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Ka Lae Light, Naalehu

#6 of 9 in Things to do in Naalehu
Lighthouse · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Ka Lae, also known as South Point, is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and of the 50 United States. The Ka Lae area is registered as a National Historic Landmark District under the name South Point Complex. The area is also known for its strong ocean currents and winds and is the home of a wind farm.GeographyThe name for the southern tip of the island of Hawaii comes from Ka Lae in the Hawaiian language which means "the point". It is often spelled as one word, Kalae, or called South Point or South Cape. A confluence of ocean currents just offshore makes this spot one of Hawaii's most popular fishing spots. Both red snapper and ulua are plentiful here. Locals fish from the cliffs, some dangling perilously over the edge of steep lava ledges. Swimming here, however, is not recommended, due to the current. In fact, it is called the "Halaea Current", named after a chief who was carried off to his death.The confluence of currents also means the area is prone to accumulation of marine debris. Most of this coastline is very remote and difficult to access, and is probably the most debris-littered coast in the state, primarily due to its difficult access for debris removal. This debris poses an entanglement threat to wildlife and may refloat during storms. The shoreline is used by Hawaiian monk seals and hatchling hawksbill turtles, both endangered species. Efforts to clean the coastline are organized by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund in conjunction with the NOAA.
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  • Consider taking the time to visit South Point as you make the southern circle tour of the Big Island. Walk all the way out to the light. Enjoy the incredible views of the open Pacific on clear days.....  more »
  • The southernmost point in the U.S. is certainly a great goal in itself, but the trip is worthwhile too. The terrain is mostly flat from the road that circles the island. Once you get near the...  more »

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