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What Are the Best Beaches on the Big Island?


The best beaches on the Big Island vary in both size, surf, and color. Explore the unique black sands of volcanic beaches or lounge on the white sands on the west coast. One of the few green sand beaches in the world also exists on the Island of Hawai’i.

With so many beautiful shores to explore, it can be difficult to narrow down which ones you want to see. We’ve put together a guide to the best beaches on the Big Island to help you plan your perfect Hawaiian getaway! After you’ve learned all about the different locations, download our complimentary Vacation Guide. This handy travel planner is packed with great suggestions and local insight on where to go and what to do.

Visiting the Hawaiian Islands is something many people wish to do in their lifetime. On one side of an island, you might encounter active volcanoes or roaring waterfalls tucked beneath dense jungle canopies. On the other side, you can see snow-capped mountains in contrast with roaring cerulean waves crashing against the sandy white shores.

Continue reading for some of the best things to include in your Hawaii bucket list. Then, check out our comprehensive Vacation Guide for even more ideas for things to do on Oahu and the Big Island!

Discover 3 Unique Beaches on the Big Islands

Hapuna Beach

This beautiful, white sand beach along the Kohala Coast is consistently cited as one of the best beaches on the Big Island. In fact, Conde Nast Traveler has named this slice of paradise one of the best beaches in America. The largest white sand beach on the island, Hapuna is known for good snorkeling, swimming, and bodysurfing conditions. It is possible to surf in this area at times when the current isn’t too strong.

If you plan to visit Hapuna at the beginning of the year, be sure to keep an eye out for whales! While this beach is definitely worth a visit, it is one of the most popular ones in the area, so be aware that the shore can get crowded during peak season.

Punalu’u Beach

Have you walked across jet-black sand colored by volcanic basalt? On your trip to the Big Island, you can experience this unusual phenomenon! Often called “Black Sand Beach,” Punalu’u is the island’s most famous beach with this pigmentation. Besides the unique sand, you can also spot endangered Hawksbill turtles and green turtles lounging in the sun at this spot.

It is possible to go swimming and snorkeling here, but be mindful of the current as it can get very strong, making it too dangerous to swim. If you’re looking to snorkel, check out Ninole Cove on the southwestern side of the beach. Here, the shore forms a bay protecting snorkelers from the potentially powerful current.

Papakōlea Beach

Papakōlea Beach is one of four green sand beaches in the entire world. The strange pigment is caused by deposits of the lava mineral olivine. Because this element is heavier than others, it remains on the shore longer. Inspect the sand closely to see the green grains mixed with black and white.

To get to this secluded beach, you must embark on a 2-mile hike or pay a local to drive you there in a 4×4. If you’re able-bodied and enjoy outdoor activities, the hike is worth the effort. Cliffs surround the shore to create an inlet, which you must climb down. Once you’ve reached the shore, take in the natural beauty, but do not attempt to swim here as the waters are very rough.

Unwind in a Private Homes Hawaii Rental

Palm Villa After a long day of exploring the best beaches on the Big Island, you’ll want a warm, accommodating place to come back and relax. With properties across the Big Island, Private Homes Hawaii has the perfect place for you and your family.

The Palm Villa at the Hualalai Resort is located on the Kohala Coast with easy access to Kona International Airport and nearby beaches and attractions. This three-bedroom rental has a downstairs suite, expansive lanai, and extra bedding to accommodate additional guests. Take advantage of the Hualalai Club Concierge to experience the luxury of a resort stay with the comfortability of a private home. The concierge offers many services including restaurant reservations, spa appointments, and tee times.

Browse a complete catalog of our available properties and start planning your Hawaiian getaway today!

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