6 Best Beaches In Kona for Swimming You Should Consider

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My husband and I love to swim and snorkel, and we’re always looking forward to trying it out in new places.

I can honestly say that Kona, Hawaii, has some of the most ideal swimming ever!

The best beaches in Kona for swimming offer not only warm, crystal-clear water, but also plenty of tropical fish to see, coral reefs, and lava rock – it’s dream material!

1. Honokohau Beach

You can find Honokohau Beach on Big Island, on the Western side. For me, the most noteworthy thing about this beach was the texture…

Honokohau Beach for swimming in Kona
Honokohau Beach

Instead of being made of classic sand, rocks, or pebbles, it was a combination of coral, broken-up seashells (ground soft, mostly), and lava rock. It was quite unique and very cool!

What Honokohau Beach Has to Offer a Swimmer

The main reason Honokohau Beach is great for swimming is thanks to the shallow water.

Along with this, there’s a big offshore reef that shields the beach from strong currents.

These things make it suitable for swimming not only for adults but also children (strong swimmers, recommended 10+). Plus, with the coral reef, it’s a lovely spot to snorkel!

At Honokohau Beach, a swimmer can discover:

  • If you want to see beautiful formations and sea critters, you’re sure to want to check out the tide pools at Honokohau Beach. You may not be able to swim in them (you’d damage the sealife and your feet), but they’re still very much worth a look!
  • Take a natural, queenly bath at Honokohau Beach at the Queen’s Bath hot springs after you swim in the ocean. This is a spring-fed lava pool that’s located on the northern side of the beach. Many use it as a way to rinse salt off, and it’s quite popular!
  • Snorkel. There are some big coral reefs alongside Honokohau Beach, and snorkeling here is ideal. You can see not only gorgeous coral formations, but also sealife – like starfish and parrot fish – that like to hang around coral!

2. Kamakahonu Beach

Kamakahonu Beach is a small beach that’s best as a pitstop, for a quick swim or snorkel.

There isn’t a crazy amount to do, due to the beach’s diminutive size (it’s also a bit crowded), but the swimming and snorkeling couldn’t be easier.

Kamakahonu Beach for swimming in Kona
Kamakahonu Beach

Kamakahonu Beach may not be the most exciting, but it’s a good place to relax!

What Honokohau Has to Offer a Swimmer

Honokohau Beach is made up of white sand and grass, leading up to the water. The water is fairly shallow, and the beach is so sheltered that there are virtually no waves.

This makes it ideal for children of all ages and families, earning it the nickname ‘Kid’s Beach.’

Of course, if you’re just looking to chill, you can also enjoy it as a couple – speaking from experience – or as a lone swimmer! 

What else you can enjoy at Kamakahonu Beach as a swimmer:

  • Thanks to the gentle, clear water, this beach is ideal for snorkeling. You’ll see a lot of sparkling white sand and shining water, and if you’re lucky, some sea life. I didn’t try snorkeling here, myself, though, as I prefer to dive a little deeper!
  • If you want to take a break from wading and swimming, you can also rent a canoe or kayak. The water is nice and smooth, so tipping isn’t a risk!
  • Paddleboard. Thanks to the small, almost nonexistent waves, Honokohau Beach is uniquely suited to paddleboarding. There are lessons available, and you can rent a paddleboard!

3. Kikaua Point Beach Park

I read that parking is limited at Kikaua Point Beach Park, starting after 9 AM. So, it seems, the earlier you arrive the better! 

Kikaua Point Beach Park
Kikaua Point Beach Park

To be safe, my husband and I made sure to get there at 8 AM. Once we arrived, we enjoyed the manmade beach, comprised of sand and palm trees, and lined with lava rock.

The lagoon was sapphire-blue, and shallow enough that it was suitable for both kids and any novice swimmer! 

What Kikaua Beach Has to Offer a Swimmer

If you like to swim at some of the best beaches in Kona for swimming with white, soft sand, look no further than Kikaua Beach, HI. It’s the perfect place to kick back and relax in the water!

What else there is to do at Kikaua Beach for a swimmer:

  • So, you can snorkel at Kikaua Beach if you like, but we mostly saw kids doing it. Since the lagoon is manmade, there’s not a lot to see, and snorkeling couldn’t be easier. This makes it ideal for children but maybe a bit boring for an adult – it depends on what you’re looking for!
  • Wading is the most that adults can do at Kikaua Point Beach, or perhaps sitting in the water. It’s quite shallow, and while this is perfect for little ones, it may not be ideal for an older swimmer. For wading, it’s great, however!
  • Once you’re done wading and/or sunbathing, the ample palm trees and super-soft white sand provide the perfect atmosphere for a picnic. Bring out your lunch and enjoy the peaceful environment while you enjoy some food!

4. Makalawena Beach

There’s a bit of a walk to Makalawana Beach, but this turned out to be in our favor.

Makalawena Beach for swimming in Kona
Makalawena Beach

Not only do you get to see a lot of cool lava rock, but the distance to the beach reduces the number of visitors. This makes for a beach that isn’t very crowded – which is always something I, personally, hope for!

What Makalawena Beach Has to Offer a Swimmer

The swimming in Honokohau Beach varies depending on how wild the waves are. Sometimes they’re rougher, sometimes calmer.

During calm times, I can attest, it’s an ideal swimming spot. The water is warm and clear, and everywhere there is beautiful white sand!

What else at Makalawena Beach you can find:

  • During wavier times, Makalawena Beach is ideal for a bodyboarder. Based on the bodyboarders my husband and I saw – we didn’t try this out ourselves, this time – you won’t get bored!
  • Makalawena Beach is teeming with sealife, so of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snorkel. I saw a variety of colorful fish – including the ever-present parrot fish and starfish – coral, and plenty of fish and other critters I didn’t know the name of!
  • If you’re looking for a hike to the beach, or to hike around the beach, Makalawena has some great, lava-rock-littered hikes to offer. The scenery is so unique compared to what I’m used to in the Midwest. It makes for a pretty cool walk!

5. Two Step Beach

Two Step Beach is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been, not just in Hawaii, but in the world! The beach itself isn’t made up of sand, but lava rock, giving it a really unique and otherworldly look.

Two Step Beach for swimming in Kona
Two Step Beach

The beach is named Two Steps because there are literally two enormous steps at the farther shore point, where snorkelers and swimmers step off.

Just look out for sea urchins, since they seem to like to hang out on the steps (a good surface to chill for a sea urchin, I suppose).

What Two Step Beach Has to Offer a Swimmer

The first step at Two Step Beach leads to water that’s 10ft deep. This is popular for swimmers, at least when the current is cooperative.

From what I’ve read, some days, the current is stronger and less suitable for a swimmer or snorkeler! It was a little strong when my husband and I visited, but still suitable for swimming.

We hung out in the 10ft section, swimming until we decided to snorkel! 

  • There are a few boat tours you can take at Two Step Beach. My husband and I opted out this time since we were pretty busy swimming and snorkeling and wanted to make the best of our day-long stay (before we moved onto one of the other best beaches in Kona for swimming).
  • Although much of the coral reef has been damaged at Two Step Beach (so sad), there are still some really lovely reefs left that you can see when you snorkel. Not only this, but there was a variety of fish, including the bright yellow Yellow Tang, the Blue Marlin, the Sailfish, and plenty that I didn’t know the name of!

6. Manini’owali Beach

Manini’owali Beach is a truly gorgeous beach to swim at – I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the best in the world.

Manini'owali Beach in Kona
Manini’owali Beach

It’s the whole package, with pristine white sand and crystal-clear water. When you wade or swim, you can see tropical fish and reefs in the water. Of course, this makes it ideal for snorkeling as well!

What Manini’owali Beach Has to Offer a Swimmer

Don’t forget a hat and/or umbrella when you visit Manini’owali Beach, as it’s quite sunny and there aren’t any trees for shade.

Instead, you travel along a lava flat (now thankfully paved with a road) to reach the beach, and from there, it’s all sand, lava rock, and water!

What else there is to do at Manini’owali Beach, Hawaii:

  • This is not only one of the best beaches in Kona for swimming, but one of the best for snorkeling, too. Do you want to see tropical fish, coral reefs, and more? Then look no further!
  • My husband and I loved the scenery at Manini’owali Beach so much, we rented a kayak. We wanted to get a closer look. Drifting along the water, looking down at fish or around at the gem of an island, it was super-easy to relax!
  • If you feel like hopping out of the water for a bit (perhaps you’re getting a bit prune-y), you can always go on a hike by Kua Bay. These vary in difficulty but are the same in that they all offer a breathtaking view!

Final Words

We had so much fun at the best beaches for swimming in Kona, I highly recommend them all.

Each has its own special thing to offer (like a lava rock shore), and most have fish, reefs, and palm trees… it’s a really dreamy location for any swimmer!

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