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Important Information

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Intent of This Electronic Brochure

sandy beachHawai`i’s natural beauty ranks among the best in the world. However, gaining legal and safe access to Hawai`i’s mountain and shoreline areas can be challenging. Residents and visitors often request information that will help them plan their outdoor activities. Not only do they want to know where the publicly available accesses are, but also what they can expect once they get there.

This brochure is intended to identify and describe public access ways to and along the shoreline of the island of Hawai`i that are considered to be publicly accessible. More accesses and trails to the shoreline will be added to the brochure as they become available for public use.

How to Use This Brochure

waves breaking on a rocky beachThe maps allow the user to focus on particular island districts. Brief information is given on each access such as:

  • What kind of area is it? Is it in a resort area? Does it have a sandy beach or a cliff shoreline?
  • What kinds of activities can be conducted there? Is it possible to go swimming or is the area primarily for hiking and fishing?
  • Are there bathroom facilities? Parking? Camping spots?

Unfortunately there is no single, comprehensive source of information on shoreline accesses. Throughout the brochure we have provided links to other web-sites where further details are available.

Unless otherwise stated, no camping is permitted at an access.

Accesses are open 24-hours/day, seven days a week, unless otherwise stated.

shoreline public access signpublic access sign

The blue wave logo is used on signs to denote locations of shoreline public access on Hawai`i Island.

Responsible Behavior

trash on the beachWhile enjoying the public access ways, please do your part in taking care of the resources so that they may be enjoyed for many generations to come. This means:

  • Dispose of your trash properly. You brought it in. You can take it out!
  • Respect Hawaiian historic sites and burials by leaving them alone. Please don’t move any rocks!
  • Do not put plants or animals into the anchialine (brackish) ponds. These are very fragile ecosystems that contain plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Warning Signs - Life-Saving Information

Coastal areas along the island of Hawai`i are subject to seasonal high surf. During periods of high surf, strong currents may run along the shoreline. These currents may create hazardous conditions, making the ocean unsafe for swimming.

For a number of the access ways listed in this guide, access to the ocean is over rocks. Wave activity can make getting in and out of the water difficult due to dangerous shorebreaks and slippery rocks.

The Hawaiian Lifeguard Association website contains excellent information about ocean safety in Hawai`i.

Safety Tips

  • safety / warning signs on a beachNever swim alone. If no one else is swimming, there’s probably a good reason.
  • Always respect the power of the sea. Never turn your back on the ocean. High waves can appear suddenly and unexpectedly, sweeping people off the rocks and out to sea.
  • Don’t stand on wet rocks unless you plan to get wet. Rocks can be slippery, especially when wet and covered with certain kinds of sea weed.
  • Don’t jump over the waves. Instead hold your breath and dive under each wave.
  • Don’t dive into unfamiliar water. It could be too shallow or full of rocks.
  • Body boarding and surfing can be dangerous. Even the experts know when to stay out of the water and live to surf another day!
  • Don’t go in the water if you’re bleeding. Sharks can sense blood from great distances.
  • Stay out of the water if it’s murky. If you can’t see your own hand, you can’t see anything else.
  • Don’t harass dolphins, turtles, or other marine life. These animals are protected by federal and state laws. Taking live coral is prohibited in all state waters.
  • Don’t poke your fingers into underwater holes. They could be home to eels or spiny sea urchins. Wear foot protection when exploring tidal pools.
  • Watch children closely. A large wave can pull them underwater. Flotation devices are no substitute for your supervision.
  • Ocean currents can pull you out to sea. If you feel yourself being pulled, swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the current. Then swim to shore.
  • waves crashing at a sandy beachWinter (October - April) brings dangerous surf to the island’s north and west shores, while summer brings higher surf to the south and east shores. Listen for high surf advisories on the radio or T.V. Don’t go in if the waves are big.
  • Pay attention to changes in the weather and tide. Check local weather reports and be prepared for the predicted weather and ocean conditions.
  • Don’t swim in freshwater streams with open sores and wounds. Leptospirosis can be a life-threatening disease.
  • Be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Take a cell phone for emergencies. Take a flashlight just in case.
  • Leave your valuables at home. Otherwise, be careful to fully lock your car.
  • Bring a hat, footwear, sunscreen, lip protection, and lots of drinking water. The Hawaiian sun is strong, especially at midday.


Liability: Information provided on this website is provided solely as a courtesy to facilitate public access to information. The County of Hawai`i does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information disclosed.

Endorsement: The County of Hawai`i does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. The information contained on this website may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

palm trees on a sandy beachExternal Links: Some pages may provide links to other Internet sites for the convenience of users. The County of Hawai`i is not responsible for the availability or content of these external sites, nor does the County of Hawai`i endorse, warrant, or guarantee the products, services, or information described or offered at these other Internet sites. Users cannot assume that the external sites will abide by the same Privacy Policy to which the County of Hawai`i adheres.

Pop-Up Advertisements: When visiting our Web site, your Web browser may produce pop-up advertisements. These advertisements were most likely produced by other Web sites you visited or by third party software installed on your computer. The County of Hawai`i does not endorse or recommend products or services for which you may view a pop-up advertisement on your computer screen while visiting our site.

Hawai`i County’s Public Access Law

In 1996 the County of Hawai`i adopted Chapter 34 of the Hawai`i County Code which outlines procedures for the provision of public access when lands are subdivided into six or more lots or parcels. Chapter 34 further directs the Planning Department to work with other governmental agencies to compile information on the locations of shoreline and mountain areas that are accessible to public use. This brochure has been compiled to help fulfill the intent of Chapter 34. Accesses into mountain areas will be added to the brochure in the future.

Feedback or Suggestions?

This electronic format enables us to update, correct and add to the brochure without expensive printing costs and waste of paper.

We appreciate your feedback. You may send your comments and suggestions to

(dlc, 05/25/06)