Big Island Beaches In Hawaii

The beaches on the Big Island are not like the beaches back home. Geologically speaking, Hawai’i Island is young. There are many long, pristine white beaches of powder-sand as on older Hawaiian Islands. Our beaches are instead made of pitch black sand and crystal green sand. Coral is also available. This is how our guide to Big Island Beaches works:

Map of the Big Island’s Beaches

These are the most popular beaches on the Big Island. You can zoom in and navigate the map by clicking on the icons. To get more information about each beach, you can click on the icons. These descriptions are also available in the list below:

Big Island Beaches include:

  • Hilo Beaches
  • Kona Beaches
  • Kohala
  • Waimea Beaches
  • South Beaches

Before you decide to go to the beach, you might want to prepare for your trip…

10 Ways To Prepare For Hawaiian Beaches

These 10 tips will ensure that you are prepared for your trip to paradise-like beaches.

  1. Plan Your Day. It is important to choose your route when visiting beaches in Hawaii. This will give you plenty of time to see the best ones.
  2. Rest Up! You should be rested before your day at the beach. The sun can be hot and your day could be very long.
  3. Bring Snacks. You need to bring snacks with you when you go. It will save you money and help you keep your energy levels high.
  4. Drink Water! To stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste
  5. Research Amenities – Be sure to research before you go You will find that some beaches offer more amenities than others. This is especially true if you’re traveling with children. 
  6. Use Lip balm High (50+) SPF to take care of your most sensitive skin areas, such as your lips and earlobes.
  7. Protect Your Skin! – Most sunscreens contain chemicals that can cause coral bleaching and damage our reefs.
  8. Cover Your Head – Protect your eyes and face with sunscreen. UV rays can also cause damage to your eyes. Prevention is key.
  9. Wear Sandals. The sand on our beaches is hot, especially the black sand. Sharp coral and shell pieces can cause injury to your feet.
  10. Don’t Smoke Or Drink – The main reason is that it is illegal to do so. Please go to have a safe time with your family.

Best Things To Do At Big Island Beaches

The beaches on Big Island are less crowded than those on other islands. It is possible to find the beach by yourself, especially if you visit the remote beaches on weekdays. You will need to bring lots of water and sunscreen because some beaches are more remote. You can spend time underwater swimming with fish of every color, so bring your snorkel gear. You won’t want to miss the beautiful marine life that surrounds this island.

You might enjoy body surfing, or taking along a SUP board, bodyboard, or surfboard. Even if you’re traveling with a large group, there is no reason to be bored at the beach. You don’t have to be a sun worshipper like your travel companion. Bring a book, food, drinks, snorkel gear or anything else you enjoy, and go! Green Sand Beach. One of the two green sand beaches in the United States. Close to the south point of the island

Best Big Island Beaches

Below is a brief description of the top beaches on Big Island. The beach’s location determines the order of the items on the list. The list starts with the southernmost beach (green sand beach) in the United States. We then move counterclockwise through the beaches around Hilo (east), Waimea/Kohala, and Kona (west).

Kealakekua Bay

Two small beaches are located on the eastern coast at Kealakekua bay. One is a small, rocky beach within the Kealakekua State Historical Park. The other is Manini beach which is 0.3 miles south. Manini beach is made up of sand and grass that are well-suited to seeing the sun set. However, neither is it a great place for swimming. However, Kealakekua bay is a popular spot for kayaking and snorkeling. The bay is home to spinner dolphins. You can also visit the monument built in memory of Captain Cook by following a challenging trail or taking a boat or kayak tour across the water. Kayaking requires a permit. Our website has more information on snorkeling at Captain Cook and Kealakekua Bay.

Pololu Valley Black Sand Beach

Accessible, remote, black sand beach, with stunning views. Large stones (fist-sized) are common on the beach. The water can sometimes be murky and there may be strong currents. These conditions make it a bad beach for snorkeling or swimming. You will need to descend 400 feet vertically to reach the beach from the parking area. This path offers spectacular views, and is one of our favorite. The beach in Pololu valley is well-suited for a rewarding rest after you hike down into the valley.

Waipi’o Valley Black Sand Beach

It is difficult to get there. It is beautiful and a great place to relax after descending into the valley. However, be careful when you go into the water. The beach is dangerous to swim in, especially during winter months. Learn more about this beach by visiting our guide for Waipi’o valleyOverview of Waipi’o Valley from the ‘opposite’ side. You can see the steep Waipi’o Valley access road, the black sand beach and taro fields.

James Ke’aloha Beach Park

A great beach for families with plenty of open space and a rugged shoreline. This beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and has a large picnic area with restrooms. High surf can cause strong rip currents so be careful!

Kaimu Beach Park

Black sand beach, with unpredictable waves and strong currents. This beach is 15m of lava and was covered in 1990. It’s a fascinating place to visit. 5 reasons why we think everyone should visit Kaimū beach, one of the newest black sand beaches on the Big Island, at least once.

Isaac Hale Beach Park/ Pohoiki

Popular surfing spot in east Hawaii. A picnic table and a playground are also available. At Isaac Hale Beach Park, you can also find hot ponds that have been volcanically heated

Papakolea / Green Sand Beach

One of two beaches with green sand on the Big Island. It is a 1.5-hour hike to get there, but it is definitely worth the effort. For directions, see our article about green sand beaches. Guide to visiting Green sand beach (Papakōlea) on the Big Island, Hawaii. Driving directions and hiking tips for one of two(!) green sand beaches in the USA.

Old Kona Airport Beach Park

In 1970, the first Kona airport was closed. The runway now serves as a parking lot for this park. Although the ocean can be rough, it is a great place to watch the sunset and bring your food.

Ahalanui Park

In July 2018, lava covered the Ahalanui beach area. Also known as Pu’ala’a County Park. Although there is no sandy beach, the warm water here is a result of volcanic energy. It is a great place to take a dip on cloudy days. Avoid weekends as the pool can get crowded and the water is often dirty.

Kapoho Tide Pools

In 2018, lava covered the Kapoho tide pool. Although there is no beach at this location, it is a great place to snorkel. These tide pools are up to 10 feet deep and have lots of fish between the lava rocks. You will need to wear shoes if you plan on walking along the water’s edge.

Ho’okena Beach Park

This is where you will find the remains of one of the oldest Hawaiian fishing villages. The beach’s color is gray, and it is made of coral and lava. You can camp overnight. The park has showers, picnic tables and restrooms.

Punalu’u County Beach Park

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is the most well-known black sand beaches on the Big Island. It’s located between Kona & Hilo and is easily accessible from Volcano Village. Punaluʻu beach is the most famous black sand beach of Hawaii. It is easily accessible and great for swimming, seeing turtles, and snorkeling..

Kamakahonu Beach

This tiny sandy beach is located in front of King Kamehameha Hotel and is often referred to as “King Kam beach”. It can be found in the middle Kona, on the northern side of Kailua Bay. It is great for snorkeling. Additional information about King Kam Beach. Kamakahonu (king kam) beach in downtown Kona on the Big island is a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming. Good beach for families with small children. King Kam beach in downtown Kona is a good place to take a quick dip in between activities. You can find decent snorkeling on the other side of the pier

Lele’iwi Beach Park

This is a great spot to snorkel if you’re visiting Hilo. It has a rocky shoreline and many picnic tables. For a picnic, bring a lunch.

Richardson Beach Park

Richardsons is the closest black sand beach to Hilo and the best place to snorkel south. You will find bathrooms, showers, picnic areas and a lifeguard. Natural lava rock breaks protect the beach and swimming are great to visit. The black sand beach closest to Hilo, Richardson is a good place to go snorkeling and swimming with tide pools, calm water and picnic area. Great for kids!.

Carlsmith Beach Park

This protected white sand lagoon is lined with black lava rocks. There are also restrooms and a picnic spot. This beach is great for swimming, snorkeling and fishing. As a family beach with a protected lagoon and resident turtles, Carlsmith beach park is one of our favorite places to swim and snorkel close to Hilo..

Onekahakaha Beach Park

This is a great place to take your family. There are picnic areas, grassy areas and shallow waters protected by breakwaters. You can also explore tide pools with a snorkel.

Coconut Island

Mokuola, also known as Coconut Island, is a small island off Hilo Bay that has a few beaches and large grassy areas with picnic tables. It is easy to access and you can easily spend several hours relaxing in the protected bay and enjoying the beautiful views. You can also look at the children jumping off a nearby tower of 20 feet. Coconut Island in Hilo Bay is a good place to hang out and/or swim for a few hours. Two small beaches, a grassy area, and a 20 ft tower used for jumping. The stunning white beaches of the Kohala coast are very close to paradise. Add a few black sand beaches to the mix, and you’ll see why this area of the Big Island is a favorite for beach lovers!

Kua Bay Beach

Maniniowali Beach is also known as Maniniowali Beach. It is one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the Big Island. This is a wonderful place to snorkel and swim. Attention, the surf can be dangerous! Find out more about Kua Bay Beach. One of the best white sand beaches on the Big Island, Kua bay is a magical small and secluded beach just north of Kailua Kona best visited during weekdays.

Additional Big Island Beaches To Visit…

Here are a few other beaches on the Big Island if you are interested in visiting all of the top beaches on the Big island…

Kapa’a Beach Park

Rocky beach is great for diving and snorkeling. You will also find picnic tables and barbecue grills in the park. A great beach for a sunset barbecue!

Kiholo Bay

A beautiful bay of salt and fresh water with excellent swimming. Although most of the beach access to the ocean is on private property, there is one public access beach. The bay is filled with tide pools, which are ideal for snorkeling if the tide is out.

Mahukona Beach Park

Technically, it is a abandoned harbor. This spot is great for diving and snorkeling. There are a few abandoned shipswrecks and old equipment from sugar mills on the land.

Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park

The harbor and an offshore reef protect this beach from the high surf. It is a wonderful beach for families. You can also find camping permits, a picnic area and barbecue facilities in the beach park. You can also find one of the four national parks located on the Big Island, the Spencer Beach Park.Pu’ukohala Heiau National Historic ParkThis beach park is also the beginning point for a 15-mile stretch of theAla KaiNational Historic Trail, which leads you to the stunningAnaeho’omalu Bay.

Kauna’oa Beach

Also known as Mauna Kea Beach. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is located on a 1/4-mile crescent-shaped, white sand beach. Excellent snorkeling, swimming and body surfing. More information on Mauna Kea beach. A family beach good for sunbathing and snorkeling, Mauna Kea Beach is one of the prettiest white sand beaches of Hawaiʻi!.

Hapuna Beach State Park

Hapuna Beach is a great place to swim on the Big Island. This beach of white sand is regularly voted one of the best beaches in the world. The beach is white sand and slopes into the ocean. It’s ideal for surfing in the waves. There are two good spots for snorkeling around the rocks on the south and north sides of the beach. A large beach park is available with toilets, showers and picnic tables. There are also snorkel rental, barbecue, and food concessions. Additional information on Hapuna beach. Great for suntanning and swimming and consistently voted among the best beaches of Hawaiʻi, Hāpuna is one of our favorites beaches!.

Waialea Bay Beach

This is a quiet beach with white sand, also known by 69 beach. This is a great place to snorkel and swim if the surf is calm. On weekends, it can get a bit crowded. Waialea Bay Beach Information. Waialea beach (69 beach) on the Big Island is very popular during the summer months because of the sun, shade and good snorkeling. Close to Hapuna beach.

Anaeho’omalu Beach

The reef protects this beach from the high surf. This beach is ideal for snorkeling, diving, or swimming. The beach is on the ocean side at Waikoloa Resort’s outrigger Waikoloa Resort. Anaehoomalu Bay (a.k.a. A-Bay) is a white sand beach located on the South Kohala coast on the Big Island. This is a family-friendly beach with OK snorkeling. The Big Island’s west coast is blessed with sunshine, rain and warm weather. It’s great weather for going out and playing! These beaches are great places to do this:

Kuki’o Beach

Kuki’o Beach has a long white sand beach and many green sea turtles. It is not recommended to swim here because of the lava rocks that are above and below it.

Kika’ua Point Beach

Families with young children will be most at home on a protected beach. There is no beach, but there is a lagoon with virtually no current and waves. You cannot snorkel.

Kekaha Kai State Park

The state park contains 3 beaches, Makalawena Beach and Kua Bay. Each is discussed below. These beaches offer great day trips from Kona and are beautiful, secluded, and peaceful. These beaches are made of white sand and have blue-green waters. They are also surrounded by pitch black lava fields. The 3 beaches in the Kekaha Kai state park are (from North to South): Maniniʻowali Bay (a.k.a. Kua bay), Makalawena beach and Mahaiʻula Bay. Image adapted from google maps. It is not easy to get there and it is dangerous (lava fields and winding roads). You should contact the rental company if you are unsure if you can travel there despite having rented a vehicle.

Mahai’ula Beach

Beautiful white sandy beach with coconut palms. This beach is not recommended for swimmers due to the lava island just off it. However, if you want to relax and enjoy a beautiful beach, this is the place! Mahai’Ula beach is the most southern beach in the Kekaha Kai State Park on the Kona coast.

Makalawena Beach

One of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches with white sand. It is only accessible by a 1 mile hike from Mahai’ula Beach Park. Mahaiula beach is the southernmost of the three beautiful Hawaii Big Island beaches making up Kekaha Kai State Park.

Ai’opio beach

Aiopio Beach has a small, protected beach and calm waters. It is located in the Kalokohau National Park. Accessible from the Honokohau smallboat harbor, it can be easily reached. You should arrive at the harbor early if you are booking a boat tour.

White Sands Beach Park

Magic Sands is also known as the “Magic Sands” because of the way the sand disappears from the beach temporarily with the rough surf. A lifeguard is always present at the beach, so surfers can enjoy a great shorebreak. There are showers, a toilet, and a volleyball net.

Kahalu’u Beach Park

A dark-gray sandy beach is located with a reef off the coast. This area is great for snorkeling. There is parking, a picnic table, restrooms and shade. This is our 3 favourite snorkeling spot on the Big IslandYou can read more about surfing, snorkeling and going to the beach at the Kahalu’u Beach Park.

7 tips to help you enjoy the Hawaiian beaches

Hawaiian beaches may be quite different from the beaches you are familiar with back home. Local laws can differ, the sun can shine brighter because we are closer the the equator. It can get very hot and all Hawaiian islands are protected by fragile coral reefs.

These 10 tips will ensure that you are prepared for your trip to paradise-like beaches.

  1. Plan Your Day. It is important to choose your route when visiting beaches in Hawaii. This will give you plenty of time to see the best ones.
  2. Rest Up! You should be rested before your day at the beach. The sun can be hot and your day could be very long.
  3. Bring Snacks. You need to bring snacks with you when you go. It will save you money and help you keep your energy levels high.
  4. Drink Water! To stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste
  5. Research Amenities – Be sure to research before you go You will find that some beaches offer more amenities than others. This is especially true if you’re traveling with children. 
  6. Use Lip balm High (50+) SPF to take care of your most sensitive skin areas, such as your lips and earlobes.
  7. Protect Your Skin! – Most sunscreens contain chemicals that can cause coral bleaching and damage our reefs.
  8. Cover Your Head – Protect your eyes and face with sunscreen. UV rays can also cause damage to your eyes. Prevention is key.
  9. Wear Sandals. The sand on our beaches is hot, especially the black sand. Sharp coral and shell pieces can cause injury to your feet.
  10. Don’t Smoke Or Drink – The main reason is that it is illegal to do so. Please go to have a safe time with your family.