About Isaac Hale Beach Park (Pohoiki Beach) on Hilo & East Island, Hawaii
Pohoiki Beach at Isaac Hale Beach Park is a rocky black sand shoreline that’s off the beaten track. The park itself is a worthy destination just for hanging out, but it’s different now and more difficult to get to than before.
The massive lava flow in June 2018 partially covered this park and several things were lost including a parking lot, a pavilion, most of the camp spots, and the eastern part of the shoreline. This thick black lava also wiped out roads to the north (Pohoiki Road) and east of the park so now the only way here is from the west on Highway 137 (Kapoho-Kalapana Road). This adds time to the drive as the park is now located at the end of a dead-end road.
The park has a boat launch, but after the lava flow, the cove was surrounded by huge rock berms which cut it off from the ocean. The area near the boat ramp is now a swimming and soaking pool that is popular with families.
The ocean-facing beach is mostly rocky but it’s still worth exploring. You can walk quite a ways along the shore, but don’t venture inland as the land west of the park is private. Swimming in the open ocean is not advised due to currents and the steep shore break, but lifeguards might be staffed during the day. Since the 2018 lava damage, camping is no longer allowed at Isaac Hale Park. Let’s hope that remaining grass lawns will eventually be open for undesignated camping.
Trails meander all over the place near the park. If you follow trails inland from the boat launch you’ll find more small soaking pools including one known as Pohoiki Hot Spring (warm spring), a freshwater and saltwater soaking pool that is warmed geothermally. It’s best to hit these pools mid-week and during the day as in the evenings and on weekends, they’ll be busier. Don’t enter pools with freshwater if you have open wounds due to leptospirosis and other types of bacteria.
Note the hours of the park posted on the gate as you enter so you don’t get locked in at the end of the day (currently 9am to 7pm). The park is closed for maintenance every third Thursday of the month.
In general, the parks in the Puna District are frequented mostly by locals and this one is no exception. But even if you are a tourist visiting the area, consider the scenic drive out to Pohoiki Beach. There’s a lot to see.
- Pohoiki Rd & HI-137
Pahoa, HI 96778
- Park Name
- Isaac Kepo'okalani Hale Beach Park
- Other Names
- Pohoiki Black Sand Beach, Lae O Kahuna, Kahinihiniula
- Pet Details
- No dogs allowed at county beach parks
- Free day-use parking, fees for camping permits
- Camping, Surfing, Fishing, Swimming, Soaking
- Campground, Lifeguards Daily, Picnic Tables, Hot Springs, Covered Pavilion, Toilets, Showers, Drinking Water, ADA Access
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