MacKenzie State Recreation Area

Explore MacKenzie State Recreation Area in Pahoa, Big Island, where volcanic lava cliffs meet the Pacific Ocean, offering scenic trails, picnicking, and birdwatching.

MacKenzie State Recreation Area is a State Park located in the city of Pahoa on Big Island, Hawaii
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Things to Know About MacKenzie State Recreation Area


  • Overview: MacKenzie State Recreation Area is a beautiful, rugged coastal park located in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Known for its stunning lava cliffs and lush greenery, this hidden gem offers visitors a unique glimpse into the island’s volcanic past.
  • Highlights: The park’s dramatic lava cliffs, formed by ancient lava flows, are its main highlight. These stunning geological formations provide a breathtaking backdrop for the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, creating an unforgettable sight for visitors.
  • Activities: At MacKenzie State Recreation Area, visitors can enjoy picnicking with ocean views, exploring the park’s network of coastal trails, and fishing from the lava cliffs. The park is also an excellent spot for birdwatching and photography enthusiasts.
  • Information: MacKenzie State Recreation Area is open daily from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. There is no entrance fee to visit the park. The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from April to October, as the park can be muddy and slippery during the wet season.
  • History & Significance: Established in 1955, MacKenzie State Recreation Area was named in honor of Albert J. MacKenzie, a dedicated forester who contributed significantly to the development of Hawaii’s forest reserves. The park’s unique landscape is a testament to the island’s volcanic history, offering visitors a chance to connect with the forces that shaped the Big Island.
  • Tips & Insights: To enhance your visit to MacKenzie State Recreation Area, consider wearing sturdy shoes for walking on the uneven lava rock terrain, and bring a jacket, as the coastal winds can be chilly. Also, be cautious near the lava cliffs, as the edges can be unstable and slippery due to the constant wave action.

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