Discover Whittington beach park and Honuapo Bay in the Big Island (updated 2023)

This scenic beach park filled with the ponds and tidepools are fun to explore and enjoy the coastline here in Ka’u and just a short distance from Na’alehu town. Since, there’s not too much information about this beach park, find out more about Whittington’s fascinating history below.

Discover Whittington beach park and Honuapo Bay in the Big Island

History of Whittington Beach Park

In the early 1800s, Honuapo was a fishing village with the Honuapo pier constructed for ocean passage to the area. Once a prosperous and busy port area, the town of Honuapo was a bustling sugar cane town supporting the Hutchinson Sugar Plantation along with a shipping pier located at Whittington beach, which was also busy shipping facility. The sugar boom was active from the 1870s to late 1930s when competition for sugar went to cheaper growing and processing centers around the world. A large tsunami wiped out a large part of low-lying areas around the Big Island, this included the main pier at Whittington beach.

In 1948 the land was turned into Whittington park and named after Richard Henry Whittington with an 82-acre parcel for the public to enjoy and Honuapo or “turtle cove” for the various sea turtles that frequent the area. After Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941, the Honuapo pier was also bombed to minimize any landing spots for the Japanese troops to get to the Big Island. What you see know are the remnants of what survived the bombing of the pier.

History of Whittington Beach Park

Amenities and attractions at the park

This oceanfront park in the Kau area of the Big Island is quiet and typically sunny most of the time but usually windy later in the day time. Like most beach park areas, you’ll find a full range of amenities in the park but there is no actual beach area but more grassy spots and a fun lagoon to explore.

Here are more things to do around Whittington beach

You’ll find nice picnic grounds

Grassy areas

Restroom and shower area at the park that is non potable

Tidepools and pond areas to explore

Camping is allowed with permits

Fishing on the rocky areas or offshore

Explore the wharf ruins off the coastline areas.

Park hours are

Daily from 7am to 7pm

Whittington Beach 2

Sea turtles at Whittington

One thing that makes Whittington beach unique are the endangered Hawksbill sea turtles that can often be seen here especially in the fishpond area at night time. The best time to spot them is at dusk or early dawn in the pond areas of the park where they are going to and from the ocean. The turtles come into the pond at night for safety and leave the inlet area into the ocean during the early morning hours.

Swimming is dangerous in the beach area but exploring the tidepools and swimming there along with enjoying time at the beach is a popular pastime here along with fishing off the shoreline.

Sea turtles at Whittington

How to get to Whittington Beach

Located on Hwy 11 just outside of Na’alehu town. From Volcano village Whittington is 35.5 miles and from Hilo town is approximately 62.4 miles

How to get to Whittington Beach

Other attractions to visit around Whittington and Na’alehu area

Explore Na’alehu town and surrounding areas

Drop by Punalu’u bake shop for some delicious breads and sweets

Visit the South Point at Ka Lae area

Check out the Black sand beach at Punalu’u

Hike to the Green Sand beach at Papakolea area

Other attractions to visit around Whittington and Na'alehu area

Have you visited Whittington beach park?

Enjoyed your visit here or any other tips to share? Please share on the comments below.

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  1. Sidney Jo-Ann Strange

    The bombing of Pearl Harbor was in 1941, not 1951.
    Do not recall the pier at Honuapo being bombed. My grandmother, Kalei Elaine Whittington would have told me. Where is this information in history publications?

  2. Billie June Salmond

    I’m a Whittington so this was exciting!!



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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.