Vast, rural and remote, the island of Hawaii’s southernmost region, Kau, is a quiet area free of large hotels, resorts and golf courses. It’s home to the small communities of Naalehu and Pahala, and one of the most famous beaches in the state—Punaluu Black Sand Beach.
Kau is also home to most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It’s a place of natural wonders where you can witness the growth of the island right before your eyes. Other sights in Kau include Kalae, known as South Point, the southernmost point in the United States, and Kau Desert, which is on southwest edge of Kilauea. Here you’ll find footprints of warriors who were trapped in volcanic ash long ago — a result of one of Kilauea’s rare explosive eruptions. This area is also popular among backpackers and hikers, as taxing trails crisscross the land from the mountains to the sea.
In contrast, on the eastern slopes of Kau, there are macadamia nut orchards, coffee farms and cattle. Wood Valley, near Pahala, is a place for meditation and respite from the outside world. It’s no wonder Kau is home to not only Hawaiian families who have been here for generations, but also writers, artists, philosophers and others seeking solitude.
Explore beyond Kilauea and get off the beaten path in Kau.