Kohala Coast Beaches


The Kohala Coast is home to some of the most exotic resorts and scenic beaches in in the world. Here are our favorites listed from south to north. (map)

Anaeho`omalu Bay (locals call it ‘A’ Bay) is a crescent of coarse salt and pepper sand fronting the Waikoloa Mariott Hotel. Because of fresh water welling up into the bay, snorkeling is C+. However there is easy beach access, shower and restroom facilities and usually calm waters.

Mauna Lani Beach is a family-friendly stretch of white sand and calm waters located on the grounds of the Mauna Lani Hotel. The usually calm waters of the small bay in front of the beach are a playground for beach-lovers of all ages. Full amenities are located nearby.

Pau`oa Beach. A natural sea wall protects this small beach just south of the Fairmont Orchid Hotel. This and the neighboring Beach Club beach are the best beaches for small children and beginning snorkelers. If you spend money at the hotel restaurants or shops have your parking ticket validated to avoid having to pay the parking fee.

Holoholokai Beach is located just north of the Fairmont Orchid Hotel, the beach is mostly rocky and the waters are potentially hazardous. Some visitors park here to walk the petroglyph trail, others park here to avoid the public parking fee imposed by the hotel.

Waialea Beach is known to locals as ‘Beach 69,’ so nicknamed because of the number on the power pole near the parking area (It is now power pole #71). This small beach is reached via the Old Puako Road south of Hapuna Beach and offers paved parking and full facilities.

Hapuna Beach is a half mile of white sand, roiling winter surf, and sunny skies. Showers, restroom facilities, pavilions, and easy accessibility make it a popular destination for families.

Kauna`oa Beach (Mauna Kea Beach) is possibly the most beautiful stretch of white sand in the state and, because of parking restrictions, is one of the most difficult to visit.

Spencer Beach Park offers full facilities including camping. The park offers a pleasant beach and usually calm waters, however it is close to Kawaihae harbor, the main shipping terminal for the west side of the island.


Surf, Sand, and Sun (map)

General Information

  1. Every beach on the Big Island is a public beach, even the ones at the posh resorts. Some hotels restrict access by charging for parking or limiting the number of parking spaces.

  1. We believe that morning is the best time to enjoy Kohala Coast beaches. Early arrivers get to stake out the shadiest spot and enjoy the uncrowded beach and ocean during the coolest part of the day.

  1. if you want to spend the day at the Mauna Kea beach a very early arrival (before 9 a.m.) is essential! The beach is popular with locals as well as visitors and parking is very limited.

  1. Petty theft is common in any resort area and The Big Island is no exception. Don’t leave anything in your car that you cannot afford to lose.

  1. Leave purses and wallets in your room or condo. Take with you to the beach only your driver’s license, a credit card (if you’ll need to pay for parking or want to rent recreational items at the beach, or stop for lunch before going home), and a small amount of cash for soft drinks or shave ice. Use a Dry-Pak to keep things securely with you in the water.

  1. If you must bring your cell phone, iPad, or Kindle, consider buying a Dry-Bag to keep sand and water out of the electronics.

  1. Be Sun Safe

  2. The tropical sun can be brutal. Even in the shade of a beach umbrella, reflected sunlight can burn unprotected skin. You wouldn’t want to spoil your vacation on the first day, so we advise that you wear waterproof sunblock (SPF 50 is appropriate for most beach activities) and reapply it at least once during your time at the beach. Be sure to sunscreen the tops of your feet and the tops of your ears.

Kauna`oa Beach at the Mauna Kea Resort

Click on the links below to see detailed information about Big Island Beaches:

Kohala Coast Beaches

  1. Anaeho`omalu Beach

  2. Mauna Lani Beach

  3. Pau`oa Beach

  4. Holoholokai Beach

  5. Waialea Beach

  6. Hapuna Beach

  7. Mauna Kea Beach

  8. Spencer Beach Park

Kona Coast Beaches

Windward Beaches

Beachgoer’s Checklist

Essentials to pack:

  1. Bulletbeach bag

  2. lightweight day-pack

  3. Hapuna Beach (2:01)sunscreen

  4. shapeimage_5_link_0hat

  5. polarized 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. Suggestions

  2. 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. You can float on it and look down onto the reef.

  1. Whale Watching Tips

  2. Bring compact binoculars if you are on the Kohala Coast between November and April. Humpback whales frequent the Kohala coast during their yearly migration from Alaska and you can use them to spot breaching humpback whales on the horizon (video).

  3. Sunset

  4. No matter what vacationers are doing, life is usually placed on hold when the sun approaches the horizon. The beaches along the Kohala Coast are the perfect places to sit and watch the sun sizzle into the Pacific. Click here to calculate the time the sun will set during your vacation.

  5. Better yet, get as close as  possible to whales and dolphins on a Kohala Coast dolphin or whale watching cruise.
Hapuna Beach (2:01)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgDYEFOpZTQhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgDYEFOpZTQshapeimage_5_link_0