Re: Hawaii Big Island
YES..............you need to go to Makalawena State Park! But not the way or the place the tourists go to. We started going to this white sand beach 30 years ago (after locals told us about it) before it was a state park. We still visit the Big Island at least 1-2 times each year for diving and, each time, we rent a Jeep just to visit this beach. (I proposed to my now-wife there...it is a very beautiful/romantic beach!)
First, go to Google Earth, zoom in on the Big Island, go to Kona and then scroll north to the main International airport. Planes land headed SW on the main runway and if you look out the left side windows on the approach you'll see this beach. Visually follow the main runway directly northeasterly in Google Earth toward an obvious beach with four "photo links" (assuming that you don't scroll in too close). That is the main state beach and you can see the rough road across the lava flows to this beach. But you don't want that road or beach....the GREAT white sand beach is just north of that. (If you don't have 4WD, you have to drive to the regular state park and then hike across the hot lava to OUR beach.) If you haven't scrolled in too close, you'll see one photo link on a obvious white sand beach just north of the other links. You want to go to the site linked to the photo named "NBB Makalawena".
To get there, head north on the main highway past the turnoff to the airport. Pass the left turn to the State Park and head up a gradual rise. If you look toward the left (toward the ocean) you'll see a cinder dome on your left...that is where you want to be. As you get to the top of the rise, look closely and you'll see a dirt/lava rock road just short of the top of the rise...it can be hard to see as you are driving north. There is a striped left turn JUST at the top of the rise. Turn into this left turn lane and make a U-turn...the road that you want is within the double yellow portion leading to this left turn. While it may be difficult to see at 55 mph driving north, it should be easy to see now driving south if you stay in the shoulder and just watch for it...sometimes there is a 2WD vehicle parked here (they would have a long hike). Since you are now going south, turn right onto this dirt/lava rock road...it is the only road here. There is a fence about 100 yards in on this road and some shelves just beyond it which stop vehicles without good clearance. You'll see the cinder dome ahead. Continue on this road....it is not difficult for people like us but it definitely requires high clearance and 4WD is nice coming out. When you get to the base of the cinder dome, you'll see a road on your left...turn left. A little ways further is an interesting shelf and I've seen 4WD vehicles parked just short of this section....it looks intimidating to those without experience but the right side is no problem even with rental 4WD vehicles. Continue to the ocean where, after another interesting stepped section, the road turns south and follows the water's edge...the road is obvious. You'll shortly reach a locked gate...park and walk along the water's edge for maybe a 1/4 mile or less to a beautiful white sand beach with black lava "book ends". The water is the color of turquoise and the sand very fine. There are turtles swimming in the bay which is backed with trees and lava fields (and goats!) As far as we know, it is one of the few white sand beaches on the Big Island. After asking my then-girl friend to marry me while enjoying this beach, we went to dinner at the Kona Inn. You can't go wrong with this combination....
'01 Ford EB50p Quigley 4WD