Kaiholena Public Shoreline Access
Location: Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii
Here in Hawaii, all beaches and shorelines are public property, up to "the upper reaches of the wash of waves, usually evidenced by the edge of vegetation or by the debris left by the wash of waves" -- in other words, to the high tide line. That's right, there's no such thing as a private beach in Hawaii!
Access to the shoreline often is another thing entirely. Owners of private property that includes ocean frontage are supposed to provide "transit corridors" across their property to the shoreline - i.e., easements that citizens can freely use to get to the ocean. This does not mean that each and every parcel with ocean frontage has to have a public beach access. Instead, communities or subdivisions built along the coastline usually designate a few reasonably spaced public shoreline access routes for public use.
Not long ago, a new public shoreline access was created on the North Kohala coast of Hawaii's Big Island in conjunction with the proposed development of a parcel of land. This place, known as Kaiholena, is situated just south of Lapakahi State Historical Park, site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement. It is situated between the ocean and Akoni Pule Highway, the main road that runs parallel to the northwest coast of the Big Island between Kawaihae and Hawi.
Kaiholena also happens to be just a few miles up the coast from where we live, and we went there recently for the first time to have a look at the new public shoreline access. We found that it consists of a rugged dirt road that winds its way from Akoni Pule Highway to a clearing that is big enough for a few vehicles to park.
From the parking area, it's about a five minute hike along a footpath to the shoreline.
Kaiholena is not a beach park, so there are no facilities there at all -- just access to the ocean. The coast in this area is rocky and very scenic. Near the base of the footpath is a small pocket beach covered with rocks worn smooth by the sea. It's possible to climb down to this beach and carefully wade into the nice clear water to swim or snorkel.
This photo was taken from the base of the footpath that leads from the parking spot to the ocean. It shows the view looking south, including the pocket beach that I mentioned above. In the next few days I will post several more photos from Kaiholena.