Kohala Coast - Secluded Big Island Beaches

The beaches along the Kohala Coast will probably never make the top beaches "lists" but, as you'll find when visiting the area, along this rugged shoreline are some truly spectacular Hawaii beaches!

We were in Hawi for Dawn's 30th Class Reunion, a Kohala High School class that was made up of ninety students, give or take a few. So naturally, I had wanted to take some pictures to share about the great beaches in the area!

As you'll soon find out, the best of plans are always subject to change due to factors beyond our control. But, as usually turns out, we had a great time anyway!

As a preface, Hawi is one of the towns along the Kohala coast, a district comprising the northern side of the island of Hawaii and is characterized by its rural qualities complete with pastures, plantations, and the beauty of an area untouched by urbanization. Unlike the bedroom community of Waimea which has become a magnet for new "settlers" due to its cool temperatures and ranch-type identity, Hawi is pretty much the way it was fifty years ago. Although a good number of folks (some pretty famous) have taken up residence in the area, the influx of new people to the community and the resultant development has been pretty subtle as a general rule.

Serving as the turn-around for the bike portion of the famous Kona Iron-man competition, Hawi has received its share of publicity and the growing number of shops and eateries in the area can attest to increasing number of visitors discovering this quaint district. And while you can see the ocean as you drive through Hawi, the distance and elevation make it seem quite far away. I wouldn't even try to recommend some of the places frequented by the locals as many spots are reached only through traversing through true off-road conditions.

Our weekend in Hawi started with me trying to surprise the family at the airport by coming back with a convertible instead of the compact they thought I rented. I was excited at the prospect of driving the Kohala coast with happy campers with our hair blowing in the wind as we cruised along!

While Dawn was quite happy with the upgrade, both Kristen and Laura were mortified that this was to be our transportation for the weekend. Reluctantly, because of their intense unhappiness (we never discussed whether it was the embarrassment of being so visible or having the wind blow their hair into their faces), I pulled over to the side of the road less than a half-mile out of the airport and put the top back up.

Due to their reactions and rain that seemed to herald our coming, that brief ride from the rental pick-up to outside of the airport was the last time the top would be down for the entire weekend. So much for the upgrade, huh?


After getting over the frustration that I had upgraded the car for nothing, I focused back on enjoying the long drive over the expanse of barren lava rock that lay between the highway and the beautiful waters that characterized this side of the Big Island.

Here along this once barren coast are some of the most impressive resorts in Hawaii, and possibly the world! The Hualalai Resort, Waikoloa Resort, Mauna Lani Resort, Mauna Kea Beach Resort, and the Hapuna Prince are truly world-class and epitomize the elements of a vacation in paradise.

Kona Coffee

Each of these Hawaii hotel/resorts is a magnificent development with beautifully sprawling grounds, world-class amenities and their own special beaches!

Before heading up to Kohala, or at least before you leave the Big Island, be sure to spend some time in Kona visiting one of the many shops or coffee plantations to experience some genuine Kona Coffee. Maybe you'll go back with a few bags of "Kona Gold" or maybe you'll find a whole business opportunity to launch in your hometown!

Click on the banner to the left if you'd like to order some genuine "Kona" right now, to hold you over until you get to the Big Island!

By the time we got to Dawn's mother's house, it was already evening.

The next day, after picking some macadamia nuts and chipping golf balls in the yard, we decided to take a ride to the end of the Highway 270, and abrupt stop in the road which serves as the scenic overlook for Pololu Valley and its black sand beach.

As you'd expect, with the rain, the view wasn't all that great but you can imagine how beautiful this place would be during a calm day with blue skies. See those islands off the coast?

... Here's a closer shot of them.

Although the hike down to the beach is about a twenty-minute jaunt, it wasn't something we were about to do that day. Enjoying the view from atop was plenty enough to appreciate the true beauty of the Kohala coast.

On the way back from the Pololu Valley lookout, we stopped at Keokea Beach Park, a popular spot for the local folks and quite typical of Kohala coast beaches. As you can see, the ocean conditions were pretty uninviting as is generally the case... there's no beach, just a bunch of boulders which form a breakwater. The seas here are usually pretty rough due to the wind waves caused by the tradewinds hitting the northern tip of the island and being deflected to the southeast and southwest directions.

Yet, regardless of the marginal ocean conditions, there are waves here. And where you find waves, you'll find surfers!

The next day came with a bit of sunshine especially when we went a ways south, toward Kona for a Sunday buffet lunch at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

As in many of the hotels along the Kona/Kohala coast, the developers had brought in sand to create these wonderful beaches out of the barren lava rock that comprises so much of this island.

As usual, the trip was too short. There are so many great beaches here but coverage will just have to wait till we can get back sometime in October!

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