Share:

Big Island's Best Beaches

03.14.17

Start Exploring
Big Island's Best Beaches

Share:

Advertisement
  • Kealakekua Bay is the Big Island's largest natural bay, and it is a Marine Life Conservation District.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • The heiau at Kealakekua Bay remains a sacred spot, and access is kapu (taboo).- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Manini'ōwali Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • There are some great waves for boogie boarding at Manini'ōwali Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • The path to Makalawena Beach leaves from the north end of Mahai'ula Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Makalawena Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Makalawena Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • A-Bay Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Rentals are available at A-Bay Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • The gate at A-Bay Beach that allows fish to swim into the Ku'u Ali'i fishpond.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • 'Anaeho'omalu Bay Beach, otherwise known as A-Bay.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Rocks make Kukio Beach a little tricky for swimming, but there are still plenty of sandy places to enter the water.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Looking north toward Kikaua Point from Kuki'o Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Sea turtles frequently haul out for a rest at Kuki'o Beach. Always keep your distance to avoid disturbing their recovery.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Kikaua Point is a great beach for families because of its naturally protected bay and the shallow water.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • La'aloa Bay Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • A volleyball net at La'aloa Bay Beach Park.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Kona Beach sits in front of the Marriott.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Downtown Kailua-Kona near the pier.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Makaiwa Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • This cave near Makaiwa Beach was a home for groups of Hawaiians between 1500 and 1700 A.D. - Big Island's Best Beaches
  • The Kalahuipua'a Fishponds near Makaiwa Beach are fed by freshwater springs and ocean water. - Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Kikaua Point is a great beach for families because of its naturally protected bay and the shallow water.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Mau'umae Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Hāpuna Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Mongoose are common in the shrubs and undergrowth at Hāpuna Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • The south end of Mauna Kea Beach is more for the public; the north end is predominantly for hotel guests.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • The Ala Kahakai National Scenic Trail runs south from Mauna Kea Beach toward Hapuna Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Mauna Kea Beach from the south end.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • A Hawaiian canoe built to resemble historic models gives tours of the area from Mauna Kea Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
  • Sunset from Mauna Kea Beach.- Big Island's Best Beaches
Article
Contributor

The youngest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, and its most geologically active, the Big Island comprises well over half of Hawaii’s landmass and hosts some of its most spectacular beaches. With four active volcanoes, the island continually grows, a dramatic process that, at times, spurts liquid, hot magma into the ocean like a firehose.

This is to say that, as far as beaches go, much of the Big Island is all a'a lava. Still, the erosive power of the Pacific is indefatigable, a force of nature that has carved away the Big Island’s western coast. Here, and in isolated pockets elsewhere on the island, are beautiful beaches to snorkel, surf, explore, or sit back with a cold brew and your favorite wahine or kane.

  • Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park: Swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking are the best ways to experience Kealakekua, one of the earliest ports of call in Hawaii and the site of a Captain Cook memorial.
  • Manini’ōwali Beach: A local favorite with great boogie boarding. Be sure to come when the crowds are low and stay all day. Food trucks included.
  • Makalawena Beach: One of the more picturesque beaches on the western shore, the scenery justifies the effort that the difficult access requires. Best for walking, though the northern reaches are good for boogie boarding.
  • ‘Anaeho’omaly Bay/A-Bay Beach: A family-friendly beach with calm waters, a fish pond, and convenient amenities. For the more energetic crowd, kayaks, pedal boats, and yoga are available.
  • Kuki'o Beach: Those dark rocks at the north end of the beach are in fact sea turtles that come here to bask in the sun. Also a great place for snorkeling when the water is clear, which is admittedly rare. Combine the day with nearby Kikaua Point Park to keep the kids entertained.
  • La’aloa Bay Beach Park/Magic Sands Beach: Easily accessible from Kailua-Kona, La’aloa offers a reliable beach day adventure. Its break is good for boogie boarding and body surfing.
  • Kona Beach: Missionaries landed here in 1820, and it’s been busy ever since. These days, beach-goers come for the kayak and SUP rentals, protected waters, and easy access to Kailua-Kona.
  • Makaiwa Beach: Its location and size give a sense of privacy. Visit the Kalahuipua’a Trail and Fishponds and its centuries-old cave.
  • Mau’umae Beach: Mau’umae might be the beach you think of when you think of Hawaii. Small, but secluded and private, the beach is picturesque and a great place to launch stand-up paddleboards. One problem: no restrooms.
  • Hāpuna Beach: Regularly ranked atop the beaches on the Big Island. A massive resort beach best for lounging and shoreline walks, though boogie boarding is possible. 
  • Mauna Kea Beach: Another of the Big Island’s archetypal resort beaches. A beautiful arc of sand with a typically safe surf for children and comfortable amenities. The Ala Kahakai Trail nearby connects Mauna Kea to Hāpuna Beach.

The Big Island’s multicolored beaches

  • Punalu’u Beach: when lava strikes the ocean water and cools rapidly, it fractures into black sand. Black sand beaches, of which Punalu’u is the biggest, are the best for sea turtles.
  • Papakōlea Beach: Olivine gives this beach its green color, endowed by the olivine-rich lava that erupted 49,000 years ago from a crater nearby. Remote and hard to access—it’s a 5-mile hike out—but the surf is good for snorkeling.
Advertisement
Comments

Comments

Published By

Published by

Contributor
118 Adventures Explored
116 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info