Big Island Hawaii Beaches

Hawaii beaches are some of the best beaches in the world. And some of the best beaches in Hawaii are right here on the Big Island. The Big Island is massive, bigger than all the other Hawaiian islands combined, with 266 miles (428k) of shoreline. Even though there are fewer natural sand beaches on the Big Island per mile of shoreline than on other Hawaiian Islands, the sheer size of the Big Island means there are a lot of beaches. 

Some Big Island beaches are among the best you will find anywhere, period. This is especially true along the sunny west coast. Among the more well known Hawaii Beaches, Hapuna Beach is often recognized in travel magazines as one of the top beaches anywhere in the country.

But we have our favorites; there are plenty more pristine, soft sand beaches on the Big Island to consider. And with the stunningly clear water along the coast, the best snorkeling in Hawaii is right here on the Big Island

Makalawena Beach, Hawaii Beaches

Big Island Beaches Are Young

Because the Big Island is younger than any of the other Hawaiian Islands, beaches on the Big Island have had less time to fully develop. This is also one of the things that makes Big Island beaches some of the most unique and scenic of all Hawaii beaches. 

Kaimu Black Sands Beach, Hawaii Beaches

To learn more about the young beaches and coastal development on the Big Island, read this interesting in-depth study conducted by the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology at the University of Hawaii.

Big Island Beaches Offer Amazing Variety

The Big Island has everything! Enjoy pristine, soft white sand beaches, salt & pepper sand beaches, a fine black sands beach, and even a green sand beach! With a little exploring you can discover an amazing array of beauty, character and charm on Big Island beaches.

Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Find Your Favorite Big Island Beach


Kohala Coast:
Best Beaches North of Kona

Spencer Beach Park

Spencer Beach Park

Spencer Beach is a large beach with gently sloping sand next to Kawaihae Harbor. Good swimming, lots of shade, full facilities. Tent camping with permit. Spencer Beach Park is 34 miles north of Kailua-Kona.


Mau'umae Beach

Mau'umae Beach

Mau'umae Beach is a small and scenic beach with plenty of soft sand. The calm bay is nice for swimming. Rarely crowded, this is a great beach to get away from it all. Easy to access from either Spencer Beach or Mauna Kea Beach.


Mauna Kea - Kauna'oa Beach

Mauna Kea Beach - Kauna'oa Beach

Mauna Kea Beach is one of the best beaches on the Big Island, a beautiful, long crescent of fine white sand with excellent swimming, snorkeling, full facilities. Mauna Kea Beach is 32 miles north of Kona.


Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach is considered one of the best beaches in the country. 1/2 mile-long golden sand beach, excellent swimming, boogie boarding, easy access, full facilities. 31 miles north of Kona.


Waialea Beach 69

Waialea Beach 69

Waialea Beach 69 is a gorgeous, secluded golden sand beach with gentle slope and good swimming. Snorkeling here is fun too. Very scenic with lots of shade, showers and restrooms. Beach 69 is 30 miles north of Kona.


49 Black Sand Beach at Honoka'ope Bay

49 Black Sand Beach at Honoka'ope Bay

49 Black Sand Beach at Honoka'ope Bay is one of the only "black sand" beaches along the Kona-Kohala coast. Located in the Mauna Lani Resort area, this beach is very scenic with good snorkeling. Along the Ala Kahakai Trail.


Anaeho'omalu Beach (A-Bay)

Anaeho'omalu Beach, A-Bay

Explore this beautiful gem adjacent to the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. With a long, palm-fringed crescent of sand, Anaeho'omalu Bay is stunningly picturesque and rich in Hawaiian history.


Kuki'o Beach

Kuki'o Beach

Kuki'o Beach is another long crescent of white sand in the Hualalai Resort area. Very scenic but not great swimming. Lots of tide pools with sea turtles along the shore. 13 miles north of Kona.


Kikaua Beach*

Family friendly Kikaua Beach

Kikaua Beach is a peaceful, soft sand beach of stunning beauty. Calm, clear water in a protected cove lined with palm trees. A great family beach for swimming or wading. 13 miles north of Kona.
*Family friendly beach with protected tide pools and easy wading.


Manini'owali Beach at Kua Bay

Manini'owali Beach at Kua Bay

Manini'owali Beach is a popular beach with easy access. Picturesque with gently sloping, fine white sand. Great swimming and boogie boarding. Restrooms and showers. Kua Bay is 11 miles north of Kona.


Makalawena Beach

Makalawena Beach

Makalawena Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches anywhere. Uncrowded, long powdery white sand beaches, coves, tide pools and shade. Makalawena Beach is 10 miles north of Kona in Kekaha Kai State Park.


Mahai'ula Beach

Mahai'ula Beach

Mellow and secluded, Mahai'ula Beach is a long crescent of sand in a beautiful bay. A great place to explore with decent swimming. 10 miles north of Kona, southern end of Kekaha Kai State Park.


Wawaloli Beach*

Family friendly Wawaloli Beach

Wawaloli Beach Park is an awesome tide-pool area just 6 miles north of Kona. Sandy beach with protected swimming and wading. Restrooms and showers. Turn near mile marker 94 toward the Natural Energy Lab.
*Family friendly beach with protected tide pools and easy wading.


Honokohau Beach & Ai'opio Beach

Honokohau Beach & Ai'opio Beach

Honokohau Beach is a long crescent of salt & pepper sand with magnificent views and ok for swimming. Ai'opio Beach is calm, peaceful, scenic. The area is rich with history. Just 3 miles north of Kona.


Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Beaches

Old Kona Airport Beach Park

Old Kona Airport Beach Park

Old Kona Airport Beach Park is a series of beaches easy to access just north of Kailua Kona. There's not an abundance of soft sand but some nice tide pools and a fabulous place to enjoy a Big Island sunset.


Keiki Ponds*

Keiki Ponds - Family Friendly

Keiki Ponds has a delightfully calm cove with magnificent views, south of the Old Airport Beach Park. Protected from the open ocean, this tide-pool area is fun for toddlers to wade in yet deep enough to soak.
*Family friendly beach with protected tide pools and easy wading.


Kamakahonu Beach*

Family friendly Kamakahonu Beach

Kamakahonu Beach is located just right of the pier in front of the King Kamehameha Hotel in Kailua-Kona. Nice pocket of sand, a very safe Hawaii beach with gentle water but no shade.
*Family friendly beach in a protected cove with easy wading.


Kailua Bay

Kailua Bay

Immediately adjacent to and left of the pier in Kailua-Kona is a small patch of sand that is a good entry point for swimming or snorkeling in the relative calm waters of Kailua Bay.


Honl's Beach

Honl's Beach

Within easy walking distance of the Coconut Grove marketplace in downtown Kona, Honl’s Beach at Wai’aha Bay is a small yet scenic beach with soft white sand. Honl's Beach is famous for its boogieboarding.


Pahoehoe Beach Park

Pahoehoe Beach Park

Pahoehoe Beach Park is a nice area for a picnic with benches, trees and lawn, or for watching a Big Island sunset. Pahoehoe Beach is on Ali'i drive immediately north of Magic Sands, south of the 3.5 mile marker.


Magic Sands - La'aloa Bay Beach Park

Magic Sands Beach, La'aloa Bay

Magic Sands is one of the nicer in-town Kona Beaches. Clean white sand with plenty of shade, decent swimming and popular with boogie boarders. Also called Disappearing Sands or White Sands Beach. Near the 4-mile marker on Ali'i drive.


Keauhou, Kealakekua, Honaunau Beaches

Kahalu'u Beach Park

Kahalu'u Beach Park

Kahalu'u Beach Park offers some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Coarse salt & pepper sand beach with great swimming, calm water and nice picnic area. Also a good place to learn to surf. On Ali'i drive at mile marker 5.


Manini Beach

Manini Beach

Secluded and scenic Manini Beach Park is a nice alternative for enjoying Kealakekua Bay, in a more relaxed setting away from the crowds. With beautiful views and an easy ocean entry, there is excellent snorkeling here.


Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park has a scenic and peaceful beach inside the park. Some of the Big Island's best snorkeling and diving is at Two Step in Honaunau Bay.


Ho'okena Beach Park

Ho'okena Beach Park

Ho'okena Beach Park has fine salt & pepper sand. Good swimming, snorkeling, boogie boarding, and full facilities make Ho'okena a nice family-friendly Big Island beach. Tent camping with permit. 20 miles south of Kona.



Favorite South Coast, Hilo and Puna Beaches

Honomalino Beach

Honomalino Beach

Picturesque Honomalino Bay is home to one of the larger south Kona beaches. It's an easy hike past Miloli'i Beach Park to the beautiful white and black sands of Honomalino Beach.


Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Papakolea Green Sand Beach is a unique and stunning beach, well worth the hot, dry walk across 2.25-miles (3.6-kilometers) of coastal pastureland. Off South Point Road between 69 & 70 mile markers on Highway 11.


Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Punalu'u is one of the best black sand Hawaii beaches. And you are almost certain to see Honu (green sea turtles) lounging here. Off of Highway 11 between mile markers 55 & 56.


Hilo Beach Parks

Hilo Beach Parks

While not well known for its beaches, several beach parks near Hilo are worth checking out, especially on a sunny day. Decent swimming and snorkeling with lots of room to spread a picnic on the grass.


Ahalanui Beach Park

Ahalanui Beach Park

Ahalanui Park is one of the gems of the Puna District. Relax in the volcanically heated pool, surrounded by coconut palms with stunning views of the open ocean. South of Hilo.


Kapoho Tide Pools

Kapoho Tide Pools

You will find perhaps the best snorkeling on the Big Island's east side in the tidepools adjacent to the small vacation village of Kapoho. 1.5 miles north of Ahalanui Beach Park.


Best Family Beaches

Many Big Island beaches are great for families. These four kid-friendly Hawaii beaches each has a large beach area and tide pools that are protected from the open ocean, ideally suited for young children. Parents should always use caution and be aware of unpredictable surf conditions.


Best Snorkeling Beaches In Hawaii

With the outrageously clear and calm ocean, the best Hawaii beaches for snorkeling are along the Big Island's west coast.

In particular you will find amazing snorkeling on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay, Kahalu'u Beach Park, and Honaunau Bay (Two Step). Keep an eye out for Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Reef Triggerfish), the Hawaii state fish (below).

Reef Triggerfish and Yellow Tang

Safety on Hawaii Beaches

As tantalizing as the clear, blue, calm Pacific (peaceful) ocean appears, it is that very surf that poses the greatest potential danger along our Hawaii beaches.

Know before you go! The surf in Hawaii is very strong, and rip currents can form without warning. Understanding basic Hawaii beach safety will make for a more pleasurable experience, and help to ensure that you return home happy and healthy.

Hawaii beach safety at Kua Bay

Share Your Own Big Island Beach Experience

So many interesting beaches on the Big Island! Do you have a favorite? What makes it special?
Let our readers know by sharing your own experience. You can even include a couple of photos. We will publish your story right here on our site!

Some Of Our Readers Favorite Beaches

Click below to see what other visitors have said about Big Island Beaches...

More images of Kikaua Beach Not rated yet
Kikaua Beach is the best!

Kikaua Beach is the best with a smooth sandy bottom and crystal clear water! Not rated yet
There are two amazing Hawaii beaches that are close to our hearts on the Big Island, Kikaua Beach and Mauna Kea Beach. Kikaua Beach is an easy fifteen …

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