Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with many people calling this island chain a tropical paradise. Out of the 8 main islands that make up this State, Big Island is the most popular one to visit.
Big Island is (unsurprisingly) huge at over 4000 square miles, and there are more than 260 miles of breathtaking coastline for you to explore, which is surrounded by water that’s warm and clear all year round.
With so many beaches to choose from, you’re probably wondering which beaches are the best to visit in the area. Some of the beaches have different colored sand, such as dark gray/black, and many of them are bordered by tall palm trees and lush forests.
Most of the beaches on Big Island provide a diverse selection of water sports, which makes them popular destinations for a variety of aquatic pursuits, including snorkeling, surfing, body boarding, swimming, and simply basking in the sun.
You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the beaches on Big Island, no matter what you’re searching for.
Here are the 9 must-see beaches in Kona, Big Island.
The Best Beaches In Kona
Kona can be found on the west of the island, meaning that the beaches here are some of the very best to visit at sunset. Spending golden hours on this coastline with your loved ones will create memories you’ll treasure forever.
1. Kealakekua Bay
Kealakekua Bay can be found around twelve miles south of Kona’s central business district. This bay is almost a mile long and is tucked away among towering cliffs.
Scuba divers, snorkelers, and kayakers are left in awe here by the seemingly infinite coral reefs that are surrounded by crystal clear water and teeming with marine life.
While this area of coastline is famous for its spectacular sunsets, the best time to visit Kealakekua Bay is in the morning as this helps to avoid crowds. You may even be lucky enough to see the famous spinner dolphins of Hawaii pass by.
The beginning of the walk will take you to the northern part of the bay, where you will find the Captain Cook Monument. This is one of the most well-known historical landmarks in all of Hawaii.
Because there are no amenities at the monument, you should bring everything that you will require with you.
This is the area where Captain Cook was killed a little over a year after he had become the first European to set foot on Hawaiian soil. A plaque was embedded in the sand near the spot.
The beach itself is made up of large volcanic boulders rather than soft sand, but despite this, it’s still considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Kona.
2. Makalawena Beach
Because of its remote location in Kekaha Kai State Park, this beach in Kona is considered to be one of the most secluded. Because it’s a bit difficult to get to, it’s not appropriate for families with young children.
If you have a high-clearance 4×4 or are willing to hike for four miles return over rough black lava rocks, with no sign of civilization in sight, you’ll be rewarded with a view that you’ll never forget.
When you finally reach the bay, the lifeless, lunar-like environment you have been hiking through is suddenly converted into the most picturesque paradise view you have ever seen.
The pure white sand of this beach is framed by palm trees and is nestled away behind towering dunes. Surrounding you is miles of unspoiled reefs that are teaming with life in seas that are crystal clear and blue.
Because of this, it is considered to be one of Kona’s most beautiful beaches.
If you love snorkeling, this is the place for you. Not only is the water perfect for exploring coal reefs, but the best part is also that you’ll probably have the waters all to yourself!
Remember though, because there’s nothing at Makalawena Beach, you will need to bring all of your day’s necessities with you.
Between mile markers 88 and 89, there is a pull-off area on the side of the road where hikers can park their vehicles. From there, you’ll have to walk.
3. Kahalu’u Beach Park
The Kahalu’u Beach Park is just a short drive south of the downtown area of Kona. This park features a tiny sheltered beach and an offshore reef that’s alive with underwater life, making it a wonderful place for swimming, snorkeling, and boating.
In the clear waters around you, you’ll be able to see many species of octopus, tropical fish, and turtles all year round, making it one of the best beaches on Big Island for snorkeling.
When the conditions are good, the right side of the bay has some excellent surfing opportunities as well.
You could very easily spend the entire day here tanning, swimming, and unwinding because there are restaurants, bathroom facilities, and even free parking spots right by the beach itself.
Additionally, there is a lifeguard on duty so you know everyone will be safe.
Water shoes are required due to the black sand beach and lava rocks, and it’s preferable to go there as early as possible on weekends due to crowds.
4. Manini’owali Beach / Kua Bay Beach
Maniniowali Beach in Kekaha Kai State Park is another breathtaking beach located about 14 miles north of Kalua Kona.
During the summer months, when the water is calm, this beach is wonderful for snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. During the winter months, when the water is rougher, this beach is perfect for skilled surfers because of its large waves.
This beach is frequented regularly by green sea turtles as well as dolphins, so is a wonderful place to view local wildlife. Sunsets viewed from this vantage point are a photographer’s paradise.
There is very little shade available on this beach, so it’s advisable to avoid the sun during the middle of the day.
Also, there are restrooms and showers available in the parking lot, but there are no restaurants or food stands in the immediate area, unless there is a food truck. Remember to bring your own snacks.
5. Kohanaiki Beach Park
An amazing beach park can be found seven miles north of Kona and directly south of the airport. This beach park is a prime destination for surfers and bodyboarders, though it’s not the best place for snorkelers.
This is a place where green turtles like to hang out, so see if you can spot any (but don’t get too close!). The shoreline is made of both black volcanic rocks and white sand, although the underwater terrain is predominately rocky.
This lovely and tranquil park has abundant parking almost directly on the beach and charges a one-time entry fee of $5 per vehicle or per person.
Camping is permitted, and there are amenities such as showers and restrooms. When camping for more than one night, you will need to purchase a permit, which can be done online.
Petroglyphs, old ruins, and fish ponds are just some of the historical sites that may be found strewn over the park in various locations.
The picnic area has plenty of trees to give shade, but it’s still a good idea to get there early to secure a nice location so you can take advantage of this stunning beach.
6. King Kamehameha / Kamakahonu Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches on the Big Island is Kamakahonu Beach.
This well-known beach is situated on the northern side of Kailua Bay, right in the middle of Kona, making it ideal for spending the whole day at the beach while having access to everything you could need.
King Kam Beach is home to almost every kind of water activity. Swimming, snorkeling, and fishing are all safe activities here, and the seas are nice and shallow, making this an ideal place to go kayaking down the shore.
The Kamakahonu Historical Site, which attracts those interested in history and culture, can be found in the middle of the bay.
A shady picnic and barbecue place can be found on the right side of the bay, with a view of the twisting rocky shoreline and the azure waters of the ocean in the backdrop.
Within a few minutes’ walking distances are a variety of shops and dining establishments.
Because the beach is equipped with standard conveniences, such as an open-air shower for washing off sand and saltwater, it’s a wonderful spot for a family with young children to spend the entire day at.
This is one of the beaches in Kona that is the easiest to get to.
7. Honaunau Bay / Two Step
Another great place to go snorkeling is Honaunau Bay, which has two natural steps cut into the old black lava rocks that line the water’s edge. These steps lead directly into an underwater paradise.
This is a genuinely amazing site to snorkel for both rookie and professional divers since there are miles of spectacular coral reefs that are teaming with shoals of multicolored fish and turtles, and, if you’re lucky, even spinning dolphins or even a seal.
Parking across the street is quite limited and costs $5 per vehicle. Parking on the street is the other choice. Because there are no restaurants in the immediate area, you will need to bring your own refreshments with you.
8. Kikaua Point Beach Park
Kikaua Point Beach Park is yet another breathtaking area that’s ideal for families with young children. And it’s home to loads of turtles!
This is one of the nicest beaches in Kona because it provides all of the amenities that you would need to spend the entire day there.
This man-made cove has a beach made of white sand, and on either side of it are rocks made of black lava. These provide cover and give the cove the appearance of a lagoon.
There is a parking lot at this site, although it’s pretty small and to get to it you have to go through the Kukio Golf Resort. From there, a paved walk that’s wheelchair-friendly will lead you to the beach, as well as restrooms, showers, and drinking water.
A picnic on the beach is made all the more enjoyable by the palm trees and a patch of grassy ground. This truly is one of the most beautiful beaches on this list.
9. Magic Sands Beach
One of the most spectacular beaches in the Kona area is Magic Sands Beach. This beach is the most popular with visitors and is found around 4 miles south of the city center.
In the winter, the white sands vanish entirely, revealing a jagged rocky shoreline. However, in the summer, the sands suddenly resurface, giving the area the name “Magic Sands.”
Because the waves can occasionally be quite boisterous and rough, this location is not appropriate for young children unless the water is exceptionally calm.
However, surfers, bodyboarders, and anyone who enjoys playing in the foam should make it their destination of choice. In bad conditions, it’s best to steer clear of the rocky north shore of the bay, however.
This beach is popular with residents, although it can get crowded on weekends due to the free parking across the street and the availability of all the public services.
These have been the top beaches to visit in the Kona area of Big Island, Hawaii. All of these beaches are beautiful in their own way and prove loads of opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
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