Waiʻānapanapa State Park is a small beachfront park on the far east side of Maui Island in Hawaii. Here visitors have the opportunity to visit the volcanic Black Sand Beach which is truly one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Maui.
The Waiʻānapanapa State Park can be easily reached from the scenic Road to Hana Highway. This is one of the most popular stops along the Hana Highway including the Twin Falls Maui Waterfall, Rainbow Trees, Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread stand, and the Pīpīwai Trail.
To visit the Black Sand Beach, you will need to book a reservation ahead of time – which we will cover in this post. If you’re craving a good road trip and gorgeous beaches, we share all that you need to know for visiting the Waiʻānapanapa State Park in Maui!
Know Before You Go
Here are a few important visitor tips to keep in mind before you head out to Waiʻānapanapa State Park:
- You will need a reservation to visit the Black Sand Beach. Without a reservation, you will be turned away which can feel devastating after driving for hours to get there.
- It costs a fee to visit this beach. The current cost is $10 for car parking plus $5 per person in the car. So if you have 4 people in your car, you’re looking to pay around $30 (plus tax). There are many free activities that you can do along the Road to Hana, but this beach is worth dishing out the fee!
- You will need to pick a time slot for your visit. The earlier you book your reservation, the more choices you will have at picking a time slot that works best for you. We picked the last option from 3 pm – 6 pm as this was our last stop along the Road to Hana drive (and it was the only time slot left open).
- Don’t arrive late. The arrival times are very strict. You HAVE to arrive and exit within your reservation time frame – the times are not lenient and the staff is firm to the minute when it comes to exit times. If you arrive late, you will be cutting your visit at the Black Sand Beach short, and believe me – you’ll want to spend at least a couple of hours here!
How To Make A Reservation
In order to visit the Waiʻānapanapa State Park you will need to make a reservation and pay for an entrance ahead of time.
It’s recommended that you purchase entrance tickets at least a few days in advance. You can book the reservation up to 14 days in advance and no later than 1 day before your visit (no same-day reservations are allowed). This means that you will need to do some planning but don’t miss out on this incredible experience by waiting too long to make your reservation!
Currently there are four time slots available for visitors:
- 7:00 am – 10:00 am
- 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
- 12:30 am – 3:00 pm
- 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
We booked our reservation a couple of days before driving the Road to Hana and most of the time slots were already taken up. We were able to get the last time slot available from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. In a way, this worked out for us because we were able to see everything else along the Road to Hana drive and visit the Black Sand Beach right before sunset as our last stop.
Reservations for the Waiʻānapanapa State Park can be made here: Gowaianapanapa.com
- Click on “Reserve Now“
- For voucher type select “Parking & Entry”
- Select the date of your visit
- Pick the time slot
- Pick the number of people in your vehicle – you will need a reservation for each person in your car
Then you will need to enter your credit card information and the name of every passenger. After that, you will be provided with a mobile QR code that you can present to the attendant at the entrance.
Location & Parking
The Waiʻānapanapa State Park is located off the famous Road to Hana Highway in Maui. If you’re driving there directly without any stops, it’s about a 2 drive from Kihei and a 2.5-hour drive from Lahaina. But most travelers visit multiple attractions along the Road to Hana on their way to Black Sand Beach turning it into an all-day adventure.
For directions to the Black Sand Beach, set your map to “Waiʻānapanapa State Park” and your navigation will lead you to the entrance.
From Hana Highway, you will need to turn into Honokalani Rd/Waianapanapa Rd and the entrance gate will be soon after. You will need to show a Mobile QR code at the entrance confirming your reservation. The visitor parking lot is located after the entrance gate to the right.
Address: Waianapanapa, Hana, HI 96713
Visiting The Black Sand Beach
The Black Sand Beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park is somewhat small compared to other beaches in Maui, but there is still plenty to do including hiking, swimming, and picnicking.
After parking, you can head to the left along the cliff path. This trail will provide stunning panoramic views of jagged volcanic rocks scattered along the shoreline including a Sea Arch. Many of these volcanic rocks are surrounded by lush plants providing quite the contrast.
Keep going along this path and you will reach a set of stairs that lead down to the Black Sand Beach.
The Black Sand Beach consists of a small cove but there is plenty of space for visitors to spread out and lay on the beach.
If you’re up for swimming, you can also get your feet wet in the water. But the waves and current here was a lot more powerful than at other beaches we visited in Maui.
There are a couple of interesting attractions along the Black Sand Beach. To the right of the cove, there is a Sea Cave made of black volcanic rock that you can explore.
To the left of the beach, there is a Coast Path that climbs up to an overlook of the beach. With a mix of black sand, turquoise water, and green vegetation, this is truly a sight to remember!
If you have the time to spare, you can keep going along this coastal trail. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and had to turn around before we could finish the hike.
About 15 minutes before our time was up, an attendant came around and started asking everyone to leave. If you need to use the restroom before exiting, there is one at the top of the stairs that also has an outdoor shower to wash off your feet.
Overall, I’d say this was one of my favorite stops along the Road to Hana and my only wish was to stay here longer. If you want more than 3 hours at this location, you can always purchase multiple time slots for your visit.
Where To Stay
Most people who visit Maui stay in one of the two main hotel areas – Kihei or Lahaina. We spent 10 days in Maui on our trip and stayed in both of these cities. It takes a couple of hours to reach Waiʻānapanapa State Park from these locations so if you want to stay somewhere closer, I recommend booking a vacation rental in Hana.
Hana is a small town that doesn’t have a whole lot of hotel options, restaurants, or amenities but that is also what makes it so special. Here you can really feel submerged into nature and explore so many incredible attractions nearby.
Here are some of our recommendations for vacation homes in Hana:
- Beautiful Hana Bay cottage – an incredible vacation rental at the center of Hana and just a short drive from the Black Sand Beach. This is one of Hana’s highest-rated rentals with raving 5-star reviews so book it early!
- Entabeni Cottage – this island cottage for two has garnered exceptional reviews and immerses guests in the beauty of a Hawaiian tropical flower farm elevated above the sea. This charming studio cottage sits high above the Road to Hana, providing visitors with stellar views of Maui’s beautiful north shore.
- Anya’s House – Anya’s House is a beautiful traditional cottage for four with Old Hawaii charm. This VRBO rental is best for those seeking a bit of seclusion away from busy tourist places. The home also features a large deck that looks out over the ocean and surrounding gardens.
Want to visit the Road to Hana but don’t feel like driving along narrow, winding mountain roads yourself? Then check out this guided all-day tour that will take you to some of the best Road to Hana stops, provide lunch, and the opportunity to learn more about the Hawaii culture and history.
Looking for more things to do in Maui? Here are some of our other popular Maui posts to help with your trip planning!
- Twin Falls Maui Waterfall Along The Road To Hana
- Kapalua Coastal Trail In West Maui, Hawaii
- Acid War Zone Trail To Nakalele Blowhole In Maui
- Guide To Hiking Waihe’e Ridge Trail In Maui, Hawaii
- Sliding Sands to Halemau’u Trail At Haleakalā National Park
Interested in stepping up your photography skills? Here is the camera gear that I use and recommend to create amazing travel photos:
- Main camera: Sony a7II Camera With 28-70 mm Standard Lens
- Polarizer Filter for the standard lens (helps eliminate reflection and enhance color especially on super bright days): Amazon Basics 55 mm
- Wide Lens (great for nature shots): Sony 16-35 mm F4
- Polarizer Filter for the wide lens: Amazon Basics 72 mm
- Small Tripod (to stabilize photos and eliminate blur): JOBY Gorrilapod
- Memory Cards: SanDisk 32 GB
- Batteries: Sony Battery Charger Set
- Camera Bag: Lowepro weather-resistant bag
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