Aerial Photo of Hapuna Beach on the Island of Hawaii

Visit Hapuna Beach State Park

Big Island Guide Travel Guide

Overview of Hapuna Beach State Park

One of Hawaii’s – and the world’s – most iconic beaches, Hapuna Beach is consistently ranked among the “world’s best beaches” for a good reason. Hapuna offers some of the best conditions for swimming, bodyboarding, and sunbathing in the Hawaiian Islands. Hapuna (meaning “spring” or “pool” in Hawaiian) is popular with residents and visitors alike as one of the largest white sand beaches located along the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. It offers nearly a half mile of immaculate white sand and continuous shore break that is great fun to play in.

Aerial Photo Of Hapuna Beach with the Westin and Kohala Mountain in the Background

Perfectly suited to a lengthy beach stay, you could easily spend an entire day frolicking in the surf, riding the waves and snorkeling the day away. And from December through April, it’s even possible to see migrating whales in the distance from this beach.

People Playing in the Waves at Sunset on Hapuna Beach

Snorkeling at Hapuna Beach

The snorkeling along the southern edge of Hapuna beach can be good if it is very calm and dangerous if it is not, typically during the summer months and in the morning, is your best bet. If your primary goal is snorkeling though, we would recommend heading just down the road to Waialea Bay (Beach 69).

Beach 69 at Waialea Bay is a great snorkeling beach on the Big Island

Beach 69 at Waialea Bay is just minutes from Hapuna Beach and offers great snorkeling

Boogie Boarding at Hapuna Beach

Because of the frequent waves on Hapuna, this stretch of beach is a fantastic boogie boarding location. The surf on this beach can have a fairly strong shore break and is particularly rough in the winter months, there is a lifeguard on duty, but care should always be taken when playing in the ocean.

Boogie Boarding on Hapuna Beach

Kohala Climate

As this part of the Kohala coast is located in a dry semi-arid desert climate receiving only 10 inches of rain annually and superbly sunny, pack plenty of reef-safe sunscreen. Hapuna is equipped with several large shaded gazebos with picnic tables and barbecues for the perfect gathering. The beach itself, however, doesn’t have much shade so it’s a good idea to pack an umbrella or rent one for when you’ve enjoyed all the sun you want.

Pavilions at Hapuna Beach with Barbecue Pits and Picnic Tables

Ala Kahakai Trail

If you are into hiking, Hāpuna Beach is part of the Ala Kahakai coastal trail, where you can explore Kohala’s historic coastline over ancient trails and numerous anchialine ponds. There are 700 known anchialine ponds in Hawaii, with most located in the youngest lava areas of the Big Island. An anchialine pond by definition is a landlocked body of water with a subterranean connection to the ocean containing a mixture of freshwater and saltwater. Eels, dragonflies, crustaceans, mollusks, and mullet and gobies fish can often be found in and around anchialine ponds.

Aerial Photo of Hapuna Beach looking North

This 15.4-mile loop is part of an overall 175-mile corridor traversing over ancient fishermen’s trails and historic Hawaiian settlement sites linking both public and private lands. The trail routes to additional coastal beaches and high-end resorts, and to the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District and the Kings trail inland of the Mauna Lani Resort. Although the trail is rated moderately difficult, caution is recommended as the route navigates to potentially dangerous sea cliffs in certain areas. Note that the trail is not distinctly signed and maintained.

View of White Sand and Umbrellas at Hapuna Beach

Parking and Camping at Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach Park has pay parking $10 per vehicle for visitors and free parking for Hawaii residents, in a large paved lot. As of April 2021, there is also a per person entrance fee for non-residents to go to any State Beach Park, it is $5 per person with children under 3 being free. If there is not an attendant on duty, there is a parking kiosk to pay for parking. Camping permits are also available for one of their 4-person A-Frame shelters with wooden bed frames and a picnic table. Online reservations for the shelters at Hāpuna must be made at least 7 days in advance of check-in date. Fees start at $40 per shelter per night for residents and $70 for visitors.

Toucan Beach Toy Floating on the water at Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach Amenities

Large Shaded Pavilions
Picnic Tables
Barbecue Grills
Parking ($10 fee)

Sunset Photo over Hapuna Beach

Map and Directions to Hapuna Beach

Hāpuna Beach is located about 30 miles North of Kailua Kona, off Hwy 19 at mile marker 70. Look for the sign directing you to Hapuna Beach State Park then follow it for 1/4 mile to the large paved parking lot.

Visit our complete Big Island Beaches guide to learn more about other great beaches on Hawaii Island.

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