Kohala Forest Reserve, HI
Visit a waterfall-framed black-sand beach.
Paradise found: a perfect beach, 40 miles from the nearest resort crowds, with a palm-shaded camp at the mouth of a lush valley. Did we mention the 2,000-foot lava cliffs, freshwater cascades, and endangered monk seals? Hike to this idyllic spot on the Big Island’s northeast coast via a 16.9-mile out-and-back from Waipio Valley. Wait until low tide to ford the knee-high Wailoa Stream (pack spare closed-toe shoes) before zigzagging up 1,200 feet in less than a mile. For the next 4.5 easy miles, trace the corrugated base of an ancient lava flow cut by a dozen creeks, then drop to black-sand Waimanu Valley beach. Spend two nights to swim, sun, and hike 2.4 round-trip miles to visit 1,000-foot Waiilikahi Falls (year-round hunting, so dress loud). (808-974-4221; camping.ehawaii.gov) Trip data backpacker.com/hikes/1672595
The way From Honokaa, take HI 240 N 6.6 miles; fork right on Kukuihaela Rd. In a mile, park at Waipio Valley Artworks ($15/night; 800-492-4746).