Hawaii. Just hearing the word conjures up visions of white sandy beaches, crystal clear ocean water, and perfect waves for most people. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is no exception to this rule.
Hapuna Beach has been rated as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, as well as the best beach on “The Big Island” of Hawaii! It is known for it’s extremely soft white sand; walking on it is like getting a foot massage, and it’s very comfortable for sunbathers. The Beach boasts of turquoise blue water that is so clear, a swimmer can be up to his neck in the water and still see the bottom!
Many families like to come to this beach, as they can enjoy a full day of fun in the sun. The beach is just a short walk from the parking lot. Parking in the State Park is free, and there is no entrance fee. There is also a snack bar available at the recreation area, as well as a large area with shelters and picnic tables, for times when enjoying so much fun produces an appetite. Barbeque grills are also available. The Recreation Area has free restrooms, as well as showers available for visitors.
Depending on the time of year, the water can be peacefully calm, making it easy for kids as well as adults to enjoy swimming and playing in the water. At other times, especially during the winter, the weather can be a little windier. For good swimmers, this makes for perfect conditions for boogie boarding and surfing. There is a rental area where boogie boards, umbrellas and other gear can be checked out. There are always lifeguards on duty, as the safety of the swimmers is of utmost importance at the Recreation Area.
For snorkelers, there is a lot to see! There is a small coral reef located near the beach, where many types of fish can be seen. Many swim out to some rocky outcroppings, where even more sea life can be viewed. Many have had the rare, amazing opportunity of being able to view and swim with sea turtles!
The Ala Kahakai trail is a great coastal hiking trail that is accessible from the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. The trail takes the hiker along the coastline, over ancient trails used for centuries by fishermen, as well as Hawaiian Kingdom roads that form a single continuous route. The trail goes through both public and private land, and provides easy accessibility to many resorts and beaches. The Ala Kahakai trail also takes the hiker to some of the most beautiful, untouched shoreline in Hawaii. It also provides access to many anachialine ponds, which are highly protected and unique ecosystems. As the trail takes the hiker along potentionally dangerous cliffs near the sea, extreme caution is recommended.
As most visitors don’t want their stay at the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area to end, many choose to rent one of the A-frame shelters that the recreation area has available. Up to four people can stay in these shelters. The shelters contain a large screened room, complete with wooden sleeping stations. A guest will want to bring an air mattress or cushion, as the surface is a bit hard. The shelter includes a pavilion with a range, table and refrigerator. Outside of the shelters are comfort stations, where the guests of all the shelters have access to restrooms and cold showers. The rate for non-Hawaii residents is $50 per shelter per night, and $30 per night for Hawaii residents.
In times of heavy winds, waves can reach up to three feet or higher! During such conditions, extreme caution is required. Dangerous rip currents, as well as pounding shore breaks may occur. Only experts should swim during such times of high surf.
As the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is located on the Island of Hawaii, it is very easily accessible for tourists. Many tour buses offer transportation from the airport to the Park. It is located about 20-30 minutes north of the airport, right off HI-19. To learn more, please visit the Recreation Area’s official website: www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/hawaii/hapuna.cfm.
The Recreation Area can be contacted by phone at: (808) 882-6206.