Visiting Lapahoehoe Point on the rugged coastlines of the Hamakua coast on the Big Island

Lapahoehoe Point is such a gorgeous place along the Hamakua coasts with such a tragic past, it would be hard to enjoy all of this beauty if not for the points history that makes this area more significant to visit.

A short drive down to Lapahoehoe Point Beach park along the high cliffs of the Hamakua coastlines opens up to this beautiful peninsula and park developed from ancient lava rock flows and created this beautiful and flat peninsula jutting out from the coastline.

Visiting Lapahoehoe Point on the rugged coastlines of the Hamakua coast on the Big Island

How to get to Lapahoehoe Point

Lapahoehoe point is right between Hilo town and Honokaa town along the Hamakua Coast. Drive 24 miles west through the coast highway 19 and exit at Lapahoehoe point (between mile marker 27 and 28) to the right and drive down the scenic and winding road one mile route to the point and into the park area. From Waimea the drive is about 32 miles to Lapahoehoe park.

How to get to Lapahoehoe Point

A brief history of Lapahoehoe Point

Laupahoehoe, in Hawaiian means “leaf of lava,” and the area of Lapahoehoe thrived as an ancient Hawaiian settlement and fishing village that was left untouched by western civilization and the Missionary influence of the island in the early to mid-18th century where the village subsisted on fishing and agriculture to sustain itself.

Later, sugar plantations were built in the area above the point and used the lower section as a harbor port to transport cattle, sugar and other products from the island for export. The community thrived and Lapahoehoe developed hotels, restaurants, schools, coffee mill and other businesses in the surrounding area from the train station in town and down to the port harbor area. The Lapahoehoe Sugar Mill was established in 1883 and extended plantation fields around the Hamakua coastline and using the port to transport goods for import and export. During this time frame a railroad service was created to service the sugar mills along the Hamakua coast and connected to Hilo town and harbor area with extensive trestle bridges, tunnels and tracks heading directly to Hilo with over 3,100 tunnels built over the rugged terrain and gulches along the coast.

In 1946, a devastating earthquake from the Aleutian Islands came to the Big Island and tsunamis hit Hilo and the low lying Hamakua coastline areas killing 160 inhabitants in low lying Hilo of which 21 school children and 3 teachers in the Lapahoehoe point area perished. The three big waves of the Tsunami registering 56 feet and moving 490 miles per hour. With no alert systems at that time only 1 teacher and 2 students survive with the rest not found and pulled out into the ocean. Only the school’s chimney is still present from its location.  There is a memorial on the park grounds that shows all the children and teachers killed by the tsunami of 1946.

If you visit the Tsunami Museum in Hilo, watch the video and displays of the survivors from the tsunami at Lapahoehoe and other low-lying areas of the Big Island.

A brief history of Lapahoehoe Point

Lapahoehoe as a park

Now Lapahoehoe point is set up as a park with a boat ramp and picnic areas for people to enjoy the grass and park grounds and locals use the park extensively during the weekends for barbeques and gatherings. Most of the local population lives above the park in the community of Lapahoehoe. The surf and waves pounding the point and various areas is beautiful to watch and photograph, but swimming is extremely dangerous with lots of rip tides in the area.

Lapahoehoe as a park

Amenities at Lapahoehoe

Picnic areas and pavilions


Boat launch area

Grassy lawn areas


Outdoor showers

Camping Info
Camping Permit Required
Pavilion permits are available for Day Use Only and must to be purchased separately.
Call 808-961-8311 for more info.

Amenities at Lapahoehoe

Other things to see around Lapahoehoe

Visit the Lapahoehoe train station museum

Akaka Falls State Park

Stroll around Honomu town

Honoka’a town, gateway to Waipio Valley

Surfing fun at Honolii beach park

Have you been to Lapahoehoe Point?

Have you been to Lapahoehoe Point?

Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your recommendations.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.