Last Updated on January 4, 2024

The surfer’s paradise of Hawaii has plenty to offer to beach lovers, including a few locations where you can enjoy sand dune sledding and skimboarding.

Despite the fact that the islands were formed by volcanic activity, there are neither any true deserts nor any places suitable for volcano boarding in Hawaii.

That said, this state is home to an ancient form of volcano sledding still occasionally practiced by locals.

As far as sandboarding goes, the only sand dunes you will find on the islands are rather small beach dunes, but that does not stop people from slide down for fun whenever the wind is too mild for surfing in the sea.

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Sandboarding in Hawaii: Green Sand Beach
Papakolea / Green Sand Beach. Photo courtesy of Elserbio00.

Papakolea Green Sand Beach – Ka Lae, Big Island

One of the most popular attractions in the Ka’u area of Big Island (the main settlement of Hawaii) is the so-called Green Sand Beach, which goes after the official name of Papakolea beach.

The beach is carved out of a 49.000-year-old cinder cone from the Mauna Loa volcano, which contains the green olivine crystals that give the beach its name.

Green Sand Beach has the steepest and best dunes for sandboarding in Hawaii.

Green Beach is only one of four places in the world where you can enjoy green-colored sand (the others being Talofofo Beach in Guam, Hornindalsvatnet in Norway, and Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island (Galapagos).

Jayson Beste Sandboarding at the Green Sand Beach in Hawaii 7/7/07

Papakolea Green Sand Beach on the Big Island is one of the most popular sandboarding spots in the state. The beach is located in Ka Lae (South Point), about 12 miles from the town of Na’alehu.

To get there, take Highway 11 south to mile marker 69. Turn left onto Highway 190 and follow it for about 6 miles to the end of the road. The beach is located on the right.

Makena Big Beach – Kihei, Maui

One of the most outstanding beaches in Maui, known informally as “Big Beach“, alternatively with the names of Makena Beach and Oneloa Beach.

This beach stretches for more than a half-mile and is unusually wide by Maui standards, with plenty of dunes to explore.

The sand here is a bit softer than the sand at Papakolea, making it a bit easier to ride on.

This beach is located in Makena, about 15 miles from the town of Wailuku. To get there, take Highway 30 east to Makena Road. Turn left onto Makena Road and follow it to the beach.

 Sunset Beach – Pupukea, O’ahu

Sunset Beach Park is located in the land division of Paumalu in the island of Oahu. It does not have huge dunes but you can skimboard down the shore into the water.

The dunes here are not as steep as the dunes at Papakolea or Makena, but they are still a lot of fun to ride on.

Pupukea Beach Park is located in Pupukea, about 39 miles from Waikiki. To get there, take Highway 99 north to Haleiwa. Turn left onto Pupukea Road and follow it to the beach.

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Tips for sandboarding in Hawaii

Choose the right location. The best sandboarding spots in Hawaii have large dunes with soft sand.

Papakolea Green Sand Beach on the Big Island and Makena Big Beach on Maui are both popular sandboarding destinations.

Papakolea Green Sand Beach has the steepest and best dunes for sandboarding in Hawaii, but the sand is also very coarse and sharp.

Makena Big Beach has large dunes with softer sand, making it a good choice for beginners.

Wear the right gear. When sandboarding in Hawaii, it is important to wear water shoes to protect your feet from the hot sand and sharp rocks.

It is also important to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Additionally, it is a good idea to wear elbow and knee pads, and a helmet, to protect yourself from injuries in case you fall.

Start small. If you are a beginner, it is best to start with a small dune at Papakolea Green Sand Beach or Makena Big Beach.

Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to larger dunes.

Lean back and keep your weight centered over the board. This will help you maintain your balance and prevent you from falling backwards.

Use your arms to steer. Don’t use your feet to steer, as this can cause you to lose your balance.

Instead, use your arms to guide the board in the direction you want to go.

Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of other people and obstacles on the sand.

Also, be careful not to sandboard off of a dune that is too steep.

Have fun!

Sandboarding is a great way to get some exercise and have fun in the sun, and the beaches of Hawaii are some of the most incredible places where this sport can be practiced.

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