Created by an ancient volcanic flow from Haleakala, the Keanae Peninsula is a half-mile long finger of lava jutting dramatically out from the coast that is home to an old, picturesque Hawaiian village. Located halfway along the Road to Hana, Keanae is a popular stop-off point for visitors to grab some snacks, view the historic Keanae Congregational Church, and watch the waves crash over the rugged lava pinnacles.
AT A GLANCE:
In old Hawaii, Keanae was a well-known taro farming village. Since the peninsula was created solely by lava, legend has it that the dirt was carried down to the peninsula basket-by-basket. A tsunami in 1946 crashed over the coast with no warning, bringing 35 foot waves that took the lives of 24 people and destroyed the majority of the village.
The 'Ihi'ihi o Lehowa Ona Kaua Church, built in 1856, was the only building to survive the storm. Now known as the Keanae Congregational Church, it is still active and holds services on the third Sunday of each month.
The village is still home to a small community of people, and it is easy for visitors who stop in to view the taro fields and dramatic lava structures to imagine the area as it might have been a couple hundred years ago.
The currents around the peninsula are very strong and the coastline rocky and treacherous, so there is no swimming along any point of Keanae's coast. However, this rocky coast attracts a lot of fishermen, as well as photographers and visitors who stop in to watch the powerful waves and the stunning landscape they create as they flow over the dark lava.
There is a large dirt parking area and restroom facilities located near the historic church. On the way into the village is a stand with local fruit, shave ice, sandwiches, banana bread, and area information.
Off of Hana Highway, near mile marker 16.
From Paia, head south on Highway 36 (Hana Highway). Just after mile marker 16, there will be a road on the left leading down to the village of Keanae (the road is just a short distance past Keanae Arboretum, which will be on the right.)