Though tiny, White Sands Beach Park near Kailua-Kona has all the amenities you could want from a family-friendly beach plus a secret disappearing act. Each winter the sands vanish, seemingly overnight, only to return a few months later. This county park has several reasons to visit throughout the year, whether the white sands cover the rocky shore or not.
Also known as Magic Sands or Laaloa Beach, the former name comes from the trick that seems to happen in the winter. During the winter, high surf and tides pull the white sands from the shore, leaving behind the black lava rocks. Occasionally, this can happen at other times when storms create exceptionally high tides that remove the sand. When the winter tide eases, the ocean slowly restores the sand to the beach. The regular removal and restoration of the beach keeps the sands white.
The best time of year to go to White Sands Beach Park depends on what you want to do. This public park is open all year long. During the winter, you can enjoy the black lava rocks of the beach and watch surfers take advantage of the rough swell. Avoid swimming during this time because there is a heavy rip current and high waves that can drag even experienced swimmers out to sea or push them against the rocks on the beach.
In the summer, the white sands return with relatively calmer seas. Unlike other beaches on the other side of the Big Island, the shore slopes gently into the water here. If you prefer snorkeling, go just south of the beach to the small rocky cove.
For safety, stick to the protected swim areas and pay attention to any directions from the lifeguard while swimming here. Occasional southern currents can make swimming more difficult at this beach during the summer. As with all Hawaiian beaches, conditions can change quickly, so keep alert when in the water.
The county operates and maintains this pocket beach, which means that it has more amenities than other beaches on the island. For instance, at White Sands Beach Park, you’ll find a picnic spot, volleyball court, bathrooms, outdoor showers, a lifeguard, and free parking. If you cannot get a spot in the tiny lot next to the beach, look for street parking nearby. Food stands and cafes within walking distance feed hungry beachgoers and add to the convenience of this site.
The white sands have contrasting dark lava rocks closer to the water and coconut palms surrounding the beach, creating a picturesque setting that is popular with locals and tourists. Its attractiveness means that you may see crowds on the weekends or holidays. To enjoy a quieter time at this beach, arrive early in the day or on a weekday.
Overall, this beach is an ideal spot during the summer if you want convenient amenities, the safety of a lifeguard, and beautiful white sands. Even during the winter when the white sands vanish, this beach still is a great destination if you want to bodyboard, surf, or watch others doing these sports. Make this picture-perfect, family-friendly beach a stop at any time of the year for summer swimming, winter surfing, or year-round people-watching.
-Visit during the summer to catch a view of the white sands and enjoy better swimming conditions.
-Bring sunscreen and a beach umbrella to protect you from the sun since the beach has little natural shade.
-Arrive early or on a weekday to avoid the crowds and get a spot in the tiny, free parking lot.