We have lived as caretakers on the Big Island of Hawaii for over five months now.
During this time Nick and I have been able to visit all the corners of this beautiful island. Our current care taking position is located near Waimea/Kamuela, HI some 2,500 feet up from the ocean. The climate on the ‘ranch’ (this is horse country) is similar to Seattle in Spring with partly cloudy, partly sunny mornings, misty or rainy afternoons and often stormy nights.
Since it is usually about 10 – 20 degrees colder up here than it is near the ocean we try to take advantage of our days off and visit ‘The Beach’ for much needed R&R and to soak up some sun whenever we can. Our favorite beach is a 15 minute car ride from Waimea, located right off Hwy 19 on the right-hand side.
Check out the following photos and description of our favorite beach (so far) on the Big Island of Hawaii:
Mauna Kea Beach
Mauna Kea is sprawling, palm tree-covered grounds with an upmarket resort and a championship golf course. It is 2.4 miles from Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and 13.6 miles from the fishing village ruins of Lapakahi State Historical Park.
This is the first beach we visited on the Big Island and we go back as often as we can. This beautiful white sand beach is great for swimming and sunbathing, with pretty nice snorkeling on one side of it. (There are stand up paddle boards and snorkeling equipment available for rent in front of the resort.)
Keep in mind, unless you stay at the resort, there are only a limited parking spaces available so be sure to show up before 10 AM, especially on the weekend. To get to the beach you follow the golf cart trail past the well maintained bathroom/showers. Bring an umbrella if you plan to stay for the day, there are only a few coveted shaded spots on the beach.
There is a secondary little beach off to the right, ask the person in the guard house (I think they might only allow locals), that is also very nice. It’s about a 5 minute hike on a goat trail and there are no facilities.
There are many other beaches to explore on the Big Island. It all depends on what you want to do, relaxing in the sand, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing or spending time with the family having a picnic by the ocean. Some beaches offer life guards, rest rooms with shower facilities and even tourist booths while other beaches are little hidden gems you can only get to on foot or with a 4×4.
No matter what you’re preference is, you can find a beach within easy driving distance on the Big Island.
How about going skiing in powdery snow on Mount Kea in the morning and snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean in the afternoon? Yes, you can do that here as well. I’m sure as we will spend more time on the island we will be able to discover and share many more hidden gems like fantastic waterfalls and botanical gardens. Did you read our photo tour about the Volcano National Park yet? Another must-see travel destination on the island.
Have you visited the Big Island of Hawaii? Which one was your favorite beach and why?