Tip: This town on Kauai opened Hawaii's first sugar mill in 1835.

 Currently: Big Island What to See Beaches

Big Island Beaches

Under the pressure of Kilauea's relentless lava flow, this giant baby of an island continues to adapt and take shape. Noticeable in that pattern of ebb and flow is the metamorphosis of the beaches that fringe its 266-mile coastline. The coastal areas are laced with new and old lava flows

that slice through, or completely cover, old beaches and at the same time create new ones. The result is a multi-hued shoreline where some great beaches can be found.

Most of the Big Island's popular white sand beaches are found on the Kona/Kohala Coast. Black and green sand beaches are found primarily on the southern coast. Both Hilo and Kona offer excellent snorkeling beaches with gradually sloping ocean floors. As a rule of thumb, the west coast has calmer waters as it is protected from the winds by the mid-island mountains.

On the Kohala Coast, Kauna'oa Beach at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, has been rated one of America's top beaches. Top national ratings have also gone to Hapuna Beach, just south of Kanua'oa. This is a popular "walking" beach and an excellent place for body boarding. Anaeho'omalu Beach, or "A-Bay," is a good spot for windsurfing and sail boarding. Ka'upulehu Beach at the Four Seasons Resort is a relatively undiscovered white sand beach known for excellent water quality. Spencer's Beach Park in Kawaihae has all the public amenities, including camping. Further north, Manukona Beach Park offers some of the best snorkeling on the island.

Near the Keauhou Resort, you'll find White Sands Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands because the beach can quickly disappear during high surf months only to return in the spring. Kahalu'u Beach Park, also near Keauhou, is Kona's most popular snorkeling beach.

Punalu'u Beach Park, on Hwy. 11, is a well known black sand beach. Near Mackenzie State Park in Pahoa, you'll find a lava-lined pool heated to 95 degrees by a volcanic stream. In Hilo, Coconut Island Park, near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, is a local favorite for fishing and swimming.

On the northern coast of the island, Laupahoehoe Point Park, created by a lava flow from Mauna Kea, has a large green grassy area and is a good place to camp. Waipio Valley's Black Sand Beach, probably the island's most scenic beach, is accessible only by foot from the overlook or four-wheel drive.

WATER SAFETY: Water conditions at any beach are subject to extreme change. Rip tides and undertows are common and dangerous, particularly because of the outcroppings of jagged lava rocks. Many beaches are unguarded so for your own safety, follow these basic rules Watch the ocean at least 20 minutes before entering. Telltale signs of hazardous conditions are water moving by rapidly, constant swirling in seemingly calm water and waves breaking far offshore.

  • Never swim or snorkel alone. Always stay with children.
  • Strong currents near shore are the most frequent and dangerous hazards. Areas near river mouths are particularly dangerous.
  • Check for and obey warning signs posted before you enter the water. If lifeguards are unavailable, ask residents about rip currents, Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, or other dangers.
  • Locate the lifeguard station, emergency phone or rescue surfboard when you arrive at a beach.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean.
Shop for
Package type:
Departing from:
Going to:
Search for packages
More package search options from Expedia
Going to:
Search for packages
More Package search options from Expedia
Departing from:
Going to:
Search for flights
More flight search options from Expedia
Search for hotels in:
Check-in: Check-out:
Search for hotels
More hotel search options from Expedia
Pick-up location:
Car class:
Search for cars
More car search options from Expedia
Select a top destination:
Departing in:
Cruise length:
Search for cruises
More cruise search options from Expedia
Start date:
End date:
Search for activities
More activity search options from Expedia
Current Specials - Big Island
  • Make a Play Date with a Dolphin at Dolphin Quest Hawaii or Oahu
  • Come and be part of history at surfing’s ultimate experience with one of our special package offers. VIP access is only the beginning...
  • Enjoy a personal Family Swim at Dolphin Quest Hawaii
  • Kings Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club - $186
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental - Jeeps, exotic cars, motorcycles, and more!
  • Stay at the iconic Volcano House Hotel, perched on the rim of Kilauea caldera
  • Vacation Memory of a Lifetime: Family Swim at Dolphin Quest Hawaii or Oahu
  • Royal Kona Experience Package with luau, dinner cruise, daily breakfast & more! $250/nt.
  • $739+ Aston Shores at Waikoloa: 3 nights with Air. Includes FREE fullsize car rental, $100 off PLUS kids 12 and younger stay, play and eat FREE.
  • Aloha! Stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii with rates starting at $169 per night!
More of our Current Specials on The Big Island

Hawaiian Airlines: Special Offers
Hot Clicks - All Islands
  • Come be a part of history – VIP access is only the beginning
  • Kaanapali Beach Hotel - 4 night Best of the Beach package just $1385
  • Hawaii 3 nights w/ Air – FREE fullsize Car PLUS save up to $100!
  • Volcano Value Rates at Royal Kona Resort from $129