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Waianapanapa State Park
Small but rarely crowded, this beach will remain in your memory long after visiting. Fingers of white foam rush onto a black volcanic-pebble beach fringed with green beach vines and palms. Swimming here is both relaxing and invigorating: Strong currents bump smooth stones up against your ankles while seabirds flit above a black, jagged sea arch draped with vines. There are picnic tables and grills. At the edge of the parking lot, a sign tells you the sad story of a doomed Hawaiian princess. Stairs lead through a tunnel of interlocking Polynesian hau (a native tree) branches to an icy cave pool—the secret hiding place of the ancient princess. You can swim in this pool, but be wary of mosquitoes. In the other direction, a dramatic 3-mile coastal path continues beyond the campground, past sea arches, blowholes, and cultural sites all the way to Hana town. Grassy tent sites and rustic cabins that accommodate up to six people are available by reservation only; call ahead for information. Amenities: parking (free); showers; toilets. Best for: walking.