Hawaii's beaches are the stuff that make most fly the five plus hours to enjoy. The beaches on the Big Island run the gamut from fishing to swimming, from black to green sand. This tour takes you to three of the loveliest beaches on the island. Bring sunscreen, beach and snorkeling gear to be sure you can enjoy each one.
Day 1 - Kamuela, Hawai'i National Park
Get in a good breakfast and be sure to load up the four-wheel drive, with sunscreen with the numerous secluded beaches, wide open space san sunny skies. . Expect this trip to take about 8 hours to allow for an unhurried pace, lots of beach time and random stops along the way.
It begins at Kona airport heading south toward Kona along Hawaii Belt Road. The drive to the famous black sand beach at Punaluu Beach Park should take about 2 hours and take you through Kona, Captain Cook and Kau. The beach park is located near the remote resort at Sea Mountain. Parking is ample and it is not uncommon for sea turtles or Hawaiian monk seals to be found lounging on the beach in the sun. Remember that to approach to harass these animals is a federal offense, so steer clear and yield the right of way at all times. Locals will not hesitate to get anyone thrown in jail. Be sure to get all the pictures you can, the area is pristine and gorgeous especially the contrast of the blue ocean and the black sand and white crashing waves. Before continuing on to Ka Lae, be sure to stop in at the Punaluu Bake Shop. A great spot with lots of local flavor. They are famous for their bread. Fresh baked bread is soft and a bit sweet, many use it to make French toast or curried chicken sandwiches uniquely Hawaiian.
Next beach is the green sands of Mahana at ka Lar e or South Point. The area is the southernmost point in the entire United States of America. Be sure to take a picture or two since it is a unique spot. The drive from Punaluu will take about 45 minutes and short hike will be necessary to get to the beach. The sand is an odd mixture of olivine grains and other volcano matter that makes for a green appearance. Remote and secluded, expect the hike to be hot and uneven.
The next stop is Hapuna Beach. It has been rated one or the top beaches in the world more than once, and the sands are golden white and the sky is almost always sunny. The drive from Ka Lae to Hapuna is a long one, about two and a half hours.
For those who choose to opt for lunch at this point, there are several fast food places in Kona along with a Costco foot court and a Denny’s at Wal-Mart, but Merriman’s Café in Waikoloa is the perfect spot to experience some of the best casual dining the island has to offer. Turn off the highway into Waikoloa. Located on the right in the King’s Shops at Waikoloa between Louis Vuitton and Coach, this small café has taken Peter Merriman’s culinary creativity to a whole new level.
Once back on Queen Kaahumanu Highway continue up toward Kawaihae. Hapuna beach is located just after the Mauna Lani Resort an before the Hapuna Beach hotel. Parking is somewhat limited, but the beach offers wonderful tropical setting, comfort stations, lifeguards and more.
Return to Kona airport the same way you came.
Kamuela, HI 96777
off Mamalahoa Highway
(Mailing: P. O. Box 655)
Kamuela, HI 96722
tel: +1 808 929 7343
Hapuna Beach Road off Highway 19
Hawai'i National Park, HI 96743
tel: +1 808 882 1900