RV & Campground Guide


The island of Hawaii is often referred to as "The Big Island," and it offers a host of activities and campgrounds to satisfy any RV traveler. Hawaii does have active volcanoes, so be sure to check on local reports of lava activity. Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is the most renowned black sand beach on the island of Hawaii, and even if you don't camp here, it is well worth a visit. You'll find it on the Ka'u coast between the towns of Pahala and Naalehu. The picturesque setting is home to a number of endangered species, including the green sea turtle and hawksbill turtle. 

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Spring 65-79 F
Summer 68-82 F
Fall 66-80 F
Winter 63-75 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Because of the often narrow and winding roads, the most common RVs you'll find on Hawaii are either campervans or converted VW busses. Because of the beautiful year-round weather, you can easily rent an RV from RVshare to take in all the amazing sites that Hawaii has to offer.

Punalu'u Beach Park

Camping is allowed at Punalu'u Beach Park. Amenities include outdoor showers in the beach area, restrooms, and potable water. You must obtain a county camping permit prior to arrival. The nightly non-resident camping fee is $21.

Whittington Beach Park

Perhaps the most remote park on the island, Whittington Beach Park campground is located just south of Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. It offers outdoor showers, picnic tables, and restrooms. The park has a golf course and a bakeshop. Be sure to bring your own drinking water. You must obtain a county camping permit prior to arrival. The camping fee for non-residents is $21 per adult or children ages 13 and up per night. The entry is off Highway 11, past the 60-mile marker.

Namakanipaio Campground

Located in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Namakanipaio Campground is at an elevation of 4,000 feet. The campground is in a grassy area with eucalyptus trees. Amenities include restrooms, potable water, picnic tables, and barbeque pits for a campfire. Large RVs are not allowed. The cost is $15 per night.

Miloli'i Beach Park

Miloli'i Beach Park is at the site of an ancient fishing village. You can enjoy fishing at this secluded location. There are bathrooms, but there is no water, so make sure to bring plenty of your own. The camping area is at the edge of the parking lot. The park is five miles off Highway 11 on a narrow and very windy road. You must obtain a county camping permit prior to arrival. The camping fee for non-residents is $21 per adult or children ages 13 and up per night.

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What to Do at
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Inside Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

The stunning view of the black sand beach is something to behold, and several endangered species frequent this beach. While tempting, do not touch any turtles that may be sunning themselves, and it's best to keep 10-15 feet away. In addition to the green sea turtle and hawksbill turtle, other endangered species you might spot are the Hawaiian monk seal and the Hawaiian hawk. Although this side of the island is prone to strong ocean currents, on calm days, you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling off the rocky shore. Swimming and cooling off in the freshwater tide pools is an alternative to swimming in the bay, and you can also take advantage of the boat ramp for marine adventures, including fishing.

Outside Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

When you're done visiting Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, the island still has plenty to offer both inside and outdoors. Cruising Highway 11 will bring you to a number of beaches to explore as well as restaurants and shopping areas. In inland areas, you can hike or visit historic sites. Here is a sampling of things to do close to the black sand beach.


Hana Hou Restaurant

Hana Hou Restaurant's claim to fame is that it is the "Southernmost Restaurant in the U.S.A." They first opened in 1940, and the homey restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer hearty, meat-filled dishes as well as vegetarian options and the fresh catch of the day. Any time of day, you can order their house specialty, the Loco Moco, which consists of rice, two eggs, gravy, and your choice of meat. Another specialty is the Hogzilla Hawaiian Burrito: rice, shredded roast pork, and cheese in a warm flour tortilla.

Type: Hawaiian, American

Location: 95-1148 Naalehu Spur Road, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96772

The Rim

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Rim is located at Volcano House in Volcanoes National Park. Their menu highlights fresh fish and grass-fed beef in addition to vegetarian options. From crab cakes to tofu stir-fry, you can enjoy a delicious meal amid dramatic scenery.

Type: Hawaiian, American

Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718

Thai Thai Bistro & Bar

In addition to Thai favorites like fresh spring rolls, pad Thai, and curries, Thai Thai Bistro & Bar also serves giant cheeseburgers, shrimp alfredo, and rib-eye steak. Dessert options include chocolate lava cake and Thai tapioca with taro and coconut milk. In season, you can order Thai sweet rice with coconut milk and mango.

Type: Thai, International

Location: 19-4084 Old Volcano Road, Island of Hawaii, HI 96785

Café Ono

Fresh, local, organic foods are Café Ono's specialty. Choices include quiche, lasagna, sandwiches, soups, and salads. They offer both indoor and garden-area seating.

Type: American, Soups, Café

Location: 19-3834 Old Volcano Road, Volcano, Island of Hawaii, HI 96785


Bee Boys

For a sweet taste of Hawaii, visit Bee Boys. The store features local honey in a surprising amount of variations, such as cacao honey, lavender-infused honey, and turmeric honey. You'll also find teas, lip balms and bath products, candles, clothing, and more.

Location: 95-5657 Mamalahoa Highway Suite 2, Naalehu, Island of Hawaii, HI 96772

Kona Inn Shopping Village

Kona Inn Shopping Village is the perfect place to find souvenirs and unique gift items. The shopping village also has surf shops, art galleries, and clothing stores. If you get hungry, you can stop for coffee or food as you stroll along the waterfront.

Location: 75-5744 Alii Diver Suite 286, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI 96740

Holualoa Ukulele Gallery

Ukulele is almost synonymous with Hawaii. At Holualoa Ukulele Gallery, in addition to traditionally crafted ukuleles, you'll find other hand-crafted gift items.

Location: 76-5942 Mamalahoa Highway, Holualoa, HI 96725

The Kings' Shops

You'll find a mix of high-end luxury stores in addition to local shops offering a unique selection of gift and specialty items at The Kings' Shops.

Location: 250 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa Village, HI 96783


Paradise Meadows Orchard & Bee Farm

As a working, diversified farm, Paradise Meadows Orchard & Bee Farm offers much more than just a farm stand. You can take a self-guided tour of the grounds, which includes an aquaponic greenhouse. You can also arrange for a guided tour to learn about honey, coffee, and macadamia nut production. All this takes place amid field and gardens and several resident parrots.

Location: 93-2199 South Point Rd., Naalehu, Island of Hawaii, HI 96772

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

You'll probably want to start your visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at the Kilauea Visitor Center. There, in addition to learning about the latest volcanic activity, you can get information about hiking and any scheduled activities for the day.

Location: Located on Highway 11 between Keaau and Pahala

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How to Get to
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is on the southeast side of Hawaii. The entry road is off Highway 11 past the 55-mile marker.

Entering Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

The park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Parking fee : $0.0

The best way to take in the full splendor of the island of Hawaii is with an RV. Rentals are easy at RVshare, and an RV allows you to stay as long or as little as you like at each of the spectacular parks on the island. Be sure to tag RVshare in your social media postings about your journey, or email your pics and memories to [email protected]