The Beaches of Pahoa 2023

If you have the exploring spirit, then the beaches of Pahoa are just right for you!

Before our trip, my boyfriend and I researched a lot online for a remote and fun Hawaii experience, and we landed on Pahoa.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the trip!

This trip was a wise decision because it was not your typical commercial tour of Hawaii. We found some cool tourist-free beaches and even some black sand beaches.

I’m ranking the 4 best of the best beaches based on the stunning views, lack of crowds, unique experience and overall feel.

#1. Shipman Beach (Haena Beach) – Best Remote Black and White Sand Beach

Shipman Beach (Haena Beach) – Best Remote Black and White Sand Beach

This beach is my favorite by far! To get to this beach, we took a short hike (about two and a half miles) through a rainforest-like trail filled with wildlife and exotic plants. At the end of our hike, we found this beautiful hidden beach.

The beach is not too big, but it is secluded and made up of both black and white sand. When we were there, the tide was down, so we enjoyed taking a swim and resting in the shade. The water is both super cold and warm in certain parts. It is the ultimate deserted island feeling. We spotted a few large green turtles sunbathing and relaxing on the beach with us.

This beach is dog-friendly, so animal lovers feel free to take your pet.

If you want to enjoy this beach you have to prepare well. For the hike, it is advisable to wear long pants and comfortable shoes. Headware and lots of water are also necessary because the forest gets humid. Remember that this is a deserted island and pack like it is!

Here’s why it is my #1 pick:

  • Hiking lovers get an excellent tropical hike that ends with a secluded sandy beach.
  • The water is clear, and the beach is far away from tourist attractions and crowds.
  • It’s a great spot to see turtles and even seals.
  • This is a pet-friendly beach if you are a dog lover.

#2. Isaac Hale Beach Park – Pohoiki Black Sand Beach with Hot Springs

Isaac Hale Beach Park – Pohoiki Black Sand Beach with Hot Springs

This beach is very unique. Black sand and lava floors cover the newly formed beach. Due to the large rocks, this beach is not suitable for swimming, but a lifeguard is monitoring the guests just in case. Instead, this beach is perfect for taking a walk and soaking in the geothermal pools (nature’s hot tub!)

When we arrived, I took some time to walk around. Seeing all the recent damage the lava has caused makes you appreciate nature’s power. I enjoyed listening to the waves crashing into the black lava rocks, as the beach was not crowded and very peaceful and quiet.

We also had a quick lunch at the picnic tables and took a long soak in the hot springs (geothermal pools). The lifeguard told us it was safe for everyone over 5 years old, as long as they don’t have open wounds.

We took some amazing photographs here, and there was plenty of parking.

Here’s why you should check out this beach:

  • It is a new beach created by the 2018 volcanic eruption, and the color of the beach is still super intense.
  • There are fun and relaxing hot springs to soak in.
  • You can take a lot of amazing pictures that are one of a kind.
  • This beach is not overcrowded and is perfect for taking a walk.

#3. Kehena Black Sand Beach – The Best Black Sand Beach for Swimming

Kehena Black Sand Beach – The Best Black Sand Beach for Swimming

This beach is the best if you want a gorgeous black sand beach to swim on. It is unofficially a clothing-optional beach, so if you don’t mind, it is a free-spirited, funky little beach.

I liked this beach because it had an easy entrance into the water and a long shallow area for those who like to get in slowly. The sand is super smooth and fine. Because it is a narrow beach, nearby trees provide nice shade.

We heard this was a great place to see dolphins but did not see any on the day we were there (it’s unpredictable). However, I appreciated the vendors near the parking for coconut drinks and snacks.

If your family doesn’t mind nudity, this is also a great beach for the kids.

On the other hand, if you enjoy the clothing-optional beaches, there is a drum circle gathering at this beach on Sundays. Some locals were inviting tourists.

You should visit this beach because:

  • Unlike most places, the black sand here is very soft and smooth for swimming.
  • This is a place where children can swim.
  • This beach is unofficially clothing optional and unique in many different ways.
  • The beach is secluded, but there are still a few food vendors nearby for drinks and snacks.


Pahoa is a fun, offbeat place to visit. It has many beautiful beaches nearby and great hiking trails. It is not very well known, so it is perfect to avoid crowded tourist places. As a result, the nearby beaches are well maintained and clean and usually don’t have a lot of tourists.

Whether traveling with your partner (like the two of us) or with a family, Pahoa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with unique black sand beaches and secluded local favorites.

I hope you enjoy your trip and please send us feedback on your experience!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How far is Pahoa from the beach?

Pahoa is not right on the beach, but many nice beaches are nearby. There are many beaches within the 10-mile radius, including Kehena beach, about 7.5 miles away.

Is Pahoa a good place to visit?

Pahoa is famous for its unique hippie culture and is a fun place to visit. It has many beaches nearby with both white and black sand. It also has many good hiking trails. While you’re in the city, make sure to visit their great farmers market.

Can you swim in Kahena Beach?

Yes. Kahena is a great beach for swimming on days when there aren’t many waves. Because the sand is fine, it makes it easier to get in and out of the water. Children can swim here.

Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Brigitte