Kauhako Bay at Ho‘okena is described in the 1919 as: “marked at its head by a pali or cliff, which is about a half mile long and 150 feet high at its southerly end. The bay is a slight indentation on the coast, and the village of Hookena is located on the lowland in front of the northerly end of the pali. A church with steeple is a prominent landmark in the northerly end of the village. There is a large grove of coconut and shade trees near the village” (U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1919, p. 16).
Ho'okena Beach Park is located 25 miles south of Kailua-Kona. From Kona International Airport at Keahole. proceed south along Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Highway 19) for 7 miles. The highway changes from Queen Kaahumanu Highway (19) to Hawaii Belt Road (11) at the Palani Road intersection. Continue south along Hawaii Belt Road (11) for 25 miles. Turn right onto Hookena beach Road after mile marker 102. The entrance to the beach and parking lot will be at the end of the road.
Those who enjoy natural and rugged, will fall in love with Hookena. From the colorful area residents and funky shacks to the brightly colored flags near the campsites, this beach is not only off the beaten path but can be an offbeat and free thinking experience.
The Ho’okena Beach area was a boat landing during the steamship days of old Hawaii This family friendly beach at the north end of Kauhako Bay on the South Kona coast is frequented by young children who enjoy the small surf and tide pools. The beach sand is composed of lava sand and fine gray coral. Snorkeling is best on the left side of Hookena Beach. This area was a boat landing during the steamship days of old Hawaii. Shady areas provide places to relax and enjoy this pleasant dark-sand beach backed by seacliffs. Trails along the shoreline lead to some interesting areas including boulder formations and groves of trees. Great For: Snorkeling, swimming, bodyboarding, kayaking, picnics, camping. Highlights: The south end of Hookena Beach is frequented by experienced bodyboarders and can draw a fair number of people on weekends, though weekdays are likely uncrowded. Campsites along the beach can be reserved online. Need to Know: A rough seafloor makes water shoes a good idea here. Hazardous conditions may occur when the surf is large and swimming should be avoided during these times. Sandy areas near both the southern and northern ends of the beach provide good places to enter the water. The shoreline at Ho’okena Beach gets deeper fairly quickly and ocean currents may flow offshore so only experienced swimmers should go into the deeper areas. Lifeguard: No Facilities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, picnic pavilion, campgrounds, parking. No drinking water. Access: From Kailua-Kona take Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy. 11) for about 20 miles. Just past Mile Marker 102 go right on Hookena Beach Road and go about 2-1/2 miles to the end of the road.