Koki Beach Park just south of Hana is striking for its beach sand alone: a yin-yang mix of dark and light. Throw in a few striking landforms and impressive surf, and this Hana Highway cove is really a must-see.
It’s not, however, a terribly good swimming destination. In the calmest conditions in summer, cautious swimmers may take a dip, but this exposed windward bay can have dangerous conditions any time of year. The surf is often heavy-duty and rip currents commonly roil the nearshore waters. Winter waves are particularly gnarly, eating away at the beach that’s then restored by summer sand deposits.
So if it’s swimming you’re after, steer away from Koki Beach and head just a short jog south to the much safer waters of Hanoa Beach. But experienced surfers (and boogie-boarders) covet the Koki Beach breaks, also known as a popular classroom for young local wave-riders to learn the craft.
There’s not much in the way of facilities here, but there’s a grassy swath with picnic tables, grills, and nice ironwood shade.
Dramatic landforms frame Koki Beach. Brooding above it is a cinder cone, Ka Iwi O Pele: “the Bones of Pele.” This is a majorly significant site in Hawaiian mythology. The cinder hill, legend says, marks the heaped-up bones of the great volcano goddess Pele, killed in a rumble with her ocean-goddess sister Namakaokahai. Pele’s spirit journeyed over to the Big Island of Hawaii, where it resides in the steaming, volatile Kilauea volcano.
(A bit of trivia: Ka Iwi O Pele is owned by none other than Oprah Winfrey.)
There’s also a sea arch in view, Lehoula, and also Alau Island offshore, studded with coconut palms. That islet is a rookery for the great frigatebird, or iwa, one of Hawaii’s most arresting seabirds. With wingspans that may exceed six feet and black feathers, iwas are notorious for pirating the catches of other seabirds.
Like Ka Iwi O Pele, Alau Island holds cultural significance for Native Hawaiians. Near the beach, meanwhile, lie two-centuries-old fishponds.
Koki Beach’s location and orientation make it a good catchment for washed-up ocean flotsam. Thus, it can be a productive place to do a little Maui beachcombing. You never know what you might find. With plenty of luck, you might even chance upon a Japanese glass fishing float…
The scenery and often impressive surf—not to mention the skillful surfing—make Koki Beach Park a fascinating place to wile away an hour or two. Its convenience to Hana and to the popular Hamoa Beach are added bonuses.
Where Should I Park?
Right along the beach, there is streetside parking as well as a huge parking lot.
The friendlier waters of Hamoa Beach—popular for swimming and body-surfing—are less than a mile from Koki Beach Park. While most drive in between, you can actually walk there from Koki Beach as well.