Fodor's Expert Review Papakolea Beach

Kau Beach
Free

Those tired of the same old white- or black-sand beach can lace up good hiking shoes or sneakers to get to this olive-green crescent, one of the most unusual beaches on the island. It lies at the base of Puu O Mahana, at Mahana Bay, where a cinder cone formed during an early eruption of Mauna Loa. The greenish tint is caused by an accumulation of olivine crystals that form in volcanic eruptions. The dry, barren landscape is totally surreal but stunning, as aquamarine waters lap on green sand against reddish cliffs. Drive down to South Point; at the end of the 12-mile paved road, take the road to the left and park at the end. To reach the beach, follow the 2¼-mile coastal trail, which ends in a steep and dangerous descent down the cliffside on an unimproved trail. The hike takes about two hours each way and can get hot and windy, so bring lots of drinking water. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are no longer permitted on the trail. The surf is often rough and swimming can be hazardous due to... READ MORE

Those tired of the same old white- or black-sand beach can lace up good hiking shoes or sneakers to get to this olive-green crescent, one of the most unusual beaches on the island. It lies at the base of Puu O Mahana, at Mahana Bay, where a cinder cone formed during an early eruption of Mauna Loa. The greenish tint is caused by an accumulation of olivine crystals that form in volcanic eruptions. The dry, barren landscape is totally surreal but stunning, as aquamarine waters lap on green sand against reddish cliffs. Drive down to South Point; at the end of the 12-mile paved road, take the road to the left and park at the end. To reach the beach, follow the 2¼-mile coastal trail, which ends in a steep and dangerous descent down the cliffside on an unimproved trail. The hike takes about two hours each way and can get hot and windy, so bring lots of drinking water. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are no longer permitted on the trail. The surf is often rough and swimming can be hazardous due to strong currents, so caution is advised. Amenities: none. Best for: solitude; walking.

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Beach Free Outdoor

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Hwy. 11
Naalehu, Hawaii  96772, USA

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