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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kehena 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 dangerous exposed rocks in the process.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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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.

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Related Information

The Big Island often gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to beaches. Yes, it is true that it is the newest of the Hawaiian islands and as a result it has not had enough geological time pass by to jump-start the laws of physics and allow nature to work its magic on creating the type of amazing beaches that can often be found on other islands of the Hawaiian chain.

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View Comments

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.