Laupahoehoe means “Leaf of Lava,” referring to the lava flow that created the flat peninsula of land forming Laupahoehoe Point along the scenic Hamakua Coast on the Big Island’s northeast shore.
Located about half way between Hilo and Honokaa, Laupahoehoe enjoys expansive views of the rocky shoreline and the blue Pacific.
A turnoff from the Mamalahoa Hwy. (Hwy. 19) leads about 1.4 miles (2.1 km) down a winding and very scenic road leading to Laupahoehoe Point. This point was formed by the river of lava which came from a relatively late eruption of the now dormant Mauna Kea volcano.
At Laupahoehoe Point Park you can view the plaque which is a memorial to the two dozen people who tragically died when an April 1, 1946 tsunami swept away the village including the schoolhouse.
The tsunami was caused by an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands 2,400 miles (3,862 km) north of Hawaii and brought waves to the Islands that were more than 56 feet (17 m) high causing extensive damage including Hilo where 96 people died.
The beach park at Laupahoehoe Harbor has a grass lawn, restrooms and picnic facilities as well as tide pools for a refreshing dip in the water.
To learn more about the history of the area visit the Laupahoehoe Train Museum where photographs and memorabilia document the railroad history of the Hamakua Coast region including the Hilo Railroad, also called the Hawaii Consolidated Railroad.
Today about 550 people live in Laupahoehoe. About 13 miles from Laupahoehoe is the town of Pepeekeo. Laupahoehoe is one of the many scenic areas along the Hamakua Heritage Corridor Drive from Hilo to Waipio Valley.