Hawaii July 30, 2019
Explore Vast Open Spaces At This Coastal State Park In Hawaii
From cascading waterfalls and the inviting turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean to lush rain forests and mountain peaks, breathtaking natural beauty abounds on the Hawaiian Islands. And nowhere will you find more breathtaking scenery than within Hawaii’s incredible state parks. With more than 50 state parks, waysides, recreation areas, monuments, and historic sites scattered across the islands, there are countless Hawaiian parks to choose from, but this is one of our favorites.
Nestled along Hawaii Island’s North Kona Coast is the Kiholo State Park Reserve, a striking slice of paradise just waiting to be discovered.
This stark, coastal, lava-covered park is home to stunning trails, a breathtaking bay, and some wild camping, accessible via an unimproved gravel access road.
Designated under park reserve status, Kiholo is still undergoing conceptual planning for future public use, and we can’t wait to see what is in store for this vast, beautiful state park.
The land surrounding Kiholo is flanked to the south by a lava flow from Mount Hualalai, circa 1801, and another flow from Mauna Loa, circa 1859.
But that’s not the only history you’ll find here: in 1820, Kiholo Bay was created as a man-made fishing pond for King Kamehameha the Great, a recreational area bordered by rock walls six feet tall and 20 feet wide. During the 1859 lava flow, much of the structure was destroyed, and now, you will find the remnants as large stones surrounding the tide pools. The hardened lava from the eruption is also the cause of the bay’s black pebble beaches.
This wasn't always the case, though.
Some say the bay used to be "loved to death" by locals and tourists alike, but conservation efforts — including a ban on driving along the coastline — has aided in restoring this phenomenal bay to its former glory. Now, the only way to see all this stunning destination has to offer is to hike.
Now, the only way to see all this stunning destination has to offer is to hike.
While the trailhead is found near the center of Kiholo Bay, you will need to hike to experience the bay's western and eastern sides. The trail is approximately 2.8 miles round trip, and you will need to carry in all of your beach gear. The trail surrounding Kiholo Bay takes hikers to a black sand beach, a flooded lava tube, and some incredible sights. Don't forget your camera!
On the northern end of the bay, you will find Wainanaliʻi Pond, a unique body of water nestled between a lava flow and a grove of coconut trees.
This area is known to locals as the Blue Lagoon and is an oasis for Hawaiian green sea turtles who use this destination to feed and bask on the rocks.
Care to extend your beach day into an entire beach weekend? You’re in luck!
Camping is permitted Friday through Sunday nights only, and starts at just $12 per night, per campsite (up to six guests) for Hawaii residents. Be warned, though: this is as primitive as camping gets. You will not find any facilities (or freshwater) in this remote bay.
There is something absolutely magical about the contrast between the stark, lava-covered coast and the crystalline turquoise waters, wouldn’t you agree?
The views here are seemingly endless, and we love exploring the vast open spaces found at Kiholo State Park Reserve.
So, what are you waiting for? If this park isn't on your Hawaii bucket list, it should be.
Address: 71-2000 Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, Kailua, HI 96740
The Kiholo State Park Reserve is free and open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from April 1 through Labor Day and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Labor Day through March 31. For more information, visit the Division Of State Parks
website. Have you ever visited this stunning coastal park before? Share your experiences in the comments below.