Kauna‘oa Beach on the Kōhala Coast, also called Mauna Kea Beach, is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Big Island. This palm tree-fringed half-mile stretch of white sand beach offers calm waters and everything you could want for a day of shoreline fun at one of Big Island, Hawai‘i’s beaches.
Kauna‘oa Beach History
In the 1600s, Lonoikamahahiki (Lono) ruled the Big Island. His brother Kualoa-kua‘ana attempted to oust control, resulting in several bloody battles, one of which occurred at Kauna‘oa. After a fierce engagement, Kualoakua‘ana’s forces fell back. Kauna‘oa was also the site of a battle against Kamalalawalu of Maui, whose forces greatly outnumbered Kualoa-kua‘ana. Kualoa-kua‘ana was captured in this battle and subsequently slain. In the 1800s, Parker Ranch acquired the land above Kauna‘oa. In 1960, former governor William Quinn invited Lawrence Rockefeller to take a swim at Kauna‘oa Bay. The following year, resort planning for the area began. Construction was completed in 1965, and has been a popular visitor destination ever since.
Kauna‘oa Beach Facilities
Paved parking, restrooms, and showers make Kauna‘oa comfortable. The beachside restaurant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel serves great food, and a beach concession offers boogie board and snorkeling gear rental.
Kauna‘oa Beach Swimming Conditions
Kauna‘oa’s easily accessible calm, clear waters make for great swimming and snorkeling. The shore break can kick up with the incoming tides, so that’s the time to get out the boogie board or body surf. As with all Hawaiian 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. Turn left at mile marker 68 where you’ll see the walls and sign for Mauna Kea Resort. Follow the road to the end. There are only 40 public parking spaces, so be sure to get there early. Enjoy your time at the beautiful Kauna‘oa Beach on Big Island, Hawai‘i!