The northeast coast of Hawaii’s Big Island has some of the island’s most iconic beaches, luxury resorts, golf courses and dramatic landscapes. The coast is made largely of lava rock, creating unique beachfronts with black and white speckled sand. The Kohala Coast is extremely popular for visitors seeking the Hawaii beach experience and the area offers fantastic places to swim, surf, snorkel and scuba dive.
Stay at one of the coast’s luxury resorts to experience the true Kohala Coast experience. Among the more popular are the Hilton Waikoloa and the architecturally renowned Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Resorts in the area can generally be described as luxury, and are not the most affordable on the island; however, they are worth the price tag. Enjoy a game of golf at one of six courses in the area, or dine at one of the five-star restaurants located within the resorts.
Swim with dolphins, turtles and tropical fish throughout the Kohala Coast. This area is home to what is considered some of the island’s best beaches, including Mauna Kea Beach, Hapuna Beach Park, Samuel Spencer Beach and Keokea Beach. Most of the beaches are free to access and many have lifeguards and public amenities.
Discover the ancient history of the area at the Lapakahi Historical Park or the Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, once the residence of Hawaiian royals. Tours are available from a number of operators in Keilua-Kona and are an excellent way to see the coast and learn the history.
The Kohala Coast stretches north from Waikoloa for 10 miles (16 kilometers) to Kawaihae, and is served by the Queen Kaahumanu Highway. While some charter buses serve the resorts, the coast is best visited by car so you can reach different attractions with ease. Some attractions have an entrance fee.