Hawaii’s Big Island, particularly the Kona district, is a coastal paradise that boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. This sunny haven is home to numerous tranquil bays, vibrant marine life, and water sports opportunities. This guide will walk you through some of the best beaches in Kona, each offering a unique experience for beach enthusiasts.
1. Kealakekua Bay: A Historical Marine Paradise
Kealakekua Bay, approximately 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona, is a Marine Life Conservation District that holds significant historical value. The bay was the landing site of Captain James Cook, the first British explorer to venture into Hawaii.
The bay is a popular spot for both locals and tourists due to its pristine waters, which are home to a variety of tropical fish species. The clear waters make it an excellent location for kayaking, snorkeling, and diving. On certain days, you may even spot spinner dolphins frolicking in the bay!
2. King Kamehameha / Kamakahonu Beach: A Family-Friendly Retreat
Also referred to as King Kam Beach, it is one of the most family-friendly beaches in Kona. Located between Kailua Pier and dense rock formations, this serene white sand beach is perfect for tourists looking for a relaxing beach experience in Kona.
The beach is adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel, making it a convenient spot for hotel guests. The tranquil, sheltered waters are ideal for swimming, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.
3. Makalawena Beach: An Adventurer’s Dream
Perfect for solo travelers or active couples, Makalawena Beach offers a quiet beach experience. Nestled away from the crowds, the beach is accessible only via a hiking trail, making it a unique destination.
The two-mile hike leading up to the beach ends with a picturesque view of a private stretch of shoreline surrounded by rugged lava rock. The beach is perfect for swimming, bodyboarding, and snorkeling.
4. Honokohau / “Kona Dog” Beach: A Canine-Friendly Spot
If you’re traveling with your furry friend, Honokohau Beach is the place to go. It is one of the few beaches in Kona where dogs are allowed off-leash. The clear waters make it a great spot for snorkeling and swimming.
The beach is accessible via a short walk on lava rock. While there are no lifeguards on duty, experienced swimmers or snorkelers will enjoy exploring the waters of this unique beach.
5. Kahalu’u Beach Park: A Natural Aquarium
Kahalu’u Beach is a real-life aquarium. This beach is teeming with colorful tropical fish, octopuses, eels, sea urchins, and sea turtles, making it one of the best beaches in Kona for snorkeling.
The reef here is a unique ecosystem home to a plethora of aquatic animals. The beach park has been in existence for over 500 years and once served as home to Hawaiian royals.
6. Honaunau Bay / Two Step: A Snorkeler’s Paradise
Honaunau Bay, though not a beach in the traditional sense, is a must-visit spot for snorkeling enthusiasts. This bay is rich in sea life, offering direct access to the water from the surrounding lava rocks.
Honaunau Bay is an excellent location for both beginners and expert scuba divers. If you’re lucky, you might even get to swim with dolphins in the deeper waters!
7. Manini’owali Beach at Kua Bay: A Secluded Haven
Manini’owali Beach, located at Kua Bay, is one of Kona’s best white sand beaches. The beach is secluded, offering pristine white sand and crystal-clear water, perfect for snorkeling.
Access to this beach requires a short climb down lava mountains, adding to its secluded, serene appeal. Don’t forget to pack some snacks, drinks, and sun hats, as there are no amenities on this beach.
8. ‘Alula Beach: A Local’s Favorite
‘Alula Beach is a local favorite and offers protected swimming. Surrounded by rock walls and boulders, it has a rugged look but is a perfect spot for kayaking and sunbathing.
While it’s not exactly a kid-friendly beach, families who visit can still enjoy fun beach activities. Just remember to bring your food, drinks, and snacks as there are no concession stands.
9. Kikaua Point Beach Park: A Hidden Gem
Accessed through the Kukio Golf Resort, Kikaua Point Beach Park is a stunning beach offering a sheltered lagoon area where kids can swim, snorkel, and play in the water.
The beach has a picnic area, making it an excellent place for a family outing. Remember to arrive early to secure a parking spot!
10. Kohanaiki Beach Park: A Surfer’s Paradise
Also known as Pine Trees Beach, Kohanaiki Beach Park is a popular surfing location. The beach is not ideal for swimming due to the rocks at the bottom of the water and the strong shore break.
However, it is a popular spot for parties, barbecues, and sunset watching. With a camping permit, visitors can camp on the beach from Thursday to Monday.
Exploring Kona’s Beaches: An Unforgettable Experience
Kona’s beaches offer a unique blend of natural beauty, historic significance, and leisure activities. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, explore the underwater world, or simply relax by the water, Kona’s beaches have something for everyone.
These beaches are more than just picturesque landscapes; they’re gateways to memorable experiences. So pack your beach gear, apply some sunscreen, and get ready to explore the best beaches in Kona!
Do you have a favorite beach in Kona that we missed? Share your experiences in the comments below!