The dark red sand at Kōkī Beach was produced by the nearby cinder cone hill of Ka Iwi O Pele, meaning “bones of Pele.” According to Hawaiian legend, Kōkī Beach is where the volcano goddess Pele fought her final battle with her older sister, Namakaokaha’i, the goddess of the ocean. Pele’s bones were stacked along the Kōkī shoreline and her spirit traveled to Kilauea of Big Island.
Koki Beach is one of the two famous Hana surf breaks and a favorite spot for local surfers. We do not recommend swimming here, due to lack of lifeguards and exposure to the rip tides and high waves. For swimming, head on over to Hamoa Beach, less than a mile away, where ocean conditions are usually much safer than Kōkī Beach. Although the walk to Hamoa Beach turns steep in places, with limited parking there this is an option worth considering.
During the summer, Kōkī Beach may welcome you with a broad sandy beach and mellow waves, but conditions can get gnarly due to its easterly location,and swimmers are best advised to seek safer beaches with less choppy waters and no threat of strong rip tides.
For surfers, it is a different story. This beach is where the local Hana children learn how to surf. Shortboards are more appropriate than longboards due to the steepness of the waves. We only recommend experienced surfers to go out at this spot. In the winter, the water is more violent, taking away the sand and leaving rocks, cinder, and boulders.
You can enjoy sunbathing, relaxing, and watching experienced surfers and bodyboarders.
Looking to picnic? Koki Beach provides a nice grassy park with picnic tables along with plenty of shade from the Ironwood trees. Picnic tables and barbeque grills are located in the park.
From the end of Koki Beach, you can get a good view of a small island, about a half mile offshore, called 'Ālau. This little cone shaped island is 150 feet tall with several coconut palms on top and a sanctuary for seabirds called 'iwa.
We strongly advise you not to continue north of the red cinder hill, as it is composed of loose volcanic material that can break off and fall into the ocean below.
Although Koki Beach does not have a typical white sand beach, its special dark red color and view of the surfers, continues to attract tourists.
*Ancient Sites of Maui, Moloka'i, and Lāna'i: Archaelogical Places of Interest in the Hawaiian Islands, Van James, Mutual Publishing, 2001
*Moon Maui, Including Moloka'i & Lana'i, Kyle Ellison, Moon Handbooks, 2014
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