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Kaunaoa Beach

Kaunaoa beach near Mauna Kea Beach hotel resort

The Big Island, being the youngest of all the islands doesn't have as many really great stretches of soft sandy beach as the other Hawaiin Islands. The reason for this is that soft beach sand is created over hundreds of thousands of years by the ocean's surf pounding against shells and rock. Much of the Big Island's coast is only around 100 to 1000 years old and is therefor made up primarily of hardened lava and few soft sandy beaches. The Big Island has many incredible natural attractions that more than compensate for this shortage of soft sandy beach but there are a few incredible one's including Kauna'oa Beach that are worth a visit.

Kauna'oa is a near-perfect crescent shaped beach of white sands that lead to warm, azure waters all framed by graceful palms. The setting is stunning and it's no surprise that Kauna'oa (pronounced cow na-oh ah) is arguably the island's most picturesque beach.

Kauana'oa's long curve of sand fronts the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and is protected by a reef, which makes the waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. This is a perfect spot for kids to safely play at the water's edge. In the winter, when the ocean is less than tranquil, surfing is popular here .

The quarter-mile-long beach is very private, and 76-degree water provides the perfect break from the hot sun and sand. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel keeps the beach clean, pristine, full of coral and fish life and limits human occupation. Visitors not staying at the resort can still enjoy this paradise with a few limitations. The hotel restricts entry to its private beach and to a public beach, accessible via its grounds, to 30 passes at any given time. To gain access arrive before 9 a.m or you can wait for someone to leave. Your other choice is to spend the morning enjoying a meal at one of the resort's five restaurants and try to get on the beach later in the afternoon.

If your idea of the perfect beach is a long, crescent shape with soft white sands, running into picture perfect azure waters, then don't miss out on this one.

For golfers, the nearby $18 million Mauna Kea Golf Course's eighteen holes of play sport panoramic ocean vistas, prompting Golf Digest to proclaim it the "number one golf course in Hawaii." One of the course's most dramatic features is the famous Third Hole, where surging Pacific inlet waters race to meet the rocky shoreline, creating one of the most photographed landscapes in golf today.

Activities & Beach Highlights

Wonderful restaurants
Excellent facilities
Great golf
White sand, clear waters and moderate surf make this the perfect beach for relaxing
Good snorkelling at the left end of the beach
A great place for children to try body boardin

Directions: The Mauna Kea Hotel is about 31 miles from Kona north on Highway 19 and approximately 2 miles south of the junction of Highways 19 and 270.

There are five restaurants at the Mauna Kea Hotel to grab something to eat.