BEST BIG ISLAND BEACHES FOR SWIMMING
Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is a landscaped Big Island beach park with great swimming in the calmer summer months, periodic bodysurfing and great sunbathing on the white-sand beach. Lifeguards are on duty, so be sure to check on possible rips when the surf picks up. Restrooms, picnic pavilions and picnic tables make this a year-round favorite. In 2013, nationally renowned Parents magazine named nearby Kamuela as one of America’s best beach towns, primarily because Hapuna Beach State Park is included in Kamuela’s ZIP code. Hapuna is “everything you envision when you think of Hawaii: turquoise water, clean white sand and stunning views,” according to Parents.
Anaehoomalu, backed by hundreds of palm trees and famous for spectacular sunsets, is one of many beautiful Big Island beaches on Kona’s Kohala Coast. Tranquil fishponds lie behind the white-sand beach, swimming is good, and there are several small coves and a scenic lagoon. The park is close to restaurants and shops in the Waikoloa Resort area, and provides parking, restrooms and showers. Lifeguards are on duty.
Spencer Beach Park, located just south of Kawaihae Harbor, has a lovely sandy beach protected by a large reef and the breakwater of the harbor. The water is a bit cloudy from harbor activity, but it is usually calm and ideal for the entire family to enjoy swimming here. Sea turtles also frequent these waters. There are lifeguards, showers, barbecue grills, a camping area, restrooms and picnic facilities.
Punaluu Beach Park, on the Big Island’s southern coastline, has a picturesque black sand beach, swaying coconut palms and a freshwater wading pool where swimmers can rinse off. The beach is a popular hangout for green sea turtles, an added bonus.
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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