When you want a break from the crowds, but don’t want to compromise on beachside adventures, jet on over to Keawaiki Bay. A hidden gem along the South Kohala Coast, this beach does take quite a bit of effort to get to. But you’ll be well rewarded by the sight of its lone palm and the golden pools all around. Phenomenal ocean views add to the magic of this quiet shoreline, making it a must-see location, for sure.
To get here, you’ll want to travel down Queen Kaahumanu Highway until you reach the open pullout area near mile marker 79. After that, find a spot away from the gate to park, and then lock up your vehicle. Make sure you’re wearing a sturdy pair of hiking boots for the trip over the lava rocks. The old lava trails have an extremely rough surface that eats through normal shoes surprisingly fast. You can make it to the beach by following the four-wheel-drive road heading toward the water. Follow it closely while avoiding going past the private property signs on the south side of the trail.
Keep in mind that, although this beach is well worth visiting, there are no facilities onsite. Lifeguards are never on duty either. So, make sure that you use the bathroom before heading out, plus bring plenty of water and trash bags to pack out your garbage. Put on reef-safe SPF 50+ sunblock before going out in the sun. Then, reapply the sunblock every two hours to avoid getting sunburnt. The glare of the sun off the surface of the ocean is a killer, too. So, wear sunglasses with UV protection as well. Also, don’t bother bringing your boogieboards and other swimming gear.
Along with the absence of lifeguards, the secluded nature of the beach makes for dangerous swimming conditions. You simply won’t have anyone available to call for help if you end up in trouble while out on the water. Despite that, you’ll often see locals playing along the water’s edge and even swimming near the shores. They’re definitely swimming at their own risk though, and it’s really best to save the water activities for a lifeguard-protected beach.
Instead, you’ll want to check out the palm tree standing all by its lonesome on the open shores. Despite being on its own, the palm thrives in the bright sunlight. To share its strength with the world, remember to take several photos of yourself with the tree. Don’t forget to use the beautiful oceanside and dark sandy shores to frame your photos perfectly.
Then, head down the trail near Pueo Bay to gaze in awe at the Golden Pools of Keawaiki. Otherwise known as anchialine pools, these small inland bodies of water connect to the ocean underground. So, while they’re largely freshwater in nature, their ocean connection makes for rather brackish conditions. This allows bright golden algae to grow all over, creating a truly phenomenal sight.
Do not attempt to swim in the golden pools. Even dipping your feet in or swishing your hand through the water could harm its fragile ecosystem. Instead, take a seat near the water’s edge and simply look inside to see what creatures you can spot. From that vantage point, you can also see the interesting color and texture of the golden algae up close.
-Carefully walk along the paths to avoid meandering onto private property.
-The waves often get a whole lot more powerful in the winter months. Always check the weather before going to the beach, and then watch the conditions carefully for any signs of a sudden change.
-If you happen to see any sea turtles on your visit, stay at least 10 feet away to avoid disturbing them. They are a protected marine species, after all, which could result in serious fines if you get too close.