Hawaii’s Big Island is home to a wide variety of natural treasures, and Kona Coast is among them. Kona is known for water sports, sunsets, and beautiful beaches. Right on the coastline, you will find several rental shops that offer water sports equipment.
And you can also join a glass-bottomed tour or a small submarine tour to discover the beautiful marine life of Kona.
Here’s our take on the best beaches in Kona!
Magic Sands Beach (White Sands Beach Park)
Also known as the Disappearing Sands Beach or Magic Sands, White Sands Beach Park is located right in front of La’aloa Bay, south of downtown. There are lifeguards on the beach, so you don’t have to worry about your safety.
This is an excellent spot for swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, and body boarding.
The beach is equipped with showers, restaurants, and a beach shack that sells snacks. You’ll also find several restaurants and a diving outfitter.
Are you a beginner surfer? Kamakahonu Beach is the best place to get into your favourite water sport and hone your skills. The beach is protected by a cove.
On one side of the beach is Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark, and you’ll find Kailua Pier on the other side. This is one of the best spots for kids to swim as the water is shallow and calm, but it can get crowded.
On the beach is Kona Boys Beach Shack which rents water sports equipment for kayaking, snorkelling, and diving.
Here you can try jet skiing or join a boat or submarine tour; you can also join a guided scuba and snorkelling charter.
Kahalu’u Beach Park
Perfect for snorkelling, Kahalu’u Beach Park is ideal for families with kids. Thanks to the growth of corals that surround the beach, the waters are calm. The beach is outfitted with restrooms, showers, a pavilion, shops, restaurants, and picnic tables. There are also lifeguards patrolling the beach.
For insights into marine life, head to the Kahalu’u Bay Education Centre; the place offers a number of educational programs and snorkelling gear for water sports enthusiasts.
If you don’t want to do anything too adventurous, you can go for a swim, and you will be ambushed by schools of exotic fish. Also, paddle boarding is another thing you can do here.
Also called A Bay, Anaeho’omalu Beach has soft white sand and a tranquil atmosphere. The bay is dotted with small boats, and there are restrooms and showers on the beach, but there are no lifeguards.
The well-stocked rental offers a variety of water sports equipment as well as chairs and umbrellas. While here, you can also join a catamaran cruise, and for a delicious lunch, you can head to the restaurant on the south side of the beach.
Make sure you have time to see the Kuualii Fishpond. Once there were many such ponds dotting the beach side, but only a few remain today.
If you don’t mind a bit of a hike, get to Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve to see a collection of 30,000 lava rock symbols.
With calm waters protected by a reef, Spencer Beach is a popular family attraction in Kona. The beach features a number of amenities, including restrooms, tables, a camping area, and showers. The beach is kept safe for tourists by a lifeguard, making it an excellent spot for diving and snorkelling for beginners.
Hikers who want to explore the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail can start their journey from the beach.
Not ideal for swimming as there are strong currents and big waves, but Honl’s Beach is perfect for experienced surfers. Also called the Tiki’s surf spot, the beach is outlined by rocks, so if you are planning to walk here, you should invest in good walking shoes.
There are no lifeguards or beach facilities, but just beyond the beach is a grassy patch where you can picnic and listen to the soothing sound of the waves crashing.
Head north and you’ll find a scenic beach with a beautiful landscape of rocks and white sand called Manini’owali Beach, also known as Kua Bay Beach. This is one of the best snorkelling spots because of the endangered turtles that frequent the calm and clear waters here.
To get to the beach, you need to walk past lava rocks, so the trip will be a welcoming challenge for adventurers. You won’t find any rentals here, but there’s a lifeguard, and the facilities in the parking lot include showers and restrooms.
Since there are no rentals or concessions, you need to bring your own water, chairs, and umbrellas.
Ke’alakeku’a Bay Park
To snorkel and see marine wildlife, visit Ke’alakeku’a Bay Park, found near Captain Cook. The park offers some of the best snorkelling in the area, but getting here requires a bit of effort.
The best thing to do is to join an organised snorkelling tour. You can also sign up for a boat tour, and if you do, keep your eyes peeled for spinner dolphins.
To get away from the bustle, head to Makalawena Beach, located next to Kona Coast State Park. The journey to the beach includes a 20-minute hike across lava rocks, which is the reason for fewer crowds. There are no lifeguards or rentals, but if you manage to bring your own snorkelling equipment, you can enjoy some snorkelling here.
You won’t find any showers or restrooms, but there are some shady spots where you can relax. If you bring snacks, make sure to keep them away from the goats and chickens that wander over to the beach all the time.
Be sure to check the weather and water conditions before getting in the water.
Another popular attraction with families with kids, Keiki Ponds, are found near the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area. These are natural ponds barrier-ed and protected by lava rocks, so swimming here is quite safe. The waters are calm; the only time you’ll experience a bit of volatility is during high tide.
There are no lifeguards, and you won’t find any facilities either. But you’ll find some grassy spots where you can rest, and the sightings of beach wildlife that hide among the lava rocks are a highlight of the beach.
Kikaua Point Park
This man-made park features beautiful white sand dotted with palm trees. This is a public beach like every other beach in Hawaii, but the access is through the Kukio Golf Resort.
Once you get to the resort, let the guard know that you want to get to the beach, and he will give you a pass and direct you to the parking lot – there isn’t sufficient parking, so we suggest you get here as early as possible.
There’s a walking trail between the parking lot and the beach, and at the end of the trail, you’ll find numerous beach facilities, including showers and restrooms.
Bring an umbrella, a picnic basket, and a blanket to enjoy a picnic here; there are shady spots with grass and tall trees.
Ho`okena Beach Park
Twenty-five miles south of Kona is Ho`okena Beach, a famous camping site that offers insights into history. This is a traditional canoe fishing village. If you hang around for a bit, you will see fishermen in their canoes coming in and going out.
Swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, and surfing are a few activities on offer here. You can rent equipment from an outfitter, and there are excellent campsites as well.
The beach isn’t patrolled by a lifeguard, but there are plenty of facilities, including showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and a small food shack.
Tips For The Best Beach Vacation In Kona
Make sure you have plenty of water, and bring your sunscreen. A sunhat and sunglasses are a must as well.
Always speak to the lifeguards before getting in the water, and if there are no lifeguards, be extra cautious and check the weather and water conditions. If you are here with your kids, don’t let them wander out of your sight.
Some of the beaches are rocky, and some require you to hike along rocky paths, so you should invest in a good pair of walking shoes or sandals.