Kohanaiki Beach Park Overview
Located approximately 7 miles north of Kailua-Kona you will find Kohanaiki Beach Park also referred to as Pine Trees Beach. Although the trees on the beach are actually a combination of heliotrope and hau trees, the misnomer of Pine Trees Beach has persevered.
Pine Trees Surf Beach
Pine Trees Beach is a popular place among the local surfing community due to its consistent waves. Known as “The Sport of Kings”, the Alii (Hawaiian Royalty) enjoyed surfing as a sport as well. Today, visitors can enjoy watching the local surfers daring the waves or join the lineup if you surf, just remember to follow good surf etiquette.
For beginners, if you want to give surfing a try, we recommend taking a surf lesson with experienced instructors at Kahaluu Beach Park in Kona, then come to Pine Trees once you are comfortable to catch a few waves.
With a rocky bottom, and strong shore break, the swimming at Kohanaiki Beach Park is just okay. However, this great stretch of beach is a renowned location for surfing, barbecues, gatherings, and watching the sunset. It’s no surprise the area is so popular with both locals and visitors.
Camping is allowed here Thursday through Monday, but requires a permit to stay overnight, you can get the permit online and print it out, then pick up the overnight parking pass at the guard shack. They lock the gates from 9 pm at night until 5:30 am so if you’re camping, come prepared. The camping spots are first come first serve, so arriving earlier in the day to check in can get you a better spot.
Kohanaiki Historical Significance
Kohanaiki Beach Park is located along the Kohanaiki Trail. The trail runs from the slope of Mount Hualalai to the ocean shore. The ancient Hawaiians combined their relationship with the land and the sea in these special types of land divisions that run from the mountain down to the ocean, known as an ahupua’a. The community located upslope (mauka) worked with the community along the shore (makai), to benefit from resources in both locations.
The Makai portion of the trail is managed by the Kohanaiki Club as caretaker. With Kohanaiki’s golf course neighboring this historic shoreline the club has gone through efforts to preserve and maintain the integrity of the area, earning its golf course accolade of the first Audubon Society Signature Sanctuary. If you continue past all of the beach parking, at the very end of the beach park is a trail that will take you into a historic area with a variety of sites to see. This area was created as a part of the “Good Faith Agreement” from 2003 that aimed to keep the park accessible to the public and protect the historical areas.
Not far from the ocean shoreline you will see evidence of this ancient community from a donkey corral, canoe house, fish ponds, petroglyphs to even a canoe slide. There are also two trails dating back to the 1800’s: Ala Kahakai (Trail by the Sea) and the Ala Mamalahoa trail.
Dotted throughout the area there are also 14 ancient shrines or alters. You can even spot the Konane Board, a board game created by etching flat rock to create a square board with an equal number of holes on each side, similar in gaming strategy as Chinese Checkers.
Camping – Get Permit
Plenty of Parking
Directions to Kohanaiki Beach Park
Drive 7 miles north of Kailua-Kona and turn Makai (toward the sea) at Hulikoa Drive, across from the Pine Tree Cafe and Minit Stop Gas Station. You will be heading down the road that leads to the Kohanaiki Private Club, but you’ll turn right before reaching their guard gate and drive around the golf course.
Keep following the road until you reach a small parking lot with a hut then head left, down the small paved road. There is parking all along the road and it stretches for quite a distance with most of the surfing at the Southern end. It is a narrow road with many kids and pedestrians so go slow and drive with aloha. Because you can park right next to the beach this is a great spot to picnic where you can bring all your gear and easily setup for a good long stay.
Map of Kohanaiki Beach Park