Our Wonderful Kehena Vacation Rentals
Situated almost an hour south of Hilo, Kehena is a tiny town tucked away on the Big Island’s east coast along coastal Highway 137. Kehena is off the beaten path – a place to go to get away from it all and a place where a variety of lifestyles are the norm. Despite its seclusion, it still offers easy access to both Hilo and Volcanoes National Park, situated approximately an hour’s drive between each attraction.
Located between Kapoho and Kalapana on Puna’s coastal Red Road, Kehena has the distinction of being the biggest beach in Puna District. That said, it’s not very big, but it is a hidden gem. Those up for the steep trek down from the parking area will be rewarded with a narrow stretch of black sand tucked between swaying ironwoods and crashing waves. Kehena is a really nice secluded black sand beach, accessed by a short but very steep trail. It’s best to come here in the morning, as there’s more sun during those hours, and the beach is less crowded. In the afternoons, it fills up with all varieties of people, often partying. Kehena is, however, an excellent spot to meet friendly locals and ask about happenings in the area that you might not have heard about otherwise. This beach can often see big waves with dangerous swimming conditions, so watch the ocean for a while first and exercise caution, as there are no lifeguards (or any other authority figures, for that matter) within many miles of here. Kehena is a very popular place, and is known as a “clothing-optional” beach: you’ve been warned. If you like to relax on this type of beach, then this is one of the few places in Hawaiʻi where you can do it.
The area around Kehena, though basically residential, is lively with people coming and going nearly every day of the week. Just across the street, Kalani Honua Oceanside Retreat is the mecca of yoga on Hawaiʻi Island, and you’ll enjoy taking advantage of their varied class offerings. They also offer great local/organic/vegetarian meals, so be sure to check that out if you don’t feel like cooking, as there are no other restaurants nearby. Kalani also hosts numerous special workshops and events; check their calendar for what’s upcoming. There are various other retreat centers in the area as well.
Explore Unique Kehena Attractions
Just down the road from Kehena is the small town of Kalapana. Here you will find the Star of the Sea Painted Church, a historical building built in 1928. While unassuming on the outside, this tiny church houses surprisingly stunning paintings and stained glass on its interior. Vivid paintings cover the walls and stretch across the arched ceiling, and detailed stained-glass pieces adorn the windows. The paintings tell the story of Father Damien Devester, a Belgian priest who helped leprosy patients in Hawaii. The church is open daily and welcomes visitors for free and is a peaceful spot for a stop.
Tucked away at the end of the road in Kalapana is Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar and Farmers Market. This place comes alive during their Wednesday evening block party, when locals and visitors alike come out to eat, drink, shop, dance, and socialize. A variety of food vendors are on site, so this is a great place to enjoy dinner. Choose among a variety of multicultural cuisines, grab a seat at one of the long picnic tables, and start your evening with a divine meal. Live music keeps the energy up throughout the night and there is often a crowd joining in with dancing. There are also a variety of vendors onsite selling local wares, such as food items, crafts, soaps, and jewelry, as well as other locally made products.
Kehena Beach is a unique place that exemplifies the best Puna has to offer: community spirit, isolation, and raw natural beauty. Book one of our Kehena Beach vacation rentals and start planning your vacation today!
At I Love Hawaii, we have a variety of vacation rentals available on the Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. Whether you’re exploring nature at its rawest at Volcano National Park on the Big Island, surfing in Oahu’s Waikiki, catching the sunrise at Haleakala on Maui, or gazing out over the Grand Canyon of the Pacific on Kauai, our vacation rentals will ensure complete comfort during your island stay. Many of our rentals offer full kitchens, island-inspired décor, breezy lanais, and swimming pools. Please contact us to make your vacation rental booking and to get started on planning your ideal Hawaiian getaway!