Visiting Waipi‘o Beach on the Big Island

Stretching over a mile, Waipi‘o Beach (access via Waipi‘o Valley Rd.) is the longest black-sand beach on the island. A tall and somewhat tangled stand of trees and bushes fronts this beach, capping the dune.

If you hiked the one-hour vertical road to get here you’ll likely want to jump in immediately, but be careful: The surf here can be dangerous, and there are many riptides. If there is strong wave action, swimming is not advised. It is, however, a good place for surfing and fishing.

Stretching over a mile, Waipi‘o Beach is the longest black-sand beach on the Big Island.
Stretching over a mile, Waipi‘o Beach is the longest black-sand beach on the Big Island. Photo © Waifer X, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

There are two sections of the beach, and in order to get to the long expanse of beach across the mouth of the stream, you have to wade across it. It’s best to try closer to where it enters the ocean as there are fewer slippery boulders there. To compound matters, waves sometimes wash water up the mouth of the stream. If possible, go at low tide. Note there are no changing areas here. Portable bathrooms are located behind the beach near the parking area.

To get to the beach, you have to get down the gripping Waipi‘o Valley Road first. Whether you walk or drive down, when you get to the bottom turn at the first right instead of continuing straight into the valley and into private property. You’ll find the next portion of your walk or drive to be muddy and filled with potholes. This road takes you directly to the beach. If you drove, park your car in the area under the trees, where there will likely be other cars. If you walked, it’s often possible to hitch a ride back up with someone driving from the beach.


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