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Kaunaoa Beach picture in Hawaii - The Big Island
Kaunaoa Beach picture in Hawaii - The Big Island
Kaunaoa Beach picture in Hawaii - The Big Island
Kaunaoa Beach picture in Hawaii - The Big Island

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • Sunrise-sunset daily

Details

  • Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.1
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Kaunaoa Beach is one of Big Island's most picturesque white sand beaches. So, most travelers recommend coming early (around 8:30 a.m.) to Kaunaoa to snag one of the too-few parking spots – and spending most of the day there. 

This eggshell-colored sand beach on the central, Kohala coast (in Waimea) has plenty to amuse you. Snorkeling is popular here, especially at either end of the beach, but you can also try bodyboarding, or a pickup volleyball game. The Mauna Kea Resort flanks this popular beach, and you'll find it about 30-some miles from Kailua-Kona off of Highway 19 and nearby mile marker 68. Restrooms and showers are available. If your stomach starts to grumble, consider sitting down for a meal at the resort's restaurant.

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#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 ... Read more » Westend61 / Getty Images

#2 Akaka Falls State Park A visit to Hilo's Akaka Falls State Park will entail a short, low-intensity hike in northeastern Hawai'i. Its payoff comes in the form of two consecutive waterfalls – cascading ... Read more » Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

#3 Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park Up until the early 19th century on Big Island, Hawaiians who broke the law could avoid a punishment of death by fleeing to a region of the west coast known ... Read more » Cameron Brooks / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

#4 Waipio Valley Waipio Valley, translated as "curved water," is named for the river that runs through it, and it's a historically significant spot to the Hawaiian people. Situated along the Hamakua ... Read more » Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

#5 Kaunaoa Beach Kaunaoa Beach is one of Big Island's most picturesque white sand beaches. So, most travelers recommend coming early (around 8:30 a.m.) to Kaunaoa to snag one of ... Read more » StephanHoerold / Getty Images

#6 Hilo Farmers Market Local farmers and artisans congregate each day to sell everything from produce to seafood, handicrafts to clothing in downtown Hilo. And most travelers agree there's no better place on ... Read more » Hawaii Tourism Authority

#7 Anaehoomalu Beach One of the Kohala Coast's premier beaches, Anaehoomalu Beach is a favorite haunt for frequent Big Island visitors. Do as they do and call it "A-Bay" – that way you ... Read more » Rick Poon / Getty Images

#8 Hapuna Beach State Park 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 ... Read more » Kirk Lee Aeder / Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB)

#9 Papakolea Beach Putting Papakolea Beach on one's travel itinerary is not for the faint of heart. For one, its secluded location makes it tough to reach. Plus, there is little shade ... Read more » Praveen P.N / Getty Images

#10 Punalu'u Beach Some say the waters here are too rough and rocky to really enjoy swimming, but that's not the real reason to visit Punalu'u, anyway. This beach in southern ... Read more » Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

#11 Kealakekua Bay Snorkelers like to visit this remote bay on Hawaii's west coast for the tropical fish, sea turtles and Hawaiian Spinner dolphins that are plainly visible just below the calm ... Read more » Glowimages / Getty Images

# Dolphin Quest Read more » Craig Jones / EyeEm / Getty Images

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park picture in Hawaii - The Big Island
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Akaka Falls picture in Hawaii - The Big Island
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If you're feeling adventurous, consider a backcountry hike through the lava fields of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Westend61 / Getty Images

Short hikes through Akaka Falls State Park lead you to two consecutive waterfalls, Kahuna and Akaka. Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is located near some of the best snorkeling beaches of the Big Island. Cameron Brooks / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

You can enjoy Waipio's scenery on a van tour, a strenuous hike or on horseback. Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

Kaunaoa Beach is one of the Big Island's most picturesque shorelines. StephanHoerold / Getty Images

Most travelers agree there's no better place on the Big Island to sample local produce and purchase local crafts than the Hilo Farmers Market. Hawaii Tourism Authority

A-Bay, as it's known, is a great place to learn stand-up paddleboarding.  Rick Poon / Getty Images

Hapuna's waves are walm in summer and rough and rocky in the winter. Kirk Lee Aeder / Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB)

Papakolea gets its green coloring from olivine crystals found in the nearby cinder cone. Praveen P.N / Getty Images

Visit this southern beach for the beautiful black sand and the endangered honu turtles that swim to shore. Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

Thanks to its clear, shallow waters, Kealakekua Bay is a popular snorkel spot. Glowimages / Getty Images

Craig Jones / EyeEm / Getty Images

To learn more about how coffee is grown and harvested in Hawaii, plus much more, heed the advice of past visitors and make a pit stop at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm. Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

Past visitors say the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a photographer's dream. Daeja Fallas / Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

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