The Best Beach On Hawaii's Big Island For Swimming And Snorkeling

Hawaii is a nature lover's paradise, especially if you're partial to tropical climates, lush greenery, and, of course, incredible beaches. No matter which island you visit, you'll find bays and beaches that beckon swimmers and snorkelers with crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and abundant sea life to discover. From family-friendly Lydgate Beach Park on Kauai to Maui's signature Kaanapali Beach to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oahu, the Hawaiian Islands seem to offer endless options for world-class swimming and snorkeling. The Big Island of Hawaii is no different.

Located on the Kona Coast on the Big Island, Kahaluu Beach Park is a family-friendly destination that mixes its coastal beauty and underwater wonders with ancient Hawaiian history. The Kahaluu Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the combination of the beach's cultural importance and natural splendor makes Kahaluu Beach Park one of the best places to immerse in both Hawaii's waters and heritage. 

A perfect spot for beginner snorkelers

Kahaluu Beach Park consists of a bay created by an underwater rock wall built by ancient Hawaiians. Originally created to break the incoming surf and improve fishing conditions, the barrier wall now creates the ideal conditions for snorkeling and swimming, according to Big Island Guide. Kahaluu Bay's small waves, shallow waters, and gentle currents make it particularly ideal for beginner snorkelers.

You'll also find an abundance of marine life on the coral reefs of Kahaluu Bay. Along with a colorful array of tropical fish, you may also spot sea turtles, eels, and octopus under the water's surface. At high tide, the bay is still under 15 feet deep, yielding excellent visibility.

Surfing is also a popular activity at Kahaluu Beach Park. The northern end of Kahaluu Bay was actually a sacred surfing spot of ancient Hawaiians, and a famous temple known as Kuemanu Heiau still overlooks the bay's northern surf break. The waves are suitable for both beginners and advanced surfers, depending on where you're catching the break, and board rentals and lessons are available at the park.

Preserving the ecosystem of Kahaluu Beach Park

As you're probably aware, coral reefs are alive and help sustain marine life ecosystems. Kahaluu Beach Park's ecosystem is no different. If you plan on snorkeling in the bay, it's important not to touch or walk on the coral reefs. As stated, the bay can be shallow in places, but avoiding contact with the reef is important. You'll also need to wear reef-safe sunscreen, as many sunscreens contain chemicals that bleach coral reefs. Fortunately, if you didn't bring any, the park features sunscreen dispensers.

It's also important to maintain distance from the sea turtles. Hawaii's Green Sea Turtle is an endangered and protected species, so you'll need to stay at least 10 feet away if you spot one. Finally, although the bay is typically calm outside of the northern surf zone, the currents can get strong in big swells. It's important to heed any lifeguard warning to ensure your safety, especially if you're not an experienced snorkeler. 

If you're planning an upcoming trip to the Big Island, then Kahaluu Beach Park is an excellent destination to enjoy outdoor activities in Hawaii and learn a bit about Hawaiian history. Due to the park's proximity to Kona, it's also a convenient spot for a memorable swim or snorkel while you explore the area.