Kahalu’u Beach Park: A Coastal Haven for Unforgettable Adventures

Kahalu’u Beach Park located just south of Kona town is one of the best spots for snorkeling and swimming on the west side of the island. Located In a protected cove, the beach and snorkeling area is abundant with fish and coral have made this a protected marine sanctuary that makes it one the best and easy snorkeling spots on the west side if not the entire island for snorkeling fun. Kahalu’u beach park is easy and convenient to town with good sized parking. The beautiful beach and protected cove areas really makes it an ideal place for snorkeling fun. Just make sure you get there early or later in the day to avoid most of the crowds and waiting for a parking space to open up.

Kahalu’u Beach Park - snorkeling and surfing fun in the bay

About Kahalu’u Beach Park

The cove is almost completely protected and surrounded by large rocks and prevents big waves from destroying the shallow reef areas below while allowing the nutrients from the ocean to filter in and feed the population inside the reef area. The abundance and variety of fish here makes it very colorful and the tropical fish are used to humans snorkeling all around the area and even bold enough to nibble on you when you’re not expecting it. The shallow waters around the reef make it a perfect habitat for the many tropical fish to hide in all the healthy coral beds that thrive in the reef and feeds most of the marine life in the bay.

About Kahalu’u Beach Park
Kahalu’u Beach Park – snorkeling, swimming and surfing fun in the bay

History of Kahalu’u Beach

Kahalu’u Bay has a history past that includes royal residences from the 18th to 19th century and having an ancient civilization starting over 500 years ago. There is a heiau on the northern side of the bay called Kuʻemanu Heiau, and overlooking a surf break that was popular in ancient times and also today. The heiau was used regularly with ancient Hawaiians praying for good surfing conditions and to also spot other surfers on the water.

There is a large lava rock wall that protects most of the cove area and blocks the large currents from entering. Mostly small waves skirt over the outer rock wall making snorkeling and swimming safe in the protected area. Surfing further out from the lava rock walls on the far side make it a fun local surfing spot and a popular pastime here.

History or Kahalu’u Beach

Kahalu’u beach park activities and things to do

Snorkeling the small beach area and into the small bay is very popular with amazing coral and marine life you’ll find in the sheltered cove.

Swimming is also good and safe in the protected cove area

Surfing at the far end from the lava rock barriers is popular riding nice waves into the bay

There is food truck in the parking lot area for picking up drinks local foods

There is also a marine information center and you can rent snorkel gear from the information desk or across the street in a shop if you did not bring any. Paddle board and surfing classes are offered through the outfitter across the street from the beach area.

Entering the snorkeling areas

Most of Kahalu’u is lava rock with small patches of sandy beaches and the best entry point is the sandy area fronting the lifeguard station on the south side of the beach and enter directly on the sandy bottom areas and not the lava rock which can be slippery. Entry to the shallow reef areas is easy from the sandy beach access, making it a family friendly beach to enjoy even with children. Once around the reef go towards the middle areas where the water is clear and there are larger coral heads to explore.

Typical fish you’ll find in the area includes parrot fish, damsel fish, sea urchin, star fishes, trigger and angel fish, goat fish, the state fish called humuhumunukunukuapuaa and a host of crabs, shell fish, eels, crustaceans and even honu or green sea turtles that love to eat the seaweed and bask in the rocky areas of the bay. The turtles are protected federal and state marine life and you need to stay at a mandatory 10-foot distance from them to give them space and privacy.

Tip – it is easier to put on your snorkel gear in the water and on the sandy soil instead of the rocks to balance yourself. Also avoid the surf area to the right with the surf breaks coming directly on the lava rock areas.

Entering the snorkeling areas

Amenities at Kahalu’u beach

A large pavilion area with picnic tables

Showers and restroom areas

Parking area and street parking is free

Life guard stations

BBQ stations

Rental of equipment at the Kahalʻu Bay Education Center which also does some easy talks and orientation to corals and typical fish you will find in the area.

There typically is a food truck or snow cone truck that is stationed at the entrance of the beach park for brisk business – they also have lockers for use for the day.

Amenities at Kahalu’u beach

Check out this fun video experience snorkeling at Kahalu’u beach park

Details to snorkeling at Kahalu’u for your safety

Always pay attention to what the lifeguards are announcing on the speakers

Avoid snorkeling the rougher surf areas to the right

There are some currents running in the area so look up occasionally to spot yourself and make adjustments to avoid the surf or bigger wave action that breaks in certain pockets.

If you are in trouble just raise on hand above your head to signal to the lifeguard on duty to get their attention.

Coral beds are alive so do not walk on them or even touch them because of their fragile nature

There is a current that changes and can be strong at times pulling you further north and also out of the bay, so always keep alert, spotting yourself and making adjustments.

Make sure to use reef safe sunscreen to protect the bay. If you did not bring reef safe sunscreen, ask the education center for a squirt from their bottle which is available or you can buy some from them directly.

Details to snorkeling at Kahalu’u for your safety
How to get to Kahalu’u beach

How to get to Kahalu’u beach

Kahalu’u beach is less than twenty minutes from the airport if you want to make a beeline directly from the airport terminal to Kahalu’u for your first snorkel swim. From downtown Kona on Alii drive it is less than 5 miles south to the beach. You can also take the local trolley or an Uber to take you to the beach directly.

Kahalu’u Beach Park is conveniently located on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Here are some ways to get to this stunning beach park:

  1. By Car: If you have a rental car or your own vehicle, getting to Kahalu’u Beach Park is relatively easy. From Kailua-Kona, head south on Ali’i Drive. The park is located just past mile marker 5, on the ocean side of the road. Look for the signs indicating the entrance to Kahalu’u Beach Park. There is a parking lot available for visitors.
  2. By Public Transportation: The Hele-On Bus system provides public transportation on the Big Island. Check the schedule for the Kona route, as it may have stops near Kahalu’u Beach Park. Keep in mind that the bus schedule may vary, so it’s advisable to check ahead of time and plan your trip accordingly.
  3. By Bike or Walking: If you’re staying in the vicinity of Kailua-Kona, you can opt for a scenic bike ride or a leisurely walk to Kahalu’u Beach Park. Ali’i Drive offers a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly path that stretches along the coastline, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful ocean views as you make your way to the park.

How to get to Kahalu’u beach

Must bring packing and essentials for the beach

You can’t go to the beach without some of these essentials to enjoying your beach time.

Cell phone water proof case – if you want to take some underwater pictures, get one of these easy and cheap water proof cases.

Ocean reef protected sunscreen – You’ll need this in Hawaii to get in the water and it’s required usage for Hawaii reefs and ocean. Get it in SPF 50 or SPF 30 here

Rash guards for water fun – a great way to protect yourself from the elements and water fun. Check out these women’s rash guards and men’s rash guards here for reference.

Cooler backpack – the perfect picnic and drinks carrier to the beach or any outdoor fun on the islands.

UFT 50 sun hat for men’s or women’s sizes – essential head protection wear at the beach and a sport look

Other things to do in Kailua Kona area

Check out these top things to do in Kona now

Enjoy a beach day on a white sandy beach at Magic Sands Beach

Visit the farmers markets in Kona

A fun hike to Makalawena Beach on the Big Island

Hiking to the gorgeous Pu’u wa’a wa’a up country

Enjoy a beach day at Kua Bay

Fly into Kona International airport and information

Conclusion to visiting Kahalu’u Beach Park

Kahalu’u Beach Park on the Big Island of Hawaii is a must-visit destination offering pristine beaches, remarkable snorkeling, and abundant marine life. Conveniently located near Kailua-Kona, getting there is easy by car, public transportation, or even a scenic bike ride. Experience the beauty of the turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and the opportunity to encounter Hawaiian green sea turtles. Whether you seek adventure or relaxation, Kahalu’u Beach Park is the perfect coastal haven for a memorable day by the ocean.

Thanks for reading this post on visiting Kahalu’u Beach Park, hope it was inspiring and that you’ll visit soon. Please share your thoughts and comments below.

If you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons on the left side of the page.

Thanks for visiting This Hawaii life and checking out this post on Kahalu’u Beach Park.

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you and you help to keep our site operating and updated – thank you!

We love shares - Mahalo!



  1. Best beaches in Kona - This Hawaii Life - […] 2. Kahalu’u Beach Park […]
  2. Hawaii Island, Key Attractions On The West Side | - […] Makalawena Beach, Kua bay and A bay along the Kohala coasts and in Magic Sands, aka White Sands, Kahalu’u…
  3. Free or cheap things to do on the Big Island - This Hawaii Life - […] that only a few visitors get to check out. Closer to Kona town, you can visit Magic Sands beach…
  4. Family friendly Visit to the Big Island - […] one of the best kid friendly snorkeling on Big Island spots is Kahalu’u beach park located just a few…
  5. Anaeho'omalu Bay or A Bay - This Hawaii Life - […] kahalu’u beach park for snorkeling fun […]
  6. A perfect day Hapuna Beach Big Island now - This Hawaii Life - […] kahalu’u beach park for snorkeling fun […]
  7. Magic Sands Beach - This Hawaii Life - […] Kahalu’u Beach park for snorkeling […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.