Oneuli Beach

Hawaii, U.S.A.

Starfish Rating of 4

Claim to Fame

One of the world’s consistently top-rated black sand beaches, and one of its least used.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of By anniebanannie2006
  • Where is it?southern region of the Hawaiian island of Maui, off Makena Alanui Road next to Makena Beach, at the confluence of Maalaea Bay and the Au’au Channel
  • Coordinates: latitude» 20.6439°
    longitude» -156.449°
  • Water Type: saltwater
  • Climate: tropical
  • Development: minimal; there are no facilities at this beach and the immediate area is undeveloped
  • Length of Beach: .75m/1.2km
  • Type: black sand (salt and pepper)
Current Weather

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With stunning vistas and warm waters that are gentle close to shore, this is a perfect spot to sunbathe and foot-paddle, but its beauty hides dangers that lie beyond the reef. Still, if you stay close to shore, and be sure to protect your feet from the hot salt-and-pepper black sand, it’s an idyllic place to while away a relaxing day.

The name “Oneuli” means “dark sands” in the local dialect, and here the color contrast makes this one of the most picturesque locations in the Hawaiian island chain.

Here is where you will find some of the best snorkeling in Maui, thanks to a coral reef not too far off the shoreline and a shelf of lava rock that borders it. Green sea turtles (locally known as “hona”) swim about and bask on the beach; manta rays and small sharks play in the surf.

Because of the reef and shelf, coral abounds, making scuba diving and snorkeling fascinating. Stick to the north end of the beach for the best underwater exploring. And be sure to surface frequently to verify your position; the currents can be tricksters in this area. It’s always safest and smartest to have someone on shore watching your movements, especially since this is an unmonitored, under-utilized beach.

Overnight camping is permitted on the beach, making it one of the few places left on the planet that allows this, but be prepared to wake up next to a snoring hona!

Within the reef area, close to shore, the waters are suitably shallow to launch a kayak, which is an ideal way to tour the area. You’ll be able to see deep into the sea; the waters are crystal clear.

Oneuli Beach is the ideal escapist beach for anyone who wants grand beauty and serious heat. And privacy.

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