The black sea-washed smooth lava sand and pebbles of the Pa'iloa Beach mark a sharp contrast to the glistening, churning waters of the Wai'anapanapa State Park on this essential stop on the Road to Hana. Jagged cliffs topped with emerald jungle growth mark the black basalt lava coastline above Pa'iloa Beach. Pa'iloa Beach is small, the beach is more pebbles than sand. Ocean waters here are often turbulent, rip tides are common when the Hawaiian surf is up, and the area is frequented by jellyfish, including the Portuguese man o' war. The safest swimming is in the freshwater pools in the nearby freshwater caves.
Most visitors make a quick stop at Waianapanapa to snap a photo or two before continuing along the Road to Hana, but there is a great deal more to see at Wai'anapanapa State Park. Most of the unique features of Wai'anapanapa State Park are easily reached from the parking lot. The many attractions of Wai'anapanapa State Park include a blow hole, a lava tube, caves, ancient ruins of heiau, or places of worship, pictographs, a lava arch and a coastal hike trail provide many scenic opportunities to the adventurous photographer in Wai'anapanapa State Park's more than 120 acres. The Kihaapi'ilani Trail can be taken from here to Hana Town via a stepping stone path (expect to take at least to 2 hours to reach Hana on foot from Wai’anapanapa State Park).