West Hawaii, particularly the Kona and Kohala coasts of the Big Island of Hawaii, is known for its stunning beaches. Wide swatches of sand, shady spots under the trees, or reefs full of sealife, whatever you are looking for, here are some of our favorite beaches in West Hawai’i:
Best Beaches in West Hawaii
Hapuna Beach State Park:
Hapuna Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the Big Island. It offers a long, wide expanse of golden sand and clear turquoise waters, making it ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and bodyboarding. The beach is also equipped with picnic areas and restroom facilities.
Waialea Beach 69:
Just down the road from Hapuna Beach is a personal favorite. Are you looking for sun or shade? Napping, swimming, snorkeling? In the many hidden spots under the Kiawe trees, you can find your own quiet space to relax and unwind. Or find a sunny spot in the soft sand and soak up the warmth of the Hawaiian sun. The snorkeling around the largest rock outcropping can bring some impressive displays of coral and fish and even the turtles seem more relaxed with fewer people in their ocean.
Are you looking for calm waters and a peaceful spot to relax? With a protective reef, Honokohau Beach is a great spot for swimming or snorkeling. It also has a little more shade than many West Hawaii beaches. This beach is a part of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park which has an ancient fishpond just above the beach. You can read more about the area and the archaeological sites, springs, petroglyphs, heiau (Hawaiian temples), and fishponds here.
Kahalu’u Bay has a little of everything. Not only is there a large sandy area for relaxing and picnicking but it has some great snorkeling, an excellent area for surfing including many options for surf lessons, and a beautiful spot for watching the sunset.
Mauna Kea Beach:
Located adjacent to Hapuna Beach, Mauna Kea Beach is another beautiful option. It’s known for its powdery white sand and gentle waves. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is nearby, offering beachside amenities and dining.
Kaunaoa Beach (Mau’umae Beach):
This beach is situated in front of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and is known for its crescent shape, palm trees, and soft sand. It’s a great spot for snorkeling, paddleboarding, or simply relaxing.
Kua Bay is a picturesque beach known for its crystal-clear waters and fine white sand. Before you walk down to the beach, pause a moment to appreciate the gorgeous turquoise waters below and just take a deep breath. It’s a popular spot for boogie boarding, body surfing, and picnicking. Bring your binoculars if you want to watch the dolphins cruising by and an umbrella for a little shade. Be sure to arrive early as the parking lot can fill up quickly.
Accessible via a short hike from the Kekaha Kai State Park parking lot, Makalawena Beach is a hidden gem with a unique landscape of white sand, lava formations, and palm trees. It’s a remote and beautiful spot for those seeking a quieter beach experience. If you have a 2WD vehicle you might want to consider walking in. The reward of arriving makes the hike worthwhile.
Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area:
This park has a unique beach known for its black lava rock shoreline. It’s a great place for picnicking, beachcombing, and watching the sunset. The park also offers walking and jogging paths. On the mauka side of the parking lot you can enjoy a stroll on the Maka-eo walking path with gardens maintained by community members and local businesses
While not a traditional beach, Kealakekua Bay is famous for its clear waters and incredible snorkeling. It’s a protected marine sanctuary and home to a wide variety of marine life, including colorful coral and spinner dolphins. The hike in is rigorous but worth it or take a guided kayak tour and enjoy the sight of dolphins swimming and leaping along beside you.
This rocky beach is famous for its exceptional snorkeling and diving opportunities, including the chance to see Hawaiian green sea turtles and a variety of fish. Dolphins and rays are often spotted in the deeper areas past the “Aloha”. The name “Two Step” refers to the natural stone steps that lead into the water.
Whichever beach you choose, you are likely to find a place you love. So lay out your towel, kick off your slippahs and let us know your favorite!
After a beautiful day at the beach here are a few suggestions for some local eats!