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Kaunaʻoa (Mauna Kea) Beach

big island/kohala

, 96743

Picture Perfect, Snorkeling

Hours of Operation:

Picture Perfect, Snorkeling

Kaunaʻoa (Mauna Kea) Beach

The Big Island's Perfect Beach

Kaunaʻoa (Mauna Kea) Beach, often described as a coastal masterpiece, stands as a quintessential example of beach perfection on the Big Island of Hawaii. Its breathtaking beauty and natural allure make it a sought-after destination for beach enthusiasts.

This stunning crescent of sand, spanning over a quarter-mile, offers an idyllic setting for a range of beach activities. The beach is renowned for its fine swimming conditions, making it an ideal location for beachgoers to bask in the crystal-clear waters. The calm seas provide the perfect backdrop for boogie boarding and frolicking in the gentle waves.

What sets Kaunaʻoa Beach apart is its diverse appeal for snorkelers. On the left side of the beach, a cluster of rocks creates a linear reef, providing an exceptional opportunity for snorkeling. Here, the underwater world teems with marine life and vibrant coral formations. While exploring this underwater paradise, it's advisable to stay relatively close to the shore and avoid venturing too far out, especially when the sea conditions are unpredictable. The outer part of the reef can sometimes become surgy, and caution is necessary.

For those seeking more snorkeling adventures, the northern (right) side of the beach also offers intriguing underwater experiences. However, this area is more exposed and should only be ventured into by confident and strong swimmers.

In the evening, a large light positioned in the area attracts plankton, which, in turn, sometimes lures in majestic manta rays. If you're lucky enough to witness these gentle giants, remember to resist the urge to approach them too closely in the shallow waters near the light, as it might startle them.

Kaunaʻoa Beach and nearby Hapuna Beach are often regarded as the two finest beaches not only on the island but also within the entire state of Hawaii. A distinguishing feature of Kaunaʻoa is its relatively calm conditions, making it an excellent choice for beachgoers who prefer less windy environments compared to Hapuna.

Visitors will appreciate the full range of facilities available, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable day at the beach. However, it's essential to be aware that parking is limited, with only 40 cars allowed in the Mauna Kea Resort parking lot at a given time. To secure your spot, consider arriving early, preferably before 10 a.m. There is a parking fee of $20 per car for non-residents, while Hawaii residents enjoy free parking. An alternative way to reach the beach is by taking the scenic 1-mile shoreline trail from the north end of Hapuna Beach, which, although an enjoyable walk, should be prepared for with suitable gear.

Located 32 miles north of Kona in the Kohala resort area off mile marker 68, Kaunaʻoa Beach is a coastal gem easily accessible for those exploring the island. Don't miss the chance to visit this breathtaking shoreline.

Additionally, the beachside Hau Tree restaurant at the resort is open to the public, offering a delightful dining experience with a view of the captivating coastal scenery. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., making it an excellent choice for beachgoers seeking to satisfy their culinary cravings after a day of sun and surf.

Kaunaʻoa (Mauna Kea) BeachThe Big Island's Perfect BeachKaunaʻoa (Mauna Kea) Beach, often describe ....

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