Located on the southeastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, Kehena Black Sand Beach is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This stunning beach is known for its unique black sand, created by volcanic activity in the area. With its breathtaking beauty and secluded atmosphere, Kehena Black Sand Beach offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience that truly captures the essence of Hawaii.
As you step onto the black sand, you’ll immediately be struck by its striking contrast against the vibrant turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. This natural wonder is a testament to the powerful forces of nature, and it’s no wonder why Kehena Black Sand Beach has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
A Geological Wonder: The Formation of Kehena Black Sand Beach
Deep beneath the surface of the ocean, a series of volcanic eruptions occurred over thousands of years, shaping the landscape of the Big Island of Hawaii. Lava flowed from the Kilauea volcano and eventually reached the shoreline, where it cooled and solidified, creating the unique black sand that defines Kehena Black Sand Beach today.
Over time, the relentless crashing of waves against the volcanic rocks gradually eroded the lava, breaking it down into smaller particles. These particles, composed mainly of basalt, formed the iconic black sand that stretches along the beach. The black color is a result of the rapid cooling of molten lava, which prevents the formation of large crystals typically found in other types of sand.
The Role of Erosion
Erosion played a crucial role in shaping Kehena Black Sand Beach. The constant movement of waves, carrying sediment and debris, gradually wore away the volcanic rocks lining the shore. As the rocks broke down, the black sand was deposited, creating the distinctive beach that attracts visitors from around the world.
Volcanic Activity and the Changing Landscape
The Big Island of Hawaii is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Kilauea. As an active shield volcano, Kilauea continues to shape the landscape through ongoing eruptions and lava flows. While Kehena Black Sand Beach has remained relatively stable in recent years, the island’s volcanic activity can cause the coastline to shift and change over time.
Getting to Kehena Black Sand Beach: Directions and Transportation
Reaching Kehena Black Sand Beach requires some planning, as it is located in a remote part of the Big Island. The beach can be accessed via Highway 137, also known as Red Road, which winds along the scenic coastline. However, it’s important to note that the road conditions can vary, so it’s advisable to check for any closures or restrictions before embarking on your journey.
If you’re driving from Hilo, the largest city on the eastern side of the Big Island, follow Highway 11 south until you reach Highway 130. Take Highway 130 south until you reach Highway 132, also known as Pahoa-Kapoho Road. Continue on Pahoa-Kapoho Road until you reach Highway 137, where you’ll turn left and follow the road until you reach Kehena Black Sand Beach.
For those without access to a car, there are limited public transportation options available to reach Kehena Black Sand Beach. The Hele-On Bus service operates routes around the island, but it’s essential to check the schedule and plan accordingly, as the service may not be frequent or available during weekends or holidays.
Things to Do at Kehena Black Sand Beach
Once you’ve arrived at Kehena Black Sand Beach, you’ll find an array of activities to enjoy during your visit. Whether you prefer to relax and soak up the sun or engage in more adventurous pursuits, this beach has something for everyone.
Swimming and Snorkeling
The calm waters of Kehena Black Sand Beach make it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling. Dive into the crystal-clear depths and discover a vibrant underwater world teeming with tropical fish and marine life. Be sure to bring your snorkeling gear and explore the pristine coral reefs just off the shoreline.
Sunbathing and Beachcombing
With its secluded atmosphere and picturesque views, Kehena Black Sand Beach offers the perfect setting for sunbathing and beachcombing. Spread out your towel on the soft black sand and soak up the warm Hawaiian sun while listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach and keep an eye out for unique seashells and other treasures washed ashore.
Picnicking and Beachside Barbecues
Kehena Black Sand Beach provides picnic tables and shaded areas, making it an excellent spot for a beachside picnic or barbecue. Pack a delicious lunch and enjoy a meal with family and friends while taking in the stunning ocean views. Remember to follow proper beach etiquette and clean up after yourself to help preserve the natural beauty of this pristine environment.
Safety Tips for Visiting Kehena Black Sand Beach
While Kehena Black Sand Beach is a beautiful destination, it’s essential to prioritize safety during your visit to ensure a memorable and incident-free experience.
Swimming and Ocean Safety
Before entering the water, always assess the conditions and be aware of any potential hazards, such as strong currents or high surf. If you’re not a strong swimmer, consider wearing a life jacket or staying in shallow areas where you can touch the ocean floor. It’s also advisable to swim with a buddy and never leave children unattended near the water.
Hawaii’s tropical climate means that the sun’s rays can be intense, even on cloudy days. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Seek shade during the hottest hours of the day and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
As with any natural environment, it’s crucial to respect and preserve the fragile ecosystem of Kehena Black Sand Beach. Avoid stepping on or touching coral reefs, as they are living organisms essential to the health of marine life. Dispose of trash responsibly and follow any posted signs or guidelines to help protect the beach’s unique ecosystem.
Wildlife and Marine Life at Kehena Black Sand Beach
Kehena Black Sand Beach is not only a paradise for beachgoers but also a haven for wildlife and marine life. From sea turtles to tropical fish, the beach offers a glimpse into the diverse and fascinating ecosystems that thrive in this area.
Keep an eye out for Hawaiian green sea turtles, also known as honu, which can often be seen basking in the sun or swimming in the shallow waters near the shoreline. These gentle creatures are protected by law, so it’s important to observe them from a respectful distance and never touch or disturb them.
Tropical Fish and Coral Reefs
Grab your snorkeling gear and explore the underwater wonders of Kehena Black Sand Beach. The crystal-clear waters are home to a variety of tropical fish, including vibrant parrotfish, yellow tangs, and butterflyfish. Take your time to observe the colorful coral reefs and the fascinating marine life that calls them home.
Nearby Attractions and Activities
If you’re looking to explore more of the Big Island, Kehena Black Sand Beach serves as an excellent base for discovering nearby attractions and activities. From hiking trails to cultural sites, there’s something for everyone in this captivating region.
Volcanoes National Park
Just a short drive from Kehena Black Sand Beach, you’ll find the awe-inspiring Volcanoes National Park. Explore the otherworldly landscapes, walk through lava tubes, and witness the power of the Kilauea volcano. Don’t miss the chance to witness the glowing lava at night, as it paints a mesmerizing picture against the dark sky.
Warm Ponds and Hot Springs
Indulge in the therapeutic benefits of the warm ponds and hot springs found in the Puna region. A short drive from Kehena Black Sand Beach, these natural geothermal pools provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Immerse yourself in the warm waters and let your worries melt away.
Best Time to Visit Kehena Black Sand Beach
Timing is everything when it comes to visiting Kehena Black Sand Beach. To ensure the most enjoyable experience, it’s important to consider both the time of year and the ideal time of day to visit.
The Big Island of Hawaii experiences a tropical climate, with relatively consistent temperatures year-round. However, the winter months (December to February) tend to bring higher surf and occasional rainfall. If you prefer calmer waters and drier conditions, consider visiting during the summer months (June to August).
Optimal Time of Day
To fully appreciate the beauty of Kehena Black Sand Beach, plan your visit during the early morning or late afternoon. Not only will you avoidthe peak crowds, but you’ll also be treated to stunning sunrises or sunsets over the ocean. The soft golden light illuminating the black sand creates a truly magical atmosphere that will leave you in awe.
Local Tips and Insider Knowledge
For a truly immersive experience at Kehena Black Sand Beach, tap into the local tips and insider knowledge that can enhance your visit and help you discover hidden gems.
Explore the Tide Pools
Within walking distance of Kehena Black Sand Beach, you’ll find a network of tide pools that are perfect for exploring. These shallow pools are teeming with marine life, including colorful fish, sea urchins, and anemones. Remember to tread carefully and avoid stepping on the delicate creatures that inhabit these pools.
Attend a Beach Gathering
Kehena Black Sand Beach has a reputation for its vibrant beach gatherings, where locals and visitors come together to celebrate the island’s rich culture. From drum circles to fire dancing, these impromptu events offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the lively spirit of Hawaii. Keep an eye out for posters or ask locals for information on upcoming beach gatherings during your visit.
Preserving the Beauty of Kehena Black Sand Beach
Preserving the natural beauty of Kehena Black Sand Beach is essential for future generations to enjoy. As responsible visitors, we can all play a role in maintaining the pristine condition of this stunning beach.
Leave No Trace
Always clean up after yourself and leave the beach as you found it. Dispose of any trash in designated bins and avoid leaving behind any food or debris that may harm wildlife or disturb the delicate ecosystem.
Respect Wildlife and Marine Life
While it’s exciting to encounter wildlife and marine life at Kehena Black Sand Beach, it’s important to observe them from a respectful distance. Avoid touching or disturbing any animals, especially sea turtles, and never feed them. Remember that we are guests in their natural habitat and should prioritize their well-being.
Follow Posted Guidelines and Regulations
Be sure to read and adhere to any posted signs or guidelines at Kehena Black Sand Beach. These regulations are in place to protect the environment and ensure the safety of visitors. Stay on designated paths and avoid trampling on vegetation or disturbing nesting sites.
In conclusion, Kehena Black Sand Beach is a true hidden gem on the Big Island of Hawaii. Its unique black sand, breathtaking beauty, and secluded atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts. Whether you’re swimming in the crystal-clear waters, sunbathing on the soft black sand, or exploring the nearby attractions, Kehena Black Sand Beach offers a memorable experience that will stay with you long after you leave. By following safety guidelines and respecting the fragile ecosystem, we can all contribute to the preservation of this natural wonder for future generations to enjoy. So pack your sunscreen, grab your snorkeling gear, and get ready to discover the magic of Kehena Black Sand Beach.