Kaunaoa Beach


Kaunaoa beach (aka Mauna Kea Beach) is a large, perfect, crescent-shaped, powdery-white-sand beach fringed with palm trees. If you ever were to sit and imagine the quintessential Hawaiian beach, this is what you would come up with. The beach itself is sheltered and the waves are calm (not as sheltered or calm as Spencers for small kids, but still great for big kids).

Access is through the Mauna Kea beach hotel. If you are not staying at the hotel you can still go to the beach, but they limit access to 30 cars at a time. To get in, you head to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and tell the guard at the gate where you are going. If it’s not full (I would get there before 10) they’ll let you in and you can park in the hotel parkng lot.

We stayed at the hotel recently but didn’t get to play in the water much because a shark had been sighted so they closed access to the water for 24 hours until it moved on. When the beach was reopened we went in for a bit. The water was perfectly clear and the drop off was very gradual. The beach was very clean and practically empty. My son very much preferred the pool hotel so we didn’t stay on this beach for too long.

sunset over kauanaoa
a sunset over the beach

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Kaunaoa Beach
View of the beach from the hotel

Kaunaoa Beach
On the beach looking back up at the hotel