Hālona Beach Cove is an idyllic little cove hidden below the Kalanianaʻole Highway on Oahu’s southeast side. The beach is a quick hike down from the Hālona Blowhole Lookout and is one of my favorite spots to watch the sunrise! The cove’s sandy shore is the perfect place to spend the day. Its unique scenery is unlike any other beach on the island.
One of the prettiest places for sunrise. Whether you watch from the lookout or from the cove’s shore, it’s sure to be stunning!
The beach with many names
You may hear Halona Cove referred to as Eternity Beach or From Here to Eternity Beach. That’s because this was the filming location of the famous onscreen love scene between Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in the 1950s Hollywood film, “From Here to Eternity.”
The cove also served as a filming location for “Whitecap Bay” during the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, On Stranger Tides. If you’ve been here before, you may recognize the rocky shore from this clip:
Beware of swimming at night – you may run into the sirens of Whitecap Bay! 😉
Halona Cove is also called Cockroach Cove, but no one knows how or why it got that name. It could have been a clever tactic to prevent curious people from exploring this hidden gem so it could remain a tranquil secret.
The Hike Down:
The cove’s beachy shore is accessible by a short but steep trek down from the Hālona Blowhole Lookout parking lot. You could stay in the parking lot and enjoy the view of the cove and the nearby blowhole from above, but it is worth the hike down if you are up for it!
You’ll want to park and head towards the right side of the lot where there is a gap between the stone wall and guardrail. There is also a sticker-covered sign that says “Danger” – in true Hawaii hike fashion, this is where you’ll want to enter. The trail is not maintained or paved. You’ll be hiking down to get to the beach, then back up to get out. Finding your way down the rocks should take less than 10-15 minutes. I’ve seen people do this in flip-flops, long dresses, carrying beach chairs, so it’s not difficult per se, but take your time and be cautious. The rocks are sharp and the sand and dirt can make it slippery.
The color of the water here is gorgeous, especially against the dark rocks surrounding it. It is not always safe to go swimming here, but if the water is calm you may be lucky enough to see some turtles during a dip! I brought my snorkel mask in with me once and was delighted to see four turtles swimming around me. Best day ever!
Be sure to check out the cool lava tube while you’re down here! It’s in the middle back of the cove right where the sand hits the rocky mountainside.
I also recommend taking the time before or after you hike down to the cove to see the Halona Blowhole at the other end of the lookout parking lot (on your left side if you’re facing the ocean). When the surf is high enough, you’ll be able to watch the ocean waves get sucked under the rocky shelf and forced up through the blowhole, shooting water 20+ feet into the sky.
Highlights: One of the most rewarding short hikes on the island. The water is a stunning blue gradient and there is a chance to see turtles!
Swimming Conditions: Safest during summer months when water is calm. See below for additional safety info.
Some additional info and safety warnings:
- Parking is free
- There are no restrooms or showers (There closest facilities are a quarter mile down the road at Sandy Beach)
- There are no lifeguards, so you are swimming at your own risk
- The sign you will pass at the trail entrance does say this beach is dangerous/off-limits, but I’m sure you’ll find you aren’t the only rebel on the beach
- The ocean can become highly dangerous without warning with the potential for an undertow and strong currents. Don’t swim too far out as the currents can pull you into the open ocean. I suggest you check tides and currents in the area even if the water looks calm. Better safe than sorry!
- Waves crash onto the rocks on both sides of the cove which can make them slippery and hazardous. Explore with caution!
Ocean Safety Disclaimer: Beach and ocean conditions can be extremely dangerous and certain activities may require a certain level of ability and skill. Always take proper safety precautions when near bodies of water and pay special attention to weather forecasts, tides, currents, and safety signage. Visit hioceansafety.com to view current wind & surf reports and additional safety information. As the trusty old saying goes: When in doubt, don’t go out!