The Big Island has a brand new beach. You read that right, Pahoa Beach inside of Isaac Hale Beach Park is brand new. But many had to suffer for the creation of this beautiful coastland.
Kilauea, the Big Island’s ever-active volcano, experienced a massive eruption in May of 2018. The lava from the eruption flowed across the island to destroy 700 homes, and the molten rock didn’t stop flowing until early August of 2018. That’s more than three months of devastation.
The lava flow ripped through the nearby town of Pohoiki and narrowly missed Isaac Hale Beach Park. It brought with it tons of lava that cooled into a volcanic rock as it met the sea. The sudden change in temperature shattered some of the rock, and the perpetually pounding of the Pacific smashed the lava flow into pieces. The molten rock re-routed straight into the ocean just 230 feet from the beach park, and all of that newly smashed black sand washed up on Pahoa Beach. It has created a beautiful and haunting jet black landscape..
The black sand from Kilauea’s lava has washed down the shore to seal the park’s harbor shut, but months of restoration work has opened up the bay. You can now walk out on the pier that protects the boat ramp to look down the recently devastated coastline.
This is a popular beach park for locals on the southeastern side of the island, so don’t be surprised to find a crowd. The locals love to come down to Pahoa Beach when the surf is up to challenge the waves on The Big Island’s newest beach. And it is very close to the Lower East Rift Zone where you’re likely to find Kilauea’s flowing lava.
Check the ocean conditions before heading over to this beach. If the water is calm, you’ll be able to snap on your snorkel mask to explore the offshore reef which is teeming with marine life. You’ll be able to gaze at the undestroyed coral reefs and swim beside the green sea turtles that like to feed on the rocky shore’s vegetation. Just remember that touching sea turtles is illegal in the state of Hawaii, and locals love to help police officers enforce this particular law.
The diving is incredible just past the snorkeling reefs, but the water is often to violent for a safe dive. In fact, the water can be too violent to swim at Pahoa Beach, especially during the winter time. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check the ocean reports before heading down.
But you don’t have to swim at Pahoa Beach to enjoy the incredible scenery. It’s the blackest sand beach in all of Hawaii, and it’s backdropped by a row of incredibly green trees. It’s an otherworldly sight that makes for a stunning social media pic.
Driving here can be a bit tricky, especially if you are relying on GPS. The roads in the Puna District of southeast Hawaii were destroyed by the lava flows of 2018, but a new road connects Pohoiki to Mackenzie State Park. You’ll find this incredibly stunning beach at the intersection of Pohoiki Road and Scenic Kapoho-Kalapana Road (Route 137) on the southeast edge of the island.