It’s not every day that a completely new beach is created. Pohoiki Beach, also known as Isaac Hale Beach Park, was created in October 2018 from the lava flow from the Big Island’s Kilauea Volcano. The lava was hardened into lava rock, and then the huge waves broke down these rocks rather quickly into glistening black sand at this brand new black sand beach.
Where is Pohoiki Beach?
Pohoiki Beach is located in the Puna district just below the city of Hilo on the eastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. There is a dedicated parking area for visitors at Pohoiki Beach.
When Should I Visit?
While Pohoiki Beach is amazing any time of day, I would recommend getting an early(ish) start, simply because it takes quite a while to get there. If you’re staying in Hilo, the drive only takes about an hour. However, if you are staying on the Kona side, the drive takes about two and a half hours. (Perhaps combine this trip with a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.)
What Do I Need to Bring?
Downloaded Google Maps
The most important item to bring on your trip to Pohoiki Beach isn’t actually a physical item. It’s downloaded Google Maps. In order to get to this rather secluded beach, you’ll likely get out of cell service range. So, unless you plan on using a paper map, you’ll have to download Google Maps to get there.
To do so, follow these few steps:
- Open the Google Maps app on your phone.
- Type “Big Island” into the search bar and click on that option.
- In the top right corner, click on the vertical ellipses (“…”).
- From there, it should give you the option to “download.” Click on that and leave the Google Maps app open to complete the download.
- Use as desired (even when you’re out of range of service)!
It can get quite sunny at Pohoiki Beach. Protect your eyesight with a pair of shades!
If you’re protecting your eyes from the sun, you’ll also want to protect your skin with some reef-safe sunscreen. Raw Elements, Stream2Sea, and Kokua Sun Care are just a few fantastic reef-safe sunscreen brands.
It can get hot at this secluded beach. After all, the black sand absorbs a ton of heat from the sun! Bring some water in a nice reusable bottle to rehydrate!
What Can I Do at Pohoiki Beach?
To be clear: Pohoiki Beach is not the kind of beach where you take a relaxing dip in the water. The waves are HUGE. That’s how they were able to break the lava rock into sand so quickly. So it’s not a smart decision to get into the water at Pohoiki Beach. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do at this stunning black sand beach.
Enjoy the Drive Over
Because of the lava flow in 2018, the drive to Pohoiki Beach is quite an interesting one. While sections are lush and green, they swiftly change into a sparkling black landscape covered with fallen white trees, which were bleached from the lava’s heat. It truly is something that you can’t see anywhere else.
Another interesting sight to see on the drive over is some volcano steam. There are sections of the road that have the capacity to open up about an inch to let the steam from the volcano out! So, if you do see the steam, don’t worry, there’s no fire!
Check Out the Black Sand
Obviously, the highlight of Pohoiki Beach is the fresh black sand. In comparison to other black sand beaches on the island, the sand at Pohoiki is significantly darker, because it is much fresher. The sun hasn’t had time to make it a little grayer. If you want the blackest of sand, brush away the top level of sand with your foot. The sand beneath the surface hasn’t even seen sun before, so it’s the blackest it can get!
Look for the Specks of Green
In addition to the extra black sand, you’ll also notice that there are little specks of green! These are small pieces of olivine, a green crystal that also comes from lava. These olivine pieces actually get rarer the older a black sand beach gets, so there is quite a lot at Pohoiki Beach in comparison to the other black sand beaches around the world.
*Bonus: this is the same green crystal that is found at the famed green sand beach on the Big Island.
Watch the Waves Roll In
As mentioned previously, the waves at Pohoiki Beach are HUGE. So why not just sit there and watch ‘em roll in?
Enjoy the Sun
Most people don’t actually sit and enjoy the sun at Pohoiki Beach. It’s more of a drive-up-and-take-some-pictures beach. However, the sun at this beach can be quite nice! So why not lay out a towel and enjoy it? And be sure to lather up in that reef-safe sunscreen!
Did you like this Big Island beach? Here are a couple more of my favorite Big Island beaches!
Have you ever been to Pohoiki Beach? Tell me about it in the comments! (I promise I’ll respond!)
Thinking about visiting some of Pohoiki Beach on your next trip to the Big Island of Hawaii? Or maybe just planning your dream vacation for the future? Pin this post for later!
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