Ten Breathtaking Beaches on Hawai‘i Island
December 30, 2017, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated September 10, 10:01 AM
The youngest of the eight major Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island of Hawai‘i is still forming. Ongoing eruptions from Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, have resulted in breathtaking black and white sand beaches all around the island, and even a rare green sand beach—one of only four in the world.
Generally, the sunniest sides are on the south and west leeward shores, while there is more frequent rain on the north and east windward sides.
The leeward side beaches are the best for snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and sunset watching.
Almost all of the island’s windward beaches are black sand, or a mixture of black and white sands and possess a picturesque, rugged beauty.
You can drive from wet areas to dry, so even if it’s pouring rain where you are staying on the Big Island, you can usually head to the other side for an idyllic beach day.
As with all Hawaiian beaches, weather and ocean conditions can change without warning. Remember to heed all posted signs regarding ocean swimming and safety and check ocean conditions before getting in the water.
Let’s begin our beach excursion, going counterclockwise from the northern tip of the Big Island—seven on the leeward side and three on the windward side.
Snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and sunset watching.
Some of the more popular spots on the west shore include Kauna‘oa Beach, Hāpuna Beach, Makalawena Beach, Kamakahonu Beach (Keiki Beach) and Hoʻokena Beach.
On the southeast shore, Mahana Green Sand Beach (Papakōlea Beach) and the gorgeous black sands of Punaluʻu Beach and are must-see spots.