This shallow and easily accessible salt-and-pepper beach is one of the Big Island's most popular swimming and snorkeling sites, thanks to the fringing reef that helps keep the waters calm, visibility high, and reef life—especially turtles and colorful fish—plentiful. Because it is so protected, it's great for first-time snorkelers, but outside the reef, very strong rip currents can run, so caution is advised. Never chase turtles or hand-feed the unusually tame reef fish here; it upsets the balance of the reef. Experienced surfers find good waves beyond the reef, and scuba divers like the shore dives—shallow ones inside the breakwater, deeper ones outside. Snorkel equipment and boards are available for rent nearby, and surf schools operate here. Kahaluu was a favorite of the Hawaiian royal family, especially King Kalakaua. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking; picnic pavillion, showers; toilets. Best for: snorkeling; swimming.
78-6720 Alii Dr., 5½ miles south of Kailua-Kona, across from Beach Villas, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740, United States