137, adventure, beach, beautiful, black sand, blue, blue sky, car, coast, countryside, exploration, green, hawaii state, hawaii volcanoes national park, journey, lake flow, landscape, lava flow, locals, magma, nature, ocean, outdoor, plant, resort, rock, sandy beach, sea, sightseeing, sky, southern country, spectacular, tourism, travel, trees, unexplored, usa, vacation, view, volcano, water

Shutterstock /

Kehena Beach

Top choice in Puna

If any place captures the vibe of Puna, it's this beautiful black-sand beach tucked beneath a cliff where all walks of life – hippies, Hawaiians, gays, families, seniors, tourists – do their own uninhibited things. Expect nudity and pakalolo (marijuana), though nobody cares if you don't participate. Think twice about swimming; the surf is treacherous and drownings happen. To get here, turn into a small parking area at Mile 19 and look for the steep, hard-to-spot path leading down to the beach.

Sunday sees a drum circle providing a constant rhythm for dancers, fire spinners, jugglers and hoopers.

Come early on a weekday to avoid the crowds, and be aware that nudity is illegal on all Hawaiian beaches. Don't leave valuables in your car.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Puna attractions

1. Star of the Sea Church

2.73 MILES

Known locally as the 'Painted Church,' this historic Catholic chapel is noted for its collection of murals including a simple trompe l'oeil cathedral…

2. New Kaimu Beach

3.66 MILES

Kaimu was the most beautiful black-sand beach in Hawaii until the 1990 lava flow that consumed Kalapana torched its stately palms and filled the bay with…

3. MacKenzie State Recreation Area

5.22 MILES

A moody, windswept grove of ironwood trees edge sheer cliffs towering above the ocean. The raw beauty of this powerful landscape makes an unforgettable…

4. Lava Tree State Monument

6.26 MILES

An easy 0.6-mile paved loop takes you past ancient ‘lava trees,’ created in 1790 when pahoehoe (smooth-flowing lava) from Kilauea’s East Rift Zone…

5. Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station

6.94 MILES

Although the award-winning, $3.9-million solar-powered transfer station is a solid waste management marvel, trashless travelers flock here to ogle its…

6. Isaac Hale Beach Park

7.17 MILES

This rocky beach park was the local surf spot serving all of the greater Puna area, but where once flowed ocean peppered with local talent battling over…

7. Makuʻu Farmers Market

10.25 MILES

Follow the line of cars turning off Hwy 130 every Sunday morning for this large, festive and diverse farmers market. Offerings include psychic readings,…

8. Kumukahi Lighthouse

11.37 MILES

When the lava flow of January 1960 approached Cape Kumukahi, it parted around the 1.7 million candlepower lighthouse – the strongest in Hawaii at the time…