Honokōhau Beach, just north of Kona, forms part of the 1,160-acre Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park. This expansive, un-crowded stretch of gray and white sand beach has an offshore protective reef making for very calm waters and excellent snorkeling. An ancient fishpond lies just above the beach, and the area is full of archaeological sites, springs, petroglyphs, heiau (Hawaiian temples) and fishponds.
Honokōhau Beach History
In ancient times, Honokōhau was home to a sizeable Hawaiian population. Numerous fishtraps, including the 1.7-acre ʻAiʻopio Fishtrap are lasting testament to ancient Hawaiian ingenuity. Man-made rock walls enclosing a small bay form the fishtraps. At high tide fish would swim in; when the tides receded, the fish were trapped, making for easy prey. The Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park was established in 1978, and several historic trails throughout the Honokōhau Settlement have been restored, including a mile-long stretch of the Māmalahoa Trial, which was built in the mid-1800s.
Honokōhau Beach Facilities
There are no facilities at the beach itself; however, there are restrooms and parking at the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Park visitor center, as well as at Honokōhau Harbor.
Honokōhau Beach Swimming Conditions
Honokōhau Beach offers great swimming and snorkeling; however, the entry is rocky, so it’s best to wear reef shoes. The waters are almost always calm, except in the worst of weather. As with all Big Island, Hawai’i beaches, check the current conditions and pay heed to all posted signs regarding ocean conditions and safety.
How to Get There
From Kona, take Highway 19 north. Between mile marker 97 and 98 you’ll see the sign for the Honokōhau Small Boat Harbor. Turn left, then take your first right and continue to the Kona Sailing Club. Park there, and look for the National Park sign. A short path will lead you to Honokōhau Beach.