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Kirk Lee Aeder/Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB)

Key Info

Old Puako Road

Price & Hours

7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily


Beaches, Free, Swimming/Pools Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 1.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The deliberately named waters of Hapuna Beach – Hapuna means "spring of life" in Hawaiian – are probably the most loved on all of the Big Island. Both visitors and residents flock to this beach on the South Kohala coast, and encourage you to do the same. If you're not visiting for the soft-as-cotton sand, then you've probably come for the aquamarine water. And if you aren't enjoying the aquamarine water then you've probably come for the unbelievable sunsets. 

Hapuna Beach's famously calm waves are really only famously calm for part of the year; in the wintertime the tide might be too rough for swimming (though you may spot migrating whales from the shore). And this beautiful beach is understandably crowded much of the time, but doesn't have many concession stands or beach-side restaurants. Still, recent travelers are more inclined to point out Hapuna's positives: There's almost always a lifeguard on duty, which is invaluable when the tide is high. There's also plenty of parking, but keep in mind there's a $5 parking fee per vehicle. You'll also find plenty of picnic benches, showers and restrooms. The beach is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Time to Spend
#1 Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Four months after closing due to intense and damaging volcanic activity, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park reopened in mid-September 2018. "The Volcano," as it were, loosely refers to two active volcanoes in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park; specifically, it's Kilauea that's the real must-see. A 4,000-foot-tall mountain, Kilauea has been spitting, spewing and oozing since Jan. 3, 1983 and in May 2018, it started erupting, forcing evacuations and destroying entire communities. Although the eruptions have stopped, Kilauea is still at the top of America's list of volcanoes to monitor. 

Most people who come to the park hope to see some lava flow; some travelers see a little bit, others are not as lucky. Check in at the Kilauea Visitor Center for up-to-date information on trails, safety precautions and where to expect lava flow. 

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