BeachNuts Beach Guide for:
Kona Coast State Park
Kahakai / Kona Coast
The ocean is reached by a rough, narrow and unimproved road that winds across lava fields for one and a half miles. The drive through these textured lava fields is almost as breathtaking as the beach itself.
At first site, the road will appear good as the road from the highway to the main gate of the park is kept in decent condition. Past the main gate the road quickly deteriorates . Once on the road, you will see lava on either side that on occasion still bubbles. The area is part of the Hu’ehu’e Lava Flow of 1801 from the volcano of Hualalai. The volcano is still considered active. The terrain is fascinating; an endless expanse of black lava rock, oddly tattooed with cryptic messages formed of white stones. The ocean is visible in the distance, though there are only a few points that have beach access.
The 1.5 mile drive should take you approximately 20 minutes. Once you arrive at the park, there will be a path off to the right. This path leads to Mahai’ula Beach, the better of the two beaches located in the park. Travel further along the road and you will find a parking area for the second beach. The name of this beach is Ka’elehuluhulu.
Ka’elehuluhulu is a coral beach with some black lava mixed in. It is fairly large beach for the the Big Island though for the most part the waterfront is hardened lava running into the ocean. The Big Island does not have many sandy beaches as it is the youngest of all the islands. Most of the natural beaches on the Island are black or green sand and not white.
Ka’elehuluhulu has a number of picnic tables and shelters. The picnic tables are built so that a palm tree grows up through the middle of each table. Swimming isn't great here though there are sections of calm water where you can find good snorkelling. On windy days wave-watching can be spectacular. Lava extends out from the shore line and the waves break about 50 yards away.
The Mahai'ula section has a salt and pepper, sandy beach and high dunes. This is a good spot for swimming, picnicking, snorkeling, shore diving, lazy body boarding and seasonal whale watching. There are very good tidal pools for snorkeling and swimming but don't go out too far. The Mahai'ula area is more developed with a sandy beach and dunes, picnic area and restrooms. A four and a half mile trail leads to the Kua Bay portion of the park, which contains a tall cinder cone, water access and excellent views of the coast.
Open: 9am to 8pm
Winter whale watching
Best Time to Visit
The weather is hot, dry and sunny throughout most of the year, making it an ideal place to play in the winter, but some may find the heat a bit overwhelming in the summer
Directions: The park is located about 9 miles north of Kona on Highway 19, turn left at sign and proceed on unpaved rough road for 1.5 miles and about 24 miles south of the junction of Highways 19 and 270