Kahaluu Beach

Snorkeling Magic at Kahaluu Beach: Discover Coral, Turtles, and New Friends at This Recreational Wonderland
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Few Big Island snorkeling spots are as scenic or as welcoming as Kahaluu Beach, which is a favorite destination among novices and experienced snorkelers alike. This park also offers plenty of other activities to keep visitors of all types entertained, including boogie boarding and picnicking. Stop by for a relaxed beach outing as you feast your eyes on the most stunning views of Kahaluu Bay.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Embrace the beauty of Kahaluu Bay as you relax at one of the most beautiful and welcoming parks on Hawaii’s Big Island: Kahaluu Beach. This recreational paradise is best known as a snorkeling hotspot, although boogie boarding is also worth a try. It’s by no means a glamorous beach, but that’s exactly why it’s so beloved among locals and casual tourists. This laid-back spot is where you go to take a break from the luxury resort environment. 

All the essentials can be found at this well-equipped beach: restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and benches. The facilities are impeccably clean, as is the water itself. Free parking is available, although the park’s highly coveted spots are far easier to score if you arrive in the morning.

There are lifeguards on hand, so you can feel confident even if you don’t have a lot of experience with your recreational pursuit of choice — or if you’re accompanied by young children. The shallow water should also inspire confidence, although it can also make it unfortunately easy to compromise the coral. Thankfully, local volunteers can help you learn how to stay safe while keeping the coral safe as well.

Once you’re situated, you will appreciate all the flora and fauna visible both above and below water. The coral here is especially remarkable, but you may also spot turtles, sea urchins, and brightly colored fish. On land, palm trees provide shade when you need it, although most visitors are content to soak in the sun. Should you choose to enter the water, specialized shoes are strongly recommended. The entry area is slippery enough to make navigation difficult at times. 

Any equipment you need can easily be obtained from nearby rental companies, which are easily found just up the street. Instruction is also available if you feel that you could benefit from targeted lessons. Volunteers are often on hand to steer you in the right direction or simply chat about this remarkable beach. 

If you visit strictly with the intention of snorkeling, you’ll probably spend about an hour at this small beach. If, however, you also want to take advantage of the picnicking areas or simply relax in a beautiful setting, you can easily spend an entire afternoon here.

Snorkeling, boogie boarding, or relaxing…you can do it all at Kahaluu Beach. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at this local gem, where you will discover why the Big Island is such a recreational wonderland. 

How To Get There:
To get to Kahaluu Beach, you can type it into your GPS (Kahaluu Beach, Kahaluu, HI 96744). There is parking nearby at the Kahaluu Regional Park or you can park at Kahaluu Bay on the south side — near the restrooms. There is also extra parking on Makolea Street across the parking lot entrance.

Insider Tips:
-Snorkeling is actively encouraged here, but it’s important to be aware of the coral’s vulnerability. Avoid standing while snorkeling, as this could cause significant damage even when you think you’re simply resting on rocks. 
-In an effort to keep the coral safe, the beach provides specialized sunscreen. This can be found in dispensers situated throughout the park. Avoid applying traditional sunscreen and use the beach’s version instead.