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Top Beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii

Top Beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii

Best known for dramatic volcanoes and oozing lava flows, the Big Island is also home to some of Hawaii’s most unique beaches, in shades of black, white, and even green. Check out these top sandy spots, mostly clustered on the northwestern coast. 

Punaluu Beach

The most famous of the Big Island’s beaches, Punaluu is also known simply as the “Black Sand Beach” thanks to its distinctive black lava-rock sand. Easily accessible from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, it’s also a popular spot for sighting wild green sea turtles. Use caution if swimming here, as currents can be strong.

Hapuna Beach

If your idea of a beach paradise features an expansive swath of soft, white sand surrounded by a verdant tropical landscape, head to Hapuna Beach. A Big Island rarity, its powdery texture is ideal for sunbathing, while reliably great water conditions invite swimming, snorkeling, and other watersports. Plenty of parking and convenient facilities make Hapuna a great choice for families with kids. 

Honaunau Bay

Known by locals as the “City of Refuge” due to its ancient history as a sanctuary, today Honaunau Bay is one of the Big Island’s top snorkeling and diving spots because of its protected location and great visibility. Don a mask and fins to explore coral gardens teeming with tropical fish and sea turtles, and savor the photogenic backdrop of palm trees swaying above the sandy shores. 

Mauna Kea Beach

Venture just north of Hapuna for the postcard-worthy Mauna Kea Beach—a large, graceful crescent framed by greenery and a reef rock that provides a natural barrier from currents. Guests staying at Mauna Kea Resort are just steps away, while other visitors may have to arrive early to snag limited parking at this deservedly popular swimming and sunbathing spot.

Kahaluu Beach Park

Locals and visitors alike love this family-friendly beach conveniently located right in Kailua-Kona. Clear, calm water protected by a rock wall create prime snorkeling conditions to view dozens of varieties of fish. Surfers often catch waves farther out in the bay, and ample facilities make it a great spot to linger for a sunset barbecue.

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2 Tours and Activities

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Private Surf Lesson on the Big Island
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Private Surf Lesson on the Big Island

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23
It’s widely believed that the sport of surfing was invented here in Hawaii, and the calm waters of Kahalu’u Bay are the perfect spot to learn. During this private Kona surf lesson, you’ll learn from an expert, local instructor how to paddle and balance on the board, and how to stand up, ride the wave, and paddle back out for more. This tour is perfect for novice surfers or those with little experience, and by the end of this 2-hour surf lesson in Kona, you’ll have the skills to ride the waves like Hawaiian surfers of old. 
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$183.25
From
$183.25

Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast

Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast

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38
Discover the best snorkeling off the Kohala Coast on this 3 hour Big Island snorkel cruise. Aboard a comfortable catamaran, admire Hawaii's postcard-worthy beaches, mountains and shoreline. Then, dive into the pristine Pacific waters for a chance to see beautiful tropical fish, acres of healthy coral reefs and maybe even a green sea turtle!. Marine life briefing, snorkel instruction (both onboard and in the water) and all snorkel gear and flotation devices are included too. Enjoy personalized service from your expert captain and crew and unlimited single-serve beers, wines and soft drinks as well as individually wrapped picnic sandwiches and snacks.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$159.00
From
$159.00