Hapuna Beach Hawaii
A beautiful ˝ mile crescent of golden sand between rocky black lava headlands. The northern end of the beach is overlooked by the up-market Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The buildings slightly dent the pristine beauty of the beach (but of course if you’re staying in the hotel, you’ve the best of both worlds – a lovely hotel next to a magnificent beach).
The public access to the beach is on the south side. Travelling from Kalaoa, take Hwy 19 for about 20 miles north. A large sign marks the turn off to the beach. You’ll arrive at a large (and often busy) parking lot just next to the sand.
The beach slopes very gently into the ocean, so is lovely for swimming and boogie boarding. On calm days, it’s quite safe enough for kids to paddle about in the shallows (though keep a watchful eye on them as normal). If you’re into snorkeling, make for the coral reef at the south end of the beach – it’s possible to see huge parrot fish, and shoals of needlefish.
The beach is part of a State Park, and has a number of useful facilites. Picnic tables, showers, a snack bar, restrooms, showers, and a few simple cabins (book well ahead of your vacation for one of these, see Hawaii State Parks for booking details).
As an energetic alternative to lounging at the beach, you can also try hiking a part of the Ala Kahakai Coastal Trail, which passes through Hapuna Beach. The path winds its way along the seashore, starting at Kawaihae, traveling southwards, and finishing at Anaehoomalu. A possible destination could be the fabulous Mauna Kea beach, about 2 miles north.