Visit Pohoiki Beach (Isaac Hale Beach Park and some cool hot ponds in the Puna District)
Pohoiki Beach is the new black sand beach created from the lower east zone eruptions of 2018 that destroyed a large area of lower Puna but in the process created an expansive black sand beach at Pohoiki. The new black sand beach is part of the Isaac Hale Beach park in Puna and there is a newly created graveled road that passes through the lava fields that devastated the surrounding areas in lower Puna.
Going on a scenic road trip through lush parts of the Red Road and into the harsh new lava rock fields and into Pohoiki is such a contrast of environment and ever changing conditions here on the east side of Hawaii island.
Note – there is no running water and shower / bathroom facilities at the beach park outside of Port a potty’s closer to the parking lot areas.
History of Pohoiki beach and Isaac Hale Beach park
This area was a very popular place for locals, fishermen and families to hang out, with an old boat ramp, large grassy areas, playground and full facility and services set up as part of the Isaac Hale Beach park.
The recent lava eruption in 2018 devasted a large part of lower puna with over 700 homes burned to the ground all the way to the ocean.
The eruption isolated this part of Pohoiki and Isaac Hale Beach park until a new roadway was built on the newly formed lava fields so locals and visitors can enjoy a day out in the new beach and the hot pond pools.
Why Visit Pohoiki and Isaac Hale Beach Park?
Pohoiki and Isaac Hale Beach Park where spared except for the bay which actually filled up with the new black sand that filled out the boat launch and bay that was very popular with locals, surfers and boaters in the area.
Surprisingly, the lava abruptly stopped right at the entrance of the boat ramp and parking lot area (you can see the lava formations at the northern edge of the beach park). During this time frame over 13.7 miles of lava covered the lands around lower Puna and 1.3 miles of actual new land was formed into a peninsula. A black lava sand beach filled in the area around the old boat ramp and bay area of Pohoiki to many of the extended bays or Pohoiki and created this new expansive beach park with thermal ponds.
It’s a great beach area to see how the lava stop abruptly at the black sand beach edge and also enjoy the hot ponds that were created in the area and a fun spot to enjoy the warm to hot ponds that change with the tides.
Pohoiki Beach after the lava eruption
After the lava eruption died down, the County quickly made an effort to build a new gravel road above the lava fields to the new black sand beach in order to avoid the constant and dangerous trek from visitors on the coastal trails leading to Pohoiki. After the temporary fix of a graveled roadway to the beach park, the county installed lifeguard stations to provide for safety measures with the public swimming or surfing in the area. There is currently no running water for drinking or showers, but there are port a potty in the parking lot area and water is being planned on getting piped back into the park area.
There are still studies being administered to see if a boat ramp can be re-established in the same area that the bay was set.
Check out this video of Pohoiki Beach and visit to the hot ponds
Activities at the Pohoiki
The beach area is open to the public and you can still do the following (talk to the lifeguards to access if swimming is doable when you visit).
Sun bathing and beach combing and checking out the lava field on the north side of the beach
Swimming (experienced) can be done on more calm days with no major rip tides
Explore the labyrinths on the beach
Enjoy some shore fishing
Surfing (only experienced surfers)
Check with the lifeguard stations on daily conditions before you enter the ocean here which is rough and pounds on the beach areas
Explore the Hot Ponds
Hot ponds – there are at least five hot pond areas around the beach park including the boat ramp which is the largest hot pond. These all vary in degrees of hotness and depth of the pond areas.
Since there are no water sources for exit and circulation, the ponds are not safe for anyone with cuts or wounds and advise is to shower off after going into any of the warm ponds.
Check out the hot ponds of Pohoiki beach below
Other details to visiting Pohoiki Beach
The park is open from 9am to 6pm
There is no drinking water or showering facilities on the beach park
There are port a potty located in the parking lot area, if the parking lot is filled you can park further out in the old park area of the park
There are four thermal warm ponds newly created with no circulation, enter at your own risk and the county does not maintain or disinfect the ponds
Beware of dangerous shore breaks on the beach, talk to the life guards on duty for any updates on swimming or surfing on the beach area.
Direction to Pohoiki Beach and Isaac Hale Beach Park
From Pahoa, drive down Hwy 130 to junction at Hwy 137 and drive down all the way to the end and crossing the new graveled roads through fresh lava fields. Follow the signs and make a right into Isaac Hale Beach park and drive to the parking lot area by the bay. The GPS system and internet are very weak or not functioning in the area so plan accordingly on getting directions.
Looking for hiking venues in Puna?
There are a few short and easy hiking places to explore the gorgeous Puna coastlines, forests and unique areas of the district below.
Hike to Ha’ena (Shipman Beach)
Botanical garden and hike around Lava Tree State Park
Hike the Kings road and cliffsides at MacKenzie State Park
Explore and hike the new Kapoho black sand beach
Red Road Hawaii – Kalapana Kapoho road – This Hawaii Life
Further reading for Puna area attractions
Explore the new Kapoho black sand beach with no name
An entire guide to visiting the Puna District of Hawaii
Visit the botanical garden and historic Lava Tree State Park
Enjoy the colorful interiors and history of the Painted Church in Kalapana
Explore old and new Pahoa Town
Visit the Sunday Maku’u market outside Pahoa
Visit the gorgeous cliffs at MacKenzie State Park
Have you visited Pohoiki Beach?
Enjoyed your visit here or any other tips to share? Please share on the comments below.
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