Beach Tour

The island of Hawai‘i is the youngest island in the archipelago; indeed, it is still growing as the island’s active volcano continues to add land mass every day. Hawai‘i has not had time to develop the coral sand beaches that encircle the other older islands. With the exception of the Kona Kohala Coast, most of the beaches are black lava that has been ground into sand by the ocean.
Despite the island’s youth, we have more than 41 beaches around the island. Some of the beaches are very difficult to access. Waimanu Valley in particular is a long dangerous hike, or it can be reached by helicopter or on calm days by kayak. Some beaches have dangerous surf or rip tides, and swimming is not advised. Please pay attention to posted signs and warnings at all beaches; they are there for your protection!
Below is a list of 41 beaches on the Big Island (not including the 3 beaches in front of the our beach homes.)


In Kailua town next to the pier. Site of King Kamehameha’s residence in Kailua. 2.5 miles north of Kona Beach House.


On Ali‘i Drive, 1 mile north of Kona Beach House.

White Sands

Also known as “Disappearing Sands” because the beach retreats in winter. 1 mile south of Kona Beach House. Local body surfing – usually crowded.

Kahaluu Bay

Black sand beach; good snorkelling but often very crowded.  A good place to take surfing lessons. Two miles south of Kona Beach House.


Keauhou Bay Beach Park

A great place to learn to paddle board. Three miles south of Kona Beach House.


Pololu Valley – Hamakua

If you are in good health and up for the hike, the trip down to the valley will reward you with great photo opportunities of spectacular black sand beach, a glorious green valley, and bright blue ocean.

The rip currents are strong and swimming is not recommended.

Keokea Beach Park

Mahu Kona Landing

Great for snorkeling in the clear water, particularly on calm days. Underwater you will see evidence of the days when the harbor was a busy hub.
No actual beach, but access is easy from the ladder at the end of the pier.

Lapakahi State Park

 Site of a 600 year old Hawaiian fishing village. No real beach but great snorkeling. Amenities include outdoor showers and toilets.


Spencer Beach Park at Kawaihai

Soft white sand beach and reef-protected waters. Safe for swimming year-round. Not great for snorkeling. Nearby is the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Park.

Mauumae Beach

One of the Big Island’s hidden gems. The beach is usually quiet during the week, and a great place for a picnic. A nice walking trail leads to Mauna Kea beach.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Beach

Great beach and great golf. Beach access is limited unless you golf or eat at the hotel.

Hapuna Beach at the Hapuna Prince Hotel

Bodysurfing and body boarding in summer, but undertow can be tricky in winter. Excellent snorkeling around the rocks at either end. Strong currents when the surf is up. Possible to rent water sport equipment and get food at the concession at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Free parking.


Waialea Bay (Beach 69)

Great beach for sun, shade, and snorkeling. Water is usually calm and clear. Toilet facilities available.


Fairmont Orchid Beach at Waikoloa

Nice hotel beach. The Fairmont also has great golf courses.


Makaiwa Bay Beach
Mauna Lani Hotel, Waikoloa

A charming little beach within the Mauna Lani resort. The bay is a favorite for beginner scuba divers and great for snorkeling. This is also the location of the Makaiwa Bay Fish pond. A great beach walk leads nearly all the way from Puako, past this beach and down to the Waikoloa resort.

Anaehoomalu Beach (A-Bay)

Fronts the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. Very accessible to public, free parking. Well protected bay great for swimming snorkeling, windsurfing and diving. Possible to rent kayaks, boogie boards, snorkel gear etc. Nearby are two ancient fishponds – Kuualii and Kahapapa.



Kiholo Bay

One of the great secret spots on the island. A two mile hike from the highway, but worth it.



Four Seasons Hotel Beach

Limited public parking.



Kukio Beach

Kukio is a long beach with many turtles. Unfortunately rocks and murky water make it less suited for swimming and snorkeling.

Manini‘owali at Kua Bay

About 12 miles north of Kailua-Kona, part of Kekaha Kai State park. Excellent swimming. Watch for rocks if body surfing or boogie boarding. Beautiful sand, clear water, great snorkeling.


Makalawena Beach

One of the island’s finest beaches – hard to get to, so usually uncrowded.
Drive to Kekahakai Beach Park and walk 15- 20 minutes north.


Kekaha Kai Beach Park

This Park has two beaches. The beach park is accessed via a terribly maintained but driveable dirt road that takes at least 15 minutes (instead of 3 for a normal road) to navigate. This is also the access point for the most impressive Makalawena Beach, an additional 15 minute hike north.

Wawaloli Beach Park

The main attraction on this small beach is the sand-filled tide pools, which are protected from high surf by rock walls. These shallow basins are nice play areas for children and offer a cool retreat for adults. Wawaloli Beach Park is operated by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) and the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park. They provide convenient facilities to spend a day, such as picnic tables, barbecue grills, showers and restrooms.

Old Kona Airport

This beach is flat, generally clean, and dotted with rocks and coral pieces. Calm waters make for good snorkeling and a few accessible small coves of white sand offer safe water entry and tide pools for children. Just north, an offshore surf break known as Old A’s is popular with local surfers. Showers, toilets, and free parking.

Kealakekua Bay –
Napo‘opo‘o Beach Park and Manini Beach

Mostly rocky with small sand beach/channel for access to water. Located at South end of Kealakekua Bay. Views of the Kealakekua cliffs and the Captain Cook Monument across the Bay. Commercial activity available to get to monument and kayak rentals. Great place to kayak.

Honaunau Bay – Puuhouna O Honaunau National Historic Park

Easy entry from smooth, flat rocks for excellent snorkeling or SCUBA with beautiful fish and coral. Experience Hawaiian historic sight-seeing and cool off afterwards in the Bay. You may see spinner dolphins in the deeper water. Port-a-pottys but no concessions.


A small fishing village, as near to old Kona as it gets.  Please be respectful of the locals.


A short hike from the small fishing village of Miloli‘i takes you to this lovely black sand beach and a feeling of Old Hawai‘i. This is another good snorkelling beach. Day use only and no facilities.

Ho‘okena Beach Park

About 20 miles south of Kona Beach House and down a 2.5 mile road (between mile markers 101 & 102) is this lovely calm bay that was once a thriving port. Clean, soft mix of dark brown and gray sand. Good for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking & diving. Camping allowed. Showers, toilets, concessions, and free parking.

Papakolea (Green Sand Beach)

Located near South Point, the green sand is due to olivine crystals from the eroding headlands. Olivine is a common mineral found in Hawaiian lava and one of the first crystals to form as magma cools. Accessible by walking (about 2 miles) or jeep or other elevated vehicle (if you are an experienced driver) along rugged, eroded path. Locals will sometimes offer rides for $10-$20/person. Best mostly for the view.


Visually stunning, this beach is surrounded by palm trees and is a favorite resting spot of honu (do not disturb them as the Green Sea Turtles are endangered.) It has strong rip currents and swimming is not recommended unless you are an experienced ocean swimmer, but it is great for walking. At the northern end are the ruins of Kane‘ele‘ele Heiau.

Kaimu Black Sand Beach

This beach is quite literally less than 20 years old.  The previous beach was buried by the Kilauea eruption of 1990. The lava flow filled the bay and expanded the shoreline, and the heavy surf is creating the new beach right before your eyes!

Kehena Beach (Dolphin Beach)

Accessible via a rocky path, this beach is known for the spinner dolphins often seen just offshore.

Be advised that this is a clothing-optional beach.

Wai’opae Tidepools Marine Life Conservation District
Kapoho Tide Pools

A large stretch of interconnected tide pools. Some of them are large enough for snorkeling; some of them are volcanically heated.

Richardson Beach/Richardson Ocean Park

Black sand beach. Body boarding, snorkelling, and swimming.

Onekahaka Beach Park

Not much sand but easy, safe access to the inner pools.  Great place for swimming with small children. Near the end of Hilo Airport.

Kolekole Beach Park

 Located between Akaka and Umauma falls, the beach is made up of large, water worn lava rocks. The ocean is rough but swimming is good in Kolekole stream. Popular with locals and can get rowdy on weekends.


Paul Bica - Cloudscapes

Waipio Valley

One of the most incredible places on the Island, whether you only get as far as the valley look out or have the time and the stamina (and the 4-wheel drive vehicle) to venture down. Caution: the road is steep, with deep pot holes and mud puddles. There are various ways down: a shuttle, a mule-drawn wagon, horseback, and ATV tours. Once at the black sand beach, be cautious as there is rough surf and strong currents and undertow. The view alone, however, is spectacular and a great spot for a picnic.

Waimanu Valley