Tucked in a tropical jungle on the outskirts of the little coastal town of Hana is this state park, a black-sand beach set in an emerald forest. You’ll need to reserve your timed entry and parking lot a minimum of one day in advance, and closer to 60 days in advance if possible, to visit shiny black-sand Wai‘anapanapa Beach and hike the coastal trail. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours at this 120-acre (49ha) park that appears like a vivid dream, with bright-green jungle foliage on three sides and cobalt-blue water lapping at its shore. Swimming in the ocean is not recommended here (rough seas, strong currents, but you  can lounge on the beach or walk the coastal trail past blowholes, sea arches, and hala groves.

The Hana-Waianapanapa Coast Trail is an easy 6-mile hike that takes you back in time. Allow 4 hours to walk along this relatively flat trail, which parallels the sea, along lava cliffs and a forest of lauhala trees. The best time to take the hike is either early morning or late afternoon, when the light on the lava and surf makes for great photos. Midday is the worst time; not only is it hot (lava intensifies the heat), but there’s also no shade or potable water available.

There’s no formal trail head; join the route at any point along the Waianapanapa Campground and go in either direction. Along the trail, you’ll see remains of an ancient heiau (temple), stands of lauhala trees, caves, a blowhole, and a remarkable plant, naupaka, which flourishes along the beach. Upon close inspection, you’ll see that the naupaka have only half-blossoms; according to Hawaiian legend, a similar plant living in the mountains has the other half of the blossoms. One ancient explanation is that the two plants represent never-to-be-reunited lovers: The couple bickered so much that the gods, fed up with their incessant quarreling, banished one lover to the mountain and the other to the sea.