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Kekaha Kai State Park, Island of Hawaii
(4.6/5 based on 75 reviews on the web)
Kekaha Kai State Park, formerly known as Kona Coast State Park, is a beach park located along the north Kona coast on the island of Hawaii. The main beach areas are Maniniowali Bay (Kua Bay), Makalawena beach at Puu Alii Bay, and Mahaiula Bay. The park's name originates from the Hawaiian language words ke kaha kai which translate to "the shore line" in English.Park sectionsThe northern section of the park is on Maniniowali Bay located at coordinates. This beach area is popularly called Kua Bay since it is easier to pronounce. A paved road 2.6mi north of Kona International Airport leads to the beach.The wetland area behind Makalawena beach was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1972. The marsh is known as Ōpaeula Pond (Hawaiian for "red shrimp") and was the site of a small fishing village that was wiped out in the 1946 tsunami. The 12acre of wetland provide one of the last remaining nesting grounds of the āeo (Hawaiian stilt, Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), the alae keokeo (Hawaiian coot, Fulica alai), and the only known breeding area for the aukuu (black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli) in Hawaii. The pond is located at coordinates in the privately owned area between the two sections of the state park.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Fantastic white sand beach just a bit north of the airport. Pretty easy to miss the turn, the road that leads down to the beach area. The road is located directly across from the Veterans Memorial Cem...  more »
  • It was a very good beach... though in my mind not as good as Mauna Kea. The drive to this beach was kindda fun--we were in a minivan and made it without any problems at all. Just go slow and careful. ...  more »
  • Hands down the best beach on the island. Just north of the Kona airport, and accessed by the worst road ever. Take your time, to avoid damaging your rental (you may not be insured). Better yet, rent a...  more »
Google
  • Kekaha kai state Park is beautiful, almost seems secluded and not so crowded. The entrance from the highway can be missed if you don't pay attention to the sign. Once you turn in the road you don't need a 4x4 but if your in a car I would suggest going slow as the road is not evenly paved and you will have unlimited Lava to look at on both sides. The park is close to the airport probably a mile away so you can watch planes land and take off also. Once you arrive to the park about a mile plus down the bumpy road you will see the restrooms off to the left and parking straight ahead. Plenty of parking along the way and in the parking lot. There are walking trails, picnic tables and a few area to barbeque some food or just sit under a shade tree and have a packed lunch. This is a great place to snorkel and swim, there are areas where the lava makes it hard to access the water, but then again there are areas lava free to enter the water and enjoy the sand between your toes. This is a free Park so just bring some suntan lotion and a smile then enjoy beautiful Hawaii.
  • Makalawena is definitely one of my favorite beaches in the world, probably because there are so few people. The road to Kekaha Kai is rough and probably banned if you have a rental car, but I've done it in three different rental cars without incident. Just take it slow. The hike to Makalawena is hot, but worthwhile. Alternatively, there's a 4x4 path to the north, but I haven't taken it. Even if you don't make it to Makalawena, Mahai'ula is closer, just about as nice, and often has fewer people.
  • Never ending bumpy ride to a big rocky beach. Picnic tables, lots of shade under trees. No showers or running water. We stayed on the left side of the beach and it was secluded. Too many rocks to really enjoy but a nice spot.
  • Clear water. Has snorkel spot and small waves for body board. The road to get there is easy to pass up. Suggest some kind of SUV for the terrain there. Showers and restrooms there.
  • Despite the never ending, very bumpy "unimproved" access road, this is a great beach away from the crowds. Great place to snorkel and see the ocean life. We keep comings back time after time.