|The big island of Hawaii (called Hawaii, Kona
is the western region) is a geologically young island. For this
reason there is not as much sand as some people would picture a tropical
island to have. But the beaches are there.....
This beach is probably our most famous beach. It has been
mentioned as one of the finest beaches in the nation (but locally it is
not my favorite) by various travel rags. It's strong points are a
well cared for park grounds and decent beginner level boogie boarding (not
to mention a lot of sand). There is some snorkeling around the rocks
at the ends. I went there on New Year's Day and there were probably
3000 people there (spread out, it's a big beach) but I've seen as few as a
couple dozen or so in the off season. It is located roughly 30 miles
north of Kailua in the Kohala region of the island.
This beach is located just a couple miles north of Hapuna Beach near
Kawaihae. Spencer Beach Park has good facilities and the beach has a
more local feel. Camping is available. There is a trail off
the pavilion on the south end which leads to a small nice beach about a 10
minute walk down the trail. The only time I have been there was on
New Year's and there were about 30 people there, one naked- I've since
heard this is one of the local nude beaches.
Driving into Puako (south of Hapuna) you'll see Old Puako Road.
It is lined by telephone poles which are numbered. At pole number 71
you will see a dirt road with a "government property, no commercial
activities" sign. The pole used to be numbered 69 so the beach
is commonly referred to as "Beach 69". Take the road, by auto or foot, to the beach
at the end. This is one of my most favorite beaches in the
picturesque category. There is a small nude beach a couple
hundred yards north you may notice in the distance which is accessible by
another dirt road- don't know which one as I don't frequent those, but I
thought I'd mention the beach as some individuals may be offended by it's
proximity (It's far enough off you won't see anything) and others may
wish to seek it out. Waialea Bay has been scheduled for development
as a park for a number of years, and it may happen yet some day.
The Waikoloa, Four Seasons and other resort areas
Personally I'm not overly wild about these beaches, but I'm sure people
staying there will appreciate knowing they are there. I'm going to
spend more time on beaches you may not otherwise find.
Kua Bay and Makalawena Beach:
These beaches are accessible by 4 wheel drive roads located both north
and south of a large cinder cone about half way between Kailua and
Waikoloa on the makai (ocean) side of the highway. Kua Bay is a nice
little beach on the north side of the cinder cone - you'll be hearing a
lot more of this beach in the next few years as they begin to develop
around it. Makalawena beach
is a grouping of 3 nice sandy beaches on the south side of the cinder
cone. If you are looking for pristine and uncrowded - this is the
beach for you. This beach is another of my favorites. It's about a half
mile long and often draws "crowds" of 6 to 8 during
mid-week. This beach has more sand than most beaches in the area and
actually has small dunes on the mauka (mountain) side. Due to the
large amount of sand I won't recommend this beach for snorkeling
(fish tend to be where the rocks are) close in, but it's a great beach for sunning
and frolicking. It is also reachable by a 15 minute walk across the
lava from the Kona Coast Park.
Kona Coast Park:
The beach here runs from ok to wow. Located a few miles north of
the airport take the pothole friendly road to the end to find the ok
beach. It's big and uncrowded, but it isn't the finest sand
available within 5 minutes. If you want to visit the nicer beach
just walk down the beach to the north and you'll find it...or... park your
car at the wide spot in the road a hundred yards before the end of the
road near some outhouses and take the trail to the beach. A very,
very, very few of you may remember this beach from the network TV hit show
"Wind over Water" featuring Bo Derick a couple of years back- it
was cancelled after two weeks I believe. This is another of my
favorite beaches, and it's fairly close to town. On the north end of
the beach is an old house. Go up to it and look for a small trail
through the bushes leading to some small brackish water ponds and the old
"King's Trail" across the lava. A 15 minute walk will take
you to Makalawena beach- TAKE WATER, the lava field gets you hot and
Natural Energy Lab and Pine Trees area:
The natural energy lab (NELHA), located just south of the
airport, has a beach and tidepool my sister's family (with young children)
liked a lot. The beach is straight ahead of the entry road to NELHA.
To the south (left at the end of the road) you'll find a very rough road
to the "Pine Trees" area (popular local surfing and homeless
camping spot) where there are some decent uncrowded beaches.
There is a small beach down a small road makai of the highway
across from the Kaloko industrial district (Costo and other
businesses- just north of Kailua). Not crowded and somewhat
historic. On the north end of Honokohou harbor you'll find a fairly
large beach area to check out.
Old Airport Park:
Yet more sand here. Not the best swimming area due to lava
rock and a bit of surf, but a
popular local hangout. Located at the north edge of town off Kaiwi
and Makala streets. Snorkeling is ok (actually snorkeling is ok
almost anywhere you can get in the water off Kona) at the bay off the
north end of the old runway- may get a bit choppy in the afternoons.
There are beaches in town:
Snorkeling, swimming and boogie boarding are available - Check it out.
Whew, I'm gettin' bored of beaches and I haven't even
hit a couple of my most favorites in Kona which are located south of
Here's the very brief synopsis of some of the beaches south of
Kailua. Some day when I feel wordy I'll expand on my descriptions.
Napo'opo'o beach: Not the world's best beach since hurricane Iniki hit
in '92. Used to be great, but now the "only" attractions
are that it's one of the world's best places to swim with wild dolphins
and it has historic significance.
Manini Beach: Not great sand, but nice view and good snorkeling.
Keei Beach: Pat's favorite, right up there for me. Nice
sand, nice tidepooling and ok snorkeling, etc. Nice local feel.
Place of Refuge picnic area- Great vibrations (I say this not as the
hippy type), more lava than sand. Pat and I were married there.
Ho'okena Beach: Another of my personal favorites. Great, fine gray
sand, decent snorkeling, swimming and boogie boarding. Dolphins on
sunny afternoons. Camping and a nice "local" feel.
Some facilities available. To get there drive to Ho'okena town and
you'll see a big sign pointing to the beach - now for the tricky part -
the sign points down someone's driveway. Don't go down the
driveway. About 50 yards past the sign there is a nice road which
which goes the 3 or 4 miles down to the beach.
Pebble Beach at Kona Paradise: Not one of my favorites, but I'll
mention it because there are a bunch of vacation rentals down in this
area. Kona Paradise is a subdivision a few curvy miles south of
Ho'okena town. Turn down into the subdivision and you'll find a road
reminiscent of a cross between an alpine slalom run and San Francisco's
Lombard Street. Ten minutes later you can get out of your car and
let the smoke from your brake pads clear and you'll be at Pebble
Beach. Some refer to this as a black sand beach, but it's more of a
black gravel beach- pea sized gravel. It makes a real neat whooshing
sound as the waves recede. I've only been there once so I can't tell
you much about it.
Further south: Yes there's more, but they'll be
a bit of a trip. I haven't been to Honomalino Bay yet, but I've
heard it's a nice place. Milolii has areas to picnic and get into
the water also.