It's slow going, down a 1.8-mile, bumpy, mostly unpaved road off Highway 19 to this beach park, but it's worth it. This state park encompases three beaches (from south to north, Mahaiula, Makalawena, and Kua Bay, which has its own entrance). Mahaiula and Makalawena are beautiful, wide expanses of white-sand beach with dunes; there's a lot of space so you won't feel crowded. Makalawena has great swimming and boogie boarding. (Note: Makalawena, sandwiched in the middle of the two state parks, falls under the jurisdiction of Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estates. They have their own access road, which is even rougher to traverse, and we don't recommend it!) From there, a historic 4½-mile trail leads to Kua Bay. If you're game, work your way to the top of Pu‘u Ku‘ili, a 342-foot-high cinder cone whose summit offers a fantastic view of the coastline. However, be prepared for the heat and bring lots of water, as none is available. Open daily 8–7. (Gates close promptly at 7 pm, so you need to leave the lot by 6:30.) Watch out for rough surf and strong currents. Amenities: vault toilets. Best for: beachgoing; swimming; hiking.
Hwy. 19, turnoff is about 2 miles north of Keahole–Kona International Airport, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740, United States