Big Island Beach Guide


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. Yes, it is also true that it often works against itself in this regard by paving over perfectly good beaches it has already created with a consistent bevy of new eruptive flows. And yes, much of the coastline found on the Big Island is devoid of any type of beaches at all as it is simply rugged flows of lava that present themselves in a constant brutish battle against the tumult of the rough pounding of the brutal sea. But existent in all the forces that seem to work against its favor, the Big Island, like the jewel of nature it is, has found the time and the way to create some beaches along its coastline that would rival any to be found on any other island in Hawaii and these beaches may come in various but beautiful forms.

No Hawaiian island has as many beautiful black sand beaches as can be found on the Big Island. No other island has a green sand beach. And of the white sand beaches that can be found on other islands, few can compare to some of the gems that grace the shores of the Big Island. If you enjoy snorkeling you will find the best snorkeling here that all of Hawaii has to offer. Beaches like the Hapuna Beach in West Hawaii have distinguished themselves time and again as being chosen quite a number of years as being the "best beach on the planet". Great beaches don't just happen around every corner of the Big Island as they are few and far between, but they are there.

As you explore the beaches of the Big Island with us you will undoubtedly develop a greater degree of respect for them and appreciate them in their uniqueness. We look forward in these pages to take you to some of the most exotic beaches that the Big Island has to offer. Finding your way traveling off the beaten path for me always provides a bit more excitement than the status quo and in many places if you rent a four-wheel drive vehicle you will have all equipment you will need to drive to the most exotic locations where some of the Big Island's hidden treasures can be found. Some of these more difficult to access beaches can also be accessed by a normal sedan if you take the time to avoid obviously large rocks on the roadways an drive ridiculously slow.

Big Island Beach Map




Big Island Beaches

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.

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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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Hawaii Beach Guide (Sorted by Island)

Tom Barefoot's Tours has compiled the most comprehensive Hawaii Beach Guide on the web. Our comprehensive beach guide contains information, pictures and directions to all of Hawaii's best beaches.

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A listing of all Kauai Beaches can be found on these pages. Check for the beach that will be perfect for you! First things first. Kauai beaches are dangerous! Yes, of course beaches in Kauai are among the very most beautiful beaches on the planet, but they are dangerous.

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The shoreline of Maui is truly one of the island's greatest treasures. Whether you're looking to go for a snorkel, catch some waves, or simply spend some time relaxing on the beach the Tom Barefoot's Online Hawaii Guidebook will provide you with the information you need to decide where the best place is to find exactly the experience you're looking for.

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A listing of all Oahu Beaches can be found on these pages. Check for the Oahu Beach that will be perfect for you! It's a good thing you're going to the beach on Oahu! Not only does Oahu have some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, have some of the best snorkeling to be seen in the state, have some of the best surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddling locations in the state and some of the largest waves for you to watch in the state, but Oahu beaches have more lifeguard locations and more lifeguards all toll than any other island in the State of Hawaii.

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Related Information

Although it is obviously impossible to predict the weather for any particular Big Island beach on any given day in the future, it is possible to provide you with a generalization for usual weather patterns as they exist on the Big Island at different parts of the year.

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As you can see by our listings of Big Island Beaches the Island of Hawaii has no shortage of beaches to visit.

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Let's face it.... beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. One man's favorite beach is another man's second choice. Recognizing that deciding the Big Island's Best Beaches will always be a subjective decision, it is still possible to categorize beaches into their respective best categories with a likelihood of being correct in the same way many polls in politics or whatever present you with a probable likelihood within a margin of error.

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The Big Island is located south of the Tropic of Cancer. The sun's rays, this close to the equator are much more intense than many Hawaii visitors are used to.

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