The Big Island of Hawaii does have its quandaries: Where’s the Beach? Because it’s the youngest island in the chain, unlike Oahu, the Big Island of Hawaii is home to just a select amount of beaches. But the beaches you do find, are all unique and very special places on the planet. Aside from pure white sand beaches, there are green sand beaches and black sand beaches, too. White sand beaches are made of crushed seashells and corals mainly on the north end of the island while black sand beaches are evolved from ground lava rock and mostly found on the southeastern part. Green sand beaches are made from olivine crystals and are very rare.
With all of the different color spectrums and wave intensity, you’ll find as you read on, that there are enough beaches to plan your special getaway—all with the spirit of aloha.
Best Big Island Beaches
1. Magic Sands Beach
Imagine trying to surf or swim and suddenly, there’s no beach! Also known as White Sands Beach, every day when the tide comes in, the beach disappears. The periods of high swells wash all of the sand away, only to have it magically return the next day. In December the water comes up so darn high there is hardly a beach at all! When there is a beach, it’s the place for boogie-boarding and volleyball. The sand is crystal white, and sooooo soft, just perfect for lying out in the sun and reading a good book. You’re kind of in a predicament because this is only one of three “real beaches” in the heart of Kailua-Kona. However, when the shallow, offshore sandbar is present, the swimming and boogie boarding is fabulous! Locals love it. This sandy and rock-strewn beach is one of the few beaches that have lifeguards and restrooms so you don’t have to pee-in-the-sea.
2. Hapuna Beach
The best beach on the Big Island, and often voted as the best beach in the U.S. Hapuna’s waters are warm and welcoming with a long stretch of fine white sand (½ long) and almost 200 feet to the water during summer.
Swimming conditions? Excellent! (lifeguard on duty) Hapuna is great for body surfing and working on that tan. They don’t have snack bar, so make sure you bring your cooler.
There is easy access to the beach, full facilities, the crystal clear sea, and pretty scenery. You can do best by getting here by 10 a.m. as the parking lot fills up rather fast. There is a nice shady area and a picnic pavilion to kick back in if you’re sun-sensitive.
3. Pawai Bay
This is a fabulous and protected underwater marine preserve. You and the kids will be delighted to swim with thousands of brilliantly colored tropical fish, endangered sea turtles and wild dolphins, amongst the gorgeous coral reef gardens at Pawai Bay. I learnd the hardway not to swim too close to those coral reefs as I was bitten by a moray eel and had to get bandaged up! So beware of those eels At any rate, the best way to get here is by boat. You can hop on board the Body Glove for an all day cruise that departs from Kona.! There are other diversions you can get yourself into. The Queen’s Bath tub” near the Captain Cook monument is like nature’s own Jacuzzi. The water is warm and gently swirls around you. You will find this bay as the primo spot for snorkeling and snuba diving, as well as whale watchinhg depending on the season. The friendly Body Glove staff serves up tropical fruits, snacks,sodas and juices and a no-hostt bar, and hih & Her Restrooms are onboard. Excellent Photo opportunities. (800) 551-8911 or www.bodyglovehawaii.com .
4. Kalena Beach
Located on the east side of the island, Kahena Beach is a black sand beach where clothing is optional! Time to kick back Island style and not be so shy! Leave you inhibitions at the resort, and enjoy Big Island Style rest and fun at the beach. There are exotic treasures waiting to be found. I suggest you take the time to soak it all in and most of all, hang loose!
You’ll discover people of all ages—from babies to the elderly, sans clothing. They usually keep to themselves, although there is a certain type of camaraderie when you’re with so many other naked people.
5. Kahalu’u Beach
It doesn’t look like much from the road, but once you get in the water, that’s another story. This is by far, the most amazing beach on the Big Island for snorkeling that you’ll ever see! I can’t count how many times I have snorkeled there, and the amount of fish that swam through my arms and legs. My 12 year-old daughter gave a delighted squeal as the bigger trumpet fish swam by and the little puffer fish nibbled at her toes.
Kahalu’u Beach is in Kailua-Kona at the South end of Alii Drive. It is a dark sand beach with a small sandy area but don’t let that fool you. It’s a prime property with a large, reef-protected snorkeling area. Since it is one of only a few sandy beaches in town, it can get pretty crowded. Fed by a fresh water spring, up to 10 million gallons per day, the waters are almost always calm, but it can get a bit choppy in the afternoon at times. It is filled with colorful corals, rock formations, and over a hundred species of fish.
Quiktip: Bring plenty of bottled water in an ice chest filled with ice and be sure to wear sunscreen from 20-45 SPF, even if you have olive skin like yours truly. If you do get burned, pack on aloe vera gel, available at your local market.
Connie Werner Reichert is the President of Write Side Up Travel Journalism. She is also a member of the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance. Visit her new website at www.conniewreichert.com or e mail Connieis.pacbell.net.