Big Island Sights

Kekaha Kai State Park—Mahaiula Side

  • Hwy. 19 Map It
  • Kailua-Kona
  • Beach–Sight
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 01/10/2017

Fodor's Review

It's slow going down a 1.8-mile, bumpy but paved road off Highway 19 to this beach park, but it's worth it. This state park encompasses 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 between the two state parks, is private property and 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 4½-mile trail leads to Kua Bay. If you're game, work your way to the top of Puu Kuili, a 342-foot-high cinder cone whose summit offers a fantastic view of the coastline. (No vehicle access to the Puu.) 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: toilets. Best for: swimming.

  • Beach, Kekaha Kai State Park, Mahaiula Side, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

    SYLVIO MICHEL / Shutterstock

Sight Information


Hwy. 19, turnoff is about 2 miles north of Keahole–Kona International Airport, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740, USA

Map It


808-327–4958; 808-974–6200

Published 01/10/2017


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