The Puako General Store ... established 1988
Dating back to ancient times, Puako was a fishing village that, until the 1950s, was accessible only by boat or by the Ala Kaha Kai (the ancient “shoreline trail” that is now partially restored as a National Historic Trail). One of Hawaii’s largest petroglyph fields is nearby.
Still a small beach community—fewer than 200 homes along a single road just 2 ½ miles long—Puako is blessed with a consistently sunny and gentle climate. An eclectic mix of residents, snowbirds and vacationers, the kids you see on bikes and the surfers at Paniau probably live here. As you cross paths with them, stop and “talk story” at the General Store, an informal community center as well as a convenient resource for supplies. Life in Puako—year-round and short-term—is relaxed, very relaxed, but never boring.
Rimmed by a protected marine preserve, the Puako reef offers endless sights for snorkeling, SCUBA diving, kayaking, swimming and tide pool wading. You’ll have a great vantage point for watching the wintertime display of whales and their young during their calving time in our warm waters.
If all this isn’t exciting enough, you can walk to the Mauna Lani or Fairmont Orchid Hotels for a sunset beverage, or visit the nearby Shops at Mauna Lani or the King’s Shops and Queen’s Marketplace just down the highway for shopping and a variety of restaurants and galleries. On the way upcountry to Waimea, home of Parker Ranch and the “paniolos” (cowboys), a stop at Kawaihae Harbor offers additional restaurants, galleries, and a fish market. Golfers have numerous options, and adventurers may head for the summit of Mauna Kea, the active volcano Kilauea or a trip to the Zipline in Kapa’au.