Hawaii is famous for its white sandy beaches and warm tropical waters that invite you to swim, sail, surf, and snorkel all year round. When you live along the Kohala Coast, some of the best beaches in the world can be found right in your backyard. Here’s a look at some of the top beaches in and around the Kohala Coast resorts.
When Laurence Rockefeller decided to build the very first luxury resort on the Big Island back in the 1960s, he selected Kauna’oa Beach, the very finest beach on the entire coast, for the site of the Mauna Kea Beach Resort. Ranked among the best in the world by Conde Nast and the Travel Channel, Kauna’oa Bay’s long crescent-shaped beach stretches nearly a quarter mile and is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Manta rays are known to frequent the area and at night the Mauna Kea Hotel shines a spotlight into the water so you can see these magnificent creatures as they swim in the wild. Limited public parking means this beach is rarely crowded.
Hapuna State Beach
Just to the south of Kauna’oa Beach is Hapuna State Beach, also ranked among the best in the world. Like Kauna’oa Beach, you’ll find amenities like showers and restroom facilities here. However, it can get crowded at Hapuna. With its covered pavilions, picnic areas, and BBQ pits, the nearly 62-acre state park is one of the most popular on island and can get crowded on the weekends.
Wailea Bay in Puako
Travelling south along the Kohala Coast, you’ll next come across Wailea Bay in Puako. Adjoining Hapuna Beach, it is frequently referred to as Beach 69 because of its close proximity to electric pole #69, which serves as a landmark to help guide beach goers to this small sheltered beach. Once known only to locals, this beach has grown in popularity over the years and has received several upgrades, including a paved parking lot, outdoor showers, and restrooms. Snorkel near the south end of the beach and you may see green sea turtles and manta rays.
Mauna Lani Beach
Homeowners in Mauna Lani can avail themselves to three miles of pristine private white sand beaches. Mauna Lani property owners are also eligible to become members of the private Mauna Lani Beach Club, with its ultra-private beach cove and Naupaka restaurant. Adjoining the historic Kalahuipua’a Fishponds, Mauna Lani Beach Club members can avail themselves to a variety of beach amenities, including snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing.
A beautiful public beach is available within Mauna Lani Resort fronting the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows. The calm waters of this white sandy beach make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling and here you’ll find restrooms, outdoor showers, and a beachside restaurant. Mauna Lani Resort has a strong conservation program and this beach is also the site of the annual July 4th Turtle Independence festivities when Hawaiian sea turtles are released into the wild.
Anaeho’omalu Beach in Waikoloa
Waikoloa Beach Resort is home to one of the most well known and beautiful beaches on the Kohala Coast: Anaeho’omalu Beach, called “A Bay” by island residents. One of the most photographed beaches on island, it’s famous for its grove of coconut palm trees and long white sand beach. The south end of the beach is popular with windsurfers while the northern end fronts the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. A variety of activities can be found at A Bay, including boat charters, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, boogie-boarding and surfing.