Uncovering the Best Beaches on Hawaii’s Big Island

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Aloha! | E Komo Mai

Ever dreamt of lounging on a beach with sand as black as the night sky, or perhaps one that sparkles like an emerald under the Hawaiian sun? Well, guess what – you can turn those dreams into reality when you visit some of the best beaches Big Island Hawaii.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a lot of travels in my life, yet nothing comes close to the enchanting shores of Big Island Hawaii. From family-friendly spots perfect for building epic sandcastles to secluded coves offering tranquil retreats away from bustling crowds – there’s something here for everyone.

The surprises don’t stop at multi-colored sands and crystal-clear waters either! Imagine snorkeling alongside playful sea turtles by day and embarking on thrilling manta ray night excursions after sunset.

Just imagining it probably gets your heart pumping, doesn’t it?

Best Beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii, a gem in the Pacific, boasts some of the most varied and beautiful beaches you’ll ever encounter. It’s like stepping into a beach lover’s paradise.

Hāpuna Beach - A favorite among locals and tourists alike

A trip to the Big Island isn’t complete without visiting Hāpuna Beach. Known for its expansive white sand stretch, it provides perfect conditions for swimming and snorkeling. But there’s more than just fun water activities; this spot also gives you stunning views that would leave any island lover breathless.

If lounging is your thing, find yourself a comfy spot under one of many trees dotting this big island beach landscape. From here, watch as people frolic in clear blue waters or build castles out of fine white sand.

Mauna Kea Beach - Perfect for family outings

Situated on the sun-drenched Kohala Coast lies Mauna Kea Beach – an idyllic setting with calm waters ideal for families with children who need safer play zones while enjoying their vacation near Kona or Hilo regions. This magnificent beach offers ample space where kids can run around freely under parental supervision before diving back into gentle waves at shorelines edge—perfectly safe yet full-on fun. Moving beyond our beloved sandy stretches… Beyond these popular shores lie hidden treasures waiting to be discovered by adventurous souls daring enough to go off beaten paths during their big island itinerary journey — each holding unique charms only found within such untamed beauty. From black sand beaches, home to endangered Hawksbill turtles at Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach, to the unusual green sands of Papakōlea Green Sand Beach; each site offers a unique experience that you won’t get elsewhere. The Big Island’s varied beach experiences… humpback whales from the shore. The Big Island isn’t just about its sandy stretches, sun, and sea. It’s a launchpad for unforgettable adventures like exploring vibrant marine life through snorkeling in crystal-clear waters or spotting humpback whales right from the beach.

Key Takeaway:

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Hawaii’s Big Island, a paradise for beach lovers. From lounging at Hāpuna Beach with its stunning views and perfect swimming conditions to family-friendly frolics at Mauna Kea Beach, there’s something for everyone. But don’t stop there – dare to explore hidden treasures like Punalu’u Black Sand Beach or venture further into the island’s untouched beauty.

Exploring the Big Island's Diverse Beaches

Dive into the variety of sand colors found on the Big Island’s shores – from black to green to white. Each beach here tells a unique story, shaped by lava rocks and rich Hawaiian culture.

Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach - Home to endangered Hawksbill turtles

Famous for its black volcanic sands, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is more than just a stunning visual spectacle. This beach park offers an opportunity to see rare wildlife up close.

Hawksbill turtles often frequent these waters and are protected under the Endangered Species Act. But remember, while you enjoy this famous black sand gem of Hawaii big island, maintain respectful distance from these fascinating creatures.

Papakōlea Green Sand Beach - One of only four in the world

Moving away from typical sandy beaches brings us next to Papakōlea Green Sand Beach. Noted for its olivine crystals which give it a unique green hue, this is one among only four such green sand beaches worldwide.

The journey towards it might be slightly tough due to rocky paths but believe me when I say that your efforts will not go unrewarded. The view awaiting you at Papakōlea makes every bit of effort worth it.

The Big Island indeed enchants with diverse offerings like no other place can match. From enjoying sunsets over vast expanses of pristine white sands at Hāpuna beach or exploring Mauna Kea’s tranquil shoreline during family outings; each visit adds another unforgettable chapter in your travel diary.

Family-Friendly Beaches on the Big Island

One such spot that stands out is Spencer Beach Park.

Spencer Beach Park - Safe and fun for kids

Located along the stunning Kohala Coast, Spencer Beach Park provides an easily accessible haven for families. The park boasts calm waters perfect for little swimmers or those just starting to get their feet wet in ocean adventures.

Beyond the gentle surf, you’ll find a wide expanse of white sand beach – a great place to build castles or simply soak up some Hawaiian sun. It’s no wonder it’s ranked among the best beaches big island Hawaii has to offer.

Picnic tables are scattered across shady areas making lunchtime convenient after all that play. Afternoons can be spent exploring trails leading from this big island beach into nearby historical sites. These add an educational twist without leaving behind any element of fun.

Nature lovers won’t be disappointed either; green turtles often come ashore here providing wildlife spotting opportunities right at your picnic spot. Always remember though: these beautiful creatures are protected by law so make sure you admire them from a distance.

If overnight camping under stars sounds like an adventure your family would love then don’t worry because permits are available onsite too.

Note:To respect local customs and preserve natural resources while visiting any beach park on the Big Island, please remember to “malama aina” – care for the land.

So, pack your beach gear and get ready to create unforgettable memories with your family at Spencer Beach Park on the Big Island. Remember: sand castles may wash away but Hawaii’s aloha spirit will stay in your hearts forever.

Key Takeaway: 

For a family-friendly beach day on the Big Island, head to Spencer Beach Park. With calm waters for newbie swimmers, sandy expanses for castle building, and picnic spots aplenty – it’s fun all around. Add in turtle sightings and nearby trails that weave into history lessons, this place has something for everyone. Just remember to make sure you respect the land as you create those unforgettable memories.

Big Island Best Snorkeling Beaches

The submerged realm of the Big Island is an unspoiled fortune that anticipates being found. Snorkeling tours are your gateway to this stunning marine life.

Kahaluʻu Beach - A haven for snorkelers

This beach offers more than just sunbathing opportunities. Kahaluʻu Beach is an ideal spot for snorkelers, boasting a variety of fish species to observe. But what truly sets Kahalu’u apart is its sea turtles, giving you a chance not only for sightseeing but also witnessing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

For a truly unique experience, why not try night snorkeling? With manta rays known to frequent these waters after dark, this experience will make your trip unforgettable.

Apart from being fun-filled and exciting, snorkeling helps promote marine conservation efforts too. By observing oceanic wonders firsthand instead of interfering with them ensures that we contribute positively towards maintaining biodiversity.

Tour TypeDescription
Night Snorkeling TourAn opportunity for close encounters with Manta Rays under starlit skies.
Sunset Cruise & Night Snorkel ComboExperience sunset at sea followed by night snorkeling amidst bioluminescent planktons.
Dolphin Watching & Daytime Snorkel AdventureGet up close and personal with playful dolphins followed by snorkeling in vibrant coral reefs.
Turtle Snorkel SafariSnorkel alongside Green Sea Turtles, keeping a respectful distance to ensure their safety.

No matter which tour you choose, make sure to respect the marine life around you. Always remember that we are guests in their home.

Must-Visit Beaches near Kona

If you’re organizing a getaway to the Big Island, make sure not to miss out on some of Kona’s finest beaches. Each beach offers a unique experience that will be sure to create lasting memories.

Maniniʻowali Beach (Kua Bay) - Pristine white sands and clear waters

Start your beach adventure at Manini’owali Beach, also known as Kua Bay. Maniniʻowali Beach (Kua Bay) is renowned for its pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters, ideal for a sunbathing session or dip in the ocean. The well-maintained facilities let families enjoy picnics under the Hawaiian sun. But remember to bring sunscreen because shade is limited here. It’s one of those Kona beaches that locals love too, so it can get busy on weekends.

Makalawena Beach - Unspoiled beauty off-the-beaten-path

Makalawena is another must-visit among the beaches near Kona. A short hike from Kekaha Kai State Park leads you to this hidden gem. Its seclusion keeps it less crowded than other spots making it ideal if you prefer peace and tranquility during your beach day. You’ll be rewarded with pristine white sands set against lava rocks — truly an authentic Hawaii Big Island experience.

Honl’s Beach - Where surfing history began

Lastly, don’t miss Honl’s Beach. It holds a special place in Hawaii’s surfing history, as it is where modern board surfing was born. The waves are usually good enough for both long and short boards. Observe the surfers as they glide across the waves, or take advantage of tranquil waters for snorkeling when seas are still. No matter what kind of beach experience you’re after – be it relaxing on soft sands, swimming in clear waters or exploring marine life – these best beaches near Kona have got you covered.

Key Takeaway:

Planning a Big Island trip? Don’t miss out on Kona’s top beaches. Hit Manini’owali Beach for fine sand and clear waters, perfect for sunbathing or swimming. Explore Makalawena Beach, an unspoiled beauty offering peace amidst white sands and lava rocks. And don’t forget to experience surfing history at Honl’s Beach – it’s not just a beach but also a landmark with rich stories waiting to be discovered.

Exploring the Hidden Gems of Hilo's Beaches

If you’re seeking tranquility away from crowded tourist areas, Ninole Cove is a must-visit. Tucked away on the coastline near Hilo, this hidden gem boasts an untouched beauty that leaves visitors in awe.

Ninole Cove - A secluded paradise

This remote spot offers serene surroundings and pristine waters for those looking to relax or engage in quiet contemplation. But don’t be fooled by its peaceful facade; Ninole Cove has more to offer than just peace and quiet. The surrounding locale is packed with indigenous vegetation, making it a perfect spot for those who appreciate nature. From majestic palm trees swaying gently in the breeze to vibrant tropical flowers blooming all around, every corner holds something beautiful to admire. Apart from its natural beauty, one thing that sets apart beaches like Ninole Cove among other beaches near Hilo is their unique black sand — formed from years of volcanic activity on Hawaii’s Big Island. This gives these beaches a uniquely magical aura compared to your typical white-sand counterparts elsewhere. Beyond sunbathing and sightseeing, snorkeling here provides glimpses into an underwater world filled with colorful fish darting amongst coral reefs while sea turtles glide gracefully through crystal clear water — truly showcasing why this cove ranks high among best Hilo beaches.

Savoring The Solitude at Secluded Spots

Hitting up lesser-known spots like Ninole allows you savor the solitude and beauty that Hawaii offers. Here, you can experience the best of Hilo’s beaches without competing with throngs of tourists for space. Be sure to pack a picnic basket — there are plenty of picturesque spots perfect for enjoying lunch while soaking up breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Just make sure to clean up after yourself to preserve these hidden gems for future visitors. Visiting places like Ninole Cove gives travelers an opportunity not only to relax but also connect deeply with nature. So next time you’re planning your Hawaii Big Island itinerary, remember: some treasures aren’t found on crowded city beaches, they’re tucked away waiting in secluded coves just off-the-beach.

Key Takeaway:

For a tranquil escape, head to Ninole Cove near Hilo – a hidden gem boasting untouched beauty and serene surroundings. You’ll find unique black sand beaches, vibrant native flora, and the opportunity for mesmerizing snorkeling experiences with colorful marine life. Plus, its secluded nature lets you savor Hawaii’s splendor without the tourist crowds. But don’t just stop there; make sure to pack a picnic too. It’s an ideal way to fully immerse yourself in this captivating paradise.

Beyond the Beaches: Other Attractions on the Big Island

While Hawaii’s beaches are undoubtedly spectacular, there’s more to this island paradise. Let’s explore some of these unique attractions that make your visit unforgettable.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - A Fiery Adventure

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, offers a glimpse into nature’s fiery temperament. You can hike through rainforests and lava tubes or drive around the Crater Rim for panoramic views. The park also features a variety of indigenous plants and animals to Hawaii. The Halemaʻumaʻu crater is a must-see at night when it glows with molten rock.

Kona Coffee Farms - Taste Paradise in a Cup

Did you know that Kona coffee is renowned around the globe for its exquisite flavor? When visiting the Big Island, don’t miss out on exploring local coffee farms. Learn about its cultivation process, savor fresh brews straight from the plantation, and take home some beans as souvenirs. A guided tour often includes tasting sessions where you can sip different roasts while enjoying scenic farm views—a true delight for all senses.

Manta Ray Night Snorkeling – Swim With Gentle Giants

An experience not easily forgotten involves snorkeling under starlight with manta rays off Kailua-Kona coast—truly magical. Outfitters like Sea Quest provide safe tours where you’ll witness mantas feeding on plankton just inches away. With their wingspans reaching up to 20 feet, manta rays glide gracefully through the water. Don’t worry, they’re harmless and even seem to enjoy human company.

Petroglyphs of Puako - Glimpses into Hawaii's Past

The Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs, a sacred site on the Big Island, are home to more than 23,000 images etched into hardened lava. These unique carvings provide an incredible window into Hawaii’s past and its indigenous culture.


Key Takeaway: 

From the fiery allure of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the rich flavors at Kona Coffee Farms, there’s more to explore on Big Island beyond its stunning beaches. Swim with manta rays under starlight or delve into Hawaiian history through Puako’s ancient petroglyphs for an unforgettable island experience.


Unveiling the best beaches Big Island Hawaii has to offer was an exhilarating journey. The island’s beaches are a tapestry of color, from black sand marvels like Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach to rare gems like Papakōlea Green Sand Beach.

You’ve seen how each beach tells its own story – whether it’s the family-friendly vibes at Spencer Beach Park or Mauna Kea’s ideal swimming conditions for little ones. We’ve dipped our toes into sparkling waters at Kua Bay and found tranquility in Hilo’s hidden gem, Ninole Cove.

The adventures don’t stop there though! With marine life encounters, snorkeling excursions, and so much more waiting beyond the sandy shores – you’re all set for an unforgettable Hawaiian experience!

To explore further? Just dive right in!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the nicest beach on the Big Island in Hawaii?

Hāpuna Beach often tops lists with its wide white sand stretch, clear waters and great conditions for swimming and snorkeling.

What part of the Big Island has the best beaches?

The Kona coast holds some of the island’s most stunning beaches including Hāpuna Beach and Mauna Kea Beach.

Are there swimmable beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii?

Absolutely. Many spots like Spencer Beach Park or Kahaluʻu offer calm waters perfect for a swim.

What is the least crowded beach on the Big Island?

Ninole Cove, due to its remote location, typically sees fewer tourists making it an ideal spot if you’re seeking tranquility.