Anaehoomalu Beach

Anaehoomalu Beach: Family-Friendly Sunbathing, Swimming, and Watersports Along the Kohala Coast’s “A-Bay”
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

One of the best-developed and most family-friendly beaches on the Kohala Coast, Anaehoomalu Beach—aka A-Bay Beach—delights with its safe swimming, watersports, and knockout sunsets. There’s so-so snorkeling here to pursue as well. Besides the beach and the bay waters, you can hike from here to nearby attractions such as the Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Set along northwestern Hawaii’s Kohala Coast, Anaehoomalu Beach is easily accessed from the hotels and resorts of Waikoloa. Fronting Anaehoomalu Bay—aka “A-Bay”—the salt-and-pepper sands are a fabulous family hangout given the protected waters, beach and watersports rentals, and well-appointed facilities.

This arcing beach is reached via Waikoloa Beach Drive right by the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. The plush sand, abundant palms, and the offshore sightlines make for classic tropical-seashore views, even if this developed coastline isn’t as stunningly scenic as some other Big Island seashores. 

It’s also not a place to go for peace, quiet, and elbow room. But for sheer convenience in the Waikoloa/Kawaihae area and for amenities, A-Bay Beach is hard to beat. 

Besides the spacious free parking lot, those amenities include restrooms, showers, and ready-at-hand dining. You won’t find a lifeguard here, but the reef-sheltered, gently sloping nearshore of Anaehoomalu Bay is overall a calm and safe place to swim. Just practice normal ocean common sense and caution.

Another big plus for A-Bay beachgoers, especially families, are the rentals available right along the beachfront. You can rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, beach gear, and more right on site. The tranquil waters are tailor-made for some leisurely paddling. 

You can also check out snorkeling equipment here. While not one of the world-class Big Island snorkeling areas, Anaehoomalu Bay has plenty to offer—not least its easy accessibility and beginner-friendly shallows. The northern part of the bay tends to have a bit better clarity. Watch for yellow tangs, parrotfish, and other reef fish, and keep your eyes peeled for the sea turtles that often wing around in the bay.

Anaehoomalu Beach also delights for its pretty darn ravishing sunsets. With its westward views and palm-studded foreground, it’s a fabulous vantage for that nightly show. 

You’ll notice two large fishponds flanking Anaehoomalu Beach: Kahapapa and Kuualii. Native Hawaiians installed these pools to raise mullet, which is the derivation of the embayment’s name: Anaehoomalu means something like “Bay of the Restricted Mullet.”

Speaking of Native Hawaiian history, there are some fascinating heritage sites within easy reach of Anaehoomalu Beach. Walk the King’s Trail a short way north to visit the Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve, host to tens of thousands of figurative and abstract carvings dating back centuries. This is one of the Big Island’s finest collections of rock art, and definitely a place well worth setting aside a little time for on an A-Bay beach day.

Easy to reach, backed up by plenty of amenities, and offering gentle, friendly waters, A-Bay ranks among the Big Island’s top family beachgoing destinations.

Insider Tips:
-A-Bay is home to the Waikoloa Canoe Club and its practitioners of traditional outrigger canoe paddling. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday mornings from Anaehoomalu Beach, you may see Canoe Club members out doing their thing in the bay—a fun thing to see!
-For a much more secluded and undeveloped beachfront, walk the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail south from A-Bay to reach the hidden gem of Kapalaoa Beach.