One of the state park system's newest treasures, Kiholo Bay is still in the planning stage, so facilities are not yet complete. The brilliant turquoise waters of this stunning bay, set against stark black lava fields, are a cooling invitation on a warm Kohala day. The shore is rocky and the water's a bit cold and hazy due to freshwater springs, but there are tons of green sea turtles in residence year-round. The swimming and snorkeling are excellent when the tide is calm. Thanks to the eruptions of Mauna Loa, what was once the site of King Kamehameha's gigantic fishpond is now several freshwater ponds encircling the bay, with a picturesque lava-rock island in the middle. Along the shoreline southwest toward Kona, just past the big yellow house, is another public beach with naturally occurring freshwater pools inside a lava tube. This area, called Queen's Bath, is as cool as it sounds. Gates are locked promptly at 7 pm, and camping is allowed with fee and permit. Amenities: parking (no fee); toilets. Best for: snorkeling; walking.
Hwy. 19, unmarked gravel road between mile markers 82 and 83, just south of the lookout, Waimea (Hawaii County), Hawaii, 96743, United States