Monday, March 16, 2009

The weekend Pilgrimage to Hapuna

Ceaseless, soothing waves, acres of fine sand, and a shaded backshore hillside dotted with picnic pavilions: Hapuna State Beach is a beach-lover’s magnet. It is reliably the Big Island’s happening people-beach, and among the best in Hawaii. It’s kind of nature’s miracle, really, on an island whose west shore is largely rough-hewn lava with coral-sand pockets, and east shore is lush and cliffy with few beaches. People drive here from miles to get weekend restoration.

The state has finally fixed the restrooms and added a tasty sandwich and beach-rental stand. Coastal walks are also in the offing: just over the bluffs to the south is Beach 69 (also a state beach with new parking and restrooms, and in case you are wondering, it is named for its proximity to telephone pole number 69). A trail to the north takes you by two top-end destination resorts: the Hapuna Beach Prince, new in 1994, and the venerable Mauna Kea, if a history that dates from 1964 is now historic.