Kehena Beach in the Pahoa district of the Big Island is amazing for a couple of reasons: First because of the spectacular nature of the beach itself, and secondly because of the people who tend to go there. We'll deal with each topic one at a time.
Kehena Beach is beautiful. It is located along a coastline that does not offer up much in the way of sand beaches but mother nature really went out of her way to design this incredible spot. The beach is small, perhaps no longer than about seventy-five yards. It is essentially carved out of the side of some cliffs that descend straight down about 30 feet or so and the beach is right along the main road in that area called Red Road. In order to get down to the beach you have to maneuver your way down a steep and narrow pathway that zigzags its way to the bottom. The sand at the bottom is amazing. It is completely black, very black, and it is course yet soft and very comfortable to walk or lay upon.
The ocean water here is often very beautiful as well and beautifully colored in blues and greens depending upon the time of day and type of weather that is occurring. It is also a beach that is frequented by dolphins cruising by so much of the beach experience here is related in one way or another with the ocean if only to listen to it crash on the beach and the rocks surrounding it. This is however a dangerous beach based upon the testimony of a lifeguard working a tower at a nearby beach. He explained that the currents could be quite strong here and the waves quite dangerously powerful. Since there is no lifeguard on duty here it would probably be best to not to enter the water at all based upon his recommendation.
Now a word about the people who tend to populate this beach on any given day. A few words come to mind. Nudists, hippies, dope smokers and free spirits would be words that might in some way describe ninety-percent of the people that regularly visit this beach. Though both public nudity and marijuana smoking are both illegal in Hawaii a generous quantity of each will often be visible to you on any given day. We showed up on a Sunday which we were informed was "drum circle" day and indeed there were a considerable number of people sitting around in a circle beating on drums and any other form of percussion instrument that could provide a sound. We were also informed by some of the beach goers on that day that many days of the week have their own theme. One was supposedly "gay day" and as to any others we could only presume to imagine but I'm certain that if they were in any way similar to the day we arrived that they would certainly be colorful and lively.
Be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be dangerous including this one. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering any Hawaiian waters however it is not advised that you enter the water at this location. Also, all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water. There are no lifeguard towers at this location.
Kikaua Point Beach is a tiny but very beautiful beach that is located about ten miles north of Kailua-Kona. Kikaua Beach is perhaps the calmest beach on the Big Island being protected from the open ocean by a series of huge boulders and rocks that provide a rim for the pond-like beach within.
La'aloa Beach Park in the town of Kailua-Kona is also referred to as Magic Sands Beach, White Sands Beach and Disappearing Sands Beach. Though its Hawaiian name has implications suggesting it is a beach of sacred nature the other three more popular names refer to the propensity of the beach to lose its sand each winter and early spring to the currents, waves and storms that extract the white sands from the shoreline portion of the beach and temporarily deposit them further out to sea exposing dangerous exposed rocks in the process.
The Old Kona Airport landing field became obsolete in the early 1970's but the one-mile landing strip still exists. This huge stretch of asphalt lies right next to the ocean just north of the city of Kailua-Kona and today serves as the gigantic parking area for the Old Kona Airport Beach.
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is the largest black sand beach in the state. Located south of the Volcanoes National Park on the coastal Highway 11 it is a beach that is basically fairly far from populated areas and most people will decide to enjoy a quick visit when they take the southern route to visit the volcanoes if they are staying in the Kona region.
If it wasn't for the fact that Spencer Beach was located so close to Hapuna and Mauna Kea Beach, it would receive more notoriety than it does. Although it is a beautiful white sand beach with a sand bottom allowing for an easy water entry, it just lacks some of the luster and beauty associated with its nearest beach neighbor.
The Big Island often gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to beaches. Yes, it is true that it is the newest of the Hawaiian islands and as a result it has not had enough geological time pass by to jump-start the laws of physics and allow nature to work its magic on creating the type of amazing beaches that can often be found on other islands of the Hawaiian chain.