I checked my phone to see what time it was - 12:30 AM. That's WAY too early to start the day - the sun wouldn't be up for another 6 hours. I forced myself back to sleep and finally got out of bed at 3:15. Matt, Price and I were still on EST (Eastern Standard Time) so we decided to walk down to the beach to watch the sunrise.

Since we were only walking a mile, we didn't take much with us except our phones. When we left the condo, it was still dark and we couldn't see much. Matt used his phone to see how far we were from the beach.

Google Maps

Hmmmm...we probably should have looked at this BEFORE we locked ourselves out of the condo. The closest beach was a 7.2 mile drive AND we were on the west side of the Island. To top that off, there was no way to take a short cut because about 95% of the way between our condo and the water was covered in lava rock.

I felt bad about knocking on the door and waking up my dad. BUT...it was sort of his own fault. He was WAY off on his calculation to the beach. We had a good laugh about it and the four of us decided to take the car to see if we could work our way around the west coast in time to see the sunrise.

At some point, we realized there was no way it was going to happen.  We found a place to pull over. Matt and Price hiked up a little hill to see if they could get a better view. It was 6:30 AM.

West Coast Sunrise

On the way back to the condo, we stopped to check out a couple of beaches. We arrived at Beach 69 a few minutes before it opened. It was self-serve parking ($5.00) with a short walk down to the Beach 69.

Beach 69

This beach has plenty of shade and seemed quiet. According to the park ranger, it doesn't get nearly as crowded as the more popular, Hapuna Beach that was not far away. Since we were so close, we decided to check it out!

When we arrived at Hapuna Beach, we were happy to discover our parking ticket was good for all the beaches. In lieu of self-serve parking, this beach had a parking attendant.  I asked him where to buy groceries. He said the locals shop at KTA and Foodland in Waimea. Perfect!

The walk down to this beach was a steep path, but it was easy to see why people prefer Hapuna Beach over Beach 69. This beach had everything! You could rent umbrellas, beach chairs, boogie boards and snorkeling gear and they also had a concession stand. Sweet!!! According to Only In Hawaii.org, Hapuna Beach is the most famous beach on the Big Island.  Here's a picture from their website:

None of us were dressed for the beach and dad had scheduled a 9:00 AM activities appointment at the condo. So, we hopped back in the car and headed for Paniolo Greens.