Best beaches in Kona – in town or just a short drive

Kailua Kona town or just known as Kona is the sunny, touristy part of the west side of the Big Island and the beaches are smaller here but still fantastic places to hang out, swim, snorkel or if the waves are good bogey board or surf. You’ll find the best beaches in Kona feel like small local beaches and friendly but if you are looking for larger beaches, there are a few to go to on a nice and short road trip on the west side. If you’re ready for some beach time in the Kona area, check out all these local beaches to enjoy now.

Best beaches in Kona - in town or just a short drive

When is the best time to visit Kona

Kona is a year-round destination spot on the Big Island and the most popular times to visit are during the winter season for the warmer and mild climate and summer time when families tend to have more time to visit. Visit the shoulder season is also good with less crowds so the beach scene is nice and easy to find a place to spread your towel and hang out. You’ll find that the average temperature changes by just a few degrees from low 80s to low 90s depending on the time of the year that you visit, so quite pleasant.

When is the best time to visit Kona

Best beaches in Kailua Kona to visit and enjoy some beach time

King Kam Beach

King Kamehameha / Kamakahonu Beach

Also known as King Kam Beach is located next to the Kona pier and the King Kam Hotel. You do not have to be a guest to use the beach but the hotel is a perfect stay to visit the beach or even just to enjoy a nice meal in their outdoor patio area. The white sand beach is protected and relatively shallow until you go further out, but mostly this beach is family friendly with little waves rolling into the sandy beach area.

There are fun water activities and water rentals that you can check out with kayaks, Sup boards and snorkeling gear if you want to do something a little bit more active on the water.

There is a lifeguard on duty and parking is mostly street parking or hotel parking with hourly fee.

Here’s a visit above and below King Kamehameha / Kamakahonu Beach

Kahalu’u Beach Park

Kahalu’u Beach Park

One of the most popular beach parks in Kona with a smaller sandy beach but with flatter rocky areas to also sun bath in. The beach is well known for the fantastic snorkeling in the area with abundant tropical fish, healthy coral and marine life you will find in the area. Just to the right of the beach area is a surfing and boogey boarding spot where some outfits give surfing classes for different levels.

There is a lifeguard on duty with facilities, showers and picnic areas along with a decent size parking area or street park.

A visit to Kahalu’u Beach Park below

Magic Sands Beach

Magic Sands Beach

A very popular local beach and surfing spot Magics is just that magical and named because the beach part sometimes disappears with heavy winter storms and comes back again during the spring to summer season to enjoy. Mornings to mid day is perfect for calmer waters to swim in and the late afternoon creates swells for strong shore breaks and surfing or boogey boarding fun in the area. Consider snorkeling adventure in the morning time frame and closer to the rocky areas on the edge of the beach area.

A favorite local beach for boogey board and body surfers below

Close to Kona town beaches

Honokohau Beach

Honokohau beach

Also known as the Dog beach because you can actually bring your dogs out to this beach to play and enjoy the waters. The water here is warm and perfectly clear so it’s great for snorkeling and swimming fun. To get to the beach you have to walk through a lava rock area which is not bad until your reach the beach area which is nice and also protected from the rough surf at various places.

Here’s a look above ground and below at Honokohau beach

Koloko Honokohau National Historic Landmark

Koloko Honokohau National Historic Landmark

This historic national park is well known for the beautiful fish ponds and other cultural treasures at the park grounds. But the gem is the protected beach area that is warm, clear and safe in this gorgeous setting to enjoy some time on the beach and clear waters of Koloko. You can use facilities at the national park information center but the beach areas do not have any facilities or lifeguard at the site, so you need to take out what you bring in. This typically is not a very busy beach area so you can practically have most of the beach to yourself when you arrive and enjoy some time here.

Here’s a fun tour checking out all the landmarks around Koloko Honokohau

Kohanaiki Beach Park

Kohanaiki Beach Park

Located right before the airport area, Kohanaiki beach park is also known as Pine Trees beach park. A very popular local beach area with mostly rocky and sandy beach and known mostly as a surfing spot to enjoy some of the waves and away from the tourist crowds in the area. Swimming is not as good here with stronger surf and shore breaks with lots of rocks in the bottom so this is mostly for watching, picnicking or enjoying the beach scene here.

There are no facilities at this site and just casual parking areas on sandy and gravel areas.

Here’s a look at what Kohanaiki looks like below

Honaunau Bay – Two Step

Honaunau Bay – Two Step

With a smaller beach area and mostly flat rock area you can spread your towels in, this quiet bay is a very popular snorkeling and swimming spot. You’ll find fantastic tropical fish, corals and marine life thriving in the area. There’s some water rental craft occasionally for rent to do kayaking or sup boarding in the area or bring your own gear and enjoy some water time out at 2 Step.

There are no facilities or lifeguards at Two Step but you can visit the Honaunau state park next door if you need to use the bathroom facilities and also visit this very historic and sacred site next to Two Step.

Here’s a visit to the whole Two Step experience below

Kua Bay

Kua Bay

This is one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii to visit and close to airport past the Hualalai resort area and called Manini’owali in Hawaiian. The beach is part of Kehaka kai State Park and Kua Bay is just one of those perfect white sandy beaches you dream about visiting in Hawaii with two major sections to hang out in and soft white powdery sandy beach to enjoy. The waters here range in stunning colors from aqua to deep blue further out and the surf kicks up later in the afternoons for boogey boarding or surfing fun at the beach. There are lifeguards stationed along with street parking areas and bathroom and shower facilities on

Small parking areas or street parking with facilities and lifeguards on site.

Kua Bay below is very popular with locals and tourists to this gorgeous beach

Mahai’ula Bay

The first beach of the three beaches of Kehaka Kai State park, Mahi’ula bay has a nice beach and park area with picnic areas and grills and toilet facilities. Also, there are some cool brackish ponds with indigenous shrimp and small fish growing in these habitats. The beach area is just a short hike from the parking lot to a nice crescent shaped sandy white sand beach. There are no lifeguards or bathroom/shower facilities available in the beach area, but this beach is nice and not typically a crowded beach for locals or for visitors looking to hike to Makalawena beach or drive down to Kua Bay.

Check out the beautiful Mahai’ula bay below

Makalawena Beach

Makalawena Beach

Part of the Kehaka Kai State park, Makalawena is one of the jewels of the gorgeous sandy beaches on the Big Island. But you have to hike to get to it along rocky and graveled pathways that skirt the rocky shorelines in this area. Once you arrive Makalawena, it will really feel like paradise with super soft sandy white beach areas and smaller beaches and lagoons to discover here. With less crowds it’s easy to find a nice spot and explore, swim, snorkel or just enjoy all this beautiful coastline to yourself or with friends.

There are no facilities or lifeguards on duty so pack up what you take in and be aware that this is a very sacred beach area so be respectful.

Here’s a drone view from above to Makalawena beach below

Conclusion to best beaches in Kona to visit

Thanks for reading this post on the best beaches in Kona, hope it was inspiring and that you’ll visit soon. Please share your thoughts and comments below.

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  1. Violet Goode

    If you have a handicap placter can you park at the beaches with out paying

    • emorata

      Good to know, thanks for sharing that tips


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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.