Lonely Planet review
A coastline pounded by relentless waves embraces a village so quiet you can hear the grass grow. This rare slice of ‘Old Hawaii’ is reached by taking the unmarked Keʻanae Rd on the makai (seaward) side of the highway just beyond Keʻanae Arboretum. Here, families who have had roots to the land for generations still tend stream-fed taro patches.
Marking the heart of the village is Lanakila ʻIhiʻihi o Iehova Ona Kaua (Keʻanae Congregational Church), built in 1860. The church is made of lava rocks and coral mortar that hasn’t had its exterior covered over with layers of whitewash. It’s a welcoming place with open doors and a guest book to sign. You can get a feel for the community by strolling the church cemetery, where the gravestones have cameo portraits and fresh-cut flowers.
Just past the church is Keʻanae Beach Park , with a scenic coastline of jagged black rock and hypnotic white-capped waves. Forget swimming: not only is the water rough, but this is all sharp lava and no beach. You could drive for a couple of minutes more, but it becomes private and the scenery is no better, so be a good neighbor and stop at the park.
The rock islets you see off the coast – Mokuhala and Mokumana – are seabird sanctuaries.