Kehena Black Sand Beach
April 26, 2016
Mahalo to Lava Dogs fan Kirsten J. for sharing this dog-friendly beach that sounds perfect for water-loving dogs!
Location: Kehena Black Sand Beach (also call Dolphin Beach because of the frequent appearances of spinner dolphins in this area) is at mile marker 19 on highway 137 in Puna. There is a small parking lot on the side of the road. From here, walk towards the left (when facing the ocean). A narrow, steep and rocky trail leads down to the beach.
In the past Kehena used to be very popular because of its two black sand beaches and easy access. However, in 1975 a large earthquake sent the stairs crumbling and dropped the beach three feet. Now the best way to access it is to park at the lookout and follow the path to the left of the parking which leads to the smaller pocket of sand. Since it is no longer easily accessible, many nude sunbathers have appropriated the area. So, visit at your own discretion.
The beach is well-shaded by coconut palms and ironwood trees, which make up the backshore. Swimming is possible here when the ocean is calm only because the beach is exposed to the open ocean and during times of high surf, strong rip currents and undertows can occur. That’s why there have been quite a few near-drownings at Kehena in the past.
Also, since this beach has many pebbles on the ocean bottom, they can easily get stirred up in the shorebreak during times of heavy surf, which can cause painful skin abrasions to people entering the water.
So when the surf is up, it is best to stay out of the water and maybe have a picnic on the beach, which is accessible from the Kehena lookout.