I may have found the smallest beach in Hawaii. Very small parks are called "pocket parks", so I'm calling this one "pocket beach." It probably has a real name (almost everything here does) but it's not marked on my map and there is no sign.
This narrow strip of sand is directly behind houses near the Marie Corps base in Kailua. At high tide, there is only a small ribbon of beach between the waves and the back yard of the houses. There is beach access through an alleyway between the houses. On either end of the small beach, the water goes directly up to rocks and shore.
Beaches are open to the public, even when they are behind houses or Hawaii hotels. The clue is to look for a sandy alley, or a sign with an emergency response number. That is still the only way I find my way back from the beach to the street in some areas with lots of trees, bushes and houses. Often, people cluster near the alleys, so that can be a signal that an entrance is near. It also means that the beach may not be as crowded as it first appears, and if you walk a little farther you may find more space.
Although beaches are open to the public, many do not have any amenities – no nearby life guard or bath room or trash can. Even the popular (and busy) Lanikai Beach nearby falls into this category. You must take precautions and watch out for yourself and others. Bring water and sun screen and take all trash back out with you.
So, what is there to do on this tiniest of beaches? The same thing I enjoy at any beach. I watched a coconut roll back and forth with the waves, listened to the sound of the splashing water, and relaxed. I had my own private beach –excellent for solitude. I'm sure there are other small spots of sand along the coasts of the islands of Hawaii. You may find one where you least expect it!
September 26th, 2011