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by Donald B. MacGowan

The area around Miloli'i and Honomalino Beach are infused with the je nais se quois of Old Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The area around Miloli'i and Honomalino Beach are infused with the je nais se quois of Old Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Whether you visit the Big Island for a few days, a couple weeks or a few months, you want to make the most of your time in Paradise. With such a wide variety of natural and commercial attractions, it is natural for the visitor to get a little overwhelmed in the “Option Overload” and not be able to make a balanced and informed decision on what they want to do and how best to spend their time.

View of Honomalino Bay, Looking North: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

View of Honomalino Bay, Looking North: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Even choosing the beach you want to spend time on…which beach? How do you find the right beach for your particular needs? Are you going just to relax and sunbathe? Or is the trip to snorkel, boogie board or to explore? Do you want a beach that’s alive with fun people or one hidden, secluded and empty? Do you want a beach near your resort or one that’s at the end of a day of delicious wandering?

The Kona Coast Near Miloli'i: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The Kona Coast Near Miloli'i: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Tour Guide Hawaii is excited and proud to announce the release of their new GPS/WiFi enabled App for iPhone and iPod that helps you navigate your trip to Hawaii with hours of informative, location-aware video and information. Although our video guide will lead you to dozens of unusual, untamed and unspoiled spots, let’s look at one, hidden but gorgeous, beach hike you would otherwise not find if you did not have Tour Guide Hawaii’s new App.

Hiking to Honomalino

Along the Honomalino Trail: Phto by Donald B. MacGowan

Along the Honomalino Trail: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

A true gem of West Hawai’i, and rarely crowded, Honomalino Bay lies on the southeast flanks of Mauna Loa along the southernmost Kona Coast. The beach is reached by a 20 minute hike starting in the Old Hawaiian Fishing Village of Miloli’i, which is perhaps the last, truly Hawai’ian fishing village in West Hawai’i. Miloli’i is a tightly knit local community who are perhaps best left to themselves by the casual visitor. Though the surfing and the snorkeling here are excellent, the beach lovely and the facilities in good repair, the visitor may not find the aloha for outsiders terribly abundant. Especially on weekends.

Parking for the Hike is at the Miloli'i County Park Pavilion: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Parking for the Hike is at the Miloli'i County Park Pavilion: Photo by Donald MacGowan

The Hike to Honomalino Beach Starts between the County Park Restrooms and this Yellow Church: Photo by Donald MacGowan

The Hike to Honomalino Beach Starts between the County Park Restrooms and this Yellow Church: Photo by Donald MacGowan

The Trailhead for the Honomalino Bay Hike: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The Trailhead for the Honomalino Bay Hike: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

However, by hiking south to Honomalino Bay, the causal visitor finds everything they are looking for in a quiet, secluded beach. Park at the Miloli’i County Beach Park; the hike begins at an obvious trailhead near the end of the road, between the restrooms and the yellow church. The trail wanders along the coast, in and out of the surf line, to the wild and untamed Honomalino Bay—a wonderful place to picnic, snorkel or kayak.

When Hiking to Honomalino Beach, Stay on the Trail, Avoid Private Property and When in Doubt, Take the Right Fork: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

When Hiking to Honomalino Beach, Stay on the Trail, Avoid Private Property and When in Doubt, Take the Right Fork: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Keawe Thickets along the Honomalino Beach Trail Mean You Should Wear Sturdy Shoes to Avoid the Ginormous Thorns: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Keawe Thickets along the Honomalino Beach Trail Mean You Should Wear Sturdy Shoes to Avoid the Ginormous Thorns: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

As the trail to Honomalino Beach Winds Toward the Shore, It Passes Several Private Residences and Private Property; Be Sure To Respect These People's Property and Privacy: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

As the trail to Honomalino Beach Winds Toward the Shore, It Passes Several Private Residences and Private Property; Be Sure To Respect These People's Property and Privacy: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

On the hike in, be sure to keep always to the right at any fork in the trail to avoid trespassing on private property. Honomalino Beach itself is fronted by private property and dwellings, so be respectful of these peoples’ homes and privacy.

The Honomalino Beach Trail Squeezes Between Private Residences and a Private Beach: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The Honomalino Beach Trail Squeezes Between Private Residences and a Private Beach: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Snorkeling is most interesting on the north side in the rocks, or the extreme southern reach of the bay. Go in only when the surf is low; be cautious of the open ocean currents and rip tides. The water, though very clear, is sometimes quite cold due to spring discharge in the sand on the beach.

Behind the Berm, in the Back Dunes of Honomalino Beach, Is a Shady Paradise on Hot Days: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Behind the Berm, in the Back Dunes of Honomalino Beach, Is a Shady Paradise on Hot Days: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Exploring on foot in the area of the bay and further south provides many wonders and archeological treasures, from abandoned temples and villages to the largest holua, or sledding track, in Hawaii. Remember to respect the Hawaiian natives, their culture and their sacred sites…take noting but pictures, don’t even leave footprints, stay on established roads and trails.

Superb Snorkeling Exists on the North Side of the Bay by the Rocks: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Superb Snorkeling Exists on the North Side of the Bay by the Rocks: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

There is no fresh water anywhere along this hike, so be sure to bring plenty of drinking water. It’s also nice to bring a couple of extra quarts of water to rinse off after swimming, and dry clothes to hike out in.

There are no provisions for restrooms or trash disposal, either, so wait until you are back at the county park for restrooms and remember to hike out with everything you brought in, including trash.

Honomalino Beach Looking South and East Into the Morning Sun: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Honomalino Beach Looking South and East Into the Morning Sun: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

As the trail crosses significant swathes of both sharp aa lava fields and thick keawe tree copses (with there numerous, impressive and painful thorns), it is imperative that you wear at least running shoes, if not hiking boots, to protect your feet.

Hiking Back to Miloli'i You'll Be Glad of Sturdy Shoes to Fend Off the Huge Keawe Thorns: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hiking Back to Miloli'i You'll Be Glad of Sturdy Shoes to Fend Off the Huge Keawe Thorns: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

No services at all are available at the beach, and there are no commercial services in Miloli’i. Please leave no valuables in your car.

Sharp a'a Lava Along the Honomalino Trail Makes You Glad You Wore Real Shoes!: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Sharp a'a Lava Along the Honomalino Trail Makes You Glad You Wore Real Shoes!: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

To see the new iPhone/iPod Touch App, please visit http://www.tourguidehawaii.com/iphone.html.  The best of Tour Guide Hawaii’s free content about traveling to, and exploring, the Big island, can be found here.  For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and on touring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Could You Have Found This Without Tour Guide? The House in Miloli'i Where Elvis Presley Lived in the Movie "Girls Girls Girls": Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Could You Have Found This Without Tour Guide? The House in Miloli'i Where Elvis Presley Lived in the Movie "Girls Girls Girls": Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  1. we did the beautiful and peaceful hike from miloli’i park to honomalino bay, and came accross an offering of some sort. We are just wondering if anyone knows what that is about
    thanks

    • I was told by a long-time resident of Miloli’i that this was a modern shrine to both the hunting god, Kamapua’a, and the fishing god, Ku’ula. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it does stand on the site of an ancient heiau (that pile of rocks toward the ocean from the shrine) that was once dedicated to the god Kukailimoku, later to Lono and abandoned at the end of the 1700s/early 1800s. The site is extremely sacred to Hawaiian’s and precious to the local inhabitants of Miloli’i/Honomalino.

      Aloha-
      -Donnie

  2. Been going to honomalino my whole life, there’s nothing like cracking a fresh coconut right on the beach and then swimming around the very salty dark water bay with the taste of the milk in your mouth. What memories I have from here. Making makeshift rafts of the fallen coconuts and floating on them as kids. The fishing here is amazing/ you can cast right from the sand. Love it all. Nice pictures.


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  1. [...] end member compositions, black sand or white sand beach. Ho’okena, Kahalu’u and Honomalino are three of the largest and most popular grey sand beaches on the Big Island. There is one [...]

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