Laupāhoehoe Point is just about 30 miles north of Hilo on The Big Island. This whole area is made up of smooth lava (pāhoehoe), making the beach made up of varying sizes of lava rock. I completely fell in love with the views of the ocean because of Hawaii’s isolation the water is a deep, deep sapphire blue. It is so striking!
Although Laupāhoehoe is an incredible site to take in, it has a really sad history as well. Nature is such a powerful force, but it isn’t always a good kind of power. On April 1st, 1946 a massive tsunami caused by an earthquake in Alaska struck the island of Hawai’i. Many people died on the Big Island, but the tragedy here was that there was a school right on the coast and 24 people were killed – most of them, children. Only two people lived to tell the tale. It was such a tragedy but luckily we’ve come a very long way in detection & alerts since then.
Laupāhoehoe Point Park is a beautiful place to visit and the park is set up with restrooms, picnic tables and even a shower station – camping along the ocean and in the Hawai’i State Parks seems to be extremely common.
The waves crashed on the rocks and created massive sprays all along the coast. You get an almost 180 degree view of nothing but ocean, lava-rock formations and waves rolling in and out. I love looking at the ocean in Hawai’i because it just looks like it goes on forever and then eventually blends with the sky. It’s truly incredible.
There are several pieces of stone building laying in different parts of the beach. I’m not positive what structure it’s actually from, but Matt and I assumed that they were part of the school that was destroyed. Seeing these pieces was a very haunting reminder of the power of the Pacific. If you’ve been here and know where they came from for sure, I would love to know.
Photo by Matt
This specific formation created massive spray as the waves hit them. We heard about a few blow holes, but we never made it to any of them. This was probably the closest thing to a blow hole that we saw and it was still beautiful.
This cute little crab was up there to greet us, in fact, I just about put my hand right on top of him! Luckily, I didn’t hurt him, but he did startle me a bit! Ha!
Further down the beach, but still in that main parking area, there’s a grouping of trees. This was probably my favorite section of Laupāhoehoe point because I just got caught up in the glimpses of that stunning blue ocean between these funky trees. The paths between the trees were so peaceful and inviting. I think this would be the perfect spot for a picnic, and I will do just that when I get back to The Big Island.
Along with the spirituality of Laupāhoehoe’s natural beauty, there is also this other spiritual factor. There is an extremely beautiful memorial to the people who lost their lives in the tragic tsunami that struck on April 1, 1946. There are offerings of shells, necklaces and flowers left in front of the memorial. I think that it adds to this place’s spirituality.
Some of the offerings of beads.
Although this beach isn’t the best place to swim, there is a portion of the beach visible from the monument [pictured above] that is much calmer. To the far left, which you can’t see in the photo, there’s a dock that isn’t a functioning dock anymore, but the old boat ramp makes for a perfect place to get in and out of the ocean – we saw a family swimming there while we were there.
Something important to know about the beaches in Hawai’i is that massive waves can very unexpectedly crash. Never turn your back to the ocean. Heed all posted warnings and I highly recommend swimming where there are lifeguards. Just be sure to take care of yourself and be smart.
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