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Best Beaches on the Big Island

Live the ‘Life’s a beach’ mantra! Take your time playing on the island’s fabled shores, from white-sand classics to black-lava beauties. Whether it’s on our private white-sand shore or a bit further out, don’t leave Hawaii without a day, or three, at the beach. Please. There’s nothing more quintessentially island than an afternoon splashing in the warm sea, hanging 10 and relaxing under the palm trees. Slow down, savor the day and dive into the aloha spirit.

SnorkeLing at Molokini Crater

ANAEHOOMALU BAY

Sugary white salt-and-pepper sand and some of the Big Island’s loveliest pink and purple sunsets (on the southern side) are the draws of A-Bay, both quiet and family-friendly. The crescent-shaped strand is situated at Waikoloa Beach Resort next to the Marriott in a calm bay optimal for swimming. Explore two ancient fishponds along the shore and watch for Hawaiian sea turtles. Rent boards, hydro bikes and kayaks. Scuba past blue parrot, trigger and puffer fish, windsurf, hike the area or nap on the sand. Bring a picnic.

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MAUI GOLF & SPORTS PARK

HAPUNA BEACH PARK

World renowned for good reason, this is the island’s biggest white-sand beach, known as one of its finest. But don’t worry, there’s lots of room to claim your spot on the soft sand with a good book or picnic basket, plus ample parking, facilities and a lifeguard. It’s vast: a half-mile long with clear aquamarine water, a continuous shore break and perennially sunny weather, plus views all the way to Hawaii’s Haleakala. Come for primo body-boarding, swimming and snorkeling. In winter and spring, look for migrating whales just off the shore. On the southern part of the coast, this strand is next to the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Arrive early to beat the crowds and lay your towel in the shade.

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SnorkeLing at Molokini Crater

HOLOHOLOKAI BEACH PARK

Read, nap, relax, repeat. Snap a few pictures. This rocky coast lined with black lava and white coral is a study in color contrasts. Serene and unusual, it’s small and intimate, with sea creature-filled tidepools and scenic walks. It’s also close to Fairmont Orchid. Bring a picnic and pair your beach day with a tour of some 3,000 ancient lava rock carvings at Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve, just a short amble away.

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MAUI GOLF & SPORTS PARK

OHAIULA/SPENCER BEACH PARK

Snorkel and splash at this family beach, a popular sandy shore and great stop on your last day enroute to the airport. An outside reef provides shelter for calm waters, making this the west side’s best swimming spot for little ones. Picnic at a park pavilion or under the shade trees, barbecue up some fresh catch and walk to Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site and its famed 1810 war temple for a little educational touring. Also close is Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona), just a 30-minute drive north.

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