Wai'opae Marine Life Conservaion District (A.K.A. Kapoho Tide Pools)
These tide pools, recognized as having some of the most species of fish and coral in all of Hawaii, and also as an important habitat for juvenille fish, was established as a protected preserve in 2003. No fishing or collecting is allowed. Snorkel in clear, calm, waters with a rainbow of fish and coral. Marine life includes over 100 species of fish, 11 species of coral, green sea turtles, and an occasional monk seal. Kapoho's Vacationland subdivision is on the shore of this marine preserve.
Access is off of Highway 137 (near mile post 9) on private roads through the subdivision. The community welcomes visitors. However, no facilities (toilets, showers, etc.) are provided. A $3/car donation is requested of day visitors to help support maintanence of roads, parking, and the weekend information officer. Please, park and access the ocean only where designated!
For the day visitor, there are no facilites (the nearest public restrooms are at Ahalanui Hot Pond, 2 miles).
For those who like to snorkel, it is best to stay in a neighborhood vacation home. There are a few homes directly on the shore of the marine preserve with snorkeling right out the door (see the popular Coral Pool House in "Places to Stay").
Kapoho Bay is a lovely spot to swim, snorkel, and kayak. Some surf and kite surf there, as well (for the experienced). Green sea turtles frequent the bay to feed and rest.
Access to the bay is off Highway 137 (near mile post 8) through the Kapoho Beach Lots subdivision (gated), or from the Cape Kumukahi Light House. From the light house, the mile-long road to the bay is rough, crossing the 1960 Kapoho lava flow. It requires a high clearance vehicle or good walking shoes.
Champagne Pond and Kapoho Beach
Enjoy the geothermally heated waters of Champagne pond. The green sea turtles certainly do! Gravelly Kapoho Beach is adjacent to the pond, on the north side of Kapoho Bay. It is popular with locals on weekends.
Access to the pond and beach is through Kapoho Beach Lots subdivision (gated community) or from the Cape Kumukahi Light House road (see above).
The air at Cape Kumukahi (and Kapoho in general) is considered the cleanest in the world, blowing in from across thousands of miles of ocean. A small station here at the Kumukahai Light House analyzes the air to use as the benchmark to assess the level of air pollution across the globe. In addition, the ionizing effect of wave action makes it even more healthful for you!
You can drive to the light house (follow the dirt road from the intersection of Highways 132 & 137) and walk from there to watch the breathtaking sight of waves crashing against the craggy lava shoreline. If you have a high clearance vehicle, you can drive the mile or so to Kapoho Beach and Bay and Champagne Pond, a thermally heated pond favored by green sea turtles and humans alike.
Ahalanui Hot Pond
Relax in a natural, oceanside, 90 degree hot pond. The state park has toilet and shower facilities, picnic tables, and on most weekends, a lifeguard.
It is one mile south of Kapoho on highway 137 (past mile post 10).
Issac Hale Beach Park
This state park includes a boat launch, surfing spot, and shore diving, with nice, new facilites (bathrooms, showers). After a day in the water you can try the fishermens' catch at the fish market in Pahoa.
The park is two miles south of Kapoho on Highway 137 (between mile posts 11 & 12).
MacKenzie State Park
Walk through an ironwood forest with interesting lava formations to watch waves dramatically crash against the high rocky cliffs. This park extends quite a ways along the shore, and is a good place for walks and picnics. But definitely not swimming!
The park is 5 miles south of Kapoho on Highway 137 (between mile posts 13 & 14).
Kahena Black Sand Beach
Between cliff and sea lies a rare black sand beach, which varies in width with the tides and the seasons. Its waters can be rough and rocky, and the clothing-optional beach is crowded on weekends. On Sundays, there is often a drumming gathering.
It is accessed by a short steep trail, 10 miles south of Kapoho on Highway 137 (near mile post 19).