It’s pretty hard to choose just a few favorite beaches when the island is just covered in them. But If I could only pick five, I’d choose these;
1) Kauna’oa Beach otherwise known as Mauna Kea Beach, because, you guessed it- it fronts the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The beach stretches for about half a mile and the waters are generally calm. Kauna’oa beach is great for sunbathing with its white soft sand that slopes gently into the water and the palm trees along the fringe to provide shade. If you want to go to Kauna’oa Beach, get there before 8:30 am to get one of the 40 public parking spaces. If you are feeling lucky you can stretch this to 10 am in low-season, but make sure to have a backup plan.
2) Makaiwa Bay or Mauna Lani Beach sits on the beautiful Mauna Lani Hotel property. This beach I tend to recommend to the more adventurous visitors. To get to the white sand and turquoise waters, you must first travel along a walking trail that wanders past ancient Hawaiian trails, fishponds, lava tubes, and caves. Don’t be turned away by the sounds of what might sound like more of a hike than a beach day, Makaiwa Bay is a gem not to be missed.
3) Makalawena Beach is remote and perfectly pristine. You will not find a more beautiful beach anywhere on the Big Island or in all of Hawaii. Since this beach is very much “off the beaten path”, make sure if you decide to make the endeavor, you may not want to make any plans until the following day. This drive requires a real 4 Wheel Drive vehicle (one with some decent clearance) as well as some skills at handling very uneven terrain.
4) Manini’owali Beach or as the locals call it, Kua Bay, is one of the most popular beaches on the island. This small white sand beach has something for everyone whether it be waves to boogie board in, pillowy sand to sunbathe in, or decent snorkeling just outside the surf break. This beach offers ample parking, fresh water showers, bathrooms, and a brand new lifeguard tower.
5) Anaehoomalu Bay or for short, A Bay, is my favorite beach to catch the sunset. Close to dining in Waikoloa and settled next to one of my favorite restaurants to grab a cocktail, Lava Lava Beach Club. This beach offers sweeping views without the large crowds many resort beaches have.