13 Best Beaches On Big Island You Must Visit

If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, there’s no doubt you’ll be heading to Big Island. If you find yourself on Big Island, you should make sure that you visit some of the beautiful beaches on this list! On Big Island, you will find more than 260 miles of coastline!

13 Best Beaches On Big Island You Must Visit

These beaches are all surrounded by some of the most beautiful bright blue waters that you will find. Due to the sheer amount of stunning beaches on the island, it is very difficult to choose the best beaches on Big Island.

This article has narrowed down the top 13 best beaches on Big Island that you shouldn’t miss! Read on to find out all about them.

Where Is Big Island?

Hawaii island, also known as ‘The Big Island’, is the largest island of the Hawaiian islands. It is a beautiful island and it is home to some of the most varied landscapes in Hawaii. This island encompasses 12 different climate zones.

This means that there are dramatically different temperatures throughout the island. The scenic beauty is enhanced because of the huge differences in climate across the island.

You will find warmth in the jungles in Puna, and you will also find snow on the tops of some of the mountains, including Mauna Kea. One of the most beautiful and impressive things that you will find on Big Island is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Beaches On Big Island

There are so many different types of beach on Big Island, all of which are absolutely stunning. You will find some with white sand and some with green sand.

You will come across some beaches that are surrounded by beautiful forests, tall palm trees and dramatic cliffs. So many of the beaches on offer are absolutely stunning in their own way!

On most of the beaches on Big Island, you will find a wide range of different activities. Water sports are very common on Big Island, and you will have the opportunity to snorkel in the reefs.

You will also see a lot of swimming, body boarding and surfing take place in the area. No matter what you want from a beach, you will find everything you are looking for on the beaches of Big Island.

Best Beaches On Big Island

1. Papakolea Green Sand Beach

This beach is one of the two green sand beaches that you will find in the US! This makes Papakolea beach one of the best to visit on Big Island. It is unique and beautiful and it is known as one of the top attractions in the area.

When you visit this beach, the most notable thing that you will find is the green sand. This is a feature that is very rare and won’t be found on many other beaches on Big Island!

It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit a green sand beach, so you mustn’t miss out on this one! The sand on this beach is green because it contains deposits of the olivine crystal.

This is a very rare crystal that was produced during a volcanic explosion that occurred nearby millions of years ago! This beach is great for swimmers, but you should be aware that the surf on this beach can be rough at certain times.

You should ensure that if you are swimming, you are very careful and aware of the surf. There are no lifeguards on duty at this beach, so the safety of the sea is up to you.

You will not find any food stations at this beach, making it very remote. This is a unique experience, but you should make sure to bring snacks along with you!

2. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

This beach is located on Big Island, and it contains black sand. It is home to a large amount of impressive wildlife, including the Hawksbill turtles that are extremely endangered. This beach is very expansive, and it is very easy to access.

It is a great beach if you are hoping to swim, snorkel or picnic. You are also able to camp on this beach if you have the correct permit. One of the most beautiful things about this beach is that you can swim over to Ninole Cove to do some snorkeling.

The views over there are amazing and it is located a short distance off the main beach. If you are confident in your swimming and snorkeling skills, then you should definitely give this a try!

3. Hapuna Beach

Hapuna beach is a beautiful beach. It has been voted one of the best beaches in the United States and it is one of the most popular on Big Island. It is very popular among locals and families. On this beach, you will find white sand and clear blue waters.

It is a beautiful beach in the northwest of Big Island. This beach is very popular for families because of the calm water. It is ideal for swimming. It can also be great for body surfers when the waves pick up.

The size of the beach allows for everyone to enjoy the space without feeling too crowded. It is a very wide beach which allows for lazing in the sun, taking long walks and enjoying games on the beach.

There is also a beautiful hike to take part in if you’re feeling a little more adventurous. You can take part in a two mile walk around the coast. If you feel like taking part in this, you should head over to the North end of the beach in order to set off. 

On this beach you will find a lot of different amenities. You will find showers, washrooms and toilets in the area. You will also find picnic areas with grills available in case you want to enjoy some food.

4. Kahaluu

There is fun for all the family available at this beach! You can take part in lots of different water activities, including snorkeling, swimming and surfing. This water is full of wonderful fish and marine life. You will see some green sea turtles on the rocks.

When you are admiring these amazing animals, you must remember to keep your distance and respect their habitat! If you’re on Big Island, this is definitely a beach that you shouldn’t miss!

5. Mauna Kea Beach

Mauna Kea Beach is located on the west coast of Big Island. It is one of the most beautiful white beaches in Hawaii. It really will leave you speechless! This beach is not as crowded as some of the others on this list will get.

Hapuna Beach especially gets very busy and overcrowded. This beach is located right in front of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, so if you’re looking somewhere to stay, too, then this may be perfect for you!

This hotel is very famous for its beautiful gardens and golf course. This beach is perfect for snorkeling. It is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs.

If you are looking for the best places to snorkel, the Southern side of the island is the best choice for you. If the visibility is good, and the waters are calm, then you will see some beautiful sights!

6. Manini’owali Beach

This beach is a great choice for those who are looking to snorkel, swim and sunbathe. It is a great place to unwind. In the winter months, this beach is great for surfers. You should make sure that you stay safe, though, as sometimes the waves can be quite strong.

If you visit this beach you are likely to see some dolphins and sea turtles in the surrounding waters. Be aware of these animals and show them respect as you share the water.

At this beach, you will want to make sure that you bring snacks with you and a beach umbrella. This is important as there are no shaded areas, and you don’t want the heat to overwhelm you!

7. Makalawena Beach

This beach is definitely worth a visit. You cannot just drive right up to this beach. Instead, you will have to walk for around 20 minutes along a lava path. It is one of the best beaches on Big Island.

This beach is located within Kona Coast State Park which is a very diverse state park in Hawaii. This is to the North of Kona. The 20 minute walk is on a lava path, but once you get past this you will reach a beach that is absolutely beautiful.

It is a beach with beautiful soft sands and clear water. This beach is not over crowded because of the long walk, so you will be able to enjoy your day at the beach in peace. This beach is surrounded by fantastic coral that is very shallow in the water.

You can enjoy some fantastic snorkeling off this beach, and it is one of the best places to snorkel on Big Island. You will find some picnic tables surrounding the beach so bring along a picnic to enjoy while you’re there!

Always make sure to take away any litter with you to preserve the beautiful beaches.

8. Waialea Bay

Waialea is one of the best beaches on Big Island for families! There is a lot of available shade due to the surrounding trees. It is one of the busiest in the area and it is very popular when it comes to snorkeling and scuba diving.

If you want to find the best place to snorkel off this beach, you should head over to the Southern side of the bay. You will find some facilities at this beach, but there are no lifeguards on duty.

If you head over to this beach in the winter, you will often find humpback whales.

9. Pololu Valley Black Sand Beach

This beach is definitely one that you shouldn’t miss! It is located at the end of Highway 270. If you choose to visit this beach, you will be required to walk the Awini Trail. This trail leads to the beach. It will take around half an hour.

During this walk, you will have the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful views! When you reach the beach, you won’t be disappointed! You will find a beautiful beach with large rock stones and black sand.

Lots of people choose to camp in this area, even though it is not permitted. You will find a lot of rope swings in the area to enjoy!

10. Richardson Beach Park

This beach is beautiful and it is definitely one of the best beaches to visit on Big Island! It is made up of a mixture of black and green sand. The waters at this beach are very calm and shallow.

The marine life in this area is protected from the surrounding springs and reefs. This means that if you snorkel in this area, you are born to see some beautiful marine life.

At this beach you will encounter the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals, and the Green Sea Turtles. You might see these creatures underwater.

This beach is great for families due to the great amenities available. You will find showers, restrooms and parking at this beach.

11. Anaeho’omalu Beach

This is one of the most beautiful beaches to visit on Big Island. It is a great beach to visit as it is very safe for children and families. The waters are very shallow.

This beach is not the best for snorkeling as the water can be slightly murky compared to other beaches in the area. Instead, at this beach, you may want to explore the water on a paddleboard or kayak. These are available to rent on the beach.

12. Spencer Beach Park

Spencer Beach Park is a family friendly beach. It is perfect for lots of different activities. If you want to do some snorkeling at the beach, the area is filled with reefs. At this beach park, you will find some great amenities including picnic tables and BBQs.

If you fancy doing some camping, you can do so in this area with a permit. You can also enjoy some amazing hikes in the area along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. This trail begins at Spencer Beach.

13. Puako Bay

This is a great beach if you are looking for something slightly different. This beach is known for the tide pools that it reveals during low tide.

These pools are filled with interesting creatures. It is also great for snorkeling but it is not a regular sandy beach for you to sunbathe on!

How Do You Get To Big Island?

It is fairly easy to get to Big Island. You can choose to fly into Kona which is on the Island. The flights are fairly cheap from many different cities across the United States.

Most US airlines fly into Kona so you can choose from lots of different airlines. If you plan your trip ahead then you will find that it is fairly cheap and easy to get to the Big Island! 

What Else Is There To Do On The Big Island?

There are lots of different things to do on the island.

Visit Hilo

Hilo is one of the most notable places on the East of the island. It is the biggest city on the island and it is full of beautiful attractions and orchid gardens.

In Hilo, you will find some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island including Kahuna Falls, Waianuenue Falls and Akaka Falls.

Helicopter Tour

It is great to take a helicopter tour of the island. You will see some incredible sites if you opt for this! You will see some of the lava streams from a bird’s eye view, and you will have a chance to see the volcanoes from above.

You will also catch glimpses of the beautiful waterfalls and rainforests from above.

Akaka Falls State Park

At this state park, you will find two amazing waterfalls. It is home to Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. You can follow the footpath at this park and see some wild orchids, bamboo groves and tropical forests. The hike to the waterfall is about an hour long, and it is totally worth it!

Try Hawaiian Poke

Hawaiian poke is a very popular dish that is made of rice and raw fish. It is something you have to try if you find yourself in Hawaii. It is flavored with green onions, spices, soy sauce and sesame oil.

You can find Hawaiian poke anywhere on the island, but there are some places where it is better than others. If you want to try this dish, ask around for the best options!

Final Thoughts 

This article has explored 13 of the best beaches on Big Island that you shouldn’t miss! These beaches are all amazing in their own way, and definitely worth a visit.

There are so many different beaches on Big Island and choosing the top 13 was not an easy feat! These are the ones that I settled on, so give them a try when you visit Big Island and take a look for yourself!

Alex Kallen
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