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

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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

Stacy Jenkins

Best Beach Ever!


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