About Kamilo Beach on Kau & South Island, Hawaii
Kamilo Beach is a narrow sandy beach located on the eastern face of South Point, the southernmost point of the Hawaiian Islands and the USA. This beach is remote and only accessible via rugged 4×4 roads.
Kamilo is the site of many volunteer beach cleanups by Hawaiian Wildlife Fund. The location of this beach, the direction it faces, and the shape of the shore makes it capture plastic debris floating in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. This trash gets tossed onto the beach due to the strong winds and crashing waves. If you are planning a trip to this remote beach, add a few garbage bags to your packing list and do your part to clean up the shore.
Well before plastics were a thing, the Hawaiian natives would come down to this beach to get logs that had traveled from the shores of the Pacific Northwest (i.e. Washington, Oregon, British Columbia). These northwest species logs, like cedars and firs, were used to create dugout canoes. This area around Kamilo Beach including Ka’alu’alu Bay was a settlement long ago so you might discover historic man-made structures and even petroglyphs. Do not disturb rock piles of any kind during your visit and please respect the land.
Getting to Kamilo requires a four wheel drive vehicle with good clearance as all the road options have rugged lava rocks, deep ruts, and loose dirt/sand in places. The most popular route to Kamilo is from Green Sand Beach. The roads from that direction will pass by Ka’ala’alu Bay just before getting to Kamilo Beach. This route is about four miles to Kaalaalu and about six totall to Kamilo Beach. Just be aware that route finding can be challenging as there are many options and some roads get bad and you’ll have to backtrack. Budget a lot of time to get to this area.
Another driving or hiking option is from the end of Kaalualu Waiohinu Road in Naalehu (near the address 94-1418 Kaalualu Rd, Naalehu, HI 96772). A hike down that old road is about 6.5 miles one way. Bring a map and a GPS to avoid getting lost out in this wilderness.
- 94-1418 Kaalualu Rd
Naalehu, HI 96772
- Park Name
- KaU Forest Reserve, Kamilo Section
- Other Names
- Ka'alu'alu Bay, Pa'akea, Paiaha'a Bay, Kalolo, Lae'Okamilo, Kai'ole Bay, Plastic Beach
- No fees for entering this area
- Tidepooling, Beach Exploration, Off-Road Driving, Beachcombing
- 4x4 Roads, Tide Pools, Historical Sites, Petroglyphs, Trails
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