Following Route 11 on the Big Island to Na’alehu, the southern most town in the US, the turnoff to South Point is at the 70-mile marker. Passing by an orange grove near the top of the road through an open cattle pasture, you’ll come to the sweeping views of this trip, which are truly unforgettable. According to ancient stories, South Point is where the first Polynesians voyagers landed.
Nearby Papakolea is not reachable by rental car, but locals often are available and offer to take visitors to the beach in their 4-wheel drives for a reasonable fee which is well worth it if you don’t want to do the 3 mile hike to get there. Once there, the climb down to the beach itself is quite steep, and can be slippery due to sand particles on the hard surface, so some caution is necessary. The beach gets its name and colour from a large deposit of a semi-precious gem called “olivine”, which is mixed with the black sand.
Once at the Green Beach, it’s quite magical. It’s definitely worth the trip.