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Hawaiian Islands
Alternative Lifestyle Beaches -


At least a dozen beaches in the Islands are frequented by clothing-optional purists. Few arrests have been made at these locations, because these beaches are remote, usually distant from towns and hotels; they are not visible from nearby roads, and they are often not easily accessible. The swimming is often dangerous or undesirable, too, and there are no lifeguards. Lastly, these beaches are known mostly to locals and/or serious nudists, and thus are often deserted.

They also include some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawai'i. Author John Clark includes three of them in his Hawaii's Best Beaches (UH Press; 1999):

Red Sand Beach, Maui - A narrow trail leads to the remnants of an ancient volcanic cinder cone that colors this beach red instead of white or black. Also called Kaihalulu ("roaring sand or sea"), Red Sand Beach is located at the base of Ka'uiki Head near Häna. Sand dunes and kiawe trees dot the area.

Get Outdoor Gear HereMakena State Park, Maui - This area is found near Pu'uola'i. Makena ("abundance") has both a Big Beach and a Little Beach, and Little Beach hosts the nudists. "If public nudity offends you, you may want to reconsider visiting this beach," writes Clark.

Secret Beach, Kaua'i - Found between Kïlauea Point and Kalihinui Bay near Hanalei, Secret Beach, or Kauapea, is a straight and flat section of white sand. Honolulu magazine listed Kauapea in a March 1998 "Best Nude Beach" feature, along with Makena's Little Beach and the Big Isle's Honokohau - with the caveat that Honokohau is less visited since "the National Park Service banned nudity in January 1997."

Rachel Christmas Derrick, in her Hawai'i Guide (Open Road Publishing; 1997) mentions three beaches in her survey of the Islands:

Papohaku, Molaka'i - This gulch and two-mile beach is on the sparsely populated western end of the island. While there is a state park next to it and a hotel nearby, this very large stretch of white sand is often completely deserted.

Polihua, Lana'i - The Pineapple Isle has "so many remote beaches," reports Clark. Polihua ("eggs in bosom," because turtles are known to lay eggs in this area) is found on the sparsely populated island's northern coast, near Shipwreck Beach.

Papakolea, Hawai'i - Also called Green Sand Beach due to the olivine crystals created by old volcanic eruptions, Papakolea ("plover flats") is found at the bottom of sea cliffs and is tough to get to. It's near South Point (Ka Lae, for "the point") on the Big Island.

In Beaches of the Big Island (UH Press; 1985), John Clark mentions Green Sand Beach and several other nude locales:

Kumukahi ("first beginning" or "beginner"), Hawai'i - Named for a migratory hero from Kahiki who stopped at the beach once, Kumukahi is found of the easternmost cape of the island of Hawai'i in the heart of the Puna district. Kumukahi is also named for a Hawaiian chief who pleased volcano deity Pele but later ridiculed her, so the goddess heaped lava over him, thus forming the cape, explain the authors of Place Names of Hawai'i (UH Press, 1974).

Kehena ("place of refuse"), Hawai'i - The birthplace of J.W. Kanoa, according to Place Names, Kehena is in the land division off Kalapana near Puna. Clark explains that this black sand beach is very popular for "complete suntanning."

Honokohau ("bay tossing dew," and sometimes referred to as Honokahau), Hawai'i - This ancient surfing area is near Kona along the Keahole area. Heiau and fishponds have also been found here.

Mahai'ula, Hawai'i - Also an ancient surfing area in the Keähole district, the sea here is known for a yellow or red tint in the summer months.

In Beaches of Kaua'i and Ni'ihau (UH Press; 1990), includes other nude locales:

Ninini ("pour"), Kaua'i - This point near Näwilili Harbor, close to the main town of Lïhue, has two beaches; nudist frequent the smaller one.

Donkey Beach, Kaua'i - This isolated area near Keälia Beach and Palikü Point is just north of the town of Kapa'a. To get there, one must cut through private property belonging to Lïhu'e Plantation Company.

Maha'ulepü ("falling together"), Kaua'i - Found in the Köloa district by Kawailoa Bay just north of Lïhu'e, the swimming here is marginal, reports Clark.

Hanakapi'ai ("bay sprinkling food") Beach, Kaua'i - Found on the North Shore area, along with Hanakapi'ai Falls.

Köke'e ("to bend or to wind") State Park and the Nä Pali ("the cliffs") Coast, Kaua'i - Both are known to be visited by nude campers and hikers.

Police officers don't usually patrol these O'ahu locales, but sometimes they make a bust:

Goat Island, O'ahu - This bird sanctuary has been used by nudists for years.

Makaleha, O'ahu- Found near Mokule'ia on the North Shore, John Clark - who is a member of the North Shore Neighborhood Board - says Makaleha ("eyes looking about as in wonder and admiration") has been the most contentious spot for community complaints in recent years, particularly over the past six months. The Mokule'ia Community Association opposes outdoor nude recreation. The complaints seem to have increased with the opening of a public right-of-way.

Diamond Head Beach, O'ahu - When John Clark was growing up near the area in the 1950s and 1960s, Diamond Head was heavily frequented by gays. But, that changed when surfers and windsurfers discovered the spot. While some gays can be found on the beach beneath the Kuilei Cliffs, most of them have moved in the other direction, toward Black Point.


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