Big Island Beaches

Wondering which Big Island beaches are best for you? Do you want to snorkel? Swim? Surf? Kayak? Maybe you just want to lay on the beach. Well, do you want seclusion or do you enjoy people watching? Do you have children?

I will tell you which beaches are good for which activities.

Sidebar--There is one thing to keep in mind when traveling to the Big Island of Hawaii…because the island is so young and still growing, there are less stereotypical white-powder-sand beaches here than the other islands. Not to worry though…there are unique beaches here that you will not find anywhere else. Enjoy the novelty of black sand beaches and even a green sand beach...or even a volcanically heated beach!


West Shore Big Island Beaches (Kona & Kohala coasts)

This side of the island gets the most sun by far. It averages only about 10 inches of rain a year. If you want fun in the sun, this is the place to be.

  • Hapuna Beach
  • Hapuna Beach--A favorite Big Island beach

    This may be the biggest and best white sand beach on the island. Click here for more info...


  • Kauna'oa Beach
  • Kaunaoa Beach



    Many people feel Kaunaoa Beach and Hapuna Beach are the best two on the island...it would be hard to argue with that. Click here to read more...




  • Anaeho’omalu Bay
  • Anaeho’omalu Bay




    Anaeho’omalu Bay is also known as “A-Bay”. It is in front of the Waikoloa resorts about six miles south of Hapuna beach. Click here for more info...




  • Kahalu’u Beach Park
  • Kahalu'u Beach

    This Big Island beach is located on Alii Drive that goes between Kona and Keauhou. The sand here can be best described as a mixture of white and black. It is generally calm in the summer months making it one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. The summer months are also perfect for novice swimmers and children.

    It is probably the most popular beach in Kona so go in the morning to avoid the crowds.

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguards
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic tables
    • Snack bar


  • Old Airport Beach Park
  • Old Airport Beach Park

    This Old Airport Beach Park is located…you guessed it…very close to the airport in Kona…the old one. The parking lot is actually the old runway. It is popular with the locals and perfect for swimming and children will love the sandy tidal pools.

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguard
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic tables


  • White Sands Beach
  • This Big Island Beach is also known as Disappearing Sands Beach.

    This beach in Kona is one of the smallest beaches and sometimes, it is not even there...Click here to read more...


  • Wawaloli Beach Park
  • This Big Island Beach has protected tidepools to swim in when there is high surf.

    Click here to read more...


  • Spencer Beach Park
  • Spencer Beach




    This white sand beach is located just south of Kawaihae Harbor. It is almost always calm as it is protected by a reef. Click here to read more...




  • Honaunau Bay
  • Honaunau Bay

    This is actually not a beach, but it is arguably the best snorkeling spot on the island. It is right next to the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park or “City of Refuge“.

    It is also known as “Two Step” because there are two natural steps in the lava flow to get in and out of the water.

    If you are comfortable snorkeling, I would definitely recommend you come here!


South Shore Big Island Beaches

  • Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
  • Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

    This unique black sand beach is located on the southeast shore. Black sand is not as powder-fine as white sand...It is actually more like pebbles. I heard someone once describe it as walking on Oreos...It is really cool to see a black sand beach.

    This beach is also home to many sea turtles so keep your eyes open…they may even be laying on the beach!

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguard
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic tables


  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach
  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    Papakolea Green Sand Beach is located on the southern most tip of the island (South Point), and the United States for that matter.

    It is the only green sand beach on the island. The green sand comes from olivine crystals which are very rare. The only way to access the beach is at the end of a 4-wheel drive road or a moderately tough 3-mile hike.

    Use caution if you do go down to the beach as the water can be very rough and come up quite a way on the beach.


East Shore Big Island Beaches (Hilo)

The beaches on the Hilo side may not get as much traffic and publicity as the ones in Kona, but they are beautiful in their own right. The water is, however, usually a few degrees cooler than the Kona side.

  • Coconut Island Park
  • Coconut Island Park

    You can walk across a bridge to this neat little island behind the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. There is no beach area but there are protected shallow pools with sandy bottoms for kids to play in. It’s a great place to relax or have a picnic.


  • Onekahakaha Beach Park
  • Onekahakaha Beach Park features a protected pool that is perfect for swimming. Check out the pool's calm water and the high surf in the background (pictured above)...It is a very popular place with locals.

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguards
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic areas


  • Ahalanui Beach Park
  • Ahalanui Beach Park--A Big Island Beach heated by volcanic activity!

    This is by far the best pool on the island…maybe the world! Click here to read more...


  • Leleiwi Beach Park
  • This Big Island beach has many protected fresh water pools that are perfect for swimming. It is a beautiful area to explore and hang out.

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguards
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic tables


I hope you found my Big Island Beach Guide useful. Enjoy exploring these beautiful beaches for yourself!

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