Thursday, April 21, 2016

Red Sand Beach


I wasn’t intentionally trying to ruin their vacation.

They seemed like a nice couple and DH and I thought they would really enjoy this other beach in Hana, where the sand is a reddish rusty color from the iron oxide in the rocks. They were already going to Hana, a 3 hour minimum drive from Kahului, so it’d be a nice stop for them. 

Red Sand Beach in Hana.
So, the next time we saw them, I was kind of horrified. This nice young couple looked like they had crawled through a barbed wire obstacle course, and were bruised, scratched, and plastered with band aids.

“What happened?” we asked.

“We found the Red Sand Beach… we slid down the side of the cliff to get there.”

“OMG.”

“Then we realized there was actually a path.”

We didn’t have much to say after that. 

Red Sand Beach – it is surprisingly easy to get to, or surprisingly difficult, depending on who you ask. But if you don’t ask, you risk the fate of butt-sliding down a cliff with scratches for souvenirs.

Red Sand Beach is in the town of Hana, very close to the Hana Ball Park. To get to the trail, go to the end of Uakea Road and walk toward the ocean, walking across the lawn of a county park. Make sure you are on the lawn and not trespassing on the grounds of the Hana Sea Cottages to the right. At the end of the lawn, look to the right among the ironwood trees for a section of the trail, and follow the trail as it curves to the left around a hill, on a narrow ledge overlooking the ocean. 

Funny warning sign at the trail for Red Sand Beach circa 1999. In small handwriting, it also says "Beware Naked Hippies. Beware of Ghosts. Please Beware of XXX (crossed out)! Mean Looking Sharks." I think this sign is no longer there, more's the pity.

(These directions are approximate since sometimes the trail head is easier to find and sometimes more difficult depending on vegetation and whether the trail has been eroded.)

The trail is very slippery, since the red lava cinders are like loose marbles.

Once you manage to get closer, the beach is very beautiful and photogenic. I think it’s a lousy swimming beach since waves can be rough, but some people think it’s okay in the morning when it’s calmer. Or during low tide or low surf. There is a somewhat protected area with a lava formation, but it's not always good for swimming either.



Don’t be too surprised if you see topless people or topless AND bottomless people. It’s not officially a nudist beach and the few times I’ve been there, everyone has been fully attired, but Red Sand Beach has a reputation for birthday suits. Those darn hippies, they can’t keep their swim suits on, to the aggravation of some local residents. 

One MAJOR tip guidebooks often forget to mention: The cliffs around Red Sand Beach block the afternoon sunlight, so if you get there past 2 or 3 pm and you want some sun, forget it! Go there early or not at all.




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