Waianapanapa ("glistening waters") is a 120-acre state park with a black sand beach, fresh water caves, historical sites, and blowholes. King's Highway, an ancient coastal footpath, makes for a nice coastline hike from the beach to the town of Hana a few miles away, and the black sand of the small sea arch is actually tiny, smooth lava pebbles that formed when hot lava flow came into contact with the cool waters of the ocean and the waves shattered them against the shoreline.
The beach, also called Honokalani, is set against lava cliffs that include tidepools and volcanic tubes.
Legend has it that an ancient Hawaiian Chief killed his wife in one large cave, where she was hiding after her jealous husband wrongly suspected her of infidelity, and that the tidepool waters of Waianapanapa cave turn red at times during the year to commemorate her death. (The scientific reason for the color change is thought to be small red shrimp.)
There is tent camping allowed by permit, cabin camping by reservation, restrooms, showers, picnic, and parking facilities.
Powerful currents and strong waves hit the beach and swimming is dangerous, especially near the rocky reef. It's important to remember not to take any sand from this beach - it's a rare and limited natural resource that cannot be recreated.
Off Hana Hwy. (Hwy. 360), just past mile marker 32, take the paved road to the left.
Hotels, resorts, and condos near Waianapanapa State Park