Kahalu`u Beach Park

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This is probably the most popular snorkeling site on the island. The beach is nothing to write home about. It is mostly coarse black and white sand, which is not too friendly on feet. The major draw of this beach is the sheltered snorkeling lagoon just inside an artificial reef built by Hawaiians during the reign of the first King Kamehameha.

It is hard to get more than waist deep inside the lagoon, which puts snorkelers face to face with colorful reef fish and green sea turtles. Lifeguards are on duty most of the year, and an equipment rental kiosk operates here daily. A food truck is usually parked near the beach and offers meals, snacks and refreshing shave ice.

Free parking is available next to the beach, however you will need to get there early to find a spot. That’s actually good, because the best snorkeling is in the morning before the water becomes silted with sand kicked up by other snorkelers.


Specific Information (video)

Snorkeling with Convict Tang. Photo by Julie Piper

Getting There

From Kailua-Kona: Drive south on Ali`i Drive. Beach parking is located on your right at Mile Marker #5, just south of St. Peter's Catholic Church.


From Waimea: Take the Kawaihae Road west from Waimea. Turn left at the intersection with the the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (Rte. 19). As you approach Kailua village, turn right (makai) onto the Palani Highway. Continue straight ahead until it curves and turns into Ali`i Drive. Continue south on Ali`i Drive. Beach parking is located on your right at Mile Marker #5, just south of St. Peter's Catholic Church.

From Hilo: It is nearly a five hour round trip from Hilo to Kahalu`u Beach Park.

Kohala Coast Beaches

Kona Coast Beaches

  1. Kahalu`u Beach Park

  2. White Sands Beach

  3. King Kam Hotel Beach

  4. Kua Bay

  5. Kikaua Point Beach

  6. Kukio (4 Seasons) Beach

Windward Beaches

Beachgoer’s Checklist

Essentials to pack:

  1. Bulletbeach bag

  2. lightweight day-pack

  3. Bulletsunscreen

  4. Bullethat

  5. Bulletpolarized sunglasses

  6. Bulletsand mat

  7. Bulletbeach towel

  8. Bulletumbrella

  9. Bulletchair

  10. Bulletsnacks

  11. Bulletbook, Kindle or iPad

  12. Bulletunderwater camera

  13. Bulletsnorkeling gear

  14. Bulletzip-top plastic bags

  15. Bulletplenty of drinking water

  1. The bay is shallow - the water is about waist level if you stand up. Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) frequent the bay. Click here to view a vacationer’s video of the underwater life in the bay.

  1. Snacks and meals are available at the snack truck near the parking lot. They have shave ice, tool

  1. If you have little ones or if you are not sure about the idea of snorkeling consider buying an inexpensive boggie board at Costco, Walmart, or Target that has a viewing hole in the board.. Or click here to buy one online.

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