Mahukona Beach Park is a highly unique and intriguing place. Contrary to its name, there's actually no beach - like many places to swim on the Big Island. It's a cement-laden park along the water that combines natural beauty and local history.
Tropical fish in Hawaii — Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson
Once a shipping port in the plantation days, this spot was highly utilized to bring goods to western and northern sides of the island. The underwater world here is one of the best places on the island to snorkel - not only because of its rampant, colorful fish population, but also due to underwater archaeological finds. An underwater museum boasts remnants from the plantation and railroad days.
Bring snorkel gear and look for the ladder into the water at the north end of the beach. Backing the beach is the near intact structure of the Hawaiian Railroad Company, which functioned here for years and dates back to 1930. Explore the ruins, but be careful.
There are shaded picnic areas, but other than that, there are no facilities here. Be sure to bring water. There are also no lifeguards at Mahukona Beach Park, so as always when visiting beaches in Hawaii, use good judgment. If in doubt, don't go out.
Stop by Mahukona when headed north to Pololu Valley or Hawi. On Highway 270, look for the access between mile markers 14 and 15.
Explore relics with underwater life. — Photo courtesy of Tony Donnelly