Dan and Mandy’s guidebook - Just Beachy - Our Favorites!

Mandy
Dan and Mandy’s guidebook - Just Beachy - Our Favorites!

Beaches

This is our favorite beach to swim and body board. Incredible white sand beach with life guards. The waves break close to shore so you can enjoy body boarding and even surfing close to shore. You know when you catch a wave just right on the body board- as you will be pick up speed quickly and cover 50 yards or more in a matter of a few seconds. Loads of fun for all ages. One of our most memorable times was near sunset after enjoying a great day body boarding with friends and looking up at the snow capped Mauna Kea summit. That was a "life is good" moment for all.
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Hapuna Beach
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This is our favorite beach to swim and body board. Incredible white sand beach with life guards. The waves break close to shore so you can enjoy body boarding and even surfing close to shore. You know when you catch a wave just right on the body board- as you will be pick up speed quickly and cover 50 yards or more in a matter of a few seconds. Loads of fun for all ages. One of our most memorable times was near sunset after enjoying a great day body boarding with friends and looking up at the snow capped Mauna Kea summit. That was a "life is good" moment for all.
This is one of our top two snorkeling destinations on the Big Island. The only drawback is accessing the area. You have three main options: The first is to hike to the monument area. However, this is an intermediate to advanced hike, as it is about a 4.0 mile round trip and covers a 1300' drop in vertical elevation. Most of the hike is in full sun, so be sure to take a lot of water and do some pre-trip hike planning. Next, you can rent or bring a kayak to paddle to the site from across the bay. You have to tether the kayak to yourself, as landing the kayak without a special permit is prohibited. An approved kayak outfitter with a special permit may be an option if you wish to land your kayak. Lastly, you can take one of several snorkel boat tours to the site. Once there, the snorkeling is word class with an abundance of fish and coral.
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Kealakekua Bay
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This is one of our top two snorkeling destinations on the Big Island. The only drawback is accessing the area. You have three main options: The first is to hike to the monument area. However, this is an intermediate to advanced hike, as it is about a 4.0 mile round trip and covers a 1300' drop in vertical elevation. Most of the hike is in full sun, so be sure to take a lot of water and do some pre-trip hike planning. Next, you can rent or bring a kayak to paddle to the site from across the bay. You have to tether the kayak to yourself, as landing the kayak without a special permit is prohibited. An approved kayak outfitter with a special permit may be an option if you wish to land your kayak. Lastly, you can take one of several snorkel boat tours to the site. Once there, the snorkeling is word class with an abundance of fish and coral.
This is a great beach with restroom facilities for the entire family. This beach is also known as "69 Beach", as it is near mile marker 69. Pack a hammock for this beach, as there are many trees along the shoreline to enjoy a nap with the ocean breeze. The shoreline is wadable at this location and snorkeling is above average. There is also a small sand beach area to enjoy swimming without walking over the lava. The best snorkel location is to follow the trail to the ocean from the parking lot and hang a left and walk about 100 yards to where a few picnic tables are located and there is an area to enter the ocean to snorkel and swim. This beach is only a short drive from Hapuna Beach Park and you can use the same parking pass at both locations.
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Waialea Beach
Old Puako Road
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This is a great beach with restroom facilities for the entire family. This beach is also known as "69 Beach", as it is near mile marker 69. Pack a hammock for this beach, as there are many trees along the shoreline to enjoy a nap with the ocean breeze. The shoreline is wadable at this location and snorkeling is above average. There is also a small sand beach area to enjoy swimming without walking over the lava. The best snorkel location is to follow the trail to the ocean from the parking lot and hang a left and walk about 100 yards to where a few picnic tables are located and there is an area to enter the ocean to snorkel and swim. This beach is only a short drive from Hapuna Beach Park and you can use the same parking pass at both locations.
This is a great place to swim, snorkel, body board, and surf. Life guards are all present. Water shoes are helpful to enter/exit this location, as there is some lava rock along the shoreline. Don't let this stop you from experiencing the great underwater views of tropical fish and coral at this location. Out from shore and to the left of the main ocean entry point is a place where many locals like to body board and surf. Underwater reefs at this location cause the waves to break, so be sure you stay on the landward side of these reefs if you are body boarding or surfing, or you will experience the ever dreaded lava rash experience! Remember to give way to the locals and respect those that are catching surfing lines. There is room for everyone, just wait your turn. Great snorkeling exists just to right of the main ocean entry point out from shore about 50 yards. Locals also like to fish in this area further to the right of the main snorkel area along with steeper lava shoreline.
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Richardson Ocean Park
2349 Kalanianaole Avenue
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This is a great place to swim, snorkel, body board, and surf. Life guards are all present. Water shoes are helpful to enter/exit this location, as there is some lava rock along the shoreline. Don't let this stop you from experiencing the great underwater views of tropical fish and coral at this location. Out from shore and to the left of the main ocean entry point is a place where many locals like to body board and surf. Underwater reefs at this location cause the waves to break, so be sure you stay on the landward side of these reefs if you are body boarding or surfing, or you will experience the ever dreaded lava rash experience! Remember to give way to the locals and respect those that are catching surfing lines. There is room for everyone, just wait your turn. Great snorkeling exists just to right of the main ocean entry point out from shore about 50 yards. Locals also like to fish in this area further to the right of the main snorkel area along with steeper lava shoreline.
This is an amazing place to swim and snorkel for all levels of ability. This is a must visit place if you are looking to introduce someone to swimming or snorkeling in the ocean for the first time. There is a concrete path from the restrooms near the road that leads to an easy ocean entry/exit, with concrete steps and hand railing. The water depth is shallow and has a many areas you can simply wade and walk to enjoy the refreshingly cool water. This area is also a great place to view and swim with famous green sea turtles that often frequent this area. The best turtle viewing location is the small lagoon area to the right of the steps/handrail area as you face the ocean from shore. There are lava islands that the turtles love to sun bath on.
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Carlsmith Beach Park
1815 Kalanianaole Avenue
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This is an amazing place to swim and snorkel for all levels of ability. This is a must visit place if you are looking to introduce someone to swimming or snorkeling in the ocean for the first time. There is a concrete path from the restrooms near the road that leads to an easy ocean entry/exit, with concrete steps and hand railing. The water depth is shallow and has a many areas you can simply wade and walk to enjoy the refreshingly cool water. This area is also a great place to view and swim with famous green sea turtles that often frequent this area. The best turtle viewing location is the small lagoon area to the right of the steps/handrail area as you face the ocean from shore. There are lava islands that the turtles love to sun bath on.
This secluded and sheltered beach area is a great "hike to" destination. It is also known as "Shipman" beach. It is protected by a natural lava wave break and includes wonderful white sand for easy walking and wading in the ocean. This is also a popular place to observe green sea turtles and you may even get a glimpse of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Access to this beach is off Beach Road in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision. There is free parking at the trailhead. The hike in is about 2.5 miles and follows a designated trail to the beach area. The hike is over gently sloping terrain and the main issue you will encounter if it has been raining is that trail can get muddy. Hiking or walking shoes are recommended. This is a great picnic destination and place to spend at least a 1/2 day plus enjoying the sights and secluded nature of this special place.
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Hāʻena beach?
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This secluded and sheltered beach area is a great "hike to" destination. It is also known as "Shipman" beach. It is protected by a natural lava wave break and includes wonderful white sand for easy walking and wading in the ocean. This is also a popular place to observe green sea turtles and you may even get a glimpse of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Access to this beach is off Beach Road in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision. There is free parking at the trailhead. The hike in is about 2.5 miles and follows a designated trail to the beach area. The hike is over gently sloping terrain and the main issue you will encounter if it has been raining is that trail can get muddy. Hiking or walking shoes are recommended. This is a great picnic destination and place to spend at least a 1/2 day plus enjoying the sights and secluded nature of this special place.
This is one of the newest black sand beaches on the Big Island. This is also one of the best locations for a beach-side picnic. Grab your beach blanket, chairs, and umbrella to enjoy day-long fun. Walk along the black sand beach or dip your toes in the water. Those with prior experience may also wish to explore body boarding or surfing at this location. This is a local favorite for surfing. This area has full exposure to the ocean, so always check wave and current conditions or check in with the on-duty life guard prior to entering the ocean.
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Isaac Hale Beach Park / Pohoiki
12 HI-137
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This is one of the newest black sand beaches on the Big Island. This is also one of the best locations for a beach-side picnic. Grab your beach blanket, chairs, and umbrella to enjoy day-long fun. Walk along the black sand beach or dip your toes in the water. Those with prior experience may also wish to explore body boarding or surfing at this location. This is a local favorite for surfing. This area has full exposure to the ocean, so always check wave and current conditions or check in with the on-duty life guard prior to entering the ocean.
Green Sand beach is a once in a lifetime place to visit on the Big Island, as it is only one of two green sand beaches in the United States. In addition to the green sand crystals, swimming in the bay is possible during calm seas. If you are the more adventurous type, cliff jumping is also a popular activity at this location. There is no lifeguard or restroom facilities, so plan accordingly. Visiting this beach early in the day is recommended to avoid the heat, as there is no shade cover. Additionally, you have to hike in about 2.5 miles (one-way) from the parking lot. Please know that driving to the beach or catching a ride is illegal at this beach location. The lands between the parking area and beach are fragile and host many culturally significant places.
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Papakōlea Green Sand Beach
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Green Sand beach is a once in a lifetime place to visit on the Big Island, as it is only one of two green sand beaches in the United States. In addition to the green sand crystals, swimming in the bay is possible during calm seas. If you are the more adventurous type, cliff jumping is also a popular activity at this location. There is no lifeguard or restroom facilities, so plan accordingly. Visiting this beach early in the day is recommended to avoid the heat, as there is no shade cover. Additionally, you have to hike in about 2.5 miles (one-way) from the parking lot. Please know that driving to the beach or catching a ride is illegal at this beach location. The lands between the parking area and beach are fragile and host many culturally significant places.
This is a local surfing hot spot just north of Hilo. There is a fresh water river that enters the ocean at this location. Remember to respect the locals if you give surfing a try. There is a natural sand bar where the river meets the ocean. If you stay on the river side of the sand bar, you can enjoy the cool river water and avoid the open ocean for a swim. Feel the mixing of the fresh and salt water as you take a dip. Sightseeing and watching the local surf seen is the main attraction if you are visiting for the first time. Parking is limited, so avoiding the weekend is recommended. This location is also close to the nearby Botanical Gardens, so mixing in a visit to both is something to think about. If you love malts/shakes, one of our favorite places to enjoy a snack or refreshing frozen fruit smoothie, is at What's Shakin'. Mango Tango and Papaya Paradise are two of our personal favorites!
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Honoli'i Beach Park
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This is a local surfing hot spot just north of Hilo. There is a fresh water river that enters the ocean at this location. Remember to respect the locals if you give surfing a try. There is a natural sand bar where the river meets the ocean. If you stay on the river side of the sand bar, you can enjoy the cool river water and avoid the open ocean for a swim. Feel the mixing of the fresh and salt water as you take a dip. Sightseeing and watching the local surf seen is the main attraction if you are visiting for the first time. Parking is limited, so avoiding the weekend is recommended. This location is also close to the nearby Botanical Gardens, so mixing in a visit to both is something to think about. If you love malts/shakes, one of our favorite places to enjoy a snack or refreshing frozen fruit smoothie, is at What's Shakin'. Mango Tango and Papaya Paradise are two of our personal favorites!
This snorkeling destination is our favorite, besting Captain Cook only because of much easier access to the ocean. This snorkeling destination is located in Honaunau Bay. As the name suggests, there is a natural step in the lava formed shoreline to enter and exit the ocean. This is a prolific place to view fish of all varieties along with amazing coral reefs. It is a deep water setting, so once you are in the water you are not able to touch bottom. This is a good place to have that once in a life-time experience swimming with dolphins if they happen to be in the area on the day of your adventure. Wearing dive shoes and gloves may also help you enter and exit the ocean at this location. Another option to help those less experienced at snorkeling is to bring along a body board or other floating device for them to hold onto as they swim. Swim fins should always be worn while snorkeling in the ocean.
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Two Step
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This snorkeling destination is our favorite, besting Captain Cook only because of much easier access to the ocean. This snorkeling destination is located in Honaunau Bay. As the name suggests, there is a natural step in the lava formed shoreline to enter and exit the ocean. This is a prolific place to view fish of all varieties along with amazing coral reefs. It is a deep water setting, so once you are in the water you are not able to touch bottom. This is a good place to have that once in a life-time experience swimming with dolphins if they happen to be in the area on the day of your adventure. Wearing dive shoes and gloves may also help you enter and exit the ocean at this location. Another option to help those less experienced at snorkeling is to bring along a body board or other floating device for them to hold onto as they swim. Swim fins should always be worn while snorkeling in the ocean.
This is a beautiful black sand beach along the east coastline of the Big Island. This beach area is swimmable, but there is no lifeguard. This is also an unofficial "clothing optional" beach, especially on Monday's, as this is a favorite local's beach. Access to the beach requires stepping down the rocky shoreline on either side of the beach. Parking is found along the narrow road.
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Kehena Black Sand Beach
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This is a beautiful black sand beach along the east coastline of the Big Island. This beach area is swimmable, but there is no lifeguard. This is also an unofficial "clothing optional" beach, especially on Monday's, as this is a favorite local's beach. Access to the beach requires stepping down the rocky shoreline on either side of the beach. Parking is found along the narrow road.
This is the most famous black sand beach found on the Big Island. This beach has easy access for swimming and snorkeling with lifeguards, picnic area, and restroom facilities. If you are looking to view sea turtles, they are frequently found basking on the beach at this location.
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Punalu‘u Beach
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This is the most famous black sand beach found on the Big Island. This beach has easy access for swimming and snorkeling with lifeguards, picnic area, and restroom facilities. If you are looking to view sea turtles, they are frequently found basking on the beach at this location.