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Experience the Best Big Island Beaches

a group of bushes in a body of water

Grab your sunglasses and sunscreen, because here are some of the top Big Island Beaches on Hawaii Island. 

Richardson Beach Park

This east side beach is a great mix of black sand and smooth lava rocks. It is a perfect place to spot some Hawaiian Sea turtles, or ‘Honu’ in Hawaiian. These animals love to sleep in the sun warmed tide pools on the lava rocks. The turtles can be up to 40in and 200-500lbs! Be sure to keep a safe distance in order not to scare them. Grab some “lunch to go” in Hilo Town and enjoy a beautiful picnic at the beach. There are plenty of shady area, picnic benches, bathrooms and showers.

Carlsmith Beach Park

Also on the east side of the Big Island is Carlsmith Beach park. This is a white sand beach protected by black lava rock. Its pool like appearance is ever so inviting on a hot sunny day. Because it is protected by the rock, this is a great place to bring the kids and not have to worry about waves or current. There is tons of soft grass to lay out in the sun, but also many trees and pavilions for shade. This is another place to spot some green sea turtles, they will literally swim right up to you!

Hapuna Beach

 Hapuna Beach couldn’t be any more picturesque. Its perfect soft white sand and clear blue water looks as if it came straight out of a postcard. This is the beach you can picture yourself with a fruity drink and a sunhat. Hapuna is located on the north-west part of the Big Island. If you are staying in the Waikoloa Area Hapuna Beach will be minutes away. Be sure to bring water and sunscreen, there is not a lot of shade and this beach can get very hot. Hapuna is also a great spot for boogie boarding or body boarding with its fun shore break.

Waialea Bay Beach

 This beach pretty much has it all, white sand, clear blue water, shade. It is a great easy spot for snorkeling as well. You could spend all day at this one, so be sure to bring water and some snacks. This beach has bathrooms, showers, but only one or two picnic tables. This beach is located right by Hapuna Beach on the north-west part of the island. 

Papakōlea Beach (Green Sand Beach)

Green Sand beach is located on the southernmost tip of the Big Island. It is one of only two green sand beaches in the United States. This beach gets its nickname from its green/gray colored sand made from green olivine crystals. This beach is actually the remnant of a volcanic cinder cone with one side open to the ocean.  How cool is that? This green sand beach is a bit more difficult to get to. It requires a 2.5 mile hike from the parking lot area. The trail is flat and not difficult, but be sure to bring water and sunscreen, because the area does get quite hot.

“South Point”, near this area, has cliff jumping into the crystal clear ocean below. The cliffs are about 40ft high and have a ladder to climb allowing jumpers to return to the top. We recommend you watch and photograph others jumping from the cliffs.   No bathrooms or showers are available at this beach.