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Located off Hwy 11south of Volcanoes National Park (between the towns of Pahala and Na’alehu) the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is the largest and most accessible black sand beach on the Big Island. Great places to picnic, (there is a restroom) relax and watch the Honu (Hawaiian Green Sea turtle) sunbathe on the black sand. Be sure to keep your distance from the turtles (they are an endangered species) and do not take any of the black sand. Enjoy this tranquil place and incredible ocean views.
Renowned as the southernmost point in the United States and the likely place where the first Polynesians reached the Hawaiian Islands, South Point is in a National Historic District Landmark area. Ruins of heiaus (temples), fishing shrines, and ancient canoe moorings are still present here. The South Point road intersection is 7 miles west of the town of Na’alehu off of Hwy 11 (between mile-markers 69 and 70). Once on South Pointe road it’s approximately 20 miles to the end. The road is a single lane and the area is remote so bring whatever provisions you may need.
The cliff near South Point Park road is a mooring place for the local fisherman. The water can be crystal clear with views to the bottom but swimming is not recommended due to dangerous currents.
Hawaii’s only World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, the park features two of the world’s most active volcanoes (Mauna Loa and Kilauea). Volcanoes National Park is approximately 35 miles to the north and east of the Punalu’u Bake Shop off Hwy 11. Covering more than 300,000 acres from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet above sea level, the park offers spectaculars views of an ancient and ever changing volcanic landscape. The park is a great place to hike, take photos and experience nature as we rarely ever get to do.
Located near to South Point, access to this unique olivine covered beach is either by four wheel drive or by hiking a round trip of five miles from the end of South Point Ka Lae road. Be sure to where good hiking shoes, sun screen and bring plenty of water. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Ka’u coast line as you journey to the beach. Caution, swimming in the area can be hazardous due to strong currents.
Photo Courtesy of Peter Anderson. http://www.kaupeter.blogspot.com