one of the beautiful white sand beaches on the big island of hawaii

Are you planning a trip to Hawaii? You may look forward to visiting the island and spending lots of time on the beach. When you’re on the beaches in Hawaii, you can soak up the sun, go surfing, swim, and even try snorkeling for the first time. While Hawaii is home to dozens of beautiful beaches, some stand out a bit more than others. If you’d like to make sure you’re visiting some of the best ones in the area, check out this list!

All beaches in Hawaii are public. Some are easier, and some are harder to get to. There are a few that are attached to hotels. Visiting these may require a parking fee to be able to access the beach. But if you are visiting, try to stay at one of these for easy access and access to beach chair and even equipment for water sports. Several of these beaches are home to some of the most spectacular snorkeling in Hawaii.

Papakolea Beach, also known as green sand beach in Hawaii is one of the best or most unique in the world.

Papakolea Beach

Have you ever been to a green sand beach? Papakolea Beach is one of the only beaches in the world to have this unique green sand. You’ll need to hike down to access the beach. This may be challenging to some. But it’s well worth it. Once you’re feeling hot and exhausted, you can rest on the sand or even get wet in the ocean. You’ll find this beach in the Ka’u District of Hawaii.


Found in Pahoa, Hawaii, Pohoiki Beach is known for its famous black sand. While it isn’t the ideal spot for snorkeling, you can dip your feet into the water and even rest on the clean, comforting sand. While visiting the beach, you’ll find several thermal pools consisting of naturally warm water that will soothe your body. This is a newer beach that both residents and visitors look forward to visiting while in the area.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles on Punaluu black sand beach on the Big Island.

Kaimu Black Sand Beach

Another beach with black sand is the Kaimu Black Sand Beach, found in Kaimu, Hawaii. While this isn’t the type of beach you’ll like to visit for swimming and snorkeling, it does need nurturing and care. The Kilauea volcano completely changed the area, ultimately forming a new beach over time. It’s common to come across locals planting fruit trees to get things thriving again. If you’d like to see a part of history, this is a great beach to visit.

Richardson Ocean Park

Arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Hawaii, the Richardson Ocean Park is a prominent hot spot. You can find this clean beach in Hilo. It’s known for its cleanliness, but there is much more to this beach than what meets the eye. You can go snorkeling to see what’s beneath the ocean water. If you’d like to explore the water, this is the most suitable beach to visit. You’ll feel like you’re at the aquarium while in the water. This beach leaves tourists in awe because of its stunning beauty.

Carlsmith Beach Park

Known as Four Mile, the Carlsmith Beach Park is the ideal destination. Also located in Hilo, it’s the perfect place to have a picnic and then go for a swim. If you’d like to soak up some sun before exploring the water, this is a great beach to do just that. You can also go snorkeling in the water to see some of the most beautiful sea creatures near the water’s surface. You might even come across a few giant sea turtles.

Mahukona Beach Park

If you’re in the area of Waimea, Hawaii, the Mahukona Beach Park is worth a visit. You’ll have a fantastic view of the ocean and an opportunity to go swimming if you’d like to get in the water. Public restrooms are available for the convenience of visitors who may need to go while they’re there. You can go snorkeling, sunbathe, or even watch the sun as it starts setting. You never know what types of things you’ll get to see while hanging out in the water at this well-maintained park.

Hapuna Beach State Park

Visit the Hapuna Beach State Park for an affordable day of fun. Locals get to access the area for free, while visitors have access for a low price of $5. The beach is known for its beautiful, clean white sand. If you like surfing, this is the ideal spot for you. The waves tend to get high, making it perfect for those who want to hop on their surfboard and take off. These larger waves can create a bit of a dangerous situation for inexperienced swimmers, so make sure you’re mindful of that while you’re there. If you’d like to spend some time in the warm ocean water, this is the beach to visit.

Waialea Bay Beach

When you want to hang out on one of Hawaii’s hidden gems, head on over to the Waialea Bay Beach. It’s a cozy and comforting place where you can sit down and relax while enjoying the nice weather. You might want to have a picnic with loved ones on the beach sand or dip your toes in the water to cool down when you’re feeling hot. If peace and tranquility are two things you’re looking for, this is the beach for you. Sure, it’s not as big as some of the others, but it still has so much to offer.

Kiholo Bay

When you’re near the North Kona District, be sure to visit Kiholo Bay Beach. You can see everything in the crystal clear water, including adorable sea turtles that hang out in the water and on the beach sand. If you’d like to plan a day of snorkeling and hanging out in the water, this is the best spot for you. Make sure you come prepared. There are lots of rocks on the ground, which could cause some discomfort if you’re walking around without shoes. Consider putting on a comfortable pair of shoes to protect your feet while walking through the sand to reach the ocean water. 

Kona Kohala Beach Resorts

Many visitors choose to stay on the Kona Kohala area at one of the oceanfront beach resorts. Many of these have a beach attached to the resort. While the beach may be public, the resort provides beach chairs for their guests and often water sports equipment and food and beverage service for hotel guests.

This is a wonderful way to experience some of the best beaches on the Big Island. It is easy to pick up a coffee and enjoy sunrise at the beach. Or, head down at your convenience to snorkel the clear waters with colorful tropical fish.

sunset at fairmont orchid beach, one of the best beaches on the big island
Sunset at the Fairmont Orchid beach.

Fairmont Orchid

A beautiful sandy beach area and lagoon is attached to the Fairmont Orchid, one of our favorite places to stay on the Kona Kohala coast. Guests can enjoy water sports equipment from the beach shack, or food and drinks brought to them while relaxing on the hotel’s beach chairs. The waters are excellent for snorkeling.

Mauna Lani beach.

Mauna Lani Beach

Located just below Napua at Mauna Lani Beach Club is a small pristine beach with clear waters perfect for snorkeling. You can purchase a pass to park here.

The calm waters of the Hilton Waikoloa beach where you might even spot a dolphin.

Hilton Waikoloa Lagoon

This is a small beach area attached to the Hilton Waikoloa. It is in a protected area actually away from the coast. But it is a great place with clam waters to stand up paddleboard. And, you might even get to see some dolphins.

Mauna Kea Beach

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has an attached white sand beach great for relaxing, snorkeling or paddling. Again, hotel guests will have the best access and services here.

Now that you’ve got an extensive list of some of the best beaches on Big Island Hawaii, which spot do you plan to visit first? No matter which beaches you decide to go to, you’ll indeed have an unforgettable experience. The locals are welcoming, the beaches are clean, and the weather is typically wonderful year-round. If you’re ready to experience it all, it’s never too soon to start planning your stay.

Best Beaches in the Big Island of Hawaii and Beyond

One thought on “Best Beaches in the Big Island of Hawaii and Beyond

  • May 17, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    Lots of good info. Thanks.


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