Among Big Island's white sand spots, this one stands out and is regularly ranked among the top beaches in the world. The sand is sugar-fine, warm and clean and stretches as far as the eye can see. The waves are deep blue in the distance, foamy when they hit the shore. The half-mile strip also has great facilities like a paved walkway leading from the parking lot, which is a rarity in Hawaii!
This is one of the Big Island's best places to swim, sunbathe, picnic and bodysurf. A dirt road off Highway 19 (aka Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway), leads out to Mahai'ula Beach, where a picturesque crescent of golden sand meets the head of a protected bay. Kua Bay, located about a four-mile hike north from the beach, is a good place for more activities. Divers frequently visit the underwater tunnels and the shipwreck off shore. In vehicles that aren't four-wheelers, drives down the one-mile unpaved road to the beach will be a difficult one.
Located inside the Hilton Waikoloa Village, this dolphin habitat draws visitors from up and down the big island of Hawaii. Dolphin Quest Hawaii offers a variety of programs and encounters for everyone from children to couples. Guests and visitors have the chance to learn about these extraordinary creatures through fun and educational programs. See their website for more information.
All manner of marine and aquatic activities can be enjoyed via this full-service charter company. The company's fleet includes luxury craft, a racing catamaran and a glass-bottom boat. Marine excursions include sunset sails, snorkel sails, two-tank scuba dives and glassbottom boat rides. Private charters are also available. This is also the right place to contact about sailing or windsurfing lessons. The Ocean Sports hut on Anaeho'omalu Bay rents kayaks, snorkel equipment, body boards and more.
One of the few superb beaches along the Kohala Coast, this is certainly one to put on top of the must-see beaches on the Big Island. The clear warm waters and the soft gold sand are just the beginning. Located in the Waikoloa Resort, Anaehoomalu Bay fronts the Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort and comes complete with tidal pools, gentle waves and lots of sun. This life-guarded beach comes along with free parking, picnic tables, restrooms and showers. Bring a picnic lunch, spend the day under any one of the countless palm trees and enjoy safe swimming in the warm waters.
A black sand beach in the town of Waimea, 49 Black Sand Beach is a great place to relax and unwind while on the island. The beach is isolated and seldom packed with people, which makes it great spot spread out a sheet and bask in the warm sun and gentle breeze or take a healthy walk along the stretch of sand. Gentle waves and consistent winds also make it a center for surfing and parasailing, while the coarse black sand is a perfect volleyball pitch.
Nestled on the southern foothills of Mauna Kea, Mauna Kea State Recreation Area may be less famous than its counterparts, but remains a popular stop among visitors who come to see the stunning dormant volcano. This volcano forms a formidable backdrop for the surrounding scenery. The recreation area is set in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and spans across 20 acres (8.09 hectares) of wilderness. Trails crisscross over shrub-lands to form the landscape of this dry and windy terrain. There are camping and picnic facilities as well as a playground for children.
Tucked between mega resorts and luxury vacation condominiums, these series of ponds are part of a collection of environmentally sensitive areas in Waikoloa. The shallow ponds are filled with a combination of fresh and salt water and are fed by ponds and the ocean. Moreover, the eco-system is filled with tiny fish, crustaceans, mollusks and opae'ula or red shrimp that are a favorite of ancient Hawaiians. Those who want to experience Waikoloa Anchialine Pond Preservation Area are welcome to take the free self-guided tour that is located along Waikoloa Beach Road. Visitors are asked to stay out of the ponds and do not disturb the wildlife or rocks.
Tucked between Anaehoomalu Bay and the Marriott, this attraction is what remains of an ancient fishpond. The pond was built for the collecting and farming of fresh fish. Furthermore, fish was a constant source of food for the high chiefs that lived in and around the coastline. Today, the edges of the pond are covered with vegetation. However, during ancient times, the rock walls provided an ebb and flow of sea water that would nourish the fish (but not let them escape into the bay). Visitors to the area are welcome to take self-guided tour of the fishponds and are cautioned not to enter the ponds at anytime.