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Hookena Beach Park
The 2½-mi road down to this quiet, out-of-the-way beach is narrow and steep, but the views are awsome and you feel like you're venturing off the beaten path. The area is rich in cultural history, and remnants of the old steamship pier are still intact. This beach is frequented mostly by locals, so is usually only crowded on weekends. Backed by steep embankments, the dark sand is a clean, soft mix of lava and white sand. The bay is usually calm, with a small surf, good for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and diving. The ocean floor can be a little rocky, and caution is advised during high surf. Trails along the shoreline make for good exploring. South of Kealakekua Bay on Highway 11 you'll see a sign for Ho'okena Beach Park. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; sunset; swimming.