Imagine peaceful palm trees swaying in a gentle tropical breeze. You relax on soft, fine sand nearly as white as snow while the azure waters of the ocean lap at your toes. The sun overhead warms your skin and on the wind you hear sounds of birds singing in the trees and waves tickling the shore. If this is the beach of your dreams, then we have good news for you: At Kauna`oa Beach, your dreams can come true!
Mauna Kea Beach
Located on the grounds of the luxurious Mauna Kea Hotel (which sometimes lends its name to the beach), Kauna`oa Beach is just 30 miles (about an hour’s drive) north of Kona town. This slice of heaven is one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches on the island, its half-mile crescent of sand sloping gently to the sea and stretching between two rocky headlands fringing the resort’s golf course. Oriented north-south, the sunbathing here is perfect all day long, and the calm waters are great for swimming (NOTE: Conditions can be rougher in the winter, always check current conditions when visiting).
If your dream beach day involves something more than basking in the sun and splashing in the waves, the snorkeling along the rocky southern shore of Kauna`oa is worth a look. Follow colorful reef fish, explore the craggy rocks and coral heads, and keep an eye out for green sea turtles, frequent guests to these shores. At night, the hotel turns giant spotlights on the ocean to attract plankton, which in turn can draw a crowd of giant manta rays. If you’re lucky, you can watch them school and feed as they pirouette and twist in a graceful dance.
Kauna Oa Beach Hawaii
Kauna`oa Beach, Hawaii is a public access beach and has a public parking lot on the grounds of the hotel, so anyone can visit. To get there, simply take Highway 19 north from Kona and turn onto the access road at Mile 68. The lot is at the end of the road; however it only has 40 spots so you will want to get there early (before 8:30am during peak season). While visiting the beach, you can also visit the hotel’s beachside restaurant for lunch, a cocktail, or just a snack. If you miss out on the parking, Hapuna Beach just a few minutes south is equally lovely, is one of the best beaches for swimming, and boasts a larger parking lot ($5/car).