Spencer Beach Park

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Spencer Beach Park is considered a ‘locals’ beach and is popular with families because of its usually calm waters and its gently sloping white-sand beach. Parking is generous and free and the park contains camping facilities (permit required, click here to apply), showers, BBQs, shade trees, picnic tables, and a large covered pavilion. Lifeguards are on patrol.


The ocean is usually too calm in this area for boogie boarding or surfing. Snorkeling is good straight out from the beach and in either direction, however the best is on a shallow reef to the north (right) of the beach. There are lots of tropical fish and an occasional green sea turtle. Use caution since tiger sharks have been seen in the area outside the barrier reef.


During winter months humpback whales frequent the area around Spencer Beach Park. Nearby Kawaihae Harbor is a departure point for whale-watching tours, and many boats stop just outside the harbor entrance to look for whales and dolphins. Use your binoculars to scan the area around the boats for whale activity.


The historic Pu'ukohola and Mailekini heiaus are located nearby. A heiau (HAY ow) is an ancient Hawaiian place of worship, and Pu’ukohola Heiau, constructed under the direction of King Kahamehameha I, was one of the last ones built. The road leading to the Pu`ukohala Heiau National Historic Site intersects the road leading to Spencer Beach Park. The visitor center has restrooms, is open daily from 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., and is worth a stop.


No food is available for purchase at the beach. You will find restaurants, a deli, cold drinks, ice cream, and shave ice in the nearby Kawaihae Shoping Center. To get there, turn left as you exit the road leading from the beach and drive towards the harbor area. The Kawaihae Shopping Center will be on your right, behind the gas station on the corner of Kawaihae Road the the Akoni Pule Highway.

 

Specific Information

Aerial photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Kohala Coast Beaches

  1. Anaeho’omalu Beach

  2. Mauna Lani Beach

  3. Pau`oa Beach

  4. Holoholokai Beach

  5. Wailea 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. Pu’ukohola Heiau (3:31)sunscreen

  4. shapeimage_5_link_0hat

  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. Whale Watching

  2. Bring compact binoculars if you are on the beach between November and April. Besides ogling other beachgoers, you can use them to spot breaching humpback whales on the horizon.


  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 sunscreen (factor 45 or 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.
 

Getting There


From Kailua-Kona and Waikoloa Resorts: Take the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway north from Kailua-Kona until it ends at the intersection of Kawaihae Road. Turn left onto Kawaihae Road and drive a short distance towards the ocean. Look on your left for the sign indicating the road to Spencer State Beach and the Pu`ukohala Heiau National Historic Site. It is about a one hour drive from Kailua-Kona and 25 minutes from the Kohala Coast resorts.


From Waimea: Take the Kawaihae Road west from Waimea until it passes the intersection of the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway. Drive a short distance past the intersection towards the ocean. Look on your left for the sign indicating the road to Spencer State Beach and the Pu`ukohala Heiau National Historic Site. It is about a 20 to 25 minute drive from Waimea.


From Hilo: There are at least three ways to get here from Hilo. This is what we consider the safest and most direct: Drive north from Hilo on the Mamalahoa Highway to Waimea. In Waimea, turn right at the stop light, then veer left onto the Kawaihae Road. Take the Kawaihae Road west from Waimea until it passes the intersection of the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway. Drive towards the ocean a short distance past the intersection. Look on your left for the sign indicating the road to Spencer State Beach and the Pu`ukohala Heiau National Historic Site. It is about a 2 hour drive from Hilo.


  1. Pu`ukohala Heiau

  2. King Kamehameha’s had this temple built and dedicated to Ku, his personal war god. It was from here that he went on to conquer and unify the Hawaiian Islands. Click below to learn more.

Pu’ukohola Heiau (3:31)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q7ZufgGaL8http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q7ZufgGaL8shapeimage_5_link_0
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