Kekaha Kai State Park (Kona Coast State Park)
Kekaha Kai State Park (Kona Coast State Park)

Kekaha Kai State Park (Kona Coast State Park)

Kostnadsfritt inträde
Öppet dagligen från 8 till 19
Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, 96740

The basics

Maniniʻowali Beach (Kua Bay), Makalawena Beach, and Mahaiʻula Beach are the main swimming/snorkeling/sunbathing spots of note here—they’re all idyllic stretches of white sand crossed with lava flows, reminding you exactly where you are. Hikers gravitate toward the 175-mile (281.6-kilometer) coastal Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, which connects the beaches and leads to a lava field dating back to 1801. For a side excursion, a spur trail climbs up the 342-foot (104-meter) Puu Kuili cindercone, where the 30-story views are especially supreme.

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Things to know before you go

  • Always use reef-safe sunscreen. If the bottle is not marked as such, it likely contains chemicals known to cause coral bleaching.

  • Water is in short supply at Kekaha Kai State Park—bring your own.

  • The park is sunny and hot with little tree cover in most places, so be sure to bring a sun hat, sunglasses, and any other anti-scorch gear you prefer.

  • There are restrooms at Maniniʻowali Beach and just south of Mahaiʻula Beach.

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How to get there

The road to Kua Bay won’t give you issues—it’s paved and leads right to Maniniʻowali Beach. Getting to the more southern Mahaiʻula Beach, however, requires a 1.6-mile (2.6-kilometer) drive down an “unimproved road.” In fact, your rental car agreement may not even allow it; if you want to get here, you’re better off hiking in instead.

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When to get there

Kekaha Kai State Park doesn’t see the crowds that many Hawaiian parks do, but as parking is limited, try to get here early (the park opens at 8am). If you can’t find parking in the designated lots, street parking is available. The good news: If you find the beach is crowded once you get here, just walk on down to another one.

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A tip for birders

The marshy area behind Makalawena Beach is known as Opaeʻula Pond. In addition to being a National Natural Landmark—it marks the site of a former fishing village—it claims one of the last remaining nesting grounds of the Hawaiian stilt and the Hawaiian coot. It’s also the only known breeding area of the black-crowned night heron on the Hawaiian Islands.

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