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Pololu Valley Beach

On the North Kohala peninsula, this is one of the Big Island's most scenic black-sand beaches. After about 8 mi of lush, winding road past Hawi town, Highway 270 ends at the overlook of Pololu Valley. Snap a few photos of the stunning view, then take the 15-minute hike down (twice as long back up) to the beach. The trail is steep and rocky; it can also be muddy and slippery, so watch your step. The beach itself is a wide expanse of fine black sand surrounded by sheer green cliffs and backed by high dunes and pine trees. A gurgling stream leads from the beach to the back of the valley. This is not a particularly safe swimming beach even though locals do swim, body board, and surf here. Dangerous rip currents and usually rough surf pose a real hazard. And because this is a remote, isolated area far from emergency help, extreme caution is advised. Amenities: none. Best for: hiking.

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