Kaunaoa Beach

#5 in Best Things To Do in Hawaii - The Big Island
Kaunaoa Beach picture1 of 2
Kaunaoa Beach2 of 2
StephanHoerold/Getty Images

Key Info

62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr.

Price & Hours

Free
Sunrise-sunset daily

Details

Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.1

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

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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Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park1 of 13
Akaka Falls State Park2 of 13
Type
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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