Kikaua Beach

Don’t have a lot of swimming experience? Than Kikaua Beach is perfect for you. It’s also perfect for families with small children as the water here is reliably calm. In fact, it’s as still as glass.

Hawaii’s waters can be quite powerful and even dangerous. Beaches without protective reefs experience pounding surf, undertows and rip currents. And the water in Hawaii tends to become a bit more violent in the winter months. But you don’t need to worry about any of that down at Kikaua Beach.

This white sand cove has two lava shelf outcroppings that protect a small section of water that’s perfect for a relaxing swim. You’ll find plenty of young families wading through the water here. And, if you’re a bit more experienced, there’s a shallow tide pool just out beyond the protected water that is perfect for snorkeling. Just make sure the tide isn’t too high.

The tide pool is a great place to swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles. Unlike juvenile and adolescent turtles, the adult green sea turtle is strictly vegetarian, and these friendly little creatures love to feast on the moss and sea grass growing out of the lava rocks in the calm tide pool. Just remember that it is illegal to touch sea turtles in Hawaii, so keep your distance when you take that selfie if you want to avoid a costly ticket.

The calm water isn’t the only draw at Kikaua Beach. Wander away from the water, and you’ll find a pleasant little grove of palm trees. Make sure to explore barefoot as the warm white sand underfoot adds to the tropical sensations of Kikaua Beach. And you’ll also find plenty of soft green grass perfect for a picnic blanket under the shade of trees.

You can even grab the hand of a loved one for a romantic walk north of the beach. The sand remains white and pleasant underfoot, but the water turns dangerous. It’s beautiful to look at, especially at sunset, but don’t dare go for a swim. Simply relax, hold your lover’s hand and enjoy the scenery.

You’ll have to find the entrance to Palena Aina to find Kikaua Beach. Drive 17 miles north on Highway 19 out of Kona, look for mile marker 87 and then turn left to the security gate. Tell the security officer that you’d like to visit the beach, and you will receive a parking pass and directions to the visitor’s parking lot. A sign will remind you that no lifeguard is on duty, but you won’t need one so long as you stick to the protected shallows of the beach.

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Price range: Free
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Kailua-Kona, Big Island