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Top Beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii

By Viator, January 2018

5 23 Reviews | Add your review

Best known for dramatic volcanoes and oozing lava flows, the Big Island is also home to some of Hawaii’s most unique beaches, in shades of black, white, and even green. Check out these top sandy spots, mostly clustered on the northwestern coast. 

Punaluu Beach
The most famous of the Big Island’s beaches, Punaluu is also known simply as the “Black Sand Beach” thanks to its distinctive black lava-rock sand. Easily accessible from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, it’s also a popular spot for sighting wild green sea turtles. Use caution if swimming here, as currents can be strong.

Hapuna Beach
If your idea of a beach paradise features an expansive swath of soft, white sand surrounded by a verdant tropical landscape, head to Hapuna Beach. A Big Island rarity, its powdery texture is ideal for sunbathing, while reliably great water conditions invite swimming, snorkeling, and other watersports. Plenty of parking and convenient facilities make Hapuna a great choice for families with kids. 

Honaunau Bay
Known by locals as the “City of Refuge” due to its ancient history as a sanctuary, today Honaunau Bay is one of the Big Island’s top snorkeling and diving spots because of its protected location and great visibility. Don a mask and fins to explore coral gardens teeming with tropical fish and sea turtles, and savor the photogenic backdrop of palm trees swaying above the sandy shores. 

Mauna Kea Beach
Venture just north of Hapuna for the postcard-worthy Mauna Kea Beach—a large, graceful crescent framed by greenery and a reef rock that provides a natural barrier from currents. Guests staying at Mauna Kea Resort are just steps away, while other visitors may have to arrive early to snag limited parking at this deservedly popular swimming and sunbathing spot.

Kahaluu Beach Park
Locals and visitors alike love this family-friendly beach conveniently located right in Kailua-Kona. Clear, calm water protected by a rock wall create prime snorkeling conditions to view dozens of varieties of fish. Surfers often catch waves farther out in the bay, and ample facilities make it a great spot to linger for a sunset barbecue.

Tours & Tickets

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Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast, Big Island of Hawaii, null

Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 18 Reviews

Discover the best snorkeling off the Kohala Coast on this 3.5-hour Big Island snorkel cruise. Aboard a comfortable catamaran, admire Hawaii's postcard-worthy ...  Read more

Location: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $157.54
Aloha Days On The Beach, Big Island of Hawaii, Snorkeling

Aloha Days On The Beach

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

Join this local operator every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10am until 2pm for an old-fashioned Aloha Beach Celebration in the sheltered waters of ...  Read more

Location: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $40.00
Kona Submarine Adventure and Snorkel Dolphin Cruise, Big Island of Hawaii, Other Water Sports

Kona Submarine Adventure and Snorkel Dolphin Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Combine two amazing Big Island experiences with this submarine adventure and snorkel cruise in Kona. On your submarine tour, discover Hawaii's tropical ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $250.76

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