Maniniowali Beach (Kua Bay)

Maniniowali Beach/Kua Bay: White Sands, Turquoise Water-Paradise!
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Maniniowali Beach in Kua Bay is considered one of the best beaches on the Big Island. Beautiful white sands and turquoise water make this a boogie boarding-snorkeling-swimming paradise. A lifeguard is on duty, and restrooms and showers are available. You’ll need to pack in food, water, and an umbrella since there isn’t shade. The park is open from 7 AM until 8 PM, when the gate is locked. 

- The Local Expert Team

What if we told you there’s a beach on the Big Island that locals and tourists crown as the best. Would you be interested? And what if we added that the sun-kissed white sand stretches into the tepid turquoise water. Now, do we have your attention? Good! Please keep reading as we reveal the wonders of Maniniowali Beach.

Maniniowali Beach sits in Kua Bay and is north of Kona Airport, and is open from 7 AM until 8 PM. The long paved Kua Bay Access Road is off of Highway 19. There is plenty of parking, but the lot fills up fast due to the beach’s popularity. If that’s the case, you may park along the Kua Bay Access Road but will have a bit of a hike to the beach. 

Showers and restrooms are available, and as of 2019, a lifeguard is on duty. There isn’t a concession or snack stand, but sometimes a food truck sits in the parking lot. We suggest coming prepared with plenty of food and drinks just in case. You can eat at the beach or head up to one of the uncovered picnic tables. 

Once you’ve parked and gathered your gear, head to the recently constructed stairs. These make getting to the surf so much easier than clambering over rock and sand.  

Speaking of gear, now’s a good time to mention that there’s no shade at the beach or the picnic tables. We suggest packing a beach umbrella to protect you from those UV rays or planning your trip to avoid the hottest part of the day. 

As you can surmise, Maniniowali Beach is very popular. Tourists say the best times to arrive are during the week and not weekends, either early in the day or late in the afternoon. 

Black lava rocks border both sides of the long Maniniowali Beach. To explore the area or find a less crowded spot, you may need to hike over these lava rocks. We advise bringing water shoes or rubber-soled sandals for such exploration. 

The bay is home to some beautiful and fantastic sea life. You may spot a sea turtle or a pod of dolphins. During the winter, whales are sometimes spotted far out in the bay. If you’re lucky, you may spy the Hawaiian Monk Seals on the farthest point of the crescent-shaped beach. 

Kua Bay is a boogie-boarders playground, and the clear, warm waters are great for snorkeling. During winter, the waves can get huge. With that comes strong currents and powerful swells. Always check with the lifeguard on duty about the water conditions before undertaking any aquatic adventure. 
So what do you think? Doesn’t Maniniowali Beach sound amazing? We sure do! We believe that if you plan and pack well, a visit to Maniniowali Beach/Kua Bay will be your best beach trip on the Big Island.  

Insider Tip:
Maniniowali Beach in Kua Bay is one of the best locations on the Big Island to watch the sunset. Be sure to double-check when the sun sets since the park rangers lock the gate at 8 PM. You don’t want to be stranded overnight at this gorgeous beach, or do you?