Although the Big Island of Hawaii is not necessarily known for its beaches, it does boast some of the very best beaches in the state. Especially in Kohala, where the waters tend to be clear, clean and wonderfully calm. These are the best beaches in Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Mauna Kea Beach

Perhaps the most perfect crescent of golden sand in the entire state can be found at Mauna Kea Beach. Also known as Kauna’oa Beach, this stretch is over a quarter of a mile long and offers some of the best swimming on the Big Island. On the left side of Mauna Kea Beach are large rocks, which protect the waters allowing for excellent snorkeling as well. The right side also offers some fine swimming and snorkeling, but since the area is more exposed to the open ocean, you must exercise caution even if you are a strong swimmer. At night, large manta rays inhabit these waters. This beach is popular and offers only limited parking, so I suggest you arrive early in the day, ideally at 9 a.m.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach is a half mile long and nearly two hundred feet wide during the summer months. The water here is clean and clear when the sea is calm, and swimming can be exceptional. In fact, Conde Nast Traveler magazine often rates this beach the best in the entire country. Fortunately, despite its near perfection, Hapuna Beach frequently remains uncrowded, with the exception of weekends and holidays. Although a lifeguard is often on duty, swimmers should be aware of the conditions and not venture out too far, especially when the water is rougher. There is some great snorkeling just south of the sand.

Beach 69 | Waialea Beach

Another fabulous Kohala beach is Beach 69, also known as Waialea Beach. Excellent swimming here along the gently sloping sand. A small secluded cove is perfect for two, but get there early so you can claim it for yourself. Be sure to bring your snorkel gear. By the way, the beach gets its name from the numbered poles, so don’t get the wrong idea about what type of beach this is. The pole nearest the beach used to be number 69. Now it is 71, but Beach 71 doesn’t sound nearly as enticing, now does it?


Those are the best beaches in Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii. If you have time, check out ‘Anaeho’omalu Bay, known also as A-Bay, because its actual name is such a mouthful. Enjoy your stay on the Big Island, and a big, warm aloha to you and yours.