Gentle waves rolling onto shore as people play in the water and sunbathe on the sand.
When the water is calm, this is the perfect place to try out your snorkeling gear.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What Dreams Are Made of: 7 of the Best Beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii

Go Beach Hopping in Hawaii

The island of Hawaii is lined with some of the prettiest beaches in the world, so bring your sunscreen, flip flops and a good book and spend the day chilling out on the sand.

One of the fascinating things about the beaches of the Big Island is that you never know what color they are going to be. There are volcanic black-sand beaches, salt and pepper toned beaches and even one with green sand.

Plus, there are many picture-perfect stretches of golden sand where you can stretch out and soak up the sunshine. Hitting the beach is one of the best ways to do Hawaii on a budget and is sure to make for a memorable Hawaii family vacation — kids like nothing more than playing in the surf and sand.

So, where are some of the best beaches in Big Island Hawaii? Here are a few of the top choices.

Kua Bay

The Lonely Planet guidebook describes Kua Bay as “a beautiful secluded beach with turquoise waters and gleaming white sands. It’s picture-postcard material. It has a gentle slope and inviting waters for swimmers.”

Also known as Manini’Owali Beach, it can get big waves in the winter but it is great for snorkeling if the water is calm.

You can get there by driving north from Kona along Queen Kaahumanu Highway that slices through swathes of black lava. Follow the lava-bed trail for the 20-minute hike towards the turquoise sea fringe.

If you are lucky, you may even spot a dolphin or a turtle in the waters of the bay.

Trail through black and bumpy formations of dried lava.Visit the lava caves, which give the impression of giant waves that are frozen in time.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on the flanks of Mauna Loa. The highway leads to the Kilauea Caldera at 4,000 feet which has excellent visitor centers and maps depicting well-marked trails.

Plugging your nose against the sulphuric aromas and take a walk out towards the lava caves which are like gigantic waves frozen in time.

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Black sand next to a crashing surf. A surfboard sits near a lifeguard hut.One of the most famous beaches in Hawaii, Punaluu is great for the views but not as great if you're looking to take a dip.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Punaluu Black Sand Beach

This is one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii, due to the strange black color of the crushed lava rock that makes up the sand. The ocean is rough and turbulent, the water is cold and the views are spectacular.

It’s not a great place for swimming, but it’s perfect for stopping along the drive from the east to the west coast of the Big Island. Also, if you keep your eyes peeled you might even spot turtles in the bay.

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