Hawaii Island’s Hapuna Beach – often considered the best beach in the country, if not the world – won’t have working restroom facilities, water fountains and showers possibly until next year.
Recurring leaks since 2018 caused the beach’s facilities to finally shut down in Oct. 2022 after over 40 repair attempts, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. A new permanent water system won’t be completed until April 2024.
Temporary above-ground water lines were supposed to be installed by the end of July but the design underwent a “major change,” officials said. They expect even further delays due to pipe material shipping issues.
Residents called the additional delays for the beach “pretty outrageous,” according to Honolulu Civil Beat.
Locals underscore that it’s not only an inconvenience, it’s also a health issue.
“We understand people’s frustrations around timing and the construction process in general,” said Curt Cottrell, Administrator for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Parks in a statement. “This is a favorite beach for residents and visitors to the Big Island. We want to ensure a reliable and long-term source of fresh water for rinsing and drinking and remove the need for portable toilets.”
Why is Hapuna Beach worth a visit?
Located north of Kailua-Kona along the Kohala Coast, the beach is a popular spot for tourists. Out-of-state visitors, who want to enjoy Hapuna Beach’s soft white sand and crystal clear waters need to pay a parking fee of $10 per car and an entrance fee of $5 for each person older than 3 years old.
Stretching about half a mile, Hapuna Beach is a spacious, pristine beach with turquoise waters to swim or boogie board. During the winter months, people can spot humpback whales out by the horizon.
The Ala Kahakai coastal trail is also accessible at Hapuna Beach, which takes hikers “over ancient fishermen’s trails and Hawaiian Kingdom roads that have been connected through generations” as well as anachialine ponds and the shoreline.