Get off the beaten track to discover one of Hawaii’s most serene stretches of coast.
This secluded bay, tucked away within the Kekaha Kai State Park, is one of the most picturesque in the region. Once one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets, today the beach is beginning to rise in popularity, although it remains quieter than most of the beaches along the popular Ali'i Drive. The state park provides excellent hiking and lookouts, while the beach is home to beautiful marine life and great surfing.
Come to Kua Bay prepared for the day, as you’ll want to spend several hours and the beach has no facilities. The beach is fairly small but there’s plenty of space to find a quiet patch of sand to settle in.
Put on your snorkeling gear and dive into the tranquil water to meet the local sea life. Swim with Hawaiian sea turtles, the majestic creatures that inhabit this stretch of coast. Watch as dolphins play in the surf, and keep your eyes peeled for whales breaching out in the deeper water.
In the cooler months the beach is a great spot for surfing as the winter swells roll in. Rent a surfboard from Kailua-Kona, where you’ll also find operators that run beginner surfing classes, when the conditions are right.
Hike the trails that surround the beach to reach one of the lookouts above the shoreline. The trails are well maintained, and provide excellent views up and down the coastline. There is no water available at Kua Bay so be sure to bring your own, especially if you intend to hike during summer.
Kua Bay can be reached by car via an unpaved road north of Kailua-Kona. Take the second turnoff to the Kekaha Kai State Park when heading north and continue through the park for approximately 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) until you reach the beach. The park is open during daylight hours except for Wednesdays, and there is no entrance fee.