Big Island Beaches

Big Island Beaches

Enjoy the sand, surf, and sun at one of the Big Island’s many pristine beaches. Big Island beaches boast everything from black and white sands to green sands, as well as a variety of activities and rental equipment at each site to keep you busy, in the event that swimming and sun bathing aren’t enough.

kohala coastBig Island beaches vary by region. North Kohala’s waters are insulated by an outer barrier reef, which means that the water at Samuel Spencer Beach Park is placid and generally excellent for swimming and snorkeling. The Kohala Coast offers some of the more famous beaches on the island, and in fact, in the world. The one at Kaunaoa has been named one of the top ten U.S. beaches by the magazine “Conde Nast Traveler.” Meanwhile, Hapuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on the island.

For the famous black sands of Hawaii, head to Kau. There, you’ll find Punaluu Beach, which not only has that black, basalt-based sand, but also, two endangered turtle species: the hawksbill and green sea turtles. Finally, if you’re looking to get active on the beach, head to Anaehoomalu for body boarding, hydro biking, kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling. You can participate in these water sports simply by renting equipment, or by going on a tour.

Punaluu BeachThe Big Island is an excellent place to go if you’re searching for some fun in the sun and surf. With miles of Big Island beaches, temperate waters year-round, and plenty of tour companies to take you where you want to go, the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago is ideal for experiencing a number of ocean activities in an extremely convenient fashion. 

You can get unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean at a number of Big Island beaches. Some are more touristy, while others are more off the beaten track. Punaluu Beach is legendary for its jet-black sands, not to mention its Hawaiian green sea turtle population, known by locals as honu. Hapnuna Beach on the Kohala Coast is another popular destination due to the fact that it boasts the island’s biggest supply of white sand. There’s lots of parking here, so it can handle hundreds of visitors. Kaunaoa Beach, meanwhile, is among the most highly regarded in the entire country; it offers an incredible crescent shape and glassy waters. 

Less frequented but still amazing is Onekahakaha Beach. Locals appreciate this small and shallow pool; it is safe for swimming and has many tide pools for exploration. Another small, fairly remote beach is at Holoholokai. Here, you may not find sands, but you will find tide pools and excellent waters for snorkeling. 


Big Island Snorkeling


Kona Snorkel and Sail

Starting At: $78.56/Person

Hop into picture perfect waters at Kealakekua Bay. During this afternoon cruise, you’ll enjoy a range of family-friendly activities, from snorkeling to water sliding. And with complimentary refreshments, you’ll stay energized the entire time.


Speaking of snorkeling, one “can’t miss” destination mentioned above is Kaunaoa Beach. Almost the entire bay is less than ten feet deep, meaning that it’s safe. Plus, if you go snorkeling at night, you’ll get to spot manta rays as they feed upon the dense plankton population floating in the water. Meanwhile, Honaunau Bay offers dramatic lava rock flats, expansive coral reefs, and tons of fish and other aquatic creatures. We’re talking parrot fish, surgeon fish, moray eels, spinner dolphins—the list goes on and on! 


Scuba Diving

Scuba the Big Island – Two Tank Dive

Starting At: $177/Person

Head off the Big Island and into the surrounding ocean for a shot at some of the best diving spots on the planet. These dives are intense, so they’re for certified divers only.


If you want to go a little further or deeper into the Pacific Ocean, then a scuba diving tour is your best bet. On the North Kohala Coast, beginners will appreciate the waters inside of Crystal Cover for its black sands and coral gardens, located at a manageable 20-to-40-ft. depth. Turtle Mound is also a tremendous attraction, boasting lots of large turtles and lava tubes for your visual delight. More experience divers, on the other hand, will appreciate a two-tank dive at Puako Point, where diving up to 100 ft., they can behold octopi and rays. Another awesome spot is Moray Eel Cove on the Kona Coast, where dragon, white mouth, and zebra morays, and occasional dolphins, may be spotted. And, of course, in the winter (December through April), you may get to set your eyes on a humpback whale during any dive off the Big Island’s western coast. 


Big Island Sailing

sunset sail - general

Sunset Champagne Dinner Cruise

Starting At: $129.00

There are few things as romantic as a sunset dinner cruise in paradise. That’s exactly what you’ll get on this sailing catamaran voyage, which offers a full Hawaiian-style buffet, open bar, and tremendous view of the setting sun.


One final ocean activity worth mentioning is the boat tour. On these excursions, you’ll shuttle all around the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of yards off the coast, giving you ample opportunity to look upon the beaches, forests, and mountains from a different perspective. Best of all, certain evening boat outings are planned around manta ray viewing. Using lights set up on the ocean floor, tour providers illuminate the waters, allowing you to look down in wonder at the sight of these gliding beasts—or to join them by snorkeling or diving. 

From what we’ve said, it should be obvious: the Big Island is a stellar location from which to discover the wonders of the Pacific Ocean. So what are you waiting for? Visit today!

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