Exploring Hawaii: The 5 Best Beaches on the Big Island
When you come to Hawaii Island Recovery for addiction recovery, you not only benefit from a holistic approach, a team of licensed professionals, and a variety of evidence-based therapies — you also get to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whether you prefer to relax on the beach at sunset or hike deep into the jungles to encounter a thundering waterfall, Hawaii provides the perfect environment to reconnect with nature and yourself as you begin your journey towards health and sobriety.
Are you planning a trip to Hawaii for recovery? Read on to learn more about 5 of the best beaches on the Big Island that you won’t want to miss.
As you tour around the big island to hit the best beaches, make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to visit Kua Bay. With bright blue water, fine white sand, and powerful waves, this beautiful locale offers the quintessential beach experience.
Until recently, a long walk and bumpy road deterred many visitors, but a paved road now makes it easy to access this beautiful piece of the coast. If you love diving into the waves for an ocean swim, Kua Bay is the perfect beach for you. The clear water and big waves make for ideal swimming, snorkeling, and bodyboarding. Just be sure to use caution when the surf is high, as there are no lifeguards on duty.
Picnic tables at one end of the beach make it easy to spend a full day at Kua Bay; simply pack a lunch to keep you fueled for a day of fun in the sun. At the end of the day, the restrooms and showers make it easy to clean off before you hop in the car and head back to rest up for another day in paradise.
Swimming, hiking, and snorkeling—Hapuna Beach has something for everyone. Part of Hapuna Beach State Park, the half mile beach provides plenty of access to enjoy the crystal clear water or stroll along the white sand.
With professional lifeguards on duty, this is a great place for the entire family to visit. Regularly voted one of the best beaches in the world, this is a popular destination, so you’ll want to get there early to snag a parking space. Both the north and south ends of the beach offer beautiful snorkeling spots, and you can even rent the gear you’ll need (in addition to beach chairs, boogie boards, and more) right on the beach.
If you’d like a break from the beach, there’s no need to leave Hapuna (and lose your parking spot). Instead, enjoy easy access to the Ala Kahakai coastal trail for more beautiful views. Once you work up an appetite, return to the beach for delicious food at Three Frogs Cafe. Hapuna is one of those places you’ll never want to leave—and with everything a beach goer could ever want in one convenient location, why would you?
If the first two beaches on this list sound too touristy for your liking, then Makalawena just may be the perfect paradise you’ve been dreaming of. This stunning spot has the same crystal clear blue water and beautiful white sand beaches to offer—just without the crowds of fellow beachgoers.
Of course, the downside of visiting a beach “off the beaten path” is that it is, well, off the beaten path! Makalawena isn’t easy to get to, and you’ll have to choose between a very rough, unpaved road across black lava rock or a 20-30 minute walk through a lava field. If you’re willing to brave the obstacles along the way, the quiet beach you’ll find is well worth the effort.
You can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or bodyboarding in the beautiful waters—just remember that there are no lifeguards on duty. If the hike in was all the adventure you need, then this beach is the perfect place to just walk around the sand, lie in the sun, and enjoy a good book. For a quiet day at one of the most beautiful beaches on earth, there’s no better choice than Makalawena.
Technically named Kauna’oa Beach, this next spot is widely known as Mauna Kea Beach due to the presence of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. This stunning white sand beach grants visitors the opportunity to enjoy the perfect beach day without giving up access to amenities and modern comforts.
Because the hotel only offers 40 parking spots for visitors, you’ll want to get here early before the spots fill up. Fortunately, once you get here, you’ll find no reason to leave. Palm trees offer spots of peaceful shade, the gently sloped beach is the perfect place for sunbathing, and small coral reefs welcome snorkelers in search of colorful fish. If you need refreshments, simply visit the hotel’s beach restaurant for a delightful lunch or tropical drink.
Perhaps the best treat of all, however, is to be found after the sun goes down. The hotel turns on floodlights that attract plankton and, as a result, manta rays. Use the lookout point to sneak a peek at these incredible sea creatures. Mauna Kea Beach offers a day—and a night—to remember.
A list of the best beaches on the big island wouldn’t be complete without a black sand beach, which brings us to the final destination on our list—Punalu’u. This is perhaps the most famous black sand beach on the island and for good reason.
Beachgoers can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and even camping on the unique sand. Currents can be strong, so it may be best to stay out of the water when the surf is high. If the black sand gets a little too hot for your liking, simply relax in the shade of the palms that line the coast.
Much like Mauna Kea, one of the best highlights of Punalu’u is the wildlife that can be found there. In this case, endangered Hawksbill turtles and green turtles are often spotted basking in the sun—an exciting delight for the visitors who come across them. This unique black sand beach is truly a “must see” for guests of the Big Island.