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Ahalanui Beach Park (also known as Pualaa)

Ahalanui Beach Park (also known as Pualaa)

This may be a first experience for you, but if it is it certainly won't be your last. Ahalanui Park pool is actually a thermal heated spring fed swimming area that is partially natural and partially man made. Although Ahalanui Park is located right along the ocean the experience here is not an ocean experience at all. In fact the ocean fronting the pool here is very rough and potentially dangerous and you should avoid getting in. The naturally thermally heated pool is another story. You will definitely want to get in here and enjoy the approximately 90 degree water. It is so comforting that you won't want to get out.

The Hot Thermal Pools at Ahalanui Park

The Hot Thermal Pools at Ahalanui Park

The Ahalanui pool is made with stone and was designed to make use of the thermally heated waters that work their way up from the underground springs in this area. It is fairly shallow throughout the entire pool probably not going above head high and there is no current so it is a pleasant place to swim and exercise. There is even a lifeguard at this pool but that is mostly because the shallow depths are over head-high for children and they will often panic by being in the deeper waters. In quizzing the lifeguard in the area we learned that there had never been any serious accidents here but having that lifeguard around really makes this a spot that we can certainly recommend to all.

Ocean Coastline at Ahalanui Park

Ocean Coastline at Ahalanui Park

Getting into the pools here requires almost no effort and there are nice ramped steps that lead down into the pool so access is simple. We met some people there on a weekend who explained to us that they come one weekend day a week and usually will stay in and around the pool for hours and we could see why. One interesting bit of information that was passed on to us by the lifeguard was that the water which entered the pool from the ocean side of the structure swept through the pool with regularity (at least on high tide twice a day) and served to keep the whole pool clean. Indeed the water in the pool did look crystal clear and clean. Because of the higher temperatures in the pool however we did see a sign that mentioned that if you had any open sores or cuts on your skin you might be marginally at risk for a staph infection because the higher temp waters were more friendly to those bacteria.

Facilities at Ahalanui Park

Facilities at Ahalanui Park

If there was any criticism we had of the Ahalanui Park it would be that for being such a sterling location it just did not have adequate facilities. The parking lot was completely full when we were there and we were able to grab the last available space. There was an outdoor shower which was great but the restrooms were strictly portable toilets which did not make an ideal area from which to shower off and then change. All else was spectacular however and it was certainly a great place to spend the afternoon.

Ocean Caution

Be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be dangerous including this one. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering any Hawaiian waters and it is advised that you enter the water at this location only after you consult with a lifeguard on duty. Also, all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water.

When in doubt don't go out


Big Island Beaches

Anaehoomalu Bay

Anaehoomalu Bay

When you speak of Anaehoomalu Bay on the Big Island's Waikoloa shoreline you are talking about history of the first magnitude in Old Hawaii. This bay was a spot of large population primarily because of its ocean resources and its spectacular fishponds. Lying to the mountain side of the sand bar that contains the bay are two enormous fishponds containing a mixture of both seawater and fresh underground spring water. This was the site of probably the largest aquaculture project in all of ancient …(more info)

Fairmont Orchid and Holoholokai Beach

Fairmont Orchid and Holoholokai Beach

As viewed from the air, the next beautiful beach to be found north of the Mauna Lani in Waikoloa is the gorgeous beach found in front of the Fairmont Orchid Hotel. As is the case with most Waikoloa beaches you will not be allowed to enter directly from the hotel abutting the beach unless you are a guest there. In this case your gateway to the Fairmont Orchid Beach is through the Holoholokai Beach Park. …(more info)

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach is practically a legend on the Big Island. In fact many people believe that Hapuna Beach is the most beautiful beach to be found here, and a good case could certainly be made for that. On several occasions a number of the travel magazines have listed Hapuna Beach as the number one beach in the world. Hapuna is a half mile in length and during the summer months the white sands can extend to a full 200' wide. In the winter months the sands will recede and quite often the beach …(more info)

Isaac Hale Beach Park

Isaac Hale Beach Park

Isaac Hale Beach Park is really quite a different type of beach park. Essentially it is divided into two sides. On one side is the only loading boat ramp on the entire Puna coastline. If you are going to be catching a commercial lava boat excursion or fishing trip it is likely to leave from here. This is also where many of the local fishermen will depart from and any form of pleasure boating in the area will depart from this area as well. The boat ramp enters into Pohoiki Bay and this point …(more info)

Kahaluu Beach

Kahaluu Beach

Perhaps the very best and the most famous beach for snorkeling on the Big Island is Kahalu'u Beach Park. The variety and volume of fish found at Kahalu'u will rival any spot in Hawaii. I found this out first hand on one of my very first trips to the Big Island. I was looking for a place to swim distance one morning and was erroneously referred to this beach which was too shallow to swim without scraping knuckles on coral but when I jumped in I was immediately surrounded by all types of …(more info)

Kahena Beach

Kahena Beach

Kahena Beach in the Pahoa district of the Big Island is amazing for a couple of reasons: First because of the spectacular nature of the beach itself, and secondly because of the people who tend to go there. We'll deal with each topic one at a time. …(more info)

Kaimu Beach

Kaimu Beach

One of the most famous black sand beaches in the world was found in the area called Kalapana in the district of Puna on the Big Island. "Was" is the operative word here as this beach was completely covered by lava in 1990. Today, what was once a spectacular black sand beach lying before the small Hawaiian village of Kalapana is now covered by a lava flow perhaps sixty feet deep. The photo above shows the lava flow that now covers the once beautiful Kaimu Beach in Kalapana. …(more info)

Kekaha Kai Beach

Kekaha Kai Beach

If you're the type who enjoys a bit of 4X driving ( 2X drive if you're careful ) and hiking with your beach enjoyment Kekaha Kai Beach Park may just be the spot for you. The beaches found here, Mahaiula Beach, and its sister beach which is a twenty minute hike further north called Makalewena Beach are the first truly incredible white sand beaches to be found close to Kailua-Kona. …(more info)

Kikaua Point Beach

Kikaua Point Beach

Kikaua Point Beach is a tiny but very beautiful beach that is located about ten miles north of Kailua-Kona. Kikaua Beach is perhaps the calmest beach on the Big Island being protected from the open ocean by a series of huge boulders and rocks that provide a rim for the pond-like beach within. This beach is really perfect for just two activities: it is fantastic as a place to bring children or people who can't swim well because it is so calm with no wave action and it is a favorite place as …(more info)

Kukio Beach

Kukio Beach

If you're searching for a beach with excellent swimming, great snorkeling and crystalline brilliant clarity, Kukio Beach is probably not the beach for you. Located just north of the small cove at Kikaua Point, Kukio Beach unfortunately is riddled with numerous near-shore rocks which make entry into the water very difficult on even the calmest of days and downright dangerous when the ocean swells are generated. Murky conditions also persist here so better choices could be made for your day's …(more info)

Laaloa Beach Park (Magic Sands)

Laaloa Beach Park (Magic Sands)

La'aloa Beach Park in the town of Kailua-Kona is also referred to as Magic Sands Beach, White Sands Beach and Disappearing Sands Beach. Though its Hawaiian name has implications suggesting it is a beach of sacred nature the other three more popular names refer to the propensity of the beach to lose its sand each winter and early spring to the currents, waves and storms that extract the white sands from the shoreline portion of the beach and temporarily deposit them further out to sea exposing …(more info)

Maniniowali Beach (Kua Bay)

Maniniowali Beach (Kua Bay)

The single most beautiful beach closest to Kailua-Kona that you can get to without having to travel on an unpaved road over lava is Maniniowali Beach which is also known as Kua Bay. This beach and bay are spectacular. It's not really all that far though as it is about the same distance from the Kona Airport to Kua Bay as it is in the opposite direction from Kona Bay to downtown Kailua-Kona. Taking the drive from Kona is truly worth it however because the beach is generally considered to be …(more info)

Mauna Kea Beach

Mauna Kea Beach

Mauna Kea Beach ranks right up at the top of great beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is very close to its sister beach of Hapuna and shares many of the same attributes. The beach is long and it is wide. The sand is a luscious golden color. The sand extends out into the water so the water entry here is very simple. Actually the beach remains remarkably shallow for a long way out and it takes a while just to wade out to waist deep. Snorkeling is good but really only at the two extreme ends …(more info)

Mauna Lani and Makaiwa Bay

Mauna Lani and Makaiwa Bay

Both Mauna Lani Beach and Makaiwa Bay are located in this same description because they are entered from the same public parking access parking lot. Both are quite beautiful and snorkeling is excellent at both but they require a fairly long walk to get to each.
…(more info)

Old Kona Airport Beach

Old Kona Airport Beach

The Old Kona Airport landing field became obsolete in the early 1970's but the one-mile landing strip still exists. This huge stretch of asphalt lies right next to the ocean just north of the city of Kailua-Kona and today serves as the gigantic parking area for the Old Kona Airport Beach. …(more info)

Pololu Black Sand Beach

Pololu Black Sand Beach

Many beaches are great for swimming but that is not true of this beach. Pololu Beach is located at the entrance of the Pololu Valley which is the last in the series of valleys beginning with Waipio Valley that guard the northern flank of the Big Island of Hawaii. All these valleys are giant with huge escarpments descending to the valley floors and to the ocean below. These valleys are so large in fact that they are impassable and no system of roadways connects any of these valleys. The main road …(more info)

Punaluu Beach

Punaluu Beach

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is the largest black sand beach in the state. Located south of the Volcanoes National Park on the coastal Highway 11 it is a beach that is basically fairly far from populated areas and most people will decide to enjoy a quick visit when they take the southern route to visit the volcanoes if they are staying in the Kona region. This is good because, although it is a beach that would easily find its place on any "top ten" list of beaches to see in Hawaii, it …(more info)

Spencer Beach Park

Spencer Beach Park

If it wasn't for the fact that Spencer Beach was located so close to Hapuna and Mauna Kea Beach, it would receive more notoriety than it does. Although it is a beautiful white sand beach with a sand bottom allowing for an easy water entry, it just lacks some of the luster and beauty associated with its nearest beach neighbor. The strong suit for Spencer Beach however is its almost always present calm waters as it is protected from the open ocean by a large reef and also to a degree by the neighboring …(more info)

Waialea Beach

Waialea Beach

Waialea Beach is one of the most perfect all-around beaches on the Big Island's western coastline. One of the best things about the beach is that it is not located on or near a hotel so there is no problem with access directly from the road. Local people and visitors alike make good use of this beautiful beach for this reason. This gorgeous light-brown sand beach consists mostly of sand but does have a number of interestingly placed lava segments and the trees that line this beautiful inlet …(more info)

Wawaloli Beach Park

Wawaloli Beach Park

One of the first signs you will see when you arrive at the Wawaloli Beach Park just north of the town of Kailua-Kona is a sign that says "Low Flying Aircraft, No Kite Flying". This odd sign gives testament to the fact that Wawaloli Beach is located just south of and in the flight pattern of the Kona International Airport. This may be the most unique and interesting feature this beach park may provide as it is in most ways unremarkable and not particularly inviting. …(more info)

Whittington Beach Park

Whittington Beach Park

One of the oddest County parks on the Big Island is a small park called Whitington Beach Park. It is located at the 60 mile marker on the circle island Highway #11 and is a good spot to visit if you are traveling from Kona to visit the Volcanoes National Park. The name is a misnomer at the very least as there is really not a beach here. Where the water does come up to the shoreline it crashes against rocks and the likelihood of any swimming in the area is next to nil and should not be attempted …(more info)

Related Information

Big Island Beach Guide

Big Island Beach Guide

A listing of all Big Island Beaches can be found on these pages. Check for the Big Island Beach that will be perfect for you! …(more info)



submit a Comment

Tony Rodriguez

This place is so cool, I never thought I would ever get to soak in a hotspring on the beach on a live volcano. Awesome place!


Sandra Jackman
I'm going to find a place to stay in Pahoa next time I go to the Big Island so I can just stay here the whole time!


barry jansen
There are tropical fish in this pool because it connects to the ocean. Ya, the porta poddies suck, but they are not neglected. My kids went here 3 days straight . There are really cool fish and sometimes larger fish enter through the opening.