Puako Beach Drive, Hawaii, the Big Island
One of the beautiful things about the Hawaiian Islands is the beach access for the public all around the islands. There is always a path that leads to the beach between hotels or neighborhoods and it’s marked by signs stating “beach access”. On Puako Beach drive along the northwestern part of the Big Island there are numerous beaches to explore in relative quiet and privacy. Places where you can enjoy a picnic on the beach with your family or friends. There are no facilities, but if you want a couple of quiet hours, explore the side roads and get a more intimate taste of the islands’ shore. It’s quite a different experience than the large populated beaches with lifeguards and surf flags, showers and restrooms where you’ll be one of the hundreds of beach-goers looking for a place to park a towel and cooler. The entrances to these ‘hidden’ beaches are marked but there are not parking lots, so find a spot on the street and walk to the path.
It’s fun to imagine what the beach might be like and wonder if anyone else is there. This day we saw an inviting path and were not disappointed as the tree lined path opened up into sand and waves and a view of the northern point of the island.
The water is crystal clear and there was sand surrounding the lava rocks creating inviting little pools. Having stepped into one of them, all of a sudden something moved and it took a minute to realize what was there. Do you see them? Two camouflaged sea turtles were drifting about eating green leaves that floated in the water.
The waves gently roll in bringing the turtles ashore, and when the water recedes you can see more than their nose and shell backs. They are powered by four strong flipper-arms and legs.
This little beach did not disappoint and now I need to read up on the life of the sea turtle. I wonder how long it would take to visit every beach access around the Big Island?
Captain Dan’s Tips for Puako Beach Drive: This is mostly a sleepy residential area. At first it doesn’t look like there is any way to get to the ocean. One thing you will learn traveling around Hawaii is that there is public shoreline access all over. You will start to watch for the signs marking these access points and often times be rewarded with a great little beach all to yourself. Even at some of the very popular beaches where some of the high end resorts are, they have public access to the beach. If you drive to the guard shack and ask for a pass they will give out a limited number of parking passes to the public, first come, first served. On Puako drive we really like the access point just past the general store, that’s where these pictures were taken.