Discover One of Hawaii's Secret Beaches

Exploration to a Secret Beach (Pohue Bay Beach) requires risk and exertion, but a good hike makes the prize even sweeter.

Hot Take: Find your own private beach, Pohue Bay Beach was our own personal delight (4.5 stars)

Pro Tip: Leave lots of extra time when exploring to take in the scenery without having to rush…there are many private beaches in Hawaii so don’t just ‘cross them off your accomplishments list’; take the time to slow down to experience nature (oh, and take water…more than you think you’ll need!)

This is what the start of the trail looks like, the path gets much harder to walk on as you continue down to the beach.

One of the magical things about the Big Island of Hawaii is the ragged coastline unspoiled by human interference. Unlike many ideally beachy parts of the developed world, the Big Island maintains a ruggedness that often makes visitors work hard in exchange for the enchantment of being the only person on a pristine beach surrounded by an aquarium full of colorful sea life. In other words, a bit of knowledge and a lot of sweat can treat you to things that only billionaires get to enjoy.

Kelly and my adventure to Pohue Bay Beach (or “Secret Beach” as our Overnite hosts called it) certainly fit that billing. Now, it is hard to call a beach ‘secret’ if it is on Google Maps and has 15 reviews (for the curious, it has a rating of 4.7 stars, which is quite good). However, Kelly and I didn’t know that. All we were told is that if we drove to the end of the road then hiked down 1,000 ft of elevation for over for an hour over a barren lava field to the ocean, we would be rewarded with a private white sand beach experience with world-class snorkeling al-fresco. We try to balance luxury/soft days with adventure-y/hard days, so we though this adventure would serve to reward both our soles and souls.

Because we were staying in the area, the drive was short…but so was the day (as we did not get going until about 3p – note: sunset was at 6p). In good spirits, we donned our sturdiest hiking shoes and set off for the ocean.

First beach we made it to has beautiful scenery but was not soft enough sand for easy snorkeling entry and exit.

Our dreams of ‘maybe making it in 45 minutes’ were dashed over the next hour and 15 minutes as we slowly wound our way to the shore. After a dispiriting experience at the first bay (there was beautiful scenery, but not the promised white sand beach), we soldiered on (this now feeling a bit like a forced march) around a hill and down to the deserted white sands of Pohue Bay Beach.

We were somewhat surprised but delighted to have the entire Pohue Bay to ourselves once we had finally made it.

A quick look around and we could see that the we were the only people around…so time to get in the water!

view of sunset at secret beach (Pohue Bay) in Ocean View, Hawaii.

Unfortunately, daylight was waning, so we had to cut our time in paradise shorter than either of us would have preferred to make the 1.5 hour hike back up the 2 miles with 1,000 ft of elevation gain. (did we mention the trail was just loose lava flows?!?)

girl stares at sunset in ocean view in top of lava flows.

Exhausted, we made it back to the car. After devouring a pizza, we were sleepy, but proud of ourselves for pushing each other to move out of our comfort zone. And, after all, we had been rewarded with one of the prettier little private beaches either of us had ever experienced.