It’s been nearly six years since Big Island residents and visitors could enjoy Keokea Beach Park, after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake badly damaged its main pavilion in 2006. This weekend, however, Keokea reopened to the public – with not only a repaired pavilion but a full renovation and expansion as well.

A view of the Kohala coastline as seen from Keokea Beach Park.

The park spans more than seven acres and has since received a total of $1.4 million in repairs. This includes a larger pavilion area, new restrooms and picnic tables and paved accessible walkways. Over the years, Keokea has become an important part of residents’ upbringing on the Big Island, and as Mayor Billy Kenoi puts it, a puuhonua (safe haven) for families.

Located on the the rocky shoreline of North Kohala, Keokea is referred to as a boulder beach because of the huge boulders and sea cliffs that surround the park. I wouldn’t recommend swimming here because of the rough waters and crashing surf. Instead, children usually play in a small stream that runs through Keokea. You may also notice the manmade wall of boulders that create a somewhat calmer cove area; however, this still is not very safe for swimming.

There is still lots to do here. Most people come here to picnic, barbecue, fish or just enjoy the beautiful ocean scenery. Keokea is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a non-traditional kind of beach that has everything but a white sandy shoreline.

KEOKEA BEACH PARK • Hwy 270, Mile Marker #27, Kapaau, HI 96755 • Amenities: restroom, barbecue grill, picnic table, showers, drinking water, campsite; Activities: picnic, fishing

Photo Credit: T. Ilihia Gionson

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