Wawaloli Beach Park Overview
Located just seven miles from downtown Kailua-Kona and beyond the Kona Airport runway, you will find Wawaloli Beach Park. This beach park is operated by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) within the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) park.
Natural Lava Shelf and Tide Pools
The beach is protected from high-surf by a natural (pahoehoe) lava shelf jutting out from its sandy shoreline. This natural barrier’s architecture allows for tide pools, a great spot for both adults and children to cool off and a fabulous place to explore. As the rocks can be sharp and slippery, water shoes are recommended. The lava shelf along here is really interesting and the spray that shoots up during higher surf can create really dynamic photos. Just be careful of rogue waves during high surf. If the area you are walking on is wet, that means a wave has recently reached that spot.
As you look out onto the ocean’s expanse, you can see that the main beach area is protected from high surf by rock walls allowing for a shallow pool area to be filled with cool calm water. If the tide is out or there hasn’t been high surf for a while, the pool may be very shallow, more appropriate for wading than swimming. The small beach area is a fabulous place to explore, lounge and soak up the sun. Bring a beach chair and an umbrella to enjoy the golden sand between your toes while watching the planes take off and land. This is also a great spot to stop and watch the sunset.
Facilities at Wawaloli Beach Park
The park is outfitted with outstanding facilities, such as picnic tables, barbecue grills, showers and restrooms for an enjoyable day at the beach. Bring a picnic or fire up one of the barbeque grills located in close proximity to the tide pools to cook while you watch your keiki (kids) frolic in the shallow waters. As this area is sunny, dry and hot make sure you bring plenty of water and reef-safe sunscreen to make your beach day pleasant and sunburn-free.
Ke Kai Ola Marine Mammal Center
Unique to the area is Ke Kai Ola, a hospital branch of The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito CA. Ke Kai Ola, opened in 2014 to help save the endangered Hawaiian monk seal of which only 1400 are left on earth. This center is an outstanding educational stop for those interested in learning more about this endangered species.
Directions to Wawaloli Beach Park
Turn onto Makako Bay Dr near mile marker 94 at the Natural Energy Lab on Highway 19. You can no longer turn directly onto Makako if you are headed North so you will need to go past the street and turn at the light onto Kahilihili St then backtrack to Makako Bay Dr. Follow the road to the ocean until it bends to the right. The beach and tide pool area are conveniently located a few feet beyond the parking lot allowing for easy transport of beach toys and gear.