The best beaches on Hawaii's Big Island and how to get to each one.
|Guide Series: Hawaii's Best Beaches
Is it the Big Island or Hawaii Island? Both actually, but let's not split hairs and instead go over the real reason you're visiting, the beaches! The Big Island is so big that it can fit all of the other major Hawaiian Islands in its footprint, which means it has miles and miles of coastlines and beaches for you to enjoy. But how do you know which are the best? Simple, we list them out for you.
Here's our list of the best beaches on Big Island, Hawaii.
Hapuna is the go-to beach for many visitors, especially those coming from the Waikoloa resort area. It's a huge beach with plenty of sand and room to spread out. We love that it has many facilities including bathrooms, showers, and a lifeguard. It's an excellent family beach. More at: Hapuna Beach State Park
Mauna Kea Beach surrounds Kauna'oa Bay and backs up to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. This is a beautiful beach in a crescent shaped bay and quite popular. The biggest issue here will be parking, because once it fills up they won't let more cars in. Unless you're staying here, the best bet is to go early in the day if you're driving in. More at: Mauna Kea Beach / Kauna'oa Bay
Many people have trouble with the name of this one so it's usually just called "A Beach" or "A Bay". Regardless of the name, pretty much everyone agrees that this is a great beach. It's located behind the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (and just south of the Hilton Waikoloa Village) and often has calm waters, making it good for kids. More at: Anaeho'omalu Bay Beach
There's something special about a black sand beach. Is it that they're more unique than a regular sand beach? Or maybe it's because they're more raw and natural since the sand is essentially created from lava. Either way, it's worth seeing a black sand beach and this is the best one to visit on the Big Island. Better still is that this is a great all around beach regardless of the black sand. More at: Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park
We just got done talking about how special a black sand beach can be so imagine how special a green sand beach is when there are only four in the world! The good news is that the Big Island has one of those four. The bad news, well, there really isn't any bad news exactly. But, you should note that this beach isn't the easiest to get to. It's a 5 mile hike on foot. You can drive in with a 4x4, but probably not the best idea in a rental car. Okay, maybe that is bad news. More at: Papakolea Green Sand Beach
Waialea Bay is often called Beach 69 since there used to be the sign with the number 69 on a telephone pole at the spot you turned in. That is no longer there but the name stuck. This isn't a huge beach but it offers powdery sand along with clear and perfectly blue waters. The water is usually calm here as well. More at: Waialea Bay (Beach 69)
Kua Beach, or Manini'owali Beach as it's technically known, offers a fine, white sand and gorgeous turquoise waters. You'll also find restrooms, showers, and water fountains so it's a great place to set up for the day. Of course, you won't be alone on this popular beach. It can get crowded and likely will be crowded so go early. More at: Kua Bay / Manini'owali Beach
Spencer is sometimes an underrated beach, and at other times it's incredibly popular and a little crowded. Going during the week is your best bet for avoiding mass crowds, but either way the parking is good and there are a lot of facilities (showers, bathrooms, and a lifeguard) that make this a great family beach. The water here is often calm, clear, and gentle and can be a good spot to swim and splash around. More at: Spencer Beach Park
That's right, we're suggesting you go to a beach that doesn't really have any beach! This is a beach, but it doesn't really have any sandy beach area. But that's okay and what it lacks in sand it makes up in uniqueness. Specifically, it's a great and well protected place to swim and is full of tidepools. If it's busy, you'll find a very similar experience right next door at Richardson's Ocean Park and even at nearby Carlsmith Beach Park. More at: Leleiwi Beach Park / Waiuli Beach Park
Good grief, now we have a second beach that doesn't really have any sandy beach? That's right, because this "beach" is so incredibly unique that it's not to be missed! Any guesses as to why? It's often called The Hot Ponds if that helps. It's a volcanically heated pond that you can swim in. It's really more pool than pond since it has a manmade wall that helps separate it a bit from the open ocean. It's still somewhat open so ocean water does come in and out but it's very calm and protected, and warm! More at: Ahalanui Beach Park / Maunakea Pond / The Hot Ponds
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