Tiny Naʻalehu is the southernmost town in the USA – a title it milks for all it's worth. Although the name means 'Volcanic Ashes,' Naʻalehu is a greenscape filled with sprawling trees and pastel-colored plantation houses that give it a lost-in-time rural feel. This is underscored by the beautiful, but boarded-up, Naʻalehu Theatre, a 1940s movie house along the main road. The town serves as central Kaʻu's commercial center (such as it is) with a minimarket, hardware store, laundromat, library, playground, post office, gas station and ATM.
Just west, the town of Waiʻohinu ('Sparkling Water'; population 230) occupies the hillside between Miles 65 and 66 on Hwy 11. The town was briefly the county seat of Hawaiʻi Island in 1900, but now is known mostly for the Mark Twain Monkeypod Tree and the quiet lifestyle so cherished by its quiet inhabitants.