Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area

Enjoy a Family-Friendly Visit to One of Hawaii’s Best Beaches at Hapuna Beach State Park
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

For a well-rounded, family-friendly beach with all the amenities you could want, you can’t beat Hapuna Beach State Park. Swim, snorkel, surf, or bodyboard in the turquoise waters or simply sunbathe in a spot on the nearly half-mile beach. You’ll quickly discover why this place ranks as one of the best beaches in Hawaii and the world.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

If you want a white sand beach with plenty of space to spread out, check out the highly popular and praised Hapuna Beach State Park. Located just a short, half-hour drive north of Kailua-Kona, this beach features white sands, plenty of amenities, and several recreational opportunities.

The state manages this park well and provides visitors with restrooms, potable water, showers, cabin rentals, picnic tables, and covered pavilions. These small amenities set this beach apart from more rustic options along the western coast. While non-residents must pay an entrance fee and parking fee, both charges are small. In return for these minor charges, you get access to a safe, clean white sand beach watched over by lifeguards.

While at the beach, bring an umbrella to shade yourself from the sun on the shadeless sand. Though the park has pavilions, they are not located on the beach, and mainly used for picnicking. A nearby concession stand offers rentals and snacks but is not always open. Bring your own snorkeling gear, umbrella, bodyboard, or other beach essentials instead of relying on renting them upon arrival. The same goes for any food or drinks that you want to enjoy. However, don’t bring alcoholic drinks. The state park prohibits them.

The half-mile-long beach has enough room for all visitors, even during the busy summer months of this highly popular beach. People flock here to swim, snorkel, surf, bodyboard, and sunbathe. You can also look for area fauna. In the early months of the year, whales occasionally appear offshore. At other times, you may spot sea turtles that sometimes come to the beach.

The warmer season, from May through October, is one of the busiest times of the year due to the drier weather and calmer surf. If you want to go swimming or snorkeling at this beach, the warmer months are the best time to visit.

During the other half of the year from October through April, the surf becomes rough with a strong rip current, making water recreation dangerous. But you shouldn’t discount a trip to Hapua Beach during this time of the year. You can still enjoy sunbathing on the sands. Plus, from December through April, you have the chance to see migrating whales.

If you want to stay as close to the beach as possible, consider renting one of the rustic, four-person A-frame cabins. You will have to bring sleeping bags or other equipment to place on the wooden platforms. A shared restroom with cold showers provides for the hygiene needs of the park’s cabins. The common kitchen and dining area for the cabins is not always available, so bring your own food, too.

If you’re on the fence about camping in one of the cabins, don’t wait to decide until you arrive at the park. If you want to rent one of these cabins, you need to make reservations at least seven days ahead of time.

Don’t miss your chance to experience one of the best beaches in Hawaii. Add a visit to Hapua Beach State Park to your itinerary for great water recreation and sunbathing on a pristine white sand beach. You’ll never forget your visit to this jewel of Hawaii.

Insider Tips:
-Non-residents must pay parking and admission fees for the beach. The system accepts only credit cards, no cash.
-Despite the large size of the parking area, it fills up quickly during the day. Arrive early to get a spot in the lot.
-Winds, surf, and currents frequently change, turning swimming conditions dangerous quickly. Stay alert while in the water at this beach.
-Visit during the summer for calmer seas better for snorkeling, swimming, and surfing. This time also coincides with a drier season when you will have less of a chance of rain ruining your beach trip.
-Avoid going into the water during the winter when high tides and rip currents make water recreation dangerous.