Pahala is a town of about a thousand residents near the south tip of the Big Island. It's easy to miss as the town doesn't straddle the highway like neighboring Na'alehu
does. Pahala has a local vibe but the folks there are friendly. It's worth stopping into if you need fuel for your car or your body. They have a gas station, a grocery, a Longs Drugs, and historic cottages for rent (next to the gas station). The town also has several wonderful beaches nearby. The best known of these is Punalu'u Black Sand Beach
, a gorgeous place that has been discovered by turtles and tourists. Despite being so far from Hilo
, this modest-sized beach can be packed at times. Sea Mountain Resort is close to Punalu'u, as is the unique shoreside Punaluu Campground, so that adds to the load of beachgoers. If Punalu'u is too busy and you like to hike, you can leave your car in the same lot and trek across lava for about 2.5 miles to a little-known black sand beach called Kamehame
. Next to the campground there's an area with less sand that has abundant ponds and ponds where you can explore around. That area, called Koloa Beach
, also has a heiau above it. A shorter hike nearby gets you to Kawa Bay
which also has black sand and ancient Hawaiian sites. If you haven't been to Punalu'u Beach or the surrounding area, add it to your list and stop into Pahala during your visit.