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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 one of the very top beaches on the island. Years ago there was only a very difficult and rugged roadway making its way to this delightful location and so it was the haunt primarily of local families who knew about its treasures. About the mid-point of the first decade of the century a new paved road was built right to the beach making for easy access and great parking and now the beach is accessible to all.

The Crystal Waters of Kua Bay

The Crystal Waters of Kua Bay

Kua Bay is best visited in the early morning hours before the winds have a chance to fill in and on many occasions the waters at this time are absolutely crystal and shimmering with a cast of turquoise or variations of blue and green. The predominantly sand bottom provides for an easy access to the waters and on most summer days the conditions are idyllic. Caution must always be observed however because there is no life guard on duty at this beach. Winter time can be more dangerous as the swells can increase in size and frequency and become treacherous. More dangerous conditions are also often more prevalent in the afternoons as opposed to the mornings.

Manineowali Beach snorkeling and boogie boarding

Manineowali Beach snorkeling and boogie boarding

Maniniowali Beach has great parking, picnic tables and a restroom and showers but it is completely devoid of shade trees which means a day at the beach here means a day in the sun. Be prepared with an umbrella you can set up and once again, morning would be the best time to go so you won't have a problem keeping your umbrella from blowing away in the more breezy afternoons. Snorkeling is usually best in the mornings for the same reasons although snorkeling at Kua Bay is not its strong suit. Snorkeling areas can be found near the rocks on both ends but be careful not to get too close to the surge near the rocks. Just enjoying the clear waters for a dip and a swim and frolicking in the surf is what this beach is all about and throwing in the white fluffy sand is like adding the whip cream to top off a perfect desert day at the beach.

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 however it is not advised that you enter the water at this location. 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. There are no lifeguard towers at this location.


Big Island Beaches

Ahalanui Beach Park

Ahalanui Beach Park

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 …(more info)

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)

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)



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Stacy Jenkins

Best Beach Ever!


Audra Milani
I could spend everyday here, my favorite place in the world.