BEST BIG ISLAND BEACHES FOR SUNBATHING AND SUNSET-WATCHING
Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is often voted one of the best beaches in the world—and indisputably one of the favorites of visitors and residents on the Big Island. The half-mile stretch of white sand runs almost 200 feet wide during the summer months. Water conditions are generally excellent all year round for swimming. Lifeguards are on duty.
White Sands Beach Park is a sand- and rock-strewn beach with a shallow, offshore sandbar, offering good swimming and boogieboarding. During high surf, the sand disappears and makes the area too dangerous to enter. Snorkeling and scuba diving are excellent due to the easy ocean access, large fish and underwater caves. Volleyball, picnic facilities and lifeguards make this a great park for the entire family.
MacKenzie State Recreation Area is located in the Puna District, off the Kalapana-Kapono Beach Road (Highway 137), nine miles northeast of Kaimu. The 13-acre park is distinguished by a grove of ironwoods, offering welcome shade for picnics. The rocky shoreline attracts fishermen and is a pleasant place to relax and watch sunsets. Restrooms and camping are available.
Hookena Beach Park is located a short drive off of Highway 11, reached by a paved, winding road to the coastline. The black sand beach and calm protected waters attract visitors and locals alike. Kayaking, stand-up paddling and snorkeling are popular activities. Bathrooms and open-air showers serve the local community as well as visitors. Parking can be problematic on busy holiday weekends, so it’s best to arrive early in the day.
Keokea Beach Park, off Highway 270, in North Kohala, offers a rugged, black-boulder beach in a protected cove, suitable for fishing in summer but hazardous for swimming whenever the surf kicks up. Green lawns, a large picnic pavilion and picnic tables, restrooms, showers, drinking water, electricity and a campsite make this a popular weekend destination for locals.
SUN, SAND & SURF – ABOUT BIG ISLAND BEACHES
As the youngest island in the Hawaiian Chain, Hawaii Island has not had as much geological time to create as many beaches as, say, Kauai or Oahu. In fact, new beachfront property is being created along the southern coastline where fresh lava is pouring into the sea daily. And, yet, there are still plenty of great beaches all around the Big Island, if you know where to go, especially along Kona’s “Gold Coast.” The calm waters around Hilo offer fun snorkeling and safe swimming, while Hilo Bay sometimes gets good size surf in the winter months. Surfers also find their share of waves at Puna’s Isaac Hale Beach Park, at Honolii, a popular break just north of Hilo, and at various breaks along the vast Kona Coast. Seasonal surf comes to Hawaii’s south shores in the summer and to its north shores in the winter months. It is always advisable to swim only at lifeguard-attended beaches.
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