Hapuna Beach is considered one the finest beaches on the Big Island, and is always ranked among the best Hawaii beaches, or anywhere in America for that matter!
This glistening expanse of soft golden sand on the Kohala coast is a classic tropical beach. The largest of the Big Island beaches, Hapuna extends for nearly half a mile, sloping gently into the crystal clear waters of the Pacific ocean.
The shoreline along this beautiful beach is soft and sandy. The gentle slope of the beach and the clear water make for excellent swimming when the ocean is calm. The shallows are great for kids to frolic in or for building sand castles at the water's edge, making it one of the better family beaches. But watch the waves, especially during the winter months.
It won't take long for you to realize that Hapuna is obviously one of the most popular Hawaii Big Island beaches. If you are looking for a quiet, peaceful beach experience, you won't find it here! There is ample free parking but weekends can get crazy-crowded and even the huge parking lot fills. Plan accordingly. There is easy access from the parking area to the beach and ocean.
When the surf picks up the boogie boarding is sensational. Just be certain the surf isn't too high. It gets windy here, much more so than at neighboring Mauna Kea Beach. Because the sea is unprotected, the waves and currents can be punishing. A word of caution: don't go in the water here during high surf.
There is excellent snorkeling toward the rocky south end of the beach for advanced snorkelers. Lots of fish and interesting coral can be found here. Again, don't snorkel unless it's calm.
There is no shade on the beach itself so bring plenty of sunscreen, maybe even an umbrella. There are shaded pavilions about 200 feet back from the shoreline along the back side of the beach, with palm trees scattered throughout. There are two lifeguard towers, covered picnic areas, restrooms and outdoor showers.
Camping is available by permit in 4-person A-frame shelters behind the beach, available for $50/night (non-residents) or $30/night (Hawaii residents). The minimal shelters amount to a small screened room with wooden sleeping platforms.
Hapuna is 31 miles north of Kailua-Kona along the Kohala Coast, near the 69 mile marker on Highway 19. The beach entrance is just south of the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. Less than a mile south of Mauna Kea Beach , there is a wonderful shoreline trail linking the two beaches, part of the Ala Kahakai Trail. If you have a little extra time, this is a nice trail with stunning ocean views.
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