Green Sand Beach
This beach is located at the southern tip just west of South Point. The sand is actually a green olive color caused by eruptions from what was once a volcano. It is truly a unique place and one of only two green sand beaches in the world! Driving to the actual beach is out for all but the most experienced off road drivers. Instead, most people opt for a 2 1/2 mile hike each way along the wind swept and hot dusty deep rutted jeep roads. Hike takes about an hour each way so make sure that you have plenty of water with you.
We've seen many beaches around the world but nothing quite spectacular like this. We couldn't believe how green the sand was. The crystal clear water had beautiful azure colour and contrasted nicely with the surrounding lava cliffs.
Black Sand Beach
When you drive from the Green Sand Beach towards Volcano National Park, keep an eye on the sign beside the road in Punaluu. It is a short drive to the beach from the main road. As soon as we got there we spotted couple of green sea turtles resting on the beach and they were simply awesome. It was great to see them in their natural inhabitat.
The beach has black sand made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools. Green coconut palms that fringe the upper edge of sand add a nice contrast to the black sand.
Isaac Hale Beach Park
This park which is only an hour drive from Hilo, has a small campground with basic facilities. We were thinking to stay there for the night but we were not comfortable after many locals who gather on the beach looked at us as if we were from Mars. We didn't feel safe and no one else was camping there which was a bit odd. So we've decided to drive back to Namakanipaio Camp at Volcano NP even thou it was about 60km away.
There are couple of hot pools in the park but we were warned that it is not very safe to swim there because of amaebas in the water. One is a short walk from the carpark behind the private property on the right hand side and the second one is further away, couple of kilometres drive towards the Lighthouse.
Lava Tree State Monument
There is no entry fee to the park but it is quite small. The loop trial is only 1.1km and to be honest not that interesting. Apart from a small number of lava molds of the tree trunks that were formed when a lava flow swept through a forested area in 1790 there is nothing else to see.