Famous for its black beaches, Big Island also boasts glittering white-, green-, gold- and gray-sand beaches with calm bays that provide awesome swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Be aware that, even when waters seem gentle, you should never take your eyes off your children or turn your back on the ocean. And, as the locals say, “when in doubt, stay out.”
When it comes to the sun, tropical burns will decimate a vacation — not to mention a beautiful complexion. Wear SPF 30 sunscreen, and reapply it every two hours. Don hats and SPF-treated bathing suits. It’s especially important to wear an SPF top when snorkeling to avoid a fried backside. Ignore this advice at your own peril because Big Island sunburns are big-time painful.
Anaehoomalu Beach in Kona
This beautiful white-sand beach is lined with coconut palms. It provides a beautiful spot for swimming and snorkeling and is renowned for its breathtaking sunsets. The historical King’s Trail winds nearby, offering more than two acres of petroglyphs, trails and ancient sites. There are no lifeguards on duty, but resorts and shopping are close by.
Hapuna Beach State Park
Often voted the best beach in the U.S., this white-sand beach is located north of Kona, off Highway 19. Amenities include restrooms, showers, picnic tables, food stands and equipment rentals. Lifeguards are sometimes on duty.
Kahalu’u Beach Park in Kona
This dark-grey-sand beach is an ideal spot for snorkeling. You’ll find lifeguards, restrooms, phones, picnic tables, showers and even tide pools. Just off the reef, you might spy tuna, marlins and dolphins jumping.
One of the most gorgeous beaches on Big Island, this white-sand beach — paired with calm, turquoise waters — is located off of the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (19), north of Kona, between mile markers 88 and 89. Picnic tables, restrooms and showers are available. There’s not a sliver of shade in sight, so bring your umbrellas, hats and SPF 30+ sunscreen. This area is not accessible by stroller.
This is yet another of Big Island’s amazing beaches. Located in front of the beautiful Mauna Kea Resort and off Highway 19, the Kauna’oa Beach provides hours of swimming, snorkeling and boogie-boarding. Amenities include restrooms, showers and a volleyball court, but there are no lifeguards.
Spencer Beach Park
This stunning white-sand beach is located just south of Kawaihae Harbor on Highway 270. Expect to find calm water most of the time, as well as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, lifeguards and grassy areas.