After spending the morning hiking through the lava fields at the Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve with an estimated 30,000 historically significant petroglyphs, we decided to check out the other petroglyph field on the Kohala Coast, the Puakō Petroglyph Archaeological District that has more than 3,000 ancient lava rock carvings.
On our way to the Puakō Petroglyph fields, located on the Fairmont Orchid Hotel property, we discovered Holoholokai Beach Park mainly because there are bathrooms! We pulled into the small parking area to use the restrooms and discovered a gorgeous view of the ocean, a salt and pepper rock beach, and a shady picnic area — and of course, we decided to take a look around.
First, the Holoholokai Beach Park isn’t a traditional beach because there is no sand. It’s a rocky beach made from large chunks of black lava rock and white coral, and because of the all the lava rock, it’s not a safe place to swim or play in the water either.
What this Hawaiian park does have is a spectacular view and a protected, shady, grassy picnic area — the perfect place for a picnic before or after visiting the petroglyph preserve. There is a shaded grassy area for kids to play, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and restrooms with showers.
We walked out to the rocky shoreline to take in the view, hunt for shells and beach treasures among the coral, and snap some photos. While looking around, Brian noticed a trail leading south toward the hotel and north up the coastline.
- Visitors use Holoholokai Beach Park as an access point for the public beach in front of the Fairmont Orchid, following the trail south.
- Others use Holoholokai Beach Park as an access point for the Puakō Petroglyph Archaeological District, following the trail north.
We explored the trail a bit in each direction then walked over to the trailhead for the Malama Trail, the trail to the petroglyphs.
Know Before You Go
- The Holoholokai Beach Park is located north of the Fairmont Orchid Hotel on Holoholokai Beach Park Road, Waimea, Hawaii 96743.
- Traveling north on Highway 19, turn left onto the Fairmont Orchid Hotel property between mile markers 73 and 74, turn right at the first major intersection, bear left at the split,, and finally take the next right and follow the road to the end.
- The parking lot is very small with spots for only about 12 vehicles.
- Holoholokai Beach Park is open daily from 7:00 am to 6:30 pm.
- There are restrooms and showers next to the parking area.
- The shore is made from lava rocks, which makes swimming very dangerous and there is no lifeguard on duty.
- This is not a sandy beach, but a rocky beach made from chunks of black lava and white coral and a grassy picnic area with picnic table sand barbecue grills.
- Follow the beach trail north to connect to the Malama Petroglyph Trail at the Puakō Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve or south to reach the Fairmont Orchid Beach.